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Timing, coordination, teamwork are keys to renovation’s success

Timing, coordination, teamwork are keys to renovation’s success

Downing, Kevin

DEVELOPMENT & RENOVATION

Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of articles by Willoughby Golf Club superintendent Kevin Downing outlining the renovation process at the Stuart, Fla., club. His final installment later this fall will cover the events leading up to the club’s re-opening.

STUART, Fla. – With all the renovation planning and discussions with members complete here at Willoughby Golf Club, the question I’m fielding now is: “How are we doing and are we on schedule?”

The timeframe for most renovation jobs is usually quite tight with just a small margin for weather or other interruptions factored in. Time schedule estimates must allow for the reasonable delays, so golf course operators and superintendents must be realistic about the needs of the contractors so the various tasks can be integrated. One of the keys to avoiding construction pitfalls is to obtain all permits before the commencement of work.

At Willoughby, we used three separate contractors, which meant the layering of their responsibilities had to be well sequenced. The clearing and treeremoval contractors had to be coordinated with the shaping and construction contractor to make sure they disposed of their materials in a timely fashion. We also had a separate irrigation company install our replacement hydraulic components in the first six weeks of the project. The soil was purposely left firm to minimize trencher and sub-surface equipment damage while all other excavation and topsoil transporting were taking place. By coordinating these efforts you can effectively reduce cleanup operations during the grow-in phase of the project.

The single biggest component of streamlining a renovation and/or construction project is the establishment of a reasonable method for obtaining field approvals. When using a golf course architect, the coordination of their visit to approve preliminary shaping or final grades is paramount to a contractor completing the tasks within the proper time frame. Always schedule the visits well in advance but provide interim updates to proper individuals prior to the actual visit.

A written or audio executive summary every two weeks will keep interested parties abreast of progress or aware of any substantial changes. Sending digital photos through e-mail also can illustrate current situations and minimize any future miscommunications. When it comes to design changes let common sense be your guide and focus on long-term benefits rather than quick-fix solutions that will only get you through one season.

The last valuable contractor that needs to be coordinated with is the golf course maintenance staff. They are key to successful completion of the project and should be involved with most of the planning and implementation stages. Their coordination with selected phases is a benefit since it creates enthusiasm for the continued success of the course. Our team focused on drainage, irrigation installation and programming, tree trimming and turf renovation.

Finishing a renovation project on time and on budget requires all contractors and golf course personnel to work together as a team.

Copyright United Publications, Inc. Sep 2002

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