Project Conway 2023 - It's a Team EffortProject Conway 2023 is off to a great start. It is exciting to see grass growing on the first and second holes again. It is an excellent snapshot of the work that will start to unfold on the rest of the front 9 this fall. Behind the scenes, a significant amount of planning, coordination, and communication has to happen internally to deliver a successful project ultimately. Much of this can go unnoticed if done well. I want to take the time now to point out the incredible efforts that our key management team on the grounds department have put forth to implement the vision of Jackson Kahn Design and make that vision come to life.
Kyle DeRoo, Assistant Superintendent, is in charge of ordering, coordinating quantities, tracking, and site planning all materials for the project in conjunction with the contractors as well as the parking lot logistics during construction. We are purchasing all of the aggregate materials to lower the cost of this portion of the project as much as possible and avoid having to pay the contractor’s markup on materials if they were responsible for procuring the aggregates. I cannot stress enough how challenging just doing the above task is in a normal environment. In today’s world, logistics are cumbersome at best. Deliveries are rarely on time, everything takes weeks to months to be delivered, freight costs are out of control, and it seems there are just not enough truck drivers today. Anybody who operates in the logistics field knows this pain all to well. Kyle has done an incredible job making sure we always have our products ready when needed. We have not missed a beat in the project because we were not ready on our end with timely acquisitions of materials.
Cole Lehman, Assistant Superintendent, is responsible for the Irrigation coordination of the project. He works daily with the irrigation contractor to see where they are working, figure out which areas of the course will be without water for a given day or perhaps a permanent elimination of water until the new system is complete. Cole inputs new sprinkler information into our central computer as the new system becomes operational and trains all of us in management how to use the new system. This is a fairly challenging process because we are operating two different systems that are controlled differently. There is a learning curve that follows the implementation of any new system. Cole has done a fantastic job onboarding our team and getting everyone up to speed in a chaotic environment that projects often produce.
Alex West, Assistant Superintendent, is handling oversight on the management of the back 9 for play and keeping a close eye on the front 9 turf for any of the usual problems that can occur. He is doing this with very few people from our staff to help most days as the crew has been moved over to laying and swapping sod all over the front 9 since August 2nd. It is easy to lose sight of the routine maintenance that still has to take place while a project is ongoing and Alex has made sure that we are doing whatever we can to keep up with the routine operations as well as keeping everything alive, which is goal #1.
Javier Mata, the Crew Foreman, has been running our mini in-house sod crew. This has been a significant undertaking while keeping 18 holes open during August and 9-holes open after Labor Day. The crew installed nine semis of sod and salvaged at least two semis of bentgrass(fairway) sod from existing fairways to be reused during the project. Laying sod that is already on a pallet is a hard enough task. Sodcutting, manually rolling, loading, moving, and laying sod is a whole other level of difficulty and is physically demanding. Javier is the heart and soul of the crew and he continues to get such great effort out of the team on a daily basis. This is no small task when they know what type of work awaits almost every single day. The end result of their efforts will be a more closely matched turf in new areas of fairway as well as a great cost control measure (purchasing bentgrass sod is extremely expensive).
Jorge Leon, Equipment Technician, is doing a great job keeping everything moving. Construction puts a toll on equipment. If we have downtime of equipment during construction, we risk losing grass and ultimately slow the project down. We have kept everything moving forward and Jorge is a huge piece of that puzzle. To bring the conversation full circle, Jorge has experienced first hand the difficulty of the logistics world. Things break everyday. This is normal, but getting the parts to fix them in a timely manner does not exist right now. There is a great deal of just making things work until we can fix it right. This is a frustrating part of the job, but Jorge has maintained his composure, especially during times where so much is out of his control on the timeliness of his repairs.
I cannot thank this outstanding TEAM enough for all of their efforts and long days and nights to execute Project Conway 2023. We still have a long road ahead, but I am confident with this group that we will deliver an outstanding golf course for you to see and play next season.