Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rain Days

People often wonder what golf course workers do when it is raining.  Well . . . it's been raining this April so I can answer that question!  Rainy days actually serve an important function for a golf course crew.  I always keep a couple "rain day" jobs on the back burner until there is a suitable day to get them done.  In fact, if it never rained, I think I would have to create "virtual rain days" where the crew stays off the course and focusses on other projects. 

A View from the Maintenance Building
Here's what we've been up to on the past few rain, or snow, days:
  • 3-hour Spring Safety Training and Staff Meeting
  • 1 worker fixed ball marks in the rain
  • 1 worker changed course set up so that we can catch up on mowing when it drys out
  • We disassembled most of the pumphouse in preparation for some repairs
  • Refurbished 50 bunker rakes with Vinyl Guard
  • Investigated the mystery of the bladder tank (see below)
  • Cleaned shop
  • At the moment, the crew is helping me do an alpha sort and file of receipts and PO's from 2010.  I meant to do it over the winter but, you know, didn't get around to it.
  • Blog!
Bunker Rakes

Over time, fiberglass bunker rakes start to fade and splinter.  They last longer than the old aluminum handles that would kink and bend, but nobody likes fiberglass splinters.  Paint doesn't stick for long, so we decided to use a product called Vinyl Guard to refurbish the rakes.  Vinyl Guard uses a heat shrrinking process to put a permanent protective coat on the handle.  For a couple bucks per rake, they are like new.
Jimmy's favorite job
Some of our "new" bunker rakes
The Pump House

We are in the process of making some repairs to the irrigation pump system.  Over the past week, we have been disassembling and inspecting all the components of the system.  Most of the piping will be replaced due to its age and condition but some elements can be refurbished. 

Irrigation system components up for replacement

Definitely in the "replace" pile
Particularly interesting has been the "mystery of the bladder tank"!  We have never been able to figure out the manufacturer or model number of our tank because there are no markings.  We also weren't exactly sure if it was working properly or not (we suspected not). 

The red tank in the following pictures is supposed to hold an inflated air bladder that buffers system pressure and protects the pumps from excessive starts and stops.  It is important to maintaining the system's health and longevity.  Unfortunately, the air cavity was slowly leaking pressure and had been contaminated with water and sludge.  The tank weighed at least 800 pounds in its waterlogged state so our mechanic had to do some rigging to move it.  Using a combination of chainfalls, sleds, chains, and rollers, he moved the tank out of the pumphouse without breaking a sweat. 

The tank on a "sled" with rollers
Out the door and in the air
With the tank at the shop, it was time to investigate.  Many of these tanks are repairable if you can find the manufacturer and replace the "bladder" inside.  We carefully removed the flanges and drained the air compartment of water so we could take out the bladder.  Here is what it looks like:
Pressure tank bladder
After a lot of searching, we found the slit that was leaking.  Unfortunately these are not patchable.  They have to hold 120 psi while expanding and contracting constantly so they have to be in one piece.  We had to consult with a few experienced pump contractors to figure out the manufacturer.  After calling the manufacturer, we determined a replacement bladder is available.  Now we have the option to replace the bladder and rebuild this tank instead of buying a whole new tank.  Neither option is exactly "cheap" but the mystery has been solved!

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