Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Soggy Season Is Here + Greens Relief In Progress

The rain we've had coupled with cooler temps, less daylight, and more shade due to lower sun angles have made the course extremely wet.  Unfortunately, it is common for us to be soggy for long periods in the fall, winter, and spring.  Age related issues are making this issue progressively worse each year.  With age comes:

  • Reduced function from the drain lines that were installed nearly 30 years ago
  • More shade from 30 years of tree growth
  • Slower infiltration due to thatch and organic matter accumulation in all turf covered areas
The soil that covers much of our course is impermeable and therefore drains very poorly.  Additionally, not nearly enough drainage was installed up front and what was installed is now in need of replacement.  We all see the issues above ground like bunkers, cart paths, bridges, etc...but what's underneath is just as important.  A drainage overhaul should be high on everyone's wish list.  Drainage, drainage, and drainage are the three most important elements to having a good golf course.    

What about drainage on greens?

Greens are built on a layered system of pipe, gravel, and sand and therefore should drain much better than the native clay soils everywhere else.  However, with age the profile becomes less porous and water moves much slower than it once did.  Think of the profile like a filter....and we all know what happens to filters.  Regular testing of undisturbed core samples by the ISTRC lab highlight the gradual decline in our putting green infiltration rates.  Aeration is our best defense against this issue and we must continue to make it a high priority, despite how unpopular it is.  

We will be attempting to get some drainage relief in putting greens over the next few days/weeks.  Using the longest tine our aerator can handle we will poke holes (no cores pulled) 1/2" in diameter and 4-5" deep and fill with sand.  We will do our best to avoid disrupting play, but inevitably there will be times when you may encounter a hole that is closed.  We've had an incredibly busy year and a reduced staff making this sort of work difficult to complete.  However, it is important to give greens as much relief as possible before we get further into soggy season.  Next year we hope to add a deep tine aerator to our fleet in order to do this work more effectively.  

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