For many golfers the phrase "Cart Path Only" is almost as bad as the word "Aerification" but like aerification confining golf carts to the cart paths from time to time is a necessary evil. Routinely during the winter months we restrict carts to the path on #5, 7 and 10 to protect the turfgrass from damage due to wear and tear. On hole #7 it is not necessarily the fairway that causes us to be "on the path" but rather the area between the cart path and the fairway.
In order to try and eliminate this issue for our guests and allow them to drive out to #7 fairway we decided we would pipe and raise the swale between the cartpath and the fairway. We began by laying 7 100' lengths of NDS flat pipe on the ground and secured them to the ground. The idea is that this will provide a channel for the water to drain to the lake quicker or act as a holding area for water until it can drain out.
The pipe was then covered with a layer of gravel about 6 inches deep and floated out to the edge. This will also act as a holding area and help to move the water out of this area much like we have in the bottom of our bunkers.
The next step was to bring in a soil/sand blend and was spread and packed over the gravel and floated up to be flush with the existing turfgrass.
After the soil blend was spread and packed we added a layer of some waste sand that we had removed from our bunkers many years ago (reduce/reuse/recycle). This made the area easier to work with and will hopefully make the area drain even better. All in all the area between the cartpath and the fairway was raised up about 12 inches.
Once the area was prepped we laid sod on top of it. We are often asked what we do in the winter when there is no grass to mow. Well it is projects like this and others, proceeding and to come, that help to improve the golf course for the summer months when we are doing everything we can to keep up the the turfgrass. Hopefully this course improvement will have great benefits in allowing us to not have to restrict carts to the path on #7 after a rain or during the winter, making our guests happier and a more enjoyable round.
Thanks to Mitch, Bill, and Billy for their hard work and great ideas on blending the soil/sand and getting this project done even in the cold weather.