Saturday, December 12, 2015

Renovation of #3 Green

As with everything in life, greens, whether it be the turf covering the surface or the sand supporting the surface or the drain lines underneath the surface, have a life span.  Over the past several years #3 green has suffered from its poor growing environment and other factors to be a less than acceptable putting surface.  We have tried many different life support practices and have patched weak areas for years but the green still continued to go down hill and it was time for some exploratory and reconstructive surgery.

The issues that lead to the demise of #3 green compared to the other greens begins with its location.  Being located down in the "hole" as it is and surrounded by trees limits the amount of air movement to the green.  This lack of air movement along with the poor sunlight the green receives throughout the year restricts how quickly and well the green drains.  The excess moisture in the green complex has lead to anaerobic activity, leading to poor root development, increased disease pressure, weak canopy production, and the creation of surface algae.  Through the years we have tried many cultural practices to correct these issues, including aerification, DryJecting, and patching of the green.  None have been successful to bring the green back to where it needs to be.

So last week we began the renovation of the green by removing the top 4-5 inches of the green surface.  It took all day and a couple of changes in the process for the crew to get all the "bad soil" removed and stockpiled at the top of the hill for use in a later project.

The next step was to bring in 125 tons of new 85:15 greens mix from Golf Agronomics.  The new mix was spread and floated out across the green.  We were able to successfully disturb the top 2-3 inches of the existing greens complex by using the tracks of the Bobcat to fluff up the sand which I feel allowed for the new greens mix to blend with the existing green so we will not have a layer barrier and thus did not need to till the two layers together.

Once all the greens mix was added we spent some considerable time floating the sand out and moving it around inch by inch to ensure that once the grass was added to the surface we had created a fun and playable putting surface.  The contours of the green were changed significantly to give us more movement throughout the green, better surface drainage of the green, and increased our pinnable locations.  I think you will really like the subtle, but interesting, changes we made to the surface.

Renovating an ultradwarf bermudagrass green is definitely not something you would consider to be a winter project as warm season grasses need summer temperatures to grow but we are in a situation where closure of this green during the summer months was not an option, but this way we will enter next year with a newly grassed green.  The sod was delivered from Champion Turf Farms on Wednesday morning.  It took Thursday and Friday to install the 6,500 sq ft of sod.  I had forgotten how challenging laying small rolls of sod on a green could be but thanks to our dedicated agronomy staff we got it done, and done well.

Once the sod was down we rolled the green to smooth out the surface and ensure good sod to soil contact.  Willie is using a one ton roller to smooth out the green. You can see in the video how well the roller works.

The last step in finishing up the greens sod installation process was to use a Toro Hydorject 3000.  The Hydroject uses high pressure bursts of water, which you can hear in the video, which help to turn the roots of the grass toward the new soil.  This is probably the best method to smooth out a newly sodded area and help establish new roots.

It has surely been a process and a lot of work by our staff but the final product is one that we are very happy with.  There are still many steps to go, such as fertilizing, topdressing, more rolling and hydrojecting, and so forth.  By the spring we will have the greens surface ready for play and will hopefully not have to field the one question that I hated to hear, "What's up with #3 green?"

We thank you for all your patience and understanding as we continue to work to improve the golf course for your enjoyment.

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