We finally had the golf course firm and pretty fast over last week. The greens were rolling over 11 feet. Until yesterday with 2 inches of rain that fall in buckets we are now back to square one. Today my entire staff will be working very hard shoveling the sand that washed down to the bottom of the bunkers back up. This task is incredibly hard and being a Sunday doesn't help. We will work until all the bunkers are back in shape. There will be a few that are being left to dry out but overall most will be back together.
You may have been watching the Memorial in Ohio over the last few days and notice that even with all the rain they are having the greens are still very fast. There is a good reason for this and it all boils down to money and a lot of it to maintain that course at such a great level all the time even after heavy rains. Now, I do not know the budget for the golf course but I do know some of the things that are done there. One is that all the greens have what is called a subair system. This is basically a vacuum attached to the drainage system and is tied to meters in the greens. Once the greens reaches a predetermined moisture content the system is automatically turned on and removes the excess moisture from the greens. The system can also be reversed to basically cool the green complex by blowing air into the drainage pipes. This is used extensively at Augusta to maintain the bentgrass greens throughout the summer. All the bunkers on the golf course have liners in place and silica sand. This basically eliminates washouts from rains events like we had last night. Also, all the fairways at the Memorial had a system of drainage lines installed a few years ago which were installed at 30 foot intervals all the way down and across each fairway. A good example of this could be seen at Oakmont a few years ago when they hosted the Open there. On the greens you could see lines when they were dried out. these lines were the drainage lines which is called XGA . Westmoore, also installed the same system in their greens recently in their remodel. Along with the drainage in the fairways all the fairways there are topdressed, just like I do on the greens. At least once a month all the fairways are topdressed in junction with core aerification. All these together create a firm fast golf course no matter what the conditions most golf clubs just can not afford to do this. We have to work with what we have and our product is great even without these in place. I do topdress the approaches here and it is noticeable after rains the approaches are quite firm compared to the fairways. With a sand based greens that we have here they do dry out fast and in junction with topdressing and rolling we are able to maintain good speed here. Maintaining 11 to 12 is my goal but to get them much faster is very hard, speed is not just from lowering the mowers and cutting the grass shorter as it should seem. I am currently mowing under a 1/10 of an inch from there is is not much more room to go, just about the limit of the mower. what you have to do is roll, double cut, use growth regulator and limit the fertilizers and water. then as in today I am at the mercy of mother nature, rain, and humidity and warm days all play into the speed game. I do my best much she always seems to win!
Have a great day. This is a big day for my family my daughter is graduating from Verona today and will be off to UW in the fall to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine or bio-chemistry.