Golf Course Management

SEP 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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66 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 09.18 and the green surface cannot dry down evenly. e idea is that consistent moisture across a green surface affects playability and mainte - nance. Peaks, knobs and high spots on greens will get drier, faster; low spots — usually the fronts of greens — will be the wettest. Be - cause the low spot is the green front, playabil- ity is often negatively affected (4, 9). Although drainage installation makes a better green, often bordering on tremendously better, it does not make the best green. Beginning in 1960, the USGA produced a pamphlet that provided specifications for sand-based putting green construction. is design is a 12-inch (30.48-cm) root-zone pro - file over a 4-inch (10.16-cm) gravel drainage blanket, with drain pipes for excess water. Several edits, most recently in 2018, have im - proved this construction method. e latest, most significant change is to vary the depth of Standard and varied root-zone depths Figure 2. These illustrations show the USGA putting green profile with standard root-zone depth (top) and with varied root-zone depth. Illustrations by Kevin Frank the profile, depending on green elevation and slope (12). High areas have shallower profiles so they don't dry out, and low areas are deeper to keep the surface drier. is keeps playabil - ity and maintenance optimal. After 2010, the advent of GPS and lasers made it possible to construct greens with variable depths easily, and the overall cost is negligible compared with the costs of traditional construction methods. Several courses have employed this technique since 2014, including Baltimore Country Club, Moraine Country Club (Day - ton, Ohio), Meadowbrook Country Club (Detroit) and Winged Foot Golf Club (Ma - maroneck, N.Y.). e disadvantages of this system are a slight increase in cost and course closure dur - ing reconstruction, as the root-zone depth of the green cannot be increased without demol - ishing the green. Shade e second environmental concern is shade. Shade is usually caused by trees, and tree removal in the southeast quadrant of the green site is imperative. is guideline has few, and minuscule, exceptions. Creeping bent - grass will not survive in shaded areas (1). If shade is not addressed, these areas will, over time, convert either to an annual bluegrass stand or to bare ground (or both). e south - east quadrant is critical because of the angle of the sun. Furthermore, investigations have proved the critical times for creeping bentgrass growth and subsequent annual bluegrass in - vasion are the shoulder seasons, March/April and October/November. e angle of the sun is low at those times, and shade from trees in the southeast quadrant can last well into the late morning or even early afternoon. Total light can be quite low during that time even though the plant light requirements are the same as a late spring/early summer day when the day is longest. Renovation procedures e renovation process is the most pain- ful aspect of the project. Besides the closure of the golf course, there are construction costs and lost revenue from all operations. All of our research efforts since 2011 have focused on minimizing course closure time while ensur - ing a sustainable product upon course reopen- ing. What was thought of as a five- to eight- month closure period is now a 75- to 90-day establishment period, thanks to better under - standing of fertilizer, mowing, brushing and topdressing procedures during establishment. e establishment procedure is significantly different from maintenance and often some - thing that is foreign to the superintendent. In the northern tier of golf courses, the start time for a procedure is usually sometime in August, with a reopening the next May or June. e 75- to 90-day establishment rule is in play here, but the number is split in some fashion by the winter season. e day of seed - ing dictates the day of opening, but so do the onset of winter and the beginning of spring. e best thing about the renovation is the creeping bentgrass itself. Summer is the best period for creeping bentgrass in northern cli - mates. e recuperative ability of the plant is highest in summer, making it easier to use the golf course after it reopens for that first season (5). By contrast, Florida bermudagrass

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