If you’ve played recently you likely have noticed the Green Expansion Project work (as I described in Paul’s Weekly Golf News two weeks ago) we have done over the past 10 days. It measures the equivalent of a full sized, fairly large green (over 7000 sq. ft.) so it should be noticeable and hopefully you can see where ultimately you will see many new future hole locations. All of these areas will become green surfaces in August when we perform the re-grassing process.
All of the expansion areas (like above area between the green and the rough) will become putting green height with Re-grassing Project in August. In spring of 2016 a 24" collar will be allowed to grow to a higher height of cut.
Just as a reminder, these areas (and no areas) are not going to be “ripped up” or “plowed under” or “dug-up” or “blown up” when this happens. The mixture of turf species will be killed, we will perform several cultural processes such as aeration and verti-cutting (not sod stripping!) and then we will plant pure creeping bentgrass directly into the verti-cut lines and aeration holes in the dead turf which will act as an erosion blanket protecting the new seedlings as they germinate. This dead mat will also hold some moisture to aide germination. You might look at what we are doing with these expansions as us simply putting down the padding before we then put down the carpeting. We’re not going to rip the padding back up before we plant the grass carpet! By doing this now we will have surfaces that will be as similar to the greens as is possible, compared to the bluegrass surface we removed or seeding into bare soil, when we grow in the new greens. Doing this now (compared to waiting until Aug. 3rd) allows the turf to root well (so it can withstand the aeration and verti-cutting that is needed that day and the 4th and 5th as we prepare for fumigation) and allows us to topdress it several time so that it becomes as close to our green surface as is possible prior to the Aug. 5-6 possibly 7th if needed, fumigation process.
This is the most "blown - up" that it gets. It's just scalped grass, with some aeration holes, and some verticut lines, prior to fumigation and then (10 days later) drop seeding. Wider lines above is the XGD Drainage last fall on this Lower Practice Area green. All XGD work is now complete on all other greens where improved drainage was needed.
If you haven’t noticed the new expansions then you surely have seen the sod stripped from the front of #12 fairway and #18 fairway. This sod was harvested (recommended by our course architect and approved by the G&G Committee) and is the source of the sod used for the new expansion areas around the greens. When we complete the necessary harvest from these areas we will then plant seed of a Kentucky Bluegrass variety. This same Kentucky Bluegrass variety will be seeded when we kill off and re-seed a perimeter swath, 6-8 feet, around all the fairways in August shortly after we re-grass all the fairways.
So far we have addressed 11 green surfaces. We first stripped the sod in the expansion areas (some was reused in other rough areas, some was undesirable mixtures of grasses and discarded) then we excavated over 100 tons of regular clay loam soil, replaced it with over 100 tons of a blended sand and organic soil (as similar as we can get to the 5-6” layer of 25 years of sand topdressing and natural organic accumulation currently on our greens) and then harvested, from #12 or #18 fairways, and laid over 7000 sq. ft onto the new expansion areas. We also lifted, removed or added mix as needed, on approx. 1500 sq ft. of current putting surface to provide smoother transitions off the greens or better surface flow of water, or to acquire extra hole locations. This work was a lot of effort and time (nearly 10 full dawn to dark days) but in the long run you will have larger greens with many new hole location possibilities and with a base or foundation as similar as possible to the existing greens.
An area adjacent to the right greenside bunker at #14 where sand has accumulated from sand blasted out. We stripped existing green, removed accumulated sand, smoothed grade, and re-laid the green sod.
Some greens required relocation of sprinkler heads from what was collar to what now will be putting surface. This area is on #14 just beyond the right greenside bunker.
Same area as above on #14. Existing lifted sod and new sod being installed (from fairway 12 or 18) after irrigation heads moved, soil backfilled and compacted, rootzone mix added and compacted, and smooth graded.
We are not quite finished as we have 7 more greens to address but 5 of the 7 are very minor in the amount of expansion and no others will require appreciable soil replacement like many did on the first 11. We plan to continue to press on with this work a couple days this week but we will avoid Thurs-Sunday with Kiltie Days and then the weekend. Thank you for your understanding.
Back right area on #3 green be excavated and flattened to provide an interesting and challenging future tournament hole location.
As we were out there last week doing this work I heard from many of you expressing excitement for the future green expansion areas. I too think our green surfaces will ultimately have a lot of new interest and I’m really excited about the new grass variety we will have in August. If you haven’t visited the Lower Practice Green you should do so. It’s healthy (with less disease control inputs than all other greens), attractive, smoother than any other turf surface on the course, and poa annua free. It’s what your future greens will become! Have a look. I think you will be very pleased.