Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Driving Range Improvements

Our routine driving range maintenance primarily focuses on preparing it for day-to-day use, which consists of 2 guys mowing, cleaning, reseeding, and setting up hitting stations 6 nights per week. The most rigorous of these activities is cleaning off divots and applying soil and seed to the tattered tee areas. Depending on the season, we can easily use over 1,000 lbs of seed annually and spend up to 2 man hours per night on this process alone.

However, despite these regular practices, larger projects and other labor intensive work is periodically needed to maintain range quality. We have done just this over the past 18 months and made several improvements - some obvious and some subtle. The addition of the mats has undoubtedly been the most obvious change, but other projects and agronomic practices made have had a big impact on the quality and usability of our spaciously challenged range.

Two predominant issues have crippled our range for several years.
  1. Lack of tee space - resulting in very minimal, poor turf to hit from by mid-season
  2. Poor drainage and exceedingly wet soil conditions - resulting in later than desired spring opening dates and long, post rain event closures
Satellite image showing excessive wear on the range tee roughly 2 years ago during mid-season.

To address these problems, we have taken several corrective measures which include the following.
  • Resodding the range tee with a better performing grass variety - Fall 2007
  • Drainage work at the end and sides of range - Spring 2008
  • Addition of driving range mats - Summer 2008
  • Installation of more accurate and efficient irrigation - Summer 2008
  • Increase in intensity of aeration, topdressing, and fertilizing practices - Fall 2008 - present
  • Deep tine aeration of entire range floor - Spring 2009
  • Restoration of bunker edges and addition of sand material - Spring 2009
You may have seen some of these projects in the past couple Year in Review slide shows, but here is a pictorial recap of the work performed.

Two significant benefits we have seen from these activities already include less wear and tear on the tee surface and improved drainage throughout the range.

How does this affect you?
  • Earlier spring opening dates as seen this year.
  • Fewer range closures following rain events.
  • Healthier and thicker grass to hit from.
  • More aesthetically pleasing.
The tee quality shown below illustrates how valuable the mats were last season in providing periodic relief from the turf.

We are confident the range will continue to improve through these and similar efforts. As always, we appreciate your patience and cooperation during these projects and improvements.

1 comment:

  1. Donald, I find your article very interesting because we face the exact same issues you explained at my new course in Northern Virginia. Is the mat you installed from Turfhound or another brand?

    Joshua Tremblay, PGA
    Springfield Golf & Country Club


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