Blogging about Golf Course Maintenance at Westmount Golf & CC
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
The fall weather has been exceptional with many spectacular days for golf. As you might imagine, our major focus right now is leaf blowing and mulching. The leaves have been late to come down this year so leaf cleanup season has extended into November. The fall is always a busy time for the green staff. We are short staffed after the students return to school but still have plenty to do. Our goal is to maintain the course at a high level while dealing with leaves and preparing the course for winter.
Nice fall morning on #7 Look at all those leaves!
As you know, we have a set closing date which allows us to postpone many golfer unfriendly tasks until after we are closed. One of these tasks is greens aeration. This fall we are adding an additional component to our traditional greens aeration. It is called drill and fill and this process will improve the internal drainage of our push up greens. Aside from our three newest greens (#3, #11, and #12) which were built to USGA specifications, the rest of our greens are push up greens. By definition, push up greens are built by "pushing up" the existing soil to shape the green. This was the method used when Westmount was built in 1930. The problem with this type of green is that it does not drain very well. Most of the drainage is surface drainage meaning the green is sloped in several directions to allow water to run off rather than soak into the surface. Of course some of the water does soak in and that is when the problems begin. As I have said before, the worst thing for our greens is rain. When they get wet they stay wet because there is no internal drainage. When they stay wet, they are slow and subject to big splatting ballmarks, and mechanical damage from mowers. The drier and firmer we can get the surface, the better it is for golf. This is where drill and fill comes in. It is a process by which 3/4 inch diameter by 12 inch deep holes are "drilled" into the green (removing the native soil) and then "filled" with sand. This will allow the water to penetrate deeper into the profile of the green and keep the top drier. To give you an idea of the scale, this process will involve adding approximately 180,000 pounds of sand into our 16 push up greens. As you can imagine, this involves quite a bit of disruption and the cleanup is significant. This will likely be a process we continue for several years to achieve the firmness we are looking for.
Click on the following link for a video that shows drill and fill in progress: