We developed this blog to provide golf course maintenance information to our members. From projects, small and large, to updates on course conditions, we want to provide as much information as possible. Although we hope this blog answers all of the pertinent questions regarding our operation, we always welcome more personalized dialogue. If you have questions beyond the information found on this blog, feel free to contact our golf course superintendent, Trevor Hedgepeth.



Saturday, February 22, 2014

One of the biggest challenges when managing cool season grass in an area like RIC is saturated turf during hot and humid stretches in the summer months. Aside from play-ability concerns, saturated turf can become dead turf as temperatures heat the soil water and directly kill the crown of the plant. If not direct injury from scald, saturated turf can die indirectly from anaerobic conditions (wet wilt) and disease. Not to mention, saturated turf cannot support mower traffic without the risk of rutting and tearing.

Below are some examples of that damage:

Over the years, Kinloch's maintenance team has prided itself on identifying wet areas and installing sub-surface drainage during the off-season. This off-season is no different. We have targeted areas on 3 and 8 fairways and the roughs near 16 tee. Below are some pictures of our most current drainage project at the bottom of 3 fairway.

So we start by lifting the sod. Then we locate our low areas with a transit. From there we trench our lines. Once the lines are trenched and cleaned up, we add a layer of gravel, followed by 4" slit pipe, followed by some more gravel and then the trench is capped with porous sand. The idea is that as the water begins to rush toward the lows, these subsurface lines capture the flow and direct the water off of the fairway and into the adjacent native area. The goal is to keep the area from ever saturating thus leading to more playable and healthy turf. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Thatch Management on Kinloch Greens

The putting quality at Kinloch is highly correlated with our thatch management. As grass plants progress through their natural life-cycle, older leaf and root material dies and new plant components emerge. An organic build-up of these materials leads to a thatch/organic layer just below the turf canopy. This layer can become soft and "spongy." Aside from the agronomic problems that are presented by an over-accumulation of thatch, play-ability suffers as well. When you think of it intuitively, imagine rolling a golf ball across a sponge. The friction of the ball "sitting" in the sponge layer will reduce speeds much more than lets say, that same golf ball rolling across a firm pool table. So, as long as grass is growing, thatch will try to accumulate. In response to this natural phenomenon, we have implemented a frequent, but light topdressing program. This program is not to be confused with our bi-annual top-dressings during each aeration. Think of those applications as modifications and think of this program as routine maintenance. By applying light doses of sand in conjunction with the plant's growth rate, we always stay one step ahead of thatch accumulations. We apply this sand through push spreaders as to avoid inconsistent rates and the weight of bigger machines.

Aside from the ball roll and thatch reduction benefits, this routine incorporation of sand will always maintain our air-filled porosity in the root zone. We also know that these routine applications will not adversely affect ball roll on the day of an application. Although often negatively stereotyped, a light and frequent topdressing program is a major key to surface quality.