Turf Matters

The Site To Go To For All Your Turf Matters

  • Facebook Likes

  • The new Brushcutter

    Pengganti Brushcutter

    Increase productivity, cut labour. Try the AM61A

  • Trees Nursery

    Forest trees nursery

    Get your Trees from this nursery

Making greens cheaper

Posted by mynormas on December 4, 2013

Continuing my previous post about golf green’s construction, there are more than one way to construct a green, other than the USGA way.

Back in 1994, when I was still a young, new, beginner, trainee, novice, rookie (you get the idea) Assistant Superintendent, a new Superintendent from Australia joined the club I was working at and – to keep a long story short – after a few months, both of us were summoned into the Boss’ office. He asked us to sit down and after a few moments of dramatic silence while he rearranges stuff on his table; the Boss said “I need you two to build a green. It is for someone with a big house on top of a hill”

I got two problems with that statement. One; it ain’t a ‘house’ as we know it. Two; it’s not big, it’s humongous! If I were in the front lawn and needed to go to the toilet at the back of the house, I’d probably wet my pants by the time I reach it. Three; fresh from studying the USGA method of greens construction, I thought that’s going to cost a lot of time, money and effort. Four; will I be paid extra for this work? Five; just in case you were wondering – mathematics is not my strong point.

But Martin – the Superintendent – was cool about it. He brought me and a few workers to the site and told us to dig a hole in the ground. It was about 200 – 300 m2 big and about half a meter deep. “Great” I thought “Now I’m going to have a hands-on experience on green construction; this is going to look good on my CV”. Yeah. Really. Ok… maybe it’s more like: “Yahoo! Martin is going back to the club, the workers are going to be ones working, and I’m going to sit under that tree till 4pm for the next 30 days”

In USGA greens, one problem is material selection; it has criterias for gravel and various sand layers. Some clubs with strict construction superintendents have been known to reject enough lorry loads of sand to make a mountain out of one green. Other issues are the procedures and methods of construction. So I thought, while we wait for the right material, and while Martin fusses over the depth of each layer and stuff, I’ll have time to hone my poker skills.

That wasn’t the case, we dug the (big) hole, installed a network of herringbone drains, dumped sand on top of it, shaped the top a bit and then planted it. What?! That was it? What about the particle size? The bridging criteria? Hydraulic conductivity tests and stuff? My poker game?

Before we go any further, let’s be clear that this is not a golf course superintendent’s technical support manual. I write for the layman and for fun.

File pic.  Gambar hiasan.

File pic.
Gambar hiasan.

We talked about USGA greens in a previous post. But there is more than one way to build a green. There’s a few. Why are there many ways to build a green if the USGA method is supposed to be ‘the’ way? As always, the limiting factor for most golf courses, even in the US, is cost.

In the mid-1970s, two turfgrass scientists; Dr. John Madison and Mr Bill Davis from the University of California did some tests and concluded that using normal sand could produce acceptable golf greens. Their basis? Straight sand (and by that I mean just pure sand) placed over conventional drained basement. Unlike USGA greens, there is no gravel layer so California greens are cheaper and easier to install.

In 1998, the California greens method was further refined with some improvements; to use USGA criteria for selection of materials, consideration of local climate data and rootzone permeability to calculate sub-basement drain spacing and to use a much faster hydraulic conductivity than USGA greens. Some people think this then should be put under a third category of greens construction method: the hybrid California-USGA method.

But anyway, I also mentioned in a paragraph of the previous post that at least in one golf course I worked in; the greens not constructed in the USGA method were doing much better than the ones reportedly built as per USGA specs:

It was early this century (actually, this millenia) and I was then working in a golf course that had 18 holes of ordinary golf and 9 holes of par-3s. Every time rainy season comes, I will be fighting diseases and algae on the 18 and yet the  9-hole par-3 course were just humming along with no attention needed. I asked an old-time staff and from his description I could tell that the 18 holes were supposedly built according to USGA specs and the 9 holes were just… built. Upon close inspection, I could see that the sand material on the par-3 course were of coarser sand and pretty non-standard. Of course, when dry season comes and there were two days of no irrigation; the par-3 course would have dry patches.

So, the million-dollar question; should you use the USGA method or the California method or the hybrid method for your golf course reconstruction? And that sir/lady, would fall under the “time to ask the real expert” category.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: