Puzzle Pieces

Previous green strip of grass that used to be maintained as a walk path

 

Every little piece counts.  When fine tuning the irrigation system over the past two seasons, we have found many small areas throughout the golf course that are watered.  These small areas are difficult to irrigate properly and because of their odd shape, tend to waste a significant amount of water.  Throughout the winter months, the maintenance crew has been identifying these small puzzle pieces and converting them over to native grasses.  The best example is below the forward tee on hole #2.  This area used to be maintained as a walk path for golfers.  The odd triangular shape required four irrigation heads to water this area of which a portion of the runoff spilled into the adjacent native area.  Removing the sod and the four sprinklers creates a better flow of the native grasses and will not only save money on water, but fertilizer and labor resources as well.  The area was then plugged with grasses from one of our native grass regions to fill in quicker versus seeding it.

 

Opposite view of this area with green turf and four sprinklers needed to maintain the area

Sod was removed and this area was plugged with grasses from our native area.

View after removal of sod and sprinklers. Goal is to have the grasses help mask the cartpath from the tee view, once they reach mature and grow higher.

Tee Time

Over the years the teeing areas have changed from being a series of smaller individual hitting platforms, to a larger, “one size fits all” approach.  The majority of tees were separated by a thin strip of rough-height grass and and created a myriad of multiple hitting “islands.”  While this old pattern easily designated each tee and sometimes multiple tees for each forward, middle, and championship tee, this was not an original MacKenzie concept.  It also did not allow us to maximize all available space.  The majority of teeing areas have been expanded during the previous two winters by removing that center stripe of rough.  Over the past week our crew has been “fixing” the areas that used to be rough.  When these areas were rough, they were not aerified or topdressed with sand, therefore they have been slightly uneven and less than ideal for teeing off.  The crew has also taken advantage of fixing any mole or gopher damage in the tees by removing the sod, leveling out these areas, then replacing the sod.

Removed uneven area...leveled out section that used to be rough...then replaced with sod.

Previous 8th tee composed of smaller hitting areas separated by a thin area of rough

 

Current View from the 8th Tee...One large teeing area for forward and middle players

 

One of the most frequently asked questions’ concerning golf course etiquette is what to do with fairway and rough divots… Are we better off replacing the divot or just filling the scar with the sand/seed mix that’s provided?

If the divot has some soil attached and hasn’t been blown into a hundred pieces, it will heal quickly if it is replaced immediately. Be sure to replace the divot and step on it to establish contact with the soil below. If the divot cannot be replaced, then the sand/seed mixture should be used in the scarred area. Golfers who take the time to replace a divot properly or repair divot areas help keep the fairways in good condition for their fellow golfers.

As we head into the winter months, the divots will hold together better because of the wetter conditions. Therefore, replacing the grass divot is preferred over using the sand/seed mixture. The grass divot will not dry out as easily this time of year and will heal quicker than trying to get the seed to germinate.

It is also important to recognize how much sand/seed mix is placed in a divot area. The “more is better” approach does not work when filling divots. Divots that are over-filled become mounded then compacted. When the mowers run over the mounded divots, they become increasingly larger bare patches due to the scalping. This is more common on teeing areas and can easily be avoided by not using as much divot mix.

Overfilling divots leads to scalping