Bringing Golf Greens back to playable.

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by ORA_Rob, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. ORA_Rob

    ORA_Rob LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    I took over Maintenance supervisor for and outdoor resort on the oregon coast and the lawns and golf greens have been severely neglected.

    I have the plans for the lawns all in order and i see no issues on getting them up to grade.

    The issue is the golf course (chipping greens).

    What i walked into was a golf course supers worst nightmare, the entire golf course is watered on 5 zones using I-25's @ 20 minutes nightly for the rough as well as the greens, mow schedule of once a week in the same direction. Results from this over the last 5 years has devastated the course causing saturated rough and browned out greens with grass growth height at a whopping 2 inches+ from being rolled out rather than cut.

    As far as i can tell the last supervisor tried to fertilized with the same type and rate as the rest of the resorts lawns.

    What i did was order a salt resistant bent grass seed along with the correct greens fertilizer to try and save whats left as a complete rebuild is not in the budget.

    I plan to isolate the irrigation for the greens so adequate water can be used without flooding the rough.

    So, Here is the main problem. the greens have never been punched or sanded (12 years) resulting in a huge thatch problem,so bad that when i did punch the greens it literally tore the hell out of them like ripping up a shag rug.

    I am hoping that a fresh sand and seed will help but i am doubtful of successful results.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for saving greens with a huge thatch problem?

    Drainage is still adequate but getting all the organics out is troublesome. If budget was there i would just start over but this is an HOA resort and that's not gonna happen.

    They already know it's going to be a few years for a full recovery,after all they didn't get that way overnight. but i need to get them sorta playable at an amature level by late spring, early summer(ish).

    I am forced to use play sand for greens sanding as the only other sand available here is river sand (to course) and beach sand and the salt content would shock it to badly.

    I welcome any thoughts on this and can provide photos of what the thatch problem looks like, It ain't pretty.
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,794

    Why are you worried about salt? Are you on the ocean? Is irrigation water salty? Do you get good rain? What salt levels do you find using soil tests? Got a conductivity meter?
    The greens need different irrigation than the roughs--for sure.
    Don't know golf--but sand is probably your only option.
  3. shiveslandcsaping

    shiveslandcsaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    Need some heavy verticutting on them along with the core aeration. Then heavy topdressing with sand and then seed. Make sure to roll the seed with something to get good seed soil contact. Keep the seed moist to get good germination. Good Luck. You walked into a nightmare. Also check with local supers around there and I am sure they would help you out with opinions and equipment if need be.
  4. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    Where are you agate beach?

    Are they sand based greens with drainage?
    If you are on a budget you can use molasses on the greens to get rid of the thatch, basically you are feeding the bacteria populations that will in turn use the thatch for food. It will keep the playability better than aeration all of time

    Drainage is everything, sounds like its going to be a costly redo on the irrigation putting in more zones, but it needs to be done

    Newer varieties of turf will give you better greens in the long run, good move

    Before WWII molasses and charcoal were 2 basics in golf courses
  5. ORA_Rob

    ORA_Rob LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    To answere the questions , the salt is from the ocean. the greens sit about 200 yrds from the ocean in agate beach in newport oregon. I hope to do the irrigation this spring but it looks like the lawns in general will kill my budget for that so it's going to be alot of hand watering for this year at least.

    I have never heard of using molasses, Can you elaborate on that a bit?
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Elaboration, on the molasses may be redundant, in the sense that, these sugars tend to grow a large body of microbes, to digest, the thatch, and thereby providing, the perfect medium for plant growth,and recycling its nutirents, at the same time. A cheap beet sugar works as well, in my experience.
    I would consider the watering program/schedule, to help the microbes, as well, as the turf. Watering, according to temp and need. Microbes, make, a good watering gauge. :)

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