November 9, 2010

Unique Drainage Techniques

Many golf courses in Western Oregon and Western Washington will be working on drainage projects this winter. The approach to drainage depends largely upon the type of soil you are working with.  Soil conditions are generally unique to each golf course.  A typical drainage project would involve excavating a trench, while making sure there is proper fall. Depending on compaction and the amount of rock, this can be very time consuming and physically demanding, especially if its done manually.  Next, some type of subsurface piping surrounded by drain rock would be installed.  This is following by sand capping and replacing the sod.  Additionally, the project would require tapping into an existing drainage system, or draining it to a pond or some other acceptable place.

Since Sandpines sits on a sand dune,  consistent aeration and topdressing generally keep our drainage projects to a minimum.  Over time we do get areas that become soft and hold water.  When this happens our drainage techniques are quite unique.  Often, a cup cutter is used at maximum depth to make holes in the soft area on roughly 12 inch centers.  These holes are then back-filled with native dune sand, which we have plenty of on site.  Upon completion, the area usually dries up within a couple of days.  Along the same lines, sometimes a post hole digger is used to create the holes.  These holes are also back-filled with native dune sand.  There are times when a more traditional looking trench  is made, using a sod cutter.  After the sod is removed, organic matter and any layering are removed.  Then, native sand is back-filled in the trenches before replacing the sod.  No piping or drain rock is used.

These processes work because of the ease of digging in sand, but also due to the fact there is no subsurface drainage needed. Water drains freely once its through any organic matter accumulation or layering.  These drainage projects are completed rather quickly and cost little or nothing other than labor, since no piping, drain rock, or sand is purchased.

However, in years when the water table is high, there are a few places on the golf course where the ground water comes up and fills a couple of bunkers and lower lying areas. Thankfully, these areas are few, and this does not occur every year.

This week we are working on various small drainage projects throughout the course, using the unique drainage techniques previously discussed.

Jerry (assistant superintendent) is currently working on the bunker right of the green on hole 3.  He is removing the moss on the bunker bank and will use aeration cores and seed to reestablish grass in that area.  The project is similar to the one completed earlier this year on hole 6 fairway bunker.

The weather has been pretty unpredictable over the past week.  There has been beautiful days filled with brilliant sunshine.  Cloudy days with cold rain.  Then of course, we have had days mixed with both.  Last weeks (11/1/10 - 11/7/10) precipitation total was 2.99 inches.