November 22, 2002
The Cape Region is blessed with several fine golf courses. It takes a lot of work to keep them that way.
This winter the Cape Region greenskeepers are focusing their efforts on trees and drainage.
“We’re working on drainage, drainage, and more drainage,” said Ed Brown, the head golf course superintendent at Rehoboth Beach Country Club. He plans to install 2,500 feet of new drainage pipes on six holes.
“We’ll cut the trenches, install the pipe with French drains, and then run the pipe outlets to the nearest ponds,” Brown explained. “The pipes will mostly likely have zero fall to them, but flat still works for us. The water gets off the surface. Any more water then adds pressure to force it out the pipes.”
Jim Prucnal of Kings Creek Country Club said, “My biggest problem is drainage right now. We’ll be doing some tree thinning, too, but if it keeps raining like it has been, we’re not going to be able to do much.”
“I’d like to install some more sump drains in the rough areas along the 11th and 12th holes, where it’s flat and low. Basically, we dig the hole, and then install corrugated metal pipe. We put a pump inside the pipe to move the water to where it’ll drain.”
“The problem is going to be finding a way to run the electric power lines to run the pumps, but we’ll figure that out,” said Prucnal.
Rob Marshall, the owner of Old Landing Golf Course, is revving up his chain saw for the winter. “Mostly I’ll be cutting trees. We need to open up some more of the areas around the 4th hole, and on the right hand sides of the 3rd and the 12th holes in the wooded section. They’re mostly oaks, with a couple gums and a few holly trees. I hate to cut them, but trees and greens just don’t get along.”
Chris Adkins of The Rookery taught me a phrase that was new to me but not to him—”bird baths”. Adkins laughed and explained that these are small depressions in the greens and bunkers that gather water and don’t drain well.
“We have a few of them around here, and I want to eliminate them in the next few months.”
Adkins also plans to extend the tee box for the 285-yard 3rd hole by about 30 yards. “We’re backing it up a bit, and we’ll be bulkheading the back of the new tee box into the pond there. In addition, we’re also going to add some more bunkering in the mogul area between the 3rd and 4th fairways, and put a new bunker in front of the 3rd green.”
“And we’re also planning for some new irrigation expansion. Last summer we could see where we had either no or marginal coverage, and we’ll take care of that,” Adkins said.
Scot Anderson, the Sussex Pines golf course superintendent, plans to do a mix of equipment rebuilding, drainage work, and “canopy removal.”
“I’ll be installing some new drains at the green approaches to the first and 16th holes, and in the 14th and 16th fairways. This year, we’re also going to rebuild the drains for the bunkers. Each one has a sump hole filled with rocks, and the drain holes eventually fill with silt. We pull back the sand, remove the rocks, take out the silt, put back the rocks, lay a geotextile fiber on top, and put back the sand.”
The “canopy removal” involves clearing branches and low growth up to a height of 6 feet throughout the course. “That not only helps with air circulation, it also really speeds up play,” Anderson explained.
Steve Zeveney of Shawnee Country Club plans to rebuild the bunkers at the 9th and 18th holes. “We’re also going to move the ladies’ tee boxes on the 3rd and 5th holes to the left, and do some landscaping around the pool.”
Sounds like the Cape Region superintendents don’t have to worry about not having enough to do between now and April.