5th green soft

I’m sure most of you have recognised how soft and squidgy the 5th green has become over last year or so and now the loss of turf quality has become an issue. A number of things are to blame, excessive organic matter (OM) or thatch build up as you May know it. This is likely caused through excess Nitrogen and lack of sand topdressing (see growth rates graph below) b) the pines to the left of the green causing a lack of light and a lack of air flow, c) gravity allowing rain and ground water to follow the natural land and drench the back and left of the green during heavy rainfall, and d) poor or worn irrigation sprinkler heads supplying poor uniform distribution that actually drench the back of the green in minutes and don’t supply enough to the rest of the green in that time.
 Below are my plans to eradicate this problem and bring this green inline with the rest of the course in-terms of OM and firmness. As you will see we have started this work already, not in the order I would have chose but we are making progress.

◾️Catchment drain at the back of the green to collect water before it runs off the hill and hits the green
◾️Removal of turf and cultivation to soil adding some sand and relaying Fresh turf.
◾️Strict deep aeration and sand topdressing programme in the future
◾️Change of irrigation pop ups that are inadequate and applying non uniform distribution.
◾️Use of penetrant to drive water down the soil profile
◾️Long term plan to lower growth rates which in turn will lower Organic Matter (the soft surface sponge you all can feel) production and allow the green to keep draining as it should. As you can see from the graph it’s something I’ll be doing to a couple of our problem greens before they become worse.

In an ideal world we should be spending 7 or £8000 installing pcd drainage to the green and that may happen in the future but for now we need to eradicate a few problems and get the turf to survive.

Our first job was to sort out the poor area itself. The area was cutout to be re-turfed, a lot of clay was removed and evidence of anaerobic conditions were seen in the form of black layer ( layer of black that is a sulphide deposit from anaerobic bacteria, this smells like rotting eggs from the Hydrogen Sulphide gas). We added sand to the area and rotavated this in. The area was compacted down several times and levelled with some steel fencing (not my usual choice but did a great job šŸ˜‚). The turf was then layed and trimmed in to the surrounding area, this will need rolling and topdressing once knitted and rooted, then gradually fetched down to greens height over a number of weeks.
The area in the middle of the green will be repaired using any decent turf that was removed from the back of the green so it matches in and is established quicker as this is a landing zone.
Next step will be a drainage trench to the rear of the green to help catch water and prevent it running on to the green.
All the pop ups will be replaced with new efficient heads from rainbird that will make a real difference to the turf quality across all the green.
Please avoid walking on the turf this area is compulsory GUR for the time bring until established


 The future maintenance of this green will be changed and separated from the other greens. It will receive less nitrogen, a plant growth regulator, more aeration and sand. Hopefully the committee will agree lowering and removal of some of the pines to the left/rear left in order to allow light and air through to the green.


  1. Enjoying reading and learning from your blog Mark, excited times ahead.

  2. Very informative piece Mark, look forward to more, good luck in the new role mate


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