Drainage is categorised in to two main groups, primary drainage and secondary drainage. Primary drainage is the mains and lateral pipe work set deep within the soil profile and is designed to pull or carry larger quantities of water from within the soil profile or carry the water to an outlet like a pond or dyke and in drainage terms your dykes are primary drainage. Secondary drainage is any act upon the surface through soil profile linking up to your primary drainage. This can be anything from your vertidrain to sand slitting or gravel banding and is usually accompanied by an inert material like sand or gravel to help infiltration of water through the soil profile.

On Monday the 26th and Tuesday the 27th of August thanks to Ben our business manager for the investment and agreeing funds and Danny Boardman for agreeing the short term disruption for long term gain, we are performing secondary drainage on four of our worst performing greens, in the form of sand drainage channels. The sandcat machine slits the green and injects kiln dried sand in the channels which will massively improve infiltration of the soil profile and keep the greens playable through winter when the wet months arrive (although this summer I think the wet months are already here).

The greens we are performing this work on will be 5th, 7th, 10th and 17th. How did I decide those were the greens to drain and not the others? Well I performed an infiltration test on all our greens when I was seconded in my role to develop as much scientific information as possible regarding our greens. I knew those greens performed the worse without rain and performed terrible after heavy rain I just needed the scientific data to back my observations (see graph below). Several problems come from greens that don’t drain well. The obvious standing water and root damaging ice in winter, and lack of oxygen in the soil profile leading to poor grass cover, anaerobic black layer, poor growth, more chance of disease and a deconstructed soil profile that makes all those previous matters worse.

Performing this work will lead to better greens all year round and will help keep the greens open through the winter months. I must warn this method is not the ultimate method of drainage as that would be pcd drainage at a cost of almost £10000 per green, but this work for under £3000 for all the four greens done is certainly going to equal infiltration rates up a little between all the greens which even in our summers that is needed with climate change.

So if your planning a bank holiday round of golf please expect green closures but it should only be the one green we are working on and after we move to the next green that green will be back in play if all goes to plan. This work can only be done in dry conditions and if the weather doesn’t play ball then we will have to reschedule and I’ll keep you up-to date on the reschedule.


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