I get to talk about two of my favorite topics today. In our 1 day seminar on designing, building, and maintaining golf courses, course architect Paul Jansen will be speaking about 3 main topics:
- Ground contours
- Bunkers, or as he calls it, bunkeritis
- Length and par. Not every course has to be par 72 and more than 7000 yards. Far from it!
Where do I come in? I'm going to hone in on the ground contours part, and discuss how the soil and grass conditions affect how a ball will bounce and roll. One can design and build all these great features, but if the sward isn't right, the playability won't be either.
A quick summary of my thesis is this -- sandcapping ain't so great because once one introduces a sand profile, the organic matter must be managed or it will fail. That happens by default for putting greens -- usually -- but almost never on 10++ hectares of fairway turf. And using grasses that don't die allows one to apply less N and water. That leads to firmer surfaces that are better to play on when one wants ground contours to be interesting.
Here are three ways to follow along.
First, my presentation slides are here:
Second, I shared a 2 page PDF handout at the seminar. Download it here.
Third, the above slides and PDF, along with links to all the articles and the video from the presentation, are in this online handout. For convenience, I reproduce all those links here:
- Do fairways need a sandcap? article by me in Asian Golf Business, 2008.
- The USGA Green Section Recommendations for a Method of Putting Green Construction in which you will see that the sands used in this method have a capillary porosity (water-holding capacity after gravitational drainage) of 15 to 25%.
- Purchase the Water Movement Through Soils video by Gardner from the Crop and Soil Sciences Department of Washington State University.
- Aeration and topdressing for the 21st century by O'Brien and Hartwiger.
- The Built-Up Sand-Capped Athletic Field System by Kowalewski, Crum, and Rogers.
- Asian Golf Growth Taxes Bermudagrass's Flexibility by Wiecko.
- I wrote about grasses that don't die as being ones that are desirable for producing a firm playing surface in a tropical environment. This was published as Achieving the Warm Season Links in Golf Course Architecture.