Monday, January 16th, 2012

The weather tops the news once again this week. It looks like winter finally started to appear across much of the country. I noticed the much of the Midwest has finally hit the single digits. Our weather last week was fantastic but as I write this weeks post it is snowing outside my window. I don't think this snow will be anything like the winter of 2008 but I'm pretty sure the course may be closed for a short period.

Frank DiMarco
Earlier in the week the weather did cooperate and give us enough sunshine so Frank DiMarco could come out and shoot some photos for Golf Course Management's upcoming story on the Presidents Award. Frank is a great guy and gives me all kinds of tips on my photography.  I was able to grab my camera and put Frank on the other end of the lens for a change.

Three Fairway Drainage
Three Completed

Our drainage work continued last week. We completed our first project on three in only two days and before I knew it the crew had already started in on the second project on eighteen Wednesday morning. Three was the perfect job with no rocks, it was like cutting through butter but when we got to eighteen the Stone Creek Gods came to light and placed a large boulder right in our path. No rock it to large and the guys put the business to it and carved right through the middle of it in no time at all. (It's a good thing the rocks are comprised of weathered basalt and we can chip right through them). By the end of the week we completed 185 feet of drainage between the two projects.

I have had some questions regarding our drainage procedures and would like to explain what we have found to work best here at Stone Creek. In my years of drainage experience, I have heard of and seen many different variations of drainage. Some have used 1" to 1 1/2" river rock in trenches with a pipe placed in the bottom of the trench. Some have used a filter fabric, or a sock if you will, over the pipe to supposedly keep from plugging. I prefer not to use the sock and most of my drainage has been with straight slotted ADS pipe or ridged sanitary drain pipe with holes along the bottom third. The back fill material has been pea gravel ranging from 1/4" to 1/2" in diameter.

Eighteen fairway
I began to hear of straight sand being used as the back fill material and thought we should give it a try. We found that it seemed to have a more positive effect on the drainage, plus it was easier to manage the dry lines in the summer. But like any turf system, we can't place soil base sod on top of the sand so we have started growing our own sand based sod. Using sod grown on the same material as the back fill, insures there will not be any layering which could impede water infiltration. In the beginning we planted our nursery with creeping fescue and ryegrass for stability, but still had to cut it pretty thick to keep it together. Then we discovered the new creeping ryegrass and have found that we can cut the sod much thinner (one inch) and not have to worry about it falling apart.

Small Detour
Drainage is one of those things where everyone has there own opinion of what works best and my opinion is, "if it works for you, stick with it". I don't claim this will work for everyone in different parts of the country but I do know it is working well here at Stone Creek and we have been doing it for over 5 years now and we haven't had any problems. Not to mention, we have not had to worry about pea gravel getting mixed with our topdressing sand and that's a good thing!

Piping with 4" ADS

Back filling with straight sand

Finished with fresh sand based nursery grown sod

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