How some clubs dealt with heavy winter rainfall

By Alistair May 3, 2024 09:40

Many golf clubs have struggled with months of heavy rain during autumn and winter. Fortunately, those that used the Drill n Fill aerator, and / or installed fairway drainage, found they had fewer closures.

After the wettest autumn / winter period on record, contractor Ecosol Turfcare is offering its legendary Drill n Fill aerator for flooded and slow-draining golf greens. Those who invested last autumn fared well through the winter and continue to reap the benefits now with fewer closures and better grass cover.

The Drill n Fill’s ability to penetrate to a 30cm depth with a grid of drills, take out the spoil and backfill the holes with either pure kiln-dried sand or a mix of sand and soil amendment, has numerous benefits for fine turf that puddles up, has thatch, blacklayer or poor grass growth and compaction. The ducts created continue to work for years, allowing water to infiltrate off the surface and percolate through areas of impeded movement and into the deeper profile and drainage layer. Soil amendments such as Ecosol’s zeolitic Sportslite, impart their benefits to plant’s roots – allowing improved uptake of nutrients, increased cation exchange capacity, enhanced drainage rates and levels of plant-available water, while simultaneously reducing compaction and leaching.

The system is particularly beneficial for old clay-based push-up golf greens, as well as for USGA greens where excessive fines have been inadvertently used in their construction. Organic matter management can often be directly linked to drainage rate, so reducing water holding is a key goal when seeking the desired OM percentage content. Grass species dominance in the sward is another element affected by wet conditions and upon this, Drill n Fill aeration can also have a major beneficial influence.

Ecosol Turfcare has also successfully installed fairway drainage at a number of golf clubs in south-west London where the slow-draining clay soil profile had been causing almost total course closure for two to three months every winter. Malden GC had a major project spanning two summers, closely followed by Combe Wood GC where general manager, Nick McArthur, said “These closures were obviously unacceptable for our members, so we decided to invest in primary drainage throughout the most vulnerable areas of the course.”

Over a period of five weeks, more than 1.5km of main collector drains, 6km of lateral drains and approaching a dozen inspection chambers were installed – all while ensuring that all 18 holes were fully open for weekend competition golf.

And the result? “Spectacular!” says Nick. “We have seen a dramatic improvement in the playing surfaces of the drained fairways and were able to remain open all winter.”

Ecosol Turfcare: Tel 01666 861250; email; website

By Alistair May 3, 2024 09:40

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