By Kris Negley, Golf Course Superintendent
For the everyday golfer, the term “Sod Project” brings about visions of bare dirt, workers to play around, ground-under-repair rules and the visual degradation of something beautiful. For the maintenance staff and its managers, it brings about ideas of dirty, sweaty work, long hours and chemical applications in sensitive areas, not to mention dodging errant golf shots and bare areas that degrade the visual appeal of the course. Now, although all of these things are generally true and will come to fruition at some point during the project, the one thing they have in common is that they are all short-term problems. While sod projects are generally disliked in the short term, we must look at them as an opportunity to make things better. Once the project is complete and the areas are healed, we will have a better golf course than when the project started. This year is no exception.
To continue the beautification and playability of our course, golf maintenance personnel identified areas around the greens that were completely overrun with rogue bermudagrass. This grass lessens the visual appeal of our greens complexes, plays completely differently than our beloved Zeon Zoysia and, if left unchecked, will continue to get larger and become even more of an eyesore. These areas were beyond normal chemical controls and needed to be killed and sodded. In total, we identified 184 of these spots, requiring a total sodded area of just over 36,000 square feet. To put this in perspective, this would be the equivalent of resodding the four large Practice Tees on the east end of the range! Now, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t sound like that much but try doing 200 square feet at a time, amongst golf games, around the greens, in June and July.
Once the sod was laid, we had to begin the actual “Sod Care” portion of the sod project. This included extra fertilizer applications to help with rooting, topdressing (applying thin layers of sand) to fill in any crevices or gaps, replacing small areas that just didn’t quite make it, and, of course, obsessively hand watering these areas with special tablets to help retain water until its root structure was strong enough to support the plant once again. Just during the Sod Care portion of this project, we have tallied at least 470 man hours specifically dedicated to sod care since the sod had been laid.
In all, it has been another successful sod project. The areas are knitting together wonderfully and are already a definitive improvement to the turf that was there at the beginning of the season. Golf Course Maintenance wants to thank you, the membership, for the understanding and support through this wild and crazy summer. We work hard every day to continue to not only maintain the course, but consistently improve upon it. Just remember that the next time you see someone running a sod cutter on the course — know that we are doing it to make things even more beautiful than they already are.
Thank you all, and I’ll see you on the course!
Kris Negley is the Golf Course Superintendent at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Rogue Bermuda Patch