Proper drainage is crucial to the upkeep of healthy turf on a golf course and at your home. With abnormally high amounts of rain for the month of June we had to address and fix drainage problem on hole thirteen this week. We realize this may be aesthetically unpleasing to look at but it was crucial fix that had to be made on the premise of promoting healthy turf for play.

With the drainage being inadequate and failing due to crushed clay tile, roots growing into the drains, and an over abundance of water it was causing water to lay and submerge the short rough and right hand corner of the fairway adjacent to the first fairway bunker. Submerged turf suffers from oxygen depletion after only a few hours of being submerged and faces death in a little over two days if conditions become hot. It was crucial that we addressed this problem as soon as possible. The steps that we took to be as un-invasive as possible are listed below.

  • Probing to address the specific issue
  • Digging test plots to see if a specific section or the entire length of the drain needed to be replaced.
  • In the fairway stripping the sod by hand and relaying it.
  • Using the backhoe to dig a small ditch to make sure that the drain is pitched properly so we have adequate fall.

After opening up the ditch and clearing out the old inadequate drain line we reinstalled new 4 in. drain tile. In installing the new drain tile many factors come into play however, the most important is pitch. The GCSAA recommends when installing drainage that a drains pitch allows water to flow at three feet per. second. When installing the new drain we spent a great deal of time making sure that it was pitched properly.

Finally, when completing the drain we added 3in of pea gravel to make sure that the drain line was stable and that water and sediments were able to flow adequately through.

In thinking through drainage issues this can especially be important at your home and some practical steps can be taken in regards to drainage.

  • Make sure your downspouts are pitched away from the house and flowing away from the basement.
  • If you have a basement in your home and it is wet also check to make sure that the downspouts aren’t plugged.
  • For submerged turf in your lawn and wet areas French drains are great ways to address the issue. For more information on how to install a French drain click here.
  • When possible also use solid drain tile. In using solid plastic drain tile this helps roots not to be able to grow into the drain causing failure and also keeps out sediment build up.

Thank you for your patience in this small project to continue to advocate healthy turf and pristine playing conditions at Westbrook Country Club. Eric Howarth and myself would like to wish everyone a Happy Independence Day and hope to see you on the course.

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