Burnaby Golf’s operations statement is “Support us today as we improve golf for tomorrow". It's based on a desire to continuously make our golf courses better. Our goal is to ensure that your playing experience is always a good one. In order to accomplish our goal we have initiated a Golf Course Improvement Plan. Over the years we have paved cart paths, installed over 150 km of drainage, and redesigned and developed our sand bunkers, among many other improvements.
Underground drainage systems are imperative for golf course playability year round
In B.C.’s Lower Mainland, the most important part of golf course playability is controlling the amount of water in the rootzone of putting greens. For three months, starting in July to September, adding water to the turf is done via an underground irrigation system. For the other nine months of the year, from October to June, removing water is done by an underground drainage pipe system.
Underground drainage systems and surface aeration are key for golf courses. The main concern for the majority of golf courses in the Lower Mainland is the control of water. For about 3 months from July to September, adding water to the turf through an underground irrigation system is critical during dry summer conditions. For the rest of the 9 months of the year, from October to June, the removal of water is even more important to maintain optimal playing conditions.
One of the most difficult questions to answer is “why can’t your greens be like the ones we see on TV - their greens are fast and smooth and look awesome.” While this is all true, they are fast (stimping 11-12ft or sometimes faster), smooth (minimum double cut and double rolled each day), and look awesome (TV camera filters can make the greens look green). That being said, to get the greens to that level of “awesomeness” is unsustainable.
As indicated in Part 3 the PGA Tour plays on green with speeds in excess of 11 feet. As we review how these speeds are attained we must look at the following:
Every golf course green has a speed limit based on various factors. As we have learned in the two previous articles, the “Green Speed” has two MAIN components that encourage and/or limit the speed of greens. In part one, we explained that better mowers and light weight rollers are the key to “Green Speed.” To explain how the PGA Tour play on green with speeds in excess of 11 feet (on the Stimpmeter, see first article) we must ask how many times per day do mowers and rollers get used and at what height.
In the last issue we discussed how mowing and rolling were the two main visible parts of the equation for developing greens that have a smooth and fast ball roll. In this issue we will discuss what goes on behind the scene to ensure a quality putting green. This part of the equation is far more diverse and sciencifically related.
TURF HEALTH + SOIL PHYSICS + SOIL BIOLOGY + CULTIVATION + IRRIGATION make up the foundation of the science of green speed.
Green speed or ball roll has been measured on putting greens since before the invention of the “Stimp Meter.” In 1935 Edward S. Stimpson developed the first device to quantify the speed of greens, but it was not regularly used by the United States Golf Association (USGA) until 1976. In 40 years, putting green speeds have dramatically increased from two main factors: better mowers and light weight rollers.
In 1970, the US Open putting green height was about 5.5mm. The most recent mowers allow superintendents to mow grass below 2.0mm in height.