Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lowering of the roughs

Grant Faucheux contacted me yesterday about the height of our roughs. We have been cutting the roughs at 2" for the last year. Normally 2" would be a good height as long as the turf has a thick enough matt to hold the ball off the soil. Our problem is that our roughs are not thick enough throughout the whole course causing many balls to drop to the soil and since a golf ball is 1.68" in diameter it means that the top of the ball would be buried by a minimum of 1/4" of turf if the rough was just cut. Add into that 1/4" the growth that can occur between cuts (as much as 1"-2") and it can be down outright hard to locate a ball. Our decision was to take the roughs down 1/4" which would put us at 1 3/4" which would be the height of the golf ball. I know that does not sound like much but it is equal to 1/8th of the total height of the cut.

Now let me prepare you for the issues we are going to have just by lowering the roughs that 1/4". In many areas we have a real thick matt already. While our height of cut was 2" the actual length of the grass plant was more around 5-6" in these thick areas. The rotary mower we use to cut roughs with works like a regular lawnmower. It creates a wind turbulance with the blades which is used to blow the clippings out the rear or side of the mower. This suction is actually causing problems in the thick areas by pulling the whole plant into the housing and then the blades are either chopping the plant off or ripping it out of the ground. I spent an hour with the mower yesterday trying different ground speeds and RPM's trying to get it to stop. The only thing that helped was for us to double the ground speed. The truth is that these areas will need to be scalped down and let regrow and the newer height. Normally this would be done in the spring while the grass is just starting the grow. After long deliberations on the subject we decided to go ahead and scalp back the areas that need it and let it grow back since we are in the prime growing season. I know these areas will look bad for about two weeks but it is the only option if we want to lower the roughs. below you will see two pictures. One is the roughs before and the other is what it looks like when we are cutting it.

These pictures were taken next to #1's fairway bunker. the first one has not been cut yet while the second one was taken after we stopped the mower. If you look closely you will see how long the plant actually is. On the left of the picture you will notice what looks like a bunch of grass clippings sitting on top of the turf. This is actual plant material that was pulled out of the soil.  The picture below is after the area was scalped

This goes to show you how the simplest of things can be a major undertaking.

I hope this helps everyone understand the change undertaken in lowering our roughs.