New Course putting green and 1st tee work pt.1

One of the main greenkeeping projects at the Links this winter is the reconstruction of the New Course putting green and 1st  tee area. This is the only practice putting green used for the course and due to its small size (200m2), the surface has been unable to withstand the amount of foot traffic it receives on an annual basis. Issues arising from this include a weaker grass sward which has become more susceptible to disease in the winter months. Wear patterns also leave less possibilities for hole locations. During winter 2018, the decision was made to close it for five months recovery.

The objectives of this development:

  • Enlarge the putting green surface from 200m2 to 550m2.
  • The larger size will disperse foot traffic promoting a healthier grass sward leading to a much higher surface standard.
  • More hole locations helping withstand year-round play.
  • The re-constructed green is to be included in the practice area for The Open Championship in 2021 and annual Dunhill Links Championship.
  • To improve the golfer’s overall experience.

As shown in the above image, the black dotted line in the top half of the new green outlines the original putting green size. Given the larger sized green, a new medal tee is needed.

Our greenkeeping team and Golflink Evolve (construction specialists) are collaborating to carry out the project following detailed plans designed by golf course architect Martin Ebert.

Stage one of the development was the careful removal of the putting green turf which was then transferred to our turf nursery area.

As much as possible of the 1000m surrounding turfed area was then lifted and moved to the Jubilee practice area. Gorse on the left-hand side of the old tee has been removed to accommodate the new medal tee location.

All of the turf was then laid at the Jubilee in stripped sections based on grass species and height of cut. All of this turf will then be reused once an area is prepared.

With all of the 1000m2 turf lifted, the irrigation system (pipework) was removed before digging/shaping work begins so it can be reused in the new design.

One of the first stages of this project before the re-construction began was considering the sand and soil ratio for the putting green’s rootzone. The green will be used for The Open in 2021 so it was important to create a soil profile consistent with those across the Links. This process involved physical soil testing by the agronomy team at the Sports Turf Research Institute. We sent various sand and soil samples to their laboratory from onsite mixes here at the Links and some we’ve used in the past. Once we were happy with the results of the preferred match, the mixing of rootzone could begin as pictured above. More detail on this process of mixing and screening will be discussed in next month’s blog. Stay tuned!

Words by Gavin Neil, Deputy Course Manager, New and Jubilee Courses

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