Thursday, May 19, 2016

Get the Rock out of here

Over the past month, the Copperleaf Maintenance Department has been tirelessly working to remove buried rocks and other debris from beneath the turf surface on our tees and now fairways.

Our machine in action on Hole 7 using solid tines to find rocks
Rocks identified on Hole 17 Tee

Rocks being removed on Hole 12

There have always been several problematic areas throughout the course where the turf grass simply does not perform as well as the grass surrounding it. These areas are maintained the same way with regard to irrigation, fertilization and mowing, however, they show signs of stress and discoloration throughout the year.

Several years ago, a machine was contracted in an attempt to relieve the compaction in these areas to allow for increased water and fertilizer penetration and improve oxygen exchange in an attempt to provide a consistent and healthy playing surface. Unfortunately this machine discovered areas of buried rocks that would need to be physically removed to improve the area.

This machine is called "The Beast" and it struggled to penetrate into our fairway on Hole 6

The task of identifying and removing the rocks has been on the "to do list" for many years but due to the demand of completing other projects such as building rock walls as well as landscaping and irrigation projects, this task has always been postponed.

The rocks have always been under the surface since the course was built back in 1999/2000. Please remember that the construction work performed last year consisted of a "no till" grassing process where the new grass was installed into the existing fairway contours and teeing grounds. There were modifications made to the greens complexes only. A rock the size of a softball or even a basketball is not felt by the heavy equipment used to move the soil, however, it is noticed by our smaller specialty equipment used to improve soil conditions. Several rocks have been quite large and have simply been buried by 3 inches of soil making them impossible to see from above.

Although this is a tedious, time consuming, labor intensive process the effort will be well worth it. It should be no secret that buried rocks in the soil where you are trying to grow manicured turf makes it very challenging to provide the a quality playing surface.

Large rocks were found in the same location "The Beast" was used back in 2014 on Hole 6

Not surprisingly, it is difficult to grow quality grass in these conditions

Providing a consistent growing media for our turf grass roots to grow in will allow for a high quality and uniform playing surface for our members and guests to enjoy. Compaction will be reduced, water infiltration will increase and turf health will improve. When we begin the aerification process later in the year, the removal of these rocks will reduce the damage to our expensive machines and help to make the process more efficient. Looking at our tee surfaces today, you can clearly see the improvement to the turf quality making the project worthwhile.

I appreciate your patience during this process and please know that this will take several months and possibly into next summer to complete. I can't thank our staff members enough for been persistent during this hard work and repairing the damage to the turf areas where the rocks have been removed to a high standard.

This beauty was found on Hole 1 Gold Tee
Tireless work during golf play to rid the area of buried rocks on Hole 6
With any questions or comments, please email me at

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