The Process of Building a Green
While the Kananaskis Country Golf Course restoration team works equally hard at all phases of the construction process, it is safe to say that there is no other part of the restoration that takes on as much attention to detail as the Green construction. Gary Browning, our architect and Goodwin Golf, our contractor, are building all greens to USGA specs and have a number phases of development that our team must go through to bring a green to life.
a) Rough Shaping of the Green structure – this is a very creative process that takes place between Gary Browning and our Green shaper extraordinaire Dennis Porier. Gary will provide Dennis with a plan for the shape of the green as well as a movement plan within the green from a drainage standpoint. From there, Dennis studies the plan and puts to ground, the green that Gary has in his mind. Pretty cool process to watch unfold!!! Dennis is an artist in every sense of the word when you watch him create a green from the seat of his dozer!!
b) Spinning the greens after they have been rough shaped – After Dennis has rough shaped the greens, our key shaper, Burke Amtsen, goes through the process of analyzing Gary’s green design and uses a laser (photo below) to help him ensure that all grades for drainage are perfect and as requested. If Burke sees any potential issues or improvements that could be made, he will recommend them before they cut in drainage. Burke uses the Trap Rake (photo below) to do the spinning work after he has lasered everything.
c) Cutting in Drainage of the green – The next step involves painting in the herringbone drainage and then cutting it in with a small track hoe . Drainage tile is then placed inside the tracks. This step encourages drainage of excess moisture (and melting snow) when the time comes to ensure optimal health for the entire green surface and provide a phenomenal putting surface for our guests!
d) Covering Cut In Drainage tile with 7 mm drainage rock – Smaller 7mm washed Drainage rock is used to cover up the drainage tile so that it is surrounded by an environment that will facilitate water movement.
e) Covering Entire putting green surface with a 4″ layer of 7mm drainage rock to ensure optimal drainage on entire putting surface – This layer is applied using a Sand Spreader truck that more evenly distributes material like the 7mm drainage rock. Notice that marked stakes are used to help our team identify throughout the green where the 4″ mark is. This is the preliminary stage of ensuring that the original grades shaped by Dennis are preserved during the drainage rock phase.
f) Final Shaping of the drainage rock – Burke, our shaper extraordinaire, then hops on his Trap Rake and does the final shaping of the 7mm drainage rock to ensure that the contours Gary Browning wanted in the green are maintained in this phase. Burke has the plan for all drainage grades and uses the trap rake to help him drag the rock across the green to ensure an even 4″ cover over all parts of the green. He then walks the entire surface with a measuring device to ensure accuracy. Burke’s attention to detail is second to none!
g) Addition of Greens Mix/Root zone mix. – Once the final drainage rock layer is set, the final layer of the sub surface green structure is added to our greens- the greens mix or Root Zone Mix. This is a 12″ layer of sand and peat (90/10 mix) that will permit an optimal zone for root health, drainage, and nutrients for the Bent Green grass we will be using on the greens. Large loads of sand are brought to the green and spread out across the green with the use of a Dozer. Again careful consideration and measuring are used throughout this phase to maintain the grades originally put in the design by our architect.
h) Irrigation – Once the different layers are put on the green cavity, then TC Irrigation led by Greg Pitner is called upon to install the irrigation around the green. There are two different irrigation heads used around the greens to ensure that the optimal amount of water is used for both types of grasses. One sprinkler head faces towards the bent grass greens and will provide an optimal amount of water for that grass type. A second type of head will face the “greens surround” or apron which is made up of a dwarf style Kentucky blue grass. Each type of grass requires differing amounts of water for optimal growth and health and will get it with this expertly installed system.
i) Sod – the final stage of the process to building a green is of course the growth of grass. This project will be using Bent Grass sod from Bos Sod Farms to provide the highest quality grass available! Laying down the sod will start a little later this summer! Can’t wait to see some green out here! (pictures to follow once it is laid!).
For those of you interested in more details as it relates to USGA green specs and building greens please use the following URL:
Happy Green Construction!!!