Taking The “Ick” Out Of Excess Organic Material

By Larry Gilhuly, Director, Northwest Region
June 25, 2010

From the start of the year, the west side of the Cascade Range has set a record (Seattle area) for the most continuous days below 75oF. When this type of cool weather occurs, excessive rainfall usually follows from the Pacific, and 2010 has not disappointed those who like rain. Although cool season grasses (e.g. Poa annua, perennial ryegrass, bentgrass) truly appreciate this type of weather pattern, the conditions create potential for excessive organic buildup that causes surface firmness. In some cases, it is the soil underneath, but in many cases near putting greens, it is excessive organic material that does not let water infiltrate into the soil. The result is wet, unmowable areas marked by white paint. Can this condition be easily fixed at no cost or should all of these locations have complete renovation? Read on as one golf course superintendent found a low cost, workable answer.

When you watch the 2010 U.S. Senior Open at Sahalee Country Club in late July, several low areas between the mounds near the greens are natural water collection areas. At the same time, they are perfect locations for excessive growth of Poa annua and bentgrass. Sand topdressing and regular aeration are used to help negate the problems of excess organic material, but often this is not enough. After testing several methods to dry these areas, Rich Taylor, CGCS, struck upon the idea of using cup cutters spaced every one to two feet to go as deep as possible. The excessive organic material and some soil is removed and replaced with sand. This change essentially creates multiple dry wells in the area. If the soil underneath has reasonable permeability, the results are fast and effective. Follow-up sand topdressing is then practiced to minimize future layers.

In the past few years, previous wet areas around the greens are now gone by using this simple technique. In that time, other golf courses have tried this technique with similar results, viewed during one of the wettest springs in recent years. So, if you want to take the "ick" out of excessive organic material around your greens or other portions of the golf course, give this simple technique a try.

Source: Larry Gilhuly, lgilhuly@usga.org or 253-858-2266 

Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment

AmEx image