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Golf Courses



District Representative, Community Service

A water system sufficient to water every green is absolutely necessary. I have seen this problem worked out by putting down a number of shallow wells near each green. This practice is not always possible for in many sections shallow wells are not to be had. Again, I have seen the greens watered by delivering the water to the green in a tank wagon with very broad tired wheels. This method is quite slow and used only to save the greens when water is needed badly during the dry weather. All such practices are but make-shifts. They are used because of lack of funds to install the proper watering systems. But if the watering system is properly designed much expense can be saved. I have observed much extravagance about the country in all kinds of construction work. If there is no financial problem involved, then you can make water run up hill. Let me say right here, thať regardless of the fact that there may be no shortage of funds in the budget, the architect, designer or constructor who is not always actuated by the normal principles of economy, is a dangerous person to whom to give responsibility. A great deal of extravagance is encouraged by those who are always wanting to do things which they think and they hope others will think are very clever. I have seen so much of this. It may involve changing the course of a river or removing a hill. I will only say that it is never necessary and is a very bad practice. This statement applies with equal force to all construction work as well as the laying of a water system.

We have taken as our problem the laying out of a 9-hole course on fifty acres. If the grounds are out some distance and it is not possible to connect with the city water system, then a well must be drilled and equipped with power pump and water tank. I will not endeavor to discuss the size of tank or pump, for these depend entirely upon local conditions. It is essential to have good pressure; therefore the tank should have good elevation. But assuming that these are the special and always local problems, it will be necessary to discuss only the problem of getting water to the 9 greens as economically as possible.

Figure 1 of the plan presented shows the course laid out. There are just fifty acres in the entire tract. About 10 acres are taken up by very rough groves, shrubbery and club house grounds. Approximately five acres more are taken up by the rough ground between the fairways, leaving 35 acres of actual fairgreens and putting greens. Starting at the water tank, on high ground, we would endeavor to run the main water line so that it will divide the course into almost equal parts. Following the main line Figure 1 we have used 360 feet of three inch pipe, later reducing to two inch for 345 feet, again reducing to one and a half inch pipe for 500 feet. Note that greens 5-9-7 are watered by connection on the large main line. There are three laterals and only two greens served by each lateral. One inch pipe runs to the first green and then reduces to three-quarters inch pipe going to the second green.

There are two ways of laying the pipe of a water system. One involves the deep trench three and a half feet below the surface, which is below frost line. The frost line varies however from 0-6', in various sections of the country. The other way utilizes the shallow trench which is only one foot under ground. To guard against the freezing and bursting of the pipes, small sump wells are built at the low points of the system. These sump wells are connected with the system by drips or bleeders provided with small gate valves so they can be opened or closed very easily. The number of sump wells needed will depend largely on the topography of the ground. It is essential that no water be trapped. If in the fall the connection at the tank and all the valves are opened, including the valves in the sump wells, the entire system may be completely drained in a few hours. The shallow trench system is much the cheaper. Its success presupposes that it shall be given proper attention at the right time. In the South, no other system should be used. With the deep trench system, it is necessary only to go below frost line.

The water system in Figure 1 has 3,210 lineal feet of pipe. Two-thirds of the pipe is only one inch and smaller. A three and one-half foot trench can be dug for fifteen cents a lineal foot, or $391.50. The pipe will cost $506.60. The labor of connecting the pipe and filling in the trenches will cost about $150, making the total cost of the water system, exclusive of the well and tank, $1048.10. This figure is in keeping with 1920 cost of material and wages.

If possible all drains and water pipe should be laid at the very beginning of construction, so that the trenches will settle and become firm before the final grading is done. Then, too, the water will be needed to develop the greens.

Sometimes there is a spring on the property, and by building a small dam it is possible to make a little lagoon or lake. If the flow of the spring is strong enough, it will furnish abundance of water. If there is a creek or river the same result can be accomplished. Under these conditions the expense of a well can be saved, unless a well is needed to furnish good water to the Club House.

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PUTTING GREENS The construction of the putting green is very important, if the best results are to be secured.

I strongly recommend large greens, if possible, about 10,000 square feet. In my judgment the undulating green is an improvement over the perfectly level green. I have, however, seen some undulating greens where too many and too'abrupt hillocks and knolls have been introduced. The large green affords greater opportunity for moving the cup, which must

, be moved frequently, especially on a public course.

As with the fair greens, so with the putting greens, work should be started in the fall. If the greens are located, and if the soil is well trenched to a depth of eighteen or twenty inches, well mixed with rotted stable manure and permitted to go through the winter, much will be gained. In the spring the earth should be well worked again. In the preparation of the soil a good sandy loam should be well mixed with the soil and a top dressing of at least four inches of this sand loam given each green. All black earth is not suitable for a top dressing. Black muck or peat, which has a great abundance of humus, is not suitable. There must not be too much free nitrogen in a soil to grow the proper turf for a putting green.

A putting green must have the best of drainage. It should be so graded that no water will remain on the green for any length of time. A green should never be located where the turf

does not get an abundance of sunlight, nor should it be built upon a mesh of tree roots. Under these conditions the turf will always be weak and poor.

THE TEES It is a very prevalent mistake to make small tees on public courses. A good tee should be twenty feet wide and thirty feet deep. This gives opportunity for moving the markers about. Otherwise the playing is all done in one spot and it is impossible to keep the tees in good repair. The first essential to any good golf stroke is a good stance. Therefore, the tees should be perfectly level. They should be sufficiently elevated so that water will not remain long. A turf tee is the most agreeable. They must be made sufficiently large and kept in repair. If turf tees are not possible, good clay tees will serve very nicely.


The question of fertilizers seems to be a much mooted one. There are, however, some fundamental principles which can be stated without danger of confusion. There are but three plant foods—nitrogen, potash or potassium, and phosphoric acid. Before any plant can use these foods they must exist in a free state, in solution, so to speak.

Barnyard manure is perhaps the best. Yet this will vary. Manure from the cowstable is better than that from the horse stable. Sheep manure is very excellent and is a well balanced fertilizer, rich in the three elements of a plant food. Sheep manure is generally procurable in a pulverized form, in fact, is usually sold this way. As such it is very excellent as a top dressing. Stable manure, however, has its drawbacks. It is sometime foul with weed seeds, and if used as a top dressing may fill the lawn with weeds. The best way to use stable manure is, perhaps, to plow it under and mix it with the soil. This has a tendency to improve the porosity of the soil. So again, let me say that the physical condition of the soil, its friability, is not second in importance to its fertility. But it is not always possible to procure stable manure. It is quite a task, too, to cover an entire golf course. So I would say that if stable manure is to be used, the time to use it is during the initial construction of the course when it can be plowed under.

There are many kinds of commercial fertilizers. I shall not

to go

attempt to discuss them fully,

fully, but shall

mention only those which I have found by experience to be good. Let it be understood that all fertilizers have through a process of decompositon before the food ele

a ments become available to the plants. This process is much more rapid with some fertilizers than with others. It is quite obvious, therefore, that a mixture of fertilizers will give the best results. The ideal fertilizer is one that sets free its fertilizing properties in such quantities as required by the plants. There are other elements used which have no fertilizing properties but which assist in liberating the food elements from the soil and also act upon the prepared fertilizers used. Chief among them is air slacked lime. Ground charcoal is good as an absorbent and purifier. Sharp coarse sand is good and it should be used quite freely on the putting greens. Many good fertilizers may be compounded, but I will suggest the following mixture which should give universal satisfaction and which can be used on the putting greens as well as the fair greens: Ground raw-bone

50 pounds Raw bone meal

50 Dried blood

50 Nitrate of soda...

5 Phosphate rock

25 Cotton Seed Meal

25 Air slacked lime

25 Potassium sulphate

50 These ingredients should be thoroughly mixed. The best way to do this is to work the pile over three or four times with a shovel on a clean smooth floor. When thoroughly mixed, it should be sowed broadcast at the rate of a quarter to threequarters of a ton per acre, depending upon the present fertility of the soil. If the soil demands it, it will be well to have two or three sowings during the season at the rate of a quarter of a ton per acre.

ROLLING, MOWING AND WATERING Each Spring when the frost is out and the ground is sufficiently dry, the lawns should be rolled with a five ton roller. With some soils a five ton roller may be a little heavy. Under most conditions a five ton tandem roller will be about right.

(To be continued)

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