Wednesday, June 28, 2017

No. 8 and No. 12 Tee Expansion

No. 8 tee establishing nicely one month after sod being laid.
Last year, some of our maintenance efforts at Adams Pointe focused on developing ways to maintain the health of our tee boxes. A few tee boxes have always caused us problems, most notably No. 8’s green and white tee and No. 12’s green tee. Lack of sunlight, lack of air movement, and excessive traffic are the main reasons these tees fail to withstand the full length of the golfing season. To address these concerns on No. 8’s green and white tee, we began a sun study in the fall of 2015 to determine what trees, if any, around the tee were contributing to our lack of sunlight. Five large trees were identified as problematic, as well as a few smaller trees, and we started removing them in January 2016. Below is a video showing the cutting and removal of these trees and the amount of material removed from the area.

While the lack of air movement and sunlight definitely play a role in the struggles of the turf, the size of these tees is the biggest limiting factor. For all tees, golf course architects typically recommend 100 square feet of usable teeing surface for every 1,000 rounds played. For example, if a specific tee sees 20,000 rounds a year, that tee would ideally be about 2,000 square feet. While a few tees at Adams Pointe hold up to this design standard, most of them do not come close. The vast majority of our rounds are played from the white and green tees, creating a situation where these tees are overused for their size and have no chance to recover from damage.

No. 8 green and white tee before expansion began.
In March 2016, we began work to expand the teeing surface on No. 8’s white and green tees. This expansion was challenging because of surrounding trees, limited space, and a hard slope on all sides of the tee. Westward expansion was our only option, and we took great care to not disturb the environmentally protected wetlands around the tee. We began by filling in the slope off the tee and building it up slowly to create a new teeing surface. 

First load of soil added to No. 8 tee.
As you can see from above, it took several dozen loads of soil to get us to our desired height. To help avoid erosion or outright collapse of the new teeing surface, we spent a lot of time packing down the soil to create a firmer base. That is also the main reason we waited to sod it until this season. We wanted to be absolutely sure that the new teeing surface was structurally sound.

Using the Bobcat to shape the tee and pack down soil.
New teeing surface beginning to take shape.
After allowing an adequate amount of time to pass to ensure stability, we were ready for sod this spring. In total, we added 950 square feet of playable teeing surface, creating a tee approximately 2700 square feet in size. While this doesn't quite meet the architectural standard discussed above, the tree removal and added square footagshould make a dramatic difference in the tee’s ability to survive a full golf season.

No. 8 green and white tee on sod day.
Many of the same factors on No. 8 caused us issues with the green tee on No. 12. Once again the size of the tee was our biggest limiting factor. We did drop two trees to help increase sunlight to the tee surface but expansion was our main goal. In November 2016 we stripped the old sod off and began adding soil to expand.

Soil being added to No. 12 green tee.
Because of the cart path’s north-side location, we focused on building out the tee in the other three directions. In total, we more than doubled the teeing surface here, from 400 square feet to 820 square feet. Like No. 8, we were unable to reach the 10:1 design standard, but the large expansion will undoubtedly help the turf recover from damage.

No. 12 finished on sod day.
As you’re out playing a round, you will probably spot us continuing to do these tee expansion projects. It’s just one more way we’re striving to make Adams Pointe a great place to enjoy the game of golf.

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