With the golf course at Cape Kidnappers now closed until early May of 2022 for extensive green and fairway renovations, we thought we’d give you a ‘behind-the-scenes’ peek of what is occurring on the course over the next few weeks…
The exciting news is that, renovations of the greens and the fairways at Cape Kidnappers will not only improve the turf quality, but improve the playing conditions that golfers will experience on reopening. Great conditioning is brought about by a tremendous amount of hardwork and labour from our talented maintenance team. We felt this a perfect opportunity to give you a first-hand glance at the unseen work that goes on ‘back-stage”, to ensure that Cape Kidnappers remains one of the finest golf experiences in the world, for many years to come.
The maintenance team’s first task is to locate the original perimeter of each green, as constructed in 2002 and 2003 (this is noted by the blue line in the picture below). Over time, mowing lines can alter the size of the intended putting surface. The original perimeter of each green is located by utilizing a probe, which allows the team to feel and hear the difference in the subsurface material (gravel & sand) and determine the exact location of where the green surface should end, and the surrounds/approaches begin.
The team will then reinstate the putting surface to its original size and perimeter, based on the findings with the probe. A turf cutter is then utilized, which is set to remove the top 100mm (approx. 4 inches) of turf from all putting surfaces. This process will remove much of the plant matter and ‘thatch’ (a build-up of organic material, which can significantly limit the amount of water and nutrients to the root zone of the turfgrass – thus causing unhealthy conditions).
The crew will pause the turf cutting regularly to ensure the depth of 100mm is being maintained throughout the cutting of the entire putting surface. This will assist in maintaining the existing contours and undulations that exist in each green. As you see, the team will proceed in cutting the entire surface, and then bring in removal machinery to clear the cut turf away from the green site.
Once the entire putting green has been cut, the diggers will carefully strip the turf off of the subsurface material, while being exceptionally careful not to remove more than the 100mm that has been cut. This precision will allow for easier restoration of the undulations and contours on the green, as they previously existed. As the old turf and material is taken away, a hollowed out shell of the green surface remains. This ‘shell’ will then be filled with sand and then smoothed and finely graded to as close to the original green shape and contour as possible.
We expect the turf removal process to take approximately 3 to 4 weeks, and it will be followed by an application of sand which will be placed to a thickness of 100mm. Finally, a member of our golf course architect’s crew (Tom Doak) will be onsite to confirm and approve final grades, contours and undulations of each green.
We will also be completing a similar procedure on all of our fairways, where we are removing the top 50mm of the turf and replacing it with new and improved bentgrass cultivars.
This is certainly an exciting and busy time for all members of the golf operation, and we will update you in the new year as we progress to the shaping and contouring stage of the renovations.