Couch grass is a warm season grass in that it likes and grows best in warm to hot temperatures. Although much more drought tolerant than cool season grasses, it still requires a sufficient amount of water to perform at optimum levels.
Couch grass goes’ dormant’ or ‘hibernates’ through the winter months as it does not like the cool weather. It starts to gather as many nutrients as possible from late autumn in the knowledge they will be required to sustain the upcoming winter. When dormant, the couch loses much of its colour to the point of having a straw like colour. Frosts push it further into dormancy.
At Eagle Ridge Golf Course, we have Santa Anna couch on the fairways and Winter Green couch on the tees. Both of these varieties are hybrids.
Santa Anna couch is one of the most salt tolerant couches and is a vigorous grower. It has a deep green colour during the growing season which normally lasts for nearly nine months a year.
Each winter, worms begin to burrow just below the fairway surface on the fairways situated on a heavy soil such as those fairways across the front of the course. The burrowing results in worm casts sitting on the surface on mass. As the golf carts keep driving over them, a hard crust of soil sitting on the surface is the result. Spraying of the worms is fairly successful in stopping this process, but each application only lasts for a few weeks.
In regard to cutting of the fairways, from late spring to early autumn, they are cut two or three times per week. Through winter, they are not cut at all from mid May through to the end of August.
Eleven of our tee systems have a Winter Green couch surface. Winter Green couch is less aggressive than Santa Anna. Its name suggests it is greener in winter than other couches but I find it has a very similar colour to that of Santa Anna. Poa Invasion in couch is a constant headache for golf course Superintendents and I have found it to be much more resistant to Poa Invasion than Santa Anna. This may well be due to a somewhat denser growth habit than Santa Anna. There are also significantly less worm casts on the couch tees. This is because the tees are built on sand which contains much less nutrients than a dark soil that some of the fairways are built on.
With works always going on at Eagle Ridge Golf Course, we always invite you to come and have a look at all the effort that goes into making Eagle Ridge one of the best public courses in Australia.
Sounds like a simple task, get Scott our golf course superintendent at Eagle Ridge Golf Course and his team to “fix up the 10th tee”.
His response runs along the lines of….. “Reconstruction of the 10th is part of our ongoing program of changing over the entire tee systems to a surface of Wintergreen Couch. Like all of the remaining cool season grass tee systems, addressing the very uneven nature of the tee is paramount. It is therefore best to totally strip back and commence as a green field site”.
So, this will then fix up the 10th tee???
Sure, so here goes with the process involved:
- First stripping away all the tee and garden bed material that was there
- Next total replacement of the existing irrigation pipe work
- After this we then bring in many truck loads of soil from our onsite reserves to raise the level of each individual tee box, each was then shaped and levelled by hand and with the front end loader.
- Once at this completed shaping stage, Wintergreen Couch instant turf which was grown onsite was laid progressively from one tee box area to the next.
- Finally we needed to allow grown in periods, where the grass was then mowed from a higher cut to progressively lower, along with some additional sanding to complete the leveling process and get the tee ready for play.
So come visit and see how we have “fixed up the 10th tee” – see a simple 10 minute job really for those of us in the know!!
Grass may look dead, but it may actually just be asleep!
Dormant grass is very common. Subtle changes of temperature in the Earth’s surface can determine whether a grass becomes dormant or not. In the lead up to a grass going dormant, it will take in extra nutrients so it can survive a winter period. It will then come back to life in the Spring season and look as green as the grass on the other side of that fence.
Whilst many golfers have been in winter mode and not generally venturing out as much onto the fairways, or for those lucky ones who have been on tour to warmer climates, our golf course team have been working hard to improve the playability and general enjoyment of the golf course.
Making the 15th more forgiving
No one likes straying into heavy scrub off the tee and the fun tends to fall away when you can barely find a way into where your ball has ventured. Whilst we all know it’s the balls fault that it ended up there! This was indeed the case from the tee at the 15th hole. It’s bad enough to have the boundary line on the left-hand side along the natural wetland area, but to also have the right-hand side ball graveyard that grew from a small flax plantation into a major hazard was just too much! Indeed, contrary to our goal at Eagle Ridge of being a challenging but fun place to play golf.
Something had to be done! (See before and after shots). So now if by some slim chance your ball heads slightly off course from the 15th tee you will generally be able to find it, hit it and move on. Whilst we think we’ve done a good job, we realise there is more to do along that side proceeding towards the green and these areas will also be improved in time, but the main landing zones are now definitely more ball friendly… and that has to be a good thing.
Pulling the plug on our bunkers
We are blessed with our little patch of paradise to have a far-reaching sand base to work with but mother nature has a way of fighting back. With the natural wetland area along our 15th and 16th fairways comes a low-lying water table that in the height of any wet winter can flood some low lying bunkers. We will soon be raising 2 of these bunkers to hopefully keep our feet and ball dry and we’ll see how this works over the next winter period. This is another small improvement that will be completed by the end of November in our ongoing efforts to help you enjoy your total Eagle Ridge golf experience and maybe help you knock a couple off your handicap.
Take our new stairway to Paradise
Another project that we have just completed is the construction of a viewing deck near the new back tee of the 2nd hole. Take the steps to the brand new 2nd blue tee area, now expanded for many more tee options along with a great open outlook. The new landscaped deck area showcases our golf course, clubhouse and lakes in the foreground with the hinterland and Arthurs Seat as the backdrop. Ahh the serenity!
So to all our golfers, come see and enjoy these improvements to our Golf Course, Eagle Ridge… the place to play!