Like wannabe Ben Hogans, we golfers seek answers in the earth. It can be hard work. But that’s nothing compared to the time and effort put in by the superintendents tending to the training ground we chew on.
Ranges take a lick. How do I get them to tick?
Jeremy Hreben is a superintendent at Indian Springs Country Club, New Jersey, and a longtime member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.
We asked him what he does to help the grass in his field recover quickly and if there are any lessons to be learned from his work for those of us who tend to busy lawns at home. home.
1. Damage Control
The first trick of the trade is the most obvious: move the strike zone so that the same patch of grass does not suffer repeated blows. “If you imagine a range tee as a rectangle, we open a single section lengthwise one day, then bring it forward the next day, then back again the next day,” says Hrebren. And so on, until the cycle repeats itself.
Recovery time depends on turf type and climate, among other variables, but Hreben says it usually takes a week to a week and a half before a section is ready for use again.
Because well-fed grass recovers faster, Hreben gives his range a good amount of nourishment, applying more fertilizer there than he does most elsewhere on the course. Two of the key ingredients in these meals are nitrogen, which promotes growth and a green color, and phosphorus, which aids root growth and germination.
3. Maintain humidity
Most experts would say that prices play best when they are firm and fast. Hreben agrees. But not on the shooting range, where he shoots for slightly softer turf. It’s a modest modification, so minor that the average golfer wouldn’t notice it. But instead of sand, which is great for drainage, Hreben mixes in materials like peat moss and mushroom soil, which help retain moisture, promoting growth.
4. Can you apply these practices at home?
Many lawns are often used and abused, but the wear and tear they experience tends to come in the form of heavy foot traffic, which is different from the battering ranges endured. “Heavily used lawns are really more like accesses to a tee box that are stepped on over and over again,” says Hreben.
In these cases, where the soil is compacted, common remedies include punching and sanding to promote air circulation and drainage.
In short, says Hrebren, “you’re probably not going to approach problems at home the way a cook does.” Unless, of course, you set up an outdoor hitting net and turn your yard into a practice tee.