As part of the ongoing improvements to Sandhurst’s golf courses, line planting works will soon commence on the North Course in order to achieve consistency of turf across the course. Currently, the majority of fairway playing surfaces are a strain of couch called Santa Ana. Roughly three hectares of fairways are a different strain of couch called Legend.
Over time it has become apparent that the Legend couch is of inferior quality and provides a significantly poorer playing surface. A good comparison of the difference between the two types of couch are North 9, 10 and 14 (Santa Ana) compared to North 1 and 2 (Legends).
Line planting will occur on North Course holes 1, 2, 7, 10 and 13.
The benefits of moving to Santa Ana include that this type of grass will provide a playing surface with greater turf density in turn providing better lies, it provides a better year round playing surface, the density of the turf makes it much harder for weeds to get established. Legend, meanwhile, is more susceptible to disease and Poa infiltration, is a thinner grass, provides a weaker and barer lie and the ball sits lower on it.
The spraying of existing turf will commence as soon as the couch comes out of dormancy, normally the first or second week of September. 3-4 weeks of herbicide spraying will then occur and the existing grass will yellow off and die.
The objective of spraying prior to line planting is to give the new grass less competition and a better chance to cover over quickly. If planting were to occur into live grass, then the Legend currently growing would compete with the new grass planted and could take 5-10 years to take over. Using this method, it should only take 1-2 years for complete coverage. Killed areas will not go to mud, instead they will simply go off colour.
Santa Ana line planting will occur in the second week of October and once the sprigs are in the ground, these areas will be roped off and marked GUR with no play at all and no cart traffic for 4-6 weeks to allow for water, fertiliser and maturation.
After this period, compulsory tee up will be in place until the grass is fully covered which will be approximately 12-16 weeks, dependent on weather. For three months thereafter, preferred lies will be in place after which point, full coverage should result in a more consistent turf across the entire North Course.