Thorpe Wood Golf Club Green and Tee Construction

June 2011

Thorpe Wood Golf Course, situated to the west of Peterborough, is recognised as one of the leading Pay and Play golf courses in the country. Thorpe Wood is an undulating par 73 course which has challenges for golfers of all ages and abilities.

In March 2011, Fineturf and business partners Lakeland Earthworks began work on a new golf green construction and golf tee construction for the 14th hole. The club had plans to build a new driving range on the old 14th green, hence the reason for the new construction and green relocation.

The following equipment was used during the construction; a Volvo EC135 excavator with power tilt attachment and a Barford S5000 9T dumper with Trelleborg 710 low ground pressure tyres, to avoid soil compaction.

The new green was to be positioned on the existing 14th fairway and built using both site won and imported topsoil, which was supplied by Fineturf. Due to this area of the course being situated on an archaeological site it was not possible to excavate the base and the green had to be raised up from the existing fairway levels. This increase in height also ensured the green would be visible from the new tee.

Green Formation and Drainage

The green formation was shaped and a solid, compacted base constructed, to ensure stability. This was left 450mm below the proposed final level of the green. V-shaped drainage trenches were dug by utilising the excavator’s power tilt attachment. A herringbone drainage system was installed with lateral drains dug into the formation, at angles that allowed for a natural fall of water into the main drain.

A main drain was then dug around the front perimeter of the green. This collects any excess water that accumulates in the lowest area of the green. An outfall was also installed that carried all water into a nearby ditch.

Prior to the installation of drainage pipe any remaining debris in the trenches was removed, by hand, to ensure a clean finish. The main drain was filled with 100mm perforated drainage pipe and the lateral drains with 80mm pipe. The trenches were backfilled with 4-10mm washed drainage gravel.

Gravel Carpet and Blinding Layer

Following this, a 4-10mm gravel carpet was spread across the entire base, to a depth of 100mm. A 25mm blinding layer of 2-4mm gravel was then spread across the base. This blinding layer would act as a barrier between the gravel carpet and rootzone. The blinding layer uses smaller gravel, preventing the rootzone from migrating through the gravel carpet but allowing water to drain. Without this barrier, over time, rootzone will be washed into the drainage pipe causing blockages and poor drainage.

Green Shaping, Irrigation and Surface Installation

A consolidated 300mm layer of rootzone was then spread across the green and levelled by the excavator. The final playing surface was shaped into a subtle two tiered green. The use of high quality rootzone and an accurate depth are important factors in achieving good growth and drainage.

With the green base constructed the surrounds were accurately shaped and one green side bunker constructed. Following this, an irrigation system was installed with a 63mm feed to the green and a 50mm horseshoe around the green; Hunter I-25 sprinklers were used.

The final stage involved the surrounds being turfed with large roll sports turf, a ryegrass, smooth stalk, fescue mixture and the green turfed with large roll greens turf, a fescue, bent mixture grown on Messingham 45 Sports Sand.

Tee Construction

The base of the tee was built from site won topsoil from the existing tee. Laser levelling equipment was set up to ensure the excavator accurately levelled the tee using the correct gradient, generally 1:100. This gradient creates a slight fall from back to front of the tee and aids with water run off. A 200mm layer of 6mm screened rootzone was supplied by Fineturf and used to create the final surface of the tee. Irrigation was installed with a 50mm ring main and Hunter I-25 sprinklers and the banks were shaped using the power tilt attachment. Final ground preparation was carried out with hand rakes ready for a 6:9:6 pre turf fertiliser and tees turf installation, a ryegrass, smoothstalk mixture.