Welcome to the Turf Talk section of Rancocas Golf Club. In this area you will find updates, photos, and information about your golf course!
October 2019 – Laser Leveling Tee Boxes
After years of divot mix and sand being put into the divots on tee boxes, an abundant amount of hills and dirt mounds were found along all the tee boxes. Our crews were able to take a laser level machine and get the proper height that each tee should be and leveled them back out to their original intended height.
August Aeration 2020
Aeration is the process by which holes are put into the greens to allow for air to be able to get into the soil beneath the green. Aeration is needed when the soil beneath the surface of the green becomes compacted. When the soil is compacted, the grass roots struggle to breathe. The first picture is the aerator at work, punching tines into the green. The second picture is the cores that are pulled out of the greens, the holes may not seem to be that large but they go deep removing a lot of compacted dirt. The last picture is the final process in our aeration and that is the top dressing that is laid down on the greens. Sand is commonly used on golf courses, and it seems like an odd choice as a top dressing. But sand helps with water retention, especially for grass with heavy, clay soils which can have drainage problems. When using sand after aeration, the sand fills the holes and helps change the soil structure, improving its drainage and increasing the growth of healthy grass.
Landscaping Restoration at The Club October 2020
The state of the landscaping under the previous owners was in shambles, and we made it one of our top priorities to get the landscaping back so our members could take some pride in their course. Below are before and after pictures of what we were able to get done in the clean-up, and come next spring we will be planting new flowers and plants to blossom in all of our beds.
We just recently purchased new equipment this year, here we would like to take the time to show you the machines and tell you’re their uses.
Pictured below is our new John Deere Gator. This machine allows us to perform several different types of maintenance on the course, an example is the attached leaf blower on the back that our crew can ride around and remove leaves and debris off the course.
Here is our Toro Z-Master (Z-Turn) Mower
The z-turn mower allows us to navigate around trees and smaller areas of rough much easier than a larger fairway mower. The wing decks on the 96″ model flex up and down to follow the contours of the terrain.
John Deere 1200A Bunker Rake
Putting the finishing touches on a golf course bunker, a ball field infield or a new-course construction project requires a delicate touch and excellent maneuverability. Our new John Deere Bunker Rake will allow us to smooth the sand and edges of our bunkers with precision, ease, and speed.
Drainage Work Winter 2020
Our crew has been hard at work replacing and adding new drainage to numerous areas around the golf course, from fairways to tee boxes they are laying new pipe and drainage stone down to help remove excess water from our course. The pictures below show our team out there working through the snow storm to get the drainage done on the side of Hole #12.
Our Bunker Restoration Plans for Winter 2020 into Spring of 2021
The plans and specs are in the works for our new bunker restoration project that will be taking place in just a few months. Unfortunately our bunkers were neglected under the previous ownership and they require all new drainage as well as new sand. We have already begun the process of purchasing the proper and necessary equipment we will need to begin our bunker project. Our crews will be digging out the bunkers with an excavator, replacing the faulty drainage, and adding back new true sand to make our bunkers like a PGA course! We will also be filling in multiple bunkers around the course that have become double hazards due to the trees that have grown in front of them, the bunkers we will be filling in will not affect the integrity of the golf course or the Robert Trent Jones design that we are striving to bring back to life!
Meet Our New Greenskeeper Greg Armbruster!
Improving our golf course here at Rancocas and providing great facilities for all the various people who use the course regularly or visit when in the area, is an important priority for us. We decided earlier in the year that if we wanted to move forward and provide the quality we aspire to, it would be necessary to employ an experienced greenkeeper.
We’ve been extremely lucky to secure the services of Greg Armbruster, who was in his last position of Head Greenkeeper for 29 years, with 40 years’ experience in total. Greg has come to us for a new challenge and to help us continue to provide a quality premises to play golf. We had a chat to discuss his plans for the course and how he became a greenkeeper:
Garrett(GA) : Hi Greg, thanks for taking time away from the course to do this, why not start with how you got in to the job of being a greenkeeper in the first place?
Greg(GR): In the beginning it was a summer job when I started at Little Mill Country Club when I was in high school and college. My love and interest in the profession grew and I was able to attend the Rutgers Turf Management Program where I graduated in 1989. I went on to be the first assistant at Little Mill until 1994, and I never looked back.
GA: What’s your main goal at this course?
GR: To bring back the integrity of the golf course that Robert Trent Jones envisioned when he built this course in 1966, and to keep its integrity for years to come. Besides the bunker restoration we will be making major upgrades and improvements to the irrigation system and drainage throughout the golf course.
GA: Do you play golf?
GR: I do not play as much as I used too I will admit, but I did play in high school and college.
Drainage Work December 2020
Our crew has been hard at work getting the faulty drainage around the course and replacing it with new drainage rocks and proper piping to help drain out the golf course. The videos below show what our crew was able to do on Hole #17, where we had a lot of water and saturation in the surrounding grass around the green. The first video shows how our crew dug up the faulty drainage and replaced it with new proper drainage. The drain is running right behind #17 tee box into the small creek in the woods there, the water you see gushing through the pipe is what was in the ground around the green, so this is a good example of the importance of proper drainage on the course. The second video shows where the drainage runs to the front of the green where the water slopes off of, and it shows the restoration the crew is able to do by putting the turf back in place. Hole #17 drainage is now complete, and we will be doing numerous more holes in our process to get this course back to a championship caliber golf course!
Spring Aeration May 2021
Spring Aeration of Greens and Tee Boxes
Aeration is the process by which holes are put into the greens to allow for air to be able to get into the soil beneath the green. Aeration is needed when the soil beneath the surface of the green becomes compacted. When the soil is compacted, the grass roots struggle to breathe. The first picture is the aerator at work, punching tines into the green. The second pictures are the cores that are pulled out of the greens, the holes may not seem to be that large but they go deep removing a lot of compacted dirt. The third set of pictures are the final process in our aeration and that is the top dressing that is laid down on the greens. The very last picture shows how big the tines are that are punched into the green, the ball mark is there as a size reference. Sand is commonly used on golf courses, and it seems like an odd choice as a top dressing. But sand helps with water retention, especially for grass with heavy, clay soils which can have drainage problems. When using sand after aeration, the sand fills the holes and helps change the soil structure, improving its drainage and increasing the growth of healthy grass.
These are the machines that are used to punch the tines into the greens, the tractor is pulling the machine behind it. These tines will immensely help the greens soil and help to maintain as well as strengthen the grass roots of each green.
These are good pictures of the plugs that are taken out of each green by this machine, and it shows how deep these tines get down into the dirt!
The final touches on aerating a green are rolling it a few times to help level out the punch marks made by the tines. The final part is laying down sand and spreading it evenly amongst the green and into the tines.
These final pictures show the size of the tines that were used in this seasons aeration, that ball mark by the hole is about the size of a U.S. quarter.
Bunker Renovations May 2021
The club recently purchased three brand new pieces of equipment this offseason that our grounds crew will be able to utilize in many different ways. The first piece is our new John Deere excavator that our crews have been using to dig out and shape our renovated bunkers, as well as drainage work that is being done around the course. 2nd is our skid steer which has a variety of uses ranging from excavating, digging, and trenching, to grading and backfilling, its flexibility is what makes this machine perfect for our club. The last piece of equipment we purchased was a Nielsen Wacker Dumper, which has been an essential piece of equipment for us during our bunker renovations. This machine allows us to haul both dirt and sand to and from the golf course in an efficient and safe manner, making it much easier on our crews to restore this golf course.
Sinkhole By 9 Green/Driving Range
Many have asked what was being done on the area to the right of the 9th green and behind the driving range. Our grounds crew located a broken pipe that caused a sinkhole to give way in that area, and the surrounding area caved in on itself. Our grounds crew was able to dig up the broken piping, lay down a new one, and cover that area back up again.
We are happy to announce the unveiling of our new bunker renovations along our greenside bunkers on the course that took place this past offseason into today. Our crew has been working around the clock renovating each bunker and getting it back into playing shape! Below we will layout the process that was used to renovate the bunkers and get the new sand in them.
First our crew had to establish a new edge to the bunker then remove the old existing sand layers. We were able to accomplish these feats by using our new John Deere Excavator, and the spoils were removed VIA our new Whacker Nielson dump truck. After removing the soils the drainage in each bunker was checked and if needed refurbished to be sure each drunker would drain effectively and efficiently. The final step was brining in new white bunker sand and beginning the process of filling in all of our greenside bunkers. There are certain bunker complex’s that require more extensive work from drainage work to digging them down deeper that will be completed at a later date. Once we have completed our greenside bunkers we will begin the process of refurbishing all of our fairway bunkers.
The first picture below shows our crew at work digging out the bunkers with our John Deere excavator, smoothing the dirt out and getting the bunker to proper height for the sand to be put in. The second picture gives a good example of the new edge our crew was able to cut into the bunker. Looking at the edges of the bunker you can see they are cut more even and straight, a process we did along all of the greenside bunkers on our course. The final pictures are how our new renovated bunkers look now, and how every bunker across the course will look when we are finished with our work!