Soils and Water: Introduction

This will be the first of a series of posts that will discuss water in soils.  We talk all the time about the importance of controlling moisture in the growing environment of the turf.  However, we have not given the same amount of attention to moisture in the soil.  The soil is what the plant grows in.  The soil is how the plant receives the water and nutrients that it needs to sustain an appropriate playing surface.  The soil is not a topic that regularly floats around the Member's Grill after a round either. Just because it is not something that is seen by the golfer does not mean its importance can be discounted.  So, naturally, the relationship between soil and water has a great impact on the quality of the playing surface that the golfer does see.

Aside from mowing, most of what we do is an effort to influence soil properties.  Fertilization, aeration, topdressing, vertical mowing, etc. are all done to provide a favorable impact to the soil over the long-term.  "Long-term" is the key phrase in the last sentence.  These practices do not have an immediate impact on the quality of the playing surface.  As these are performed on a regular basis and begin to compound across a longer time horizon, the benefits outweigh the short-term disruption that may result.  The reason these practices need to be done on a regular basis is a function of the continuously growing grass.  Grass needs to grow to recover from wear and stress of all forms.  As a result of the continuously growing grass, these practices can never be skipped.

At the core, these practices are done to influence how the water moves into the soil and through the soil.  In these posts I will attempt to address how moisture in the soil impacts the long-term health and playability of the greens, tees, and fairways.  Maintenance practices on our greens and tees are very similar, but differ from what we do on the fairways.  However, the goal of these practices is the same across all surfaces - provide a firm uniform playing surface.
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