This picture shows "cross grain cracking" on a painted surface. This problem occurs when there is an excessive build up of paint and is common on older homes, especially historic homes which have been painted many times. The only solution is to strip off all the paint and start over. This is similar to the problems we see on older, historic putting greens when there is an excessive build-up of sand. No, the greens aren't cracking but when we get too much sand built up on or around putting greens, the solution is to strip it off and start over.
That's what we've been doing around some of the greens. Here's a picture of #5 where we removed excess sand which built up in front of the green and impeded the run-off of surface water. These areas of built up sand are often called "collar dams" because they act like a dam and stop water from running off the green.
We then stripped off the area near the bunker which had a build up of topdressing sand and of course sand splashed out of the bunker. The problem here is that over time the build-up of sand exasperated the natural tendency for greens to change shape and the putting surface retreated away from the bunker. Now that the excess sand has been removed, we can start mowing the green closer to the bunker as it once was and recapture hole locations that have slowly been lost over time.
We then moved over to #8 and again started with the approach.
After the approach was put back together we moved to the back of the green.
Finally we finished up on #8 with that back area. All together we removed over 10 yards of sand from around the 8th green. You will immediately notice that the putting green and surround look much more natural with smooth transitions over the contours. Again this is going to allow us to mow the green out to where it once was and get back those lost hole locations. This next picture shows the new green edge on holes 5&8 once the whole process is complete.
This is a time consuming endeavor and takes a tremendous amount of labor so we'll continue to pick away at it each winter but honestly this is the kind of project which is never finished. Once we've gotten around to removing all the excess sand around the greens, we can always do the same kind of work on the tees, Sand build-up on tees creates a different set of problems which I'll discuss at a different time. Applying sand to turf really is a little like applying paint to your house. Both processes are essential but over time the build-up starts to create problems and you gotta strip it off.