Cowan Creek #6 Drainage Update (2/2/16)
Submitted by Craig Loving
The left side of #6 at Cowan Creek has progressively worsened each year regarding its wetness and playability. Last year, we discovered a 10” pipe under the fairway in the landing area that was crushed, which caused the drain to fail and keep the area consistently wet. The pipe was fixed and replaced at the time, but this year we are still having issues with the area staying wet. In addition to this, the catch basins along the left side of the fairway (near the green) need additional surface drainage to keep from staying wet year-round. The following paragraphs will detail why this is and what we are doing to improve playability in these areas.
Over the years we have had several floods that have swept debris down through the low area on #6, across the driving range, and over the spillway at the tee complex on #1. The entire area is relatively flat to begin with, but these rain events have accumulated debris (tree limbs, silt, grass, etc.) in the native in between #6 and the driving range. This has created a natural dam, so even though the water now flows freely through the drainage pipe, it has nowhere to go once it daylights into the native. (Figure A)
There are also some willow trees in the area that we allowed to grow tall, with the idea of isolating the hole from the road and blocking the view of the driving range. Unfortunately, this had a negative effect on the drainage in that area. (Figure B)
Our first step to alleviating the drainage problem in the landing area was to cut down the trees that were collecting debris. With the trees removed, we dug a trench with a backhoe to allow the fairway drainage pipes to effectively drain through the native and into the driving range drainage pipe (Figure C). There will be needed periodic upkeep to make sure that these trenches are performing as we planned, but hopefully this should fix the wet problem in the landing area. We still need to extend the 10” pipe another 20 feet so that the daylight is further in the native and not near the lateral hazard line.
We also began trenching and adding herringbone drainage in the fairway inside 100 yards. Once the drainage pipe is installed, we will add gravel and sand, and we will overseed the trenches with perennial ryegrass. The area will be marked “ground under repair” until the overseed is established. We will later sod the trenched areas with bermudagrass after transition in late spring. The added trenches and pipe (Figure D) should help the playability of this section of the fairway. However, we still won’t be able to move the directional cart path signs up much closer than they are. This is due to the slope of the rough near the cart path, and the wear that occurs with heavy cart traffic.
Drainage will continue to be an issue at Cowan Creek every year. We have seen improvements with the playability in the areas we have worked on in recent years (#3 2015, #1 2014), and our crew works hard to try to continue to improve course conditions. We hope to soon attack other trouble areas (#9 landing area, #3 at 150 yard marker) in the weeks to come.