Job done - Decompaction at Sitwell Park Golf Club

Project: Decompacting a golf course near Rotherham

Client: Sitwell Park Golf Club

Contractor: Terrain Aeration

An Alister Mackenzie-designed golf course in South Yorkshire has received remediation treatment to combat its compaction problems.

Sitwell Park Golf Club, near Rotherham, has a 95-year-old parkland course situated on the side of a hill. Despite its clay-based soil, sloping location and continual rain, golfers are still able to tee off this winter following successful decompaction treatment.

Secretary Steve Bell said: "Go down six to 12 inches and you'll meet solid clay. Over the years the whole course had become compacted and was waterlogged, with standing water on the greens."

Head greenkeeper Chris Colton suggested the club try 1m-deep, compressed-air decompaction treatment. Terrain Aeration was tasked with carrying out the work and began the job in the spring using an Airforce Scamper Terralift machine.

"They worked on the four lowest greens, which were worst affected, inserting the probe through the topsoil into the clay and injecting air between 200 and 400psi to open up the subsoil," said Bell.

Dried, milled seaweed was injected on the final air blast. The seaweed swells when wet and keeps the fractures and fissures open.

Following treatment, the fifth hole was brought into play for the first time in four months. "We were on it within seven days," Bell said. "The surface water had gone and the turf had lost its sponginess."

Sitwell Park Golf Club has now contracted Terrain Aeration to treat all but two greens. "The subsequent condition of the treated greens has been outstanding," said Bell. "Two-thirds of them are the original Alister MacKenzie designs and we like to think of ourselves as custodians of his course."

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