Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Clearing is an on-going process throughout the construction of a golf course and an art form all on its own. If you clear too much the golf hole may look out of place and if you clear too little the hole appears crowded. It is a balance that starts by peeling away the layers from the center, out.

Pictured above is a natural area with a sparse covering of beach grass, moss, and native grasses. We are attempting to replicate this look in our initial clearing around the perimeter of this hole. Pictured below is Zach Varty standing in waist-high beach grass prior to clearing. The second photo illustrates the vegetation that Zach and I have manually cleared.

(Before) / (After)

(Before) / (After)

The primary objective of this task was to reveal the contours of the dunes without disturbing the natural land forms. At the same time I am thinking how to visually break up any obvious line between what was cleared and what was not. In some instances we will keep the thin cover "look", gradually blending vegetation into the boundary of play. In other cases, after revealing the true shape of the dunes, the top 6 inches will be carefully stripped and later seeded with native fescue within the playing corridor. Pictured below is an area in front of a green that was cleared by hand. After getting a look at the contours it was decided to strip the remaining moss and grasses to provide a more consistent approach to the green.

An understanding of scale is the key to achieving the right look in any given space, whether working with large trees or low shrubs. While clearing beach grass on the Bandon Preserve I am learning that the transition between the playing corridor and the native areas does not begin on the periphery. Instead, finding what is pleasing to the eye starts closer to the middle. Depending on the particular space, I might skew towards the left or the right to frame a transition between the immediate playing area and the native vegetation. In the context of this project visual symmetry is not necessarily desired while randomness and is favored.

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