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By Ryan G. Leeds

As one of the nation’s premier golfing destinations, Trump International Golf Club takes seriously its responsibility to provide an exceptional member experience.

This philosophy was reflected in a recent shoreline restoration project that also involved environmental improvements that golfers might not notice. This work included stabilizing the soil, restoring eroded shorelines along the lakes, improving water quality and improving natural habitat, thus providing a more attractive destination for local wildlife and people. golfers.

The problems faced by Trump International, located in Palm Beach County, Florida, are typical of many courses as they age. Due to fluctuating water levels, these courses face land loss as large patches of land slowly erode into adjacent water bodies. This situation results in unsafe conditions for players and maintenance staff. More importantly, these streams lose their original functionality to serve as water storage for irrigation and stormwater drainage systems to prevent severe flooding.

Because of these challenges, Trump International and other clubs are taking steps to stabilize the soil and shorelines to provide a pleasant and safe environment.

One of the main features of Trump International are the abundant lakes, which to golfers’ frustration swallow balls. The lakes also offer beautiful views which can be threatened without proper maintenance.

Architects and golf course developers create lakes more than dangers for golfers hoping to dodge deep balls. While attractive, these lakes are actually retention basins to prevent flooding, giving the water a place to go during heavy rains.

Nevertheless, erosion is inevitable and prices can deteriorate gradually, hence the problems mentioned. Course superintendents, members and management understand the importance of taking appropriate action to restore and stabilize these shorelines with a sustainable and environmentally safe solution.

Forces affecting golf courses are also typical of situations in municipalities and planned unit residential developments.

Those responsible for maintaining these properties need to be proactive and take regular and affordable steps to avoid greater repair expenses. Trump International staff have recognized that many of these issues can be reversed and that Mother Nature can be subtly supported.

Trump International saw the effects of fluctuating water levels and how it destabilized the soil, resulting in significant erosion. They recognized that unstable lands can be dangerous. For example, golfers walking along the shores can fall when the course collapses. Likewise, golf cart accidents can also occur due to weakened shorelines. Heavy equipment operators are at risk. Falling water levels can become a refuge for burrowing animals and further weaken the properties of the shoreline.

Poorly maintained shorelines can leave drainage pipes, sprinkler systems, and power, cable and internet lines exposed and prone to corrosion and damage. These repairs can be costly.

There are several strategies for controlling shoreline erosion. Some include the installation of sandbags, rocks and trees. For the most part, these are short-term attempts to solve a long-term problem.

A sustainable and environmentally friendly erosion control technology that has been selected by Trump International is DredgeSOX from SOX Erosion Solutions, which can remove sediment from streams and reclaim shorelines.

Simply put, the DredgeSOX is a huge technical mesh sock that fills with organic sediment dredged from the bottom of lakes or from an outside source such as blown mulch, compost mix, or vent plugs. It is then fixed to the shore, using a patented anchoring system recreating the original and current shore.

One of the benefits of the dredging process is that it improves water flow, reduces subsurface nutrient overload and runoff, and creates healthy aquatic and terrestrial habitats. It also removes years of accumulated leaves and grass clippings.

The main benefit is that this innovative product allows us to use nature’s ability to stabilize the shoreline by planting and / or sodding directly through the knitted mesh, establishing newly rooted vegetation. This is the most effective way to permanently stop erosion as well as to follow best management practices.

Another major advantage is that the fully deployed SOX serves as a filter for the flow of surface and ground water, reducing nitrates, phosphates and other pollutants from entering the water system. The result is cleaner, healthier waterways.

Approximately 18,000 linear feet of DredgeSOX have been installed on several lakes at Trump International.

Once shorelines are stabilized, superintendents can consider a variety of other initiatives that reflect a commitment to the environment that beautifies the courses. Trump International is implementing a wide range of strategies to ensure this work is sustainable.

From a maintenance standpoint, work really begins once erosion mitigation and shoreline restoration is complete. In order for work to be truly effective, the following must be maintained for lasting improvements:

  • Maintain a buffer zone to filter nutrients from stormwater runoff
  • Reduce the frequency of mowing near lakes
  • Guide the clippings away from the lakes
  • Practice good fertilizer management to reduce runoff
  • Establish a 10-foot “fertilizer-free” zone around the lakes
  • Encourage native vegetation on the shore
  • Install aeration systems to increase dissolved oxygen levels and water circulation

“Controlling and restoring eroded shorelines is an ongoing challenge on all golf courses,” said Andrew Kjos, CGCS, director of agronomy at Trump International. “This is essential as we continually strive to create safe and scenic experiences for our members and guests. We have studied many strategies and have found that the SOX system is preferable for the environment and easy to install as a long-term solution to erosion. It can also be bypassed around trees and landscaping.

“The main advantage is that it allows vegetation to grow through the knitted mesh of the system, creating a natural and stable shoreline. “

The Seagate Golf and Country Club located near Delray Beach, Florida has had similar success with a soil stabilization program using SOX systems.

A few years ago, the former Superintendent of Seagate had a course lake shore restored naturally with SOX Erosion Solutions and recently used the system to repair the functionality of another lake.

“This is a stable lake shore and thriving natural habitat,” said Nate Watkins, who until recently worked as a golf course superintendent. “I wanted SOX Erosion Solutions to work its magic on this other affected lake.”

A private club in Greenwich, Connecticut has experienced similar challenges with constantly eroding shorelines. With the system, the club was able to provide force to protect and stabilize the shore; support new and existing vegetation; dewatering and retaining nutrients in the uplands to maintain new vegetation; contain safe and biodegradable organic materials without causing additional contamination to nearby waterways; and filter out unwanted nutrients to protect water quality.

By taking some of these steps, Trump International and other clubs are preserving the value and beauty of the courses, while providing members with a safe and beautiful experience. Waterways are valuable assets for golf courses that can improve profitability but, like any other commodity, they must be maintained responsibly and efficiently.

With regular maintenance, these waterways can fulfill their original purpose of minimizing the threat of flooding – while gobbling up golf balls.

Ryan G. Leeds is Managing Partner of SOX Erosion Solutions. The company focuses on erosion control and the restoration of living shorelines and hillsides with its patented and bioengineered erosion control products.


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