A superintendent will readily admit that surveying the course after a major storm can be a daunting and depressing task. With fingers crossed, they hope the damage is minimal. While a few downed trees, flooded bunkers, and some tattered turf are often inevitable, these minor (hopefully) issues can readily be resolved. It’s the major problems – such as significant erosion along shorelines! – that can keep a superintendent up at night. Thankfully, there are companies out there with game-changing solutions to the “erosion” problem. And Sox Erosion Solutions, thanks to a trifecta of patented erosion control systems, is the leader of the pack.
True, not all erosion issues happen quickly or are the result of one powerful weather event. While major storms – such as the catastrophic Hurricane Michael, which devastated many areas on the Florida Panhandle – can cause significant damage in a matter of hours, shoreline erosion can happen gradually over time. But regardless of how it happens or how long it takes, erosion along with bodies of water, especially on golf courses, typically leads to many other problems that keep piling up if they are not dealt with.
Unwanted algae, sediment buildup, increasingly shallow ponds, poor overall drainage, unhealthy ecosystems, unstable ground, irrigation system damage, and unsightly aesthetics are just some of those problems.
“Shoreline erosion is common and can simply be the result of normal rain fluctuations or spring runoff patterns,” says Brian Fischer, a Managing Partner of SOX Erosion Systems. “It can be gradual or happen overnight. However, at the end of the day, it’s a problem that most superintendents will need to deal with at some point in their careers. For some, it’s a constant thorn in their side. But, thanks to our unique, highly-effective products, we can help! We have worked with dozens of golf courses all across the country. We have mastered erosion control and restoring living shorelines and hillsides. Our patented solutions are safe, long-lasting, and cost-effective. Just as important is that the SOX systems follow all Best Management Practices.”
Considering how many golf courses feature water hazards – including rivers, lakes, ponds, and oceans – and are situated in areas where significant storm events regularly occur – erosion problems in the golf industry are a widespread issue. In fact, it’s likely that there are more golf courses that have dealt with erosion problems than those that haven’t. It can be a difficult and expensive issue to resolve.
“Erosion and loss of land can certainly devastate a golf course and totally change the playing characteristics of a hole,” says Fischer. “Holes can quickly become unplayable and unsafe if there is significant erosion. Just like the fairways, greens, and tees, shorelines require care and maintenance. The safety for golfers and the aesthetic value of a golf course depends on healthy shorelines. Restoring the natural beauty of the waterways and creating healthy ecosystems is critical. And this is what SOX Erosion Solutions is all about.”
So how does Sox Erosion Solutions provide these necessary solutions? The three main products that set this company apart are ShoreSOX, DredgeSOX, and SOXfence. And each system has its own merits and purpose. Depending on what type of erosion problem persists at your course, one of these systems will no doubt do the job. And in a timely, cost-effective manner as well.
A good case study to examine is what transpired at the Seagate Golf & Country Club in Delray Beach, Florida a few years ago. When the shoreline erosion on a lake expanded into the fairway, Nate Watkins, the Superintendent at the club, knew he needed to take action. He wanted the natural lake shore reclaimed and the fairway restored. He felt confident that SOX Erosion Control would be able to solve the problem.
Thanks to the expert advice from SOX, it was determined that utilizing the DredgeSOX system was the best course of action. The lake suffered from excessive algae and needed to be deepened to provide more capacity for storm water run-off. DredgeSOX uses multi-functional amphibious workboats to shape the shoreline and speed the process of creating stable, living shorelines. There really is no other system out there that compares with it.
The boats dredged and removed excess sediment from the lake, which helped reduce nitrates and phosphorus and, ultimately, reduced algae growth. After the DredgeSOX breathable knitted material was anchored on the shore to define the shoreline using the patented subsurface anchoring system, the boat dredged shallow sediment from the lake and pumped it inside the SOX material envelope. As the compartment was filled, the water seeped out and the sediment remained to form a hard compact. Other natural materials were also added and this became the new shoreline. The last step was planting the bank with the appropriate vegetation.
“I was impressed with how fast this project was completed and how reasonable the cost was,” says Watkins. “They restored approximately a thousand feet of shoreline in a week. We’ve now got a safe and secure shoreline that is expected to last several decades. It’s been two years now since this lake shore has been restored using DredgeSOX and I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome.”
While there are certainly other erosion control methods out there – such as rock riprap, concrete barriers, coir netting, and so on – they are often more expensive, don’t last as long, and are not nearly as effective as the SOX systems. In addition, the SOX solutions are the most environmentally safe products.
“What really sets SOX apart is the fact that we are the only knitted system in the industry,” says Fischer. “We are able to fully vegetate, which allows for subsurface run-off filtration and allows us to truly create a living shoreline that is long-lasting and aesthetically beautiful. And I have yet to meet a superintendent who doesn’t like that combination.”
Andrew Penner is a freelance writer and photographer based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. His work has appeared in many leading golf publications throughout North America, including Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, The Golf Channel, Golf Canada, and SCOREGolf Magazine. Contact Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org