Putting greens that are constructed to United State Golf Association (USGA) standards must adhere to strict installation specifications to maintain proper subsurface drainage. Because the infrastructure is buried, it can be difficult to ascertain if these structures were properly installed. Insufficient drainage affects agronomics, compromising the playability of the putting surface. Repairs are expensive and laborious.

This study introduces a nonintrusive survey protocol that combines ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and real-time kinematic (RTK) positioning. A case study was used to examine a putting green designed using the USGA specifications. The protocol created “as-built” subsurface maps.

The protocol non-intrusively identified the tile slope and spacing. It also determined the depth and thickness of the root-zone mixture and gravel. The green adhered to the tile spacing specification, but failed to meet specifications as to tile slope and root-zone mixture depth. These findings suggest that this protocol provides a relatively inexpensive method to determine adherence to USGA greens standards. Generated maps highlighted conformity (or lack thereof) to the design specifications.

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