Thursday, September 30, 2010

Changing It Up

Next week the golf course will be closed for three days to aerify greens, tees and fairways.  This year we are going to be changing up some of our techniques to help deal with the later than normal timing of aerification in addition to some key agronomic changes for the future.

We will be using 1/4" hollow tines on tees and fairways and 1/4" solid tines on greens.  These smaller tine sizes will help speed the recovery to the turf by reducing the size of area that needs to re-grow. This is critical due to the time of the year we are in as the turf begins to slow down and prepare itself for the upcoming winter.

The biggest change to our aerification approach will come in the way of topdressing fairways with sand instead of compost.  For the last eight years we have been applying compost to the fairways to help with our Bentgrass conversion in addition to restoring biological activity in the soil. The compost has done its job really well by restoring life to the soil and has created an environment in which the thatch is in an active state of degradation.  This process has left the surface a little softer than I would like so we will be embarking on a long term sand fairway topdressing program to help restore some surface firmness. Another key benefit will come in the form of improved surface drainage that will allow for more ball roll off the tee shots.

Combining the compost rich aeration cores that come up in the fairways with the sand will create a nicely blended material that will be mutually beneficial  and provide the best of both worlds for the fairways.

We will be applying more than 1000 tons of sand to the fairways which is a huge task in itself. Our biggest challenge will be getting the material around the golf course in an efficient manor and the only way this can be done will be utilizing the development roads. The sand topdressing process will unfortunately spill over the three days that we will be closed and carry into the following week to ultimately complete the process.