Thursday, September 25, 2014

Aeration Recovery

It's been just over 14 days since we began the fall aeration of greens and I have to say the recovery process went just as planned.  Ideal weather had a big part to play in the success of the process, however, I cannot diminish the efforts made by our team.  Timely applications of fertilizer, and diligent hand watering have kept each green in optimum health to minimize the time required for recovery.

Now that the holes are over 95% healed in, our focus this week has been to improve the playability of the greens.  The application of a growth regulator this past Monday has significantly reduced the amount of clippings collected each day, which will prolong the cut and improve ball roll.  Yesterday the staff ramped up efforts to improve smoothness by mowing the greens at .130", which is .005" lower, and then rolling the greens.  We noticed an immediate increase in both speed and smoothness after this process.  Today, we continued this process by double cutting greens at opposite directions to ensure all grass is cut and we continue to smooth the putting surface.  Tomorrow morning, the cutting height on greens will be lowered another .005" to .125".

Overall, we felt like the aeration process, and subsequent recovery, went very smoothly.  The weather has been ideal and we feel that the greens are set up perfectly for fantastic finish to the 2014 golf season!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Greens Aeration Recovery

These 5/8" holes are almost filled in
It's been just over one week and greens seem to be right on track regarding aeration recovery.  Aeration is an aggressive process that takes typically 7-14 days for full recovery depending on several factors such as: tine size, soil moisture, weather and the growth rate of the turf.

Leading up to the process, the soil moisture is carefully monitored and nutrients are applied to maximize the growth potential.  After the process is completed, the greens are rolled and brushed for a few days until we feel that the sand has been worked into the canopy as much as possible.  Mowing is withheld during the first few days after the process is complete to allow the turf to growth through the sand and to allow the roller a few days to smooth the surface.

The first few days of mowing are primarily used to pick up the larger granules and excess sand that won't work into the holes.  This is a messy process which quickly dulls the mower blades and requires the staff to clean up the debris left behind.  Each day the clippings that are collected are inspected to monitor the ratio of sand to grass.  Initially, the buckets will be mostly sand and very heavy.  After a few days, the sand amount will
Minimal sand in clippings
decrease and the ratio will become about 50/50.

With almost a week of mowing sand, the reels were very dull and in need of sharpening.  This morning, with a freshly ground reels, we were pleased to see almost no sand in the buckets.  The photo on the right shows a handful of clippings from this morning.  Now that we are phasing out of the sandy portion of the recovery process, we will begin using our newer greens mower which will give us a much better quality of cut.  Once all the holes are filled in, we will slowly lower the height of cut from .135" back down to .120" for the fall tournament season.

As always, if there are any questions regarding the aeration process or subsequent recovery, please feel free to ask.  Thank you for your patience during this time.  

Bunker Maintenance

Sand is added where needed
Today, the grounds staff has begun checking sand depths in bunkers.  The grounds department completes this process 1-2 times a year depending on weather, play and other factors.

The staff takes measurements throughout the bunker looking for sand depths to be approximately 4-5" in the bottom and 2-3" on slopes.  Sand is then added to areas that do not meet this requirement.  We've just about got the front nine done and will work to finish the back nine by next week.

Then spread around until depths are on target
The grass around bunker edges has gotten away from us lately and we will be putting a fresh edge on them next week as well.  The staff should have the bunkers shining by the end of next week.