We have been blessed to be avoiding the heavy rains that have hammered other parts of the state during the past few weeks and for that we are all truly thankful. This has given us the ability to present a relatively firm and fast playing surface that I hope everyone is enjoying. With these firm conditions come perfect conditions for aerifying turf areas and we have been busy over the past few weeks performing this important function on tees and par 3 approaches.
Some people may wonder why we are performing this somewhat disruptive process during the summer months and I will attempt to explain why. The first reason is, as I alluded to before, that the conditions are dry enough at the moment to effectively pull an aerification core. Trying to aerify in wet conditions-particularly on these soils-does not work very well. The aerifier simply does not pull the thatchy matter from the turf and running an aerifier over it is simply a waste of time. An extended wet period could shut down aerification for weeks and with our short season this can mean the difference between having a firm surface over time or spongy turf that stays wet all the time. We have to “make hay while the sun is shining.”
The second reason is labor availability. Cleaning up the mess left by the aerifier-particularly on tees-is a labor intensive process. Some of our help (both high school and college students) are pretty much gone by the last week of August. We have to take full advantage of the larger workforce while it is available for our use and thus able to accomplish this extra work without neglecting the other golf course chores-such as mowing and raking bunkers-that need to be done in order to present the product that everyone deserves.
4 Tee 8-14-2014
4 Tee 8-14-2014
Note tight spacing-This is a very thorough aerification
After aerifying tees, we apply a very thick layer of topdressing sand to the cleaned surface. This action performs two functions: First, the sand dilutes the layer of thatch (old stems and roots) created by the growing turf which results in a firmer surface that drains better. Second, dragging this layer of sand into the teeing surface helps to level all the imperfections on the tees caused by divots. Left alone, a heavily trafficked par 3 tee could be pitted with old divots over time and while these indentations might have grass on them, they are not level.
All this being said, we do our best to be as non-disruptive as possible by only performing work on a few tees at a time and having most work done before most golfers ever see us. The impact on the playability of the golf course is negligible though aesthetically some may notice. For those of you that do, we ask for your understanding as we try to do the best we can to offer a fine golf course not just for now but for years into the future.
See you on the golf course.
Vincent Dodge CGCS