Monday, 27 October 2008

Tee Scarification

This week we are using the tractor mounted scarifier to remove thatch from tee surfaces. This job ideally requires dry weather so the vast amount of organic matter that we remove can be picked up from the tee surface easily. Two men are required to scrape the material up and then load onto trailers. The material is then added to the compost heap. The remaining material is then blown off the surface before finally the tee is cut to finsh the job off. We will top dress the tees with sand which will be worked into the grooves. This will help dilute the remaining thatch and will also level the playing surface. This process will be repeated on the 2nd and 4th fairways in the coming months to help improve firmness in these rather soft areas.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Winter Work On The Courses

"You'll not be as busy on the course now the season has finished"

Course staff here this comment from well intentioned players regularly but in fact nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, we are even busier in the winter than we are in the summer. As a young apprentice greenkeeper I recall my boss telling me "when the grass stops growing the real work can start" This seemed a strange comment to make, after all ,what could there be to do on a golf course in the winter? I was soon to learn that there are a number of vital tasks carried out every winter that go unnoticed by most people but are crucial for the long term health of the golf course.

Sub-Surface Aeration

This winter we will use a range of equipment designed to aerate the soil to varying depths. A slit tining machine will be used on greens, surrounds and approaches to make knife like cuts in the turf to a depth of around six inches. This task will be carried out around three times each month with the primary aim being to allow air and water penetrate into the soil profile helping keep the surface as dry as possible.

A slit tine machine

A verti-drain machine will be used on greens, tees, fairways and approaches. This machine punches holes in the turf to a depth of up to twelve inches. The main aim with this machine is to relieve compaction and improve the movement of water through the soil profile. Surfaces that are kept drier are much less prone to disease, compaction and general sward deterioration. In the longer term the holes made with the verti-drain will provide the perfect space for the grass roots to grow into. Long grass roots are needed to help the plants withstand periods of drought in summer.

The Verti-drain machine in action