Summer aerification of the golf course was completed last week. As has typically been the case, the aerification of the greens, tees and fairways was relatively non-impactful to play. The effort on greens consisted of a small (5/8”) deep-tining, along with a light topdressing. If you’ve not played the course since the process was complete, you’ll wonder if we did anything at all.
On tees and approaches this year, we did something a little bit different. Rather than apply a heavy topdressing, then follow with solid tines, we used hollow tines to pull up a core. Following years of sand topdressing, this core is made up almost entirely of sand. After allowing the cores to dry, they are dragged with a steal mat to separate the sand from the turf. The tufts of grass are blown from the surfaces and the sand is left behind. Recycling of aerification cores isn’t anything groundbreaking. It has been and continues to be used on golf courses everywhere. The intent of this process is 100% based on the idea of reusing previously applied topdressing sand. It was our intent last week to apply this process to the entirety of our fairways. As we begin, we didn’t quite have the right equipment and ended up using our Aerway slicer on the fairways proper. The Aerway is a process we’ve often used in the past. It is effective while leaving a very clean finish.
As much as it’s great to have three full days to get course aerified, it’s also nice to have three full days for the course to rest, especially greens. The week or so after aerification is always a nice time to dial back the intensity of our course maintenance and allow the turf the chance to recover a bit from the stress of the summer. The beginning of August is always a turning point when it comes to turf stress. Hot weather in August is not really the same as hot weather in July. By this time of year, course will have seen the most stressful of the 2019 golf season. Aerification week is the perfect time to kick off the late summer/fall golf season. For my money, the best conditions of the season.
I do hope our membership appreciates the minimally disruptive way we aerify this golf course. It’s part of a holistic approach to turf management I’ve continually fine-tuned during my six-plus seasons. Much of this approach to golf course management is aimed at limiting disruptions to the member experience. I spend a great deal of time thinking about this approach and one of the benefits is that our members don’t have to endure the aerification disruption experienced at many courses.
Aerifying for three days and getting everything cleaned up is a tremendous amount of work. The turfgrass team, as they always do, worked incredibly hard and showed wonderful dedication to getting finished and leaving the best possible product by the time we re-opened. The effort and dedication this team show each day is something to behold. Most of our members will never see the effort it takes to maintain this course at such a level each day. The fact most members don’t see that work is a testament to what an amazing team we have.
Golf Course Superintendent