It is that time of year again for the dreaded aerification of the greens. The golf course will be closed to play Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of next week to complete the process. This year we will be aerifying our greens twice with small 1/4" tines only one time in June. The holes should heal up rather quickly and allow us to get the greens back to standard in a timely manner.
Over the past week we have been working on getting the aerification of the green surrounds completed, or at least started. Over the years of topdressing and fertilizing the greens, the surrounds have begun to grow a "hump" on the outside 2-3 feet of the collar. This "hump" creates several problems with mowers and rollers, water being restricted from flowing off of the greens surface, and disruption of ball roll onto and around the green.
The process of removing this "hump" has been a work in progress but we seem to have a pretty good process down now and it is working quite well. We are using 3/4" side eject tines on our John Deere aerifier to remove material from this area. Removing the soil creates quite a mess but will allow for voids in the subsurface so the "hump" can be mashed down.
We tried to roll down the area with our greens roller but quickly found that it was too light to get the job done to our satisfaction. We loaded up our Dakota topdresser and used the weight of the sand plus the machine to flatten out the areas. The process was a little messy in some areas but we were able to lower the "humps" around the greens by several inches in many areas. We will continue the process throughout the summer on the worst areas to continue improving the golf course.
I have had several questions about the brown areas on some of the greens and collars, especially on #16 green. First, let me say that the greens are NOT dying or in any threat of dying. The brown areas were caused by a fertilizer "burn" which is being investigated by the fertilizer company. I have used this particular brand of fertilizer on these greens for the past four years with absolutely zero issues so this is something that is puzzling to all of us. I am thankful for all the concern and interest and we are working on it steadily. I believe the upcoming aerification will help to relieve the issue and get our greens back were they are supposed to be.