Friday, August 12, 2016

Showing the Tees, Fairways, and Driving Range some "Love"

Greens Aerification wasn't the only work that got accomplished last week.  We also performed summer cultural practices on tees, fairways, and the driving range tee as well.  All the tee boxes were aerified using 3/4" solid tines, topdressed heavily with sand, and then once dry enough the sand was drug in.  This practice will make the tees healthier, will increase drainage, and will loosen the compaction of the soil making it easier for you to get your tee in the ground, which we know has been a challenge sometimes this summer.

The big practice that we took on this year was to verticut or vertical mow the fairways.  This year since we had a few extra days I decided to go "deep" to really get down into the thatch layer and clean the grass up.  With the blades set at 1/4" below zero we surely accomplished that goal and pulled a lot of debris up.

Just like the verticutting units for the greens, the ones for the fairways are designed to cut into the turfgrass on a vertical plane pulling long stolons and dead/decaying thatch to the surface so it can be removed.  Here is a video of the fairway verticutter in action.  As you can see there is a tremendous amount of debris removed during this process.  Following the verticutting we blew as much of the clippings as we could from the fairways and mowed them in a circular pattern to "attack" the grass from different angles than it is used to which really cleaned the fairways up.  Since we do not have a leaf/turf vacuum to pick the clippings up there was a lot of debris to blow and you will still experience a little bit of it for a week or so but it will soon be gone.

One area that we really wanted to work on while the course was closed was the landing area on #10 where we installed all the drain lines this winter #10 Fairway Drainage Project Complete.  The work on this fairway has turned out great but the areas where the drains were installed needed to be smoothed out.  Using our John Deere tractor aerifier Willie aerified the landing area with 1" coring tines, allowed the cores to dry and then used a steel drag mat to bust up and spread the cores around.  The area was then blown off and rolled several times with the 1.25 ton vibratory roller we rented for the greens.  We also, as to not waste anything on our course, used the sand removed from #9 green that we had stockpiled in the parking lot to top dress the area heavily which will help continue to fill in the trenches and smooth the landing area out.

To try and make sure all the areas on our golf course felt some love throughout the week we also aerified and verticut the driving range tees on Thursday.  Using the same JD tractor and coring tines the range tees were aerified, then verticut with the Toro verticutters, all the sand drug in and then all the debris blown off to the front of the complex.

In fact there was so much thatch material removed from these tee boxes that when Willie got it blown to the front of the tee complex we had to take the Bobcat up to load it into a trailer to haul it off.  In total we removed 5 full trailer loads of clippings from the area which is an incredible amount.  Just goes to show how badly it was needed to be done, and therefore it will be done a little more often from now on so we don't get in this situation again.

We all love our golf course and believe that all the work we performed last week will only go to improve it moving forward.  We still have a few tees to top dress and will be blowing some of the clippings as we mow fairways over the next couple of weeks.  We are already seeing some response from the fairways as they look more lush and healthy and the tee markers are easier to set in the ground on the tee boxes.  It's always nice to see all the hard work paying off.

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