Thursday, December 11, 2014

My favorite activities during the season on the course is our cultural control program.  I have been doing these tasks on golf courses every couple of weeks for 20 years now yet I still get excited.  I think it must be that fact that I know how important it is to a quality playing surface to complete these jobs properly that gets me so fired up.  
Topdressing applied every 3-weeks following a vertical mowing or spiking of the surface.  

Sand on the surface after spreading

Upside down plug on the Heritage course shows the drastic modification that is happening to the surface as the sand layer increases in depth.  This is a very wet plug cut after a night of rain.  The 4 inch sand cap is much dryer and firmer than the lower saturated native soil below it.  Without topdressing this green would be saturated and unplayable.  

The sand cap we are creating increases in depth around a 0.3"-0.4" a season.  This plug is from the edge of the putting green next to the clubhouse.

A core from the 13th green on Greywalls.  These greens were constructed with a 16" root zone of pure sand.  Sand topdressing must take place to dilute the accumulation of thatch and keep the surface firm for premium ball roll.  The darker surface on this plug is an area filled with sand and roots.  If topdressing did not occur consistently and effectively this surface would be soft and bumpy with disease issues and poor playability.  We topdress at a rate to meet the growth of the bentgrass plants on the surface.  

Having a sand cap on the greens from consistent topdressing, controlling plant growth by not over fertilizing and vertical mowing allows use to reduce the quantity of traditional core aerification on the greens.  Instead we can utilize a solid tine program using small tines (as seen above) that does not effect ball roll.  We still core (pull plugs) on some areas that have addition traffic or fairy ring fungal growth; but these areas are minimal.

A picture of a nice deep vertical mowing after cleanup.  Vertical mowing must take place on the Greywalls fairways starting ASAP as organic matter accumation is at a level requiring management.  A machine needs to be purchased that can complete the task efficiently.  

Vertical mowing on the Tees

Brushing the approach turf after vertical mowing helps create a more upward growth to the plants and reduce grain.  

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