Sunday, October 9, 2016

Course Notes, 10/9/16

The staff and I have had quite a busy September and early October.  The final days of the season had beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures, capped off with a successful Hole in One Stag tournament.  We are currently in the middle of our fall aerification.

Green tines vs. fairway tines
3/8" vs 5/8" tines
 For greens aerification this year, I decided to go with a slightly smaller tine size, for a number of reasons.  Each year, I look at many factors in deciding what is best for Elcona's greens, mainly our annual soil test results, current soil structure and rooting, and the amount of traffic the greens have received over the course of the year.  I also look at the amount of surface area impacted annually.  The USGA recommends that 20% of a putting green's surface area be removed or effected by an annual aerification program.  With our frequent venting (solid 1/4" tines) we performed this year coupled with our current soil structure and results, we went with a 3/8" coring tine instead of the traditional 5/8" tine, at a 1"x 2" spacing.  For your information, in 2016 the greens will have a total of 25.13% of surface area impacted by 6 ventings, one core aerification, and one solid deep tine in November.
Green surface after pulling cores

Each golf course is different in respect to soil structure and turf needs, so what is best for Elcona may be different that what would be best for other courses.  What is best for our greens can and may change year to year, so while these smaller tines are good for this year, we may have to go back to larger tines in future years if organic matter or thatch levels change dramatically.

After the cores dried on the surface, we verticut the soil from the thatch and turf, and dragged the material back into the holes while the staff cleaned the thatch up by hand.  Fresh sand was then added to fill the holes as best as possible.

While we were overall successful in this fall's aerification, we did have a few belt issues on a couple greens that caused a rippling effect on the turf.  We will be out repairing these areas over the course of the next week, as well as adding an additional application of topdressing to further fill any open holes.  Mowing and rolling will be done on an as needed basis to allow the turf to grow through the sand layer and create a more smooth surface in time, and would be done in the afternoon to create a dry cut that is best for the turf and limit the mess wet sand would leave.

Staff blowing sand into holes and thatch into a pile
Fairway aerification will be starting Monday, using 5/8" coring tines.  It looks like we will have fantastic weather for this process, and hopefully be complete be the end of the week.  Please be on the look out for our staff when you are out enjoying your golf course this week, as we will be busy coring and cleaning up in the afternoons.

The final product!
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at  There is still plenty of great weather, changing colors, and great golf ahead in 2016, so I hope to see you out on the golf course!


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