One of the best things that can be done to sports turf such as golf course playing surfaces is core aeration because it addresses multiple issues. The process relieves soil compaction resulting from vehicle and foot traffic. It provides necessary air to the turfgrass root zone for basic plant physiological processes and maintains soil permeability providing a release passage for the carbon dioxide gasses produced by the roots in these processes. Finally core aeration removes the excessive organic layer or thatch that turf produces which is the culprit that seals the root zone off from atmospheric air to begin with. If it seems like a vicious circle, it is. Insert Granite Bays heavy decomposed granite soil along with high bentgrass population in the fairways and you have a even higher premium on getting this job done on a regular basis.
The actual process of aeration is not without its complications and is capable of temporarily harming as much as it helps. This is the reason why the job has to be done in a non stressful time of the year such as Spring and Fall facilitating rapid recovery. The quicker we can get the job done, the quicker the turf will recover and you can get back to playing on smooth surfaces.
|Recently core aerated green #12|
With all of this in mind Granite Bay management, with the blessing of the Granite Bay Golf Committee, decided to expand some alternating front nine / back nine closures to help golf course maintenance get the job done to all of the playing surfaces in not only a expedient manner but producing a better quality job because we would not have to rush to remove wet cores ahead of play. Unfortunately some unexpected early season storms necessitated a change of plans although we were still able to make substantial progress and improvements over aeration seasons of the past.
Our original plan to aerate greens was to do the front nine on Tuesday the 4th and the back nine on Wednesday the 5th. A decent rainstorm was forecasted for Tuesday night through Wednesday so we decided to close the entire course and complete greens aeration on Tuesday ahead of the storm. This ended up being a good call as the rain started to fall as we were putting the finishing touches on #18 Tuesday evening. Ultimately the recovery of the greens went well. After 21 days aeration holes were completely covered, the greens were rolling smooth albeit not as fast as we would like but most importantly they are healthy going into the winter.
We were scheduled to aerate fairways with another alternating front nine / back nine closure immediately following greens aeration on Thursday & Friday but conditions were not dry enough to proceed. The following week we stayed on schedule despite more rain and aerated and over seeded the hybrid bermuda tees. The week of October 17th we were scheduled for our last front nine / back nine alternating closure to aerate around the green surrounds but instead had to use these scheduled dates to complete fairways due to being rained out two weeks prior.
|Just a minimal of cleanup following the core processor.|
For fairway aeration we borrowed a piece of equipment called a core processor. This machine picked up and ground into a fine topdressing the extracted cores from the aeration process. We divided manpower resources creating a early morning aerating crew and a afternoon / evening cleanup crew and core aerated all fairways in two days along with doing a much cleaner job. Fairway aeration alone would have normally taken two weeks to complete so in three weeks we completed greens, tees and fairways. Currently we are aerating a couple of green surrounds a day and cleaning up the mess in the midst of players. It will take us a couple of weeks with everything else we have to do to complete the surrounds. Finally we will start aerating the rough after that which will take another couple of weeks.
|Toro Core Processor |
converting plugs into usable topdressing