Friday, April 6, 2012

Aeration Progress and Plans - Week of 4/2/12 - 4/6/12

Aeration progress for the week of Mon. 4/2 through Fri. 4/6 has had it high points along with some low spots which is par for the course with this process. As previously mentioned putting surfaces were completed in total on Tuesday 4/3, pretty much seamlessly.  Throughout the next couple of weeks we will apply more fertilizer and add some light topdressings of sand to the greens as they recover. We will actually start to mow them daily next week starting Tue. 4/10, a week out from the actual aeration process. Look for the aeration holes to be grown over completely by the week of Mon. 4/23 and putting speed to return shortly afterward.

Fairway aerators pulling cores on #8 Thursday 4/5 in the
mid morning.

The high points of the week was the amount of progress we were able to achieve. By the end of Mon. 4/9 we will have completed all of the putting surfaces, all of the fairways and close to half of the areas around the greens or green surrounds. That is more area covered in six working days then has ever been covered here at Granite Bay. This amount of progress would not have been possible if not for the alternating F9 / B9 closures that we secured. Thanks to all for your patience and understanding.

A vertical mower working the approach in front of #12 green
The low points of the process really can be traced to soil moisture and it associated problems. The golf course received 1-1/2" of rain the week of 3/26, directly ahead of aeration week and another .30" of rain the night of Tue. 4/3. This produced wetter then ideal conditions, not so much to core aerate, but to clean up afterwards despite having no member play and a few hours of drying weather prior to processing. The evidence are areas in the fairways that appear to have flattened soil which is actually an aeration core that did not extract properly and was smashed in by a tire from a piece of  processing equipment. Some of these smashed cores are inevitable during the process and we typically deal with them by using a vertical mower which lifts the smashed plugs from the turf canopy and chops them up. Unfortunately we had problems with that machine and now have several areas on the course that we need to catch up with this process.

Closeup of a vertical mowing cutting unit. The blades are vertical

to the horizontal shaft and slice down into the turf canopy dislodging

 smashed aeration cores and thinning the actual turf stand. 

Example of some tire tracks which
consist of in part smashed aeration

So our goal for next week, the week of Mon.4/9 is to finish core aeration of all  green surrounds and get all fairways vertical mowed and cleaned up properly. The vertical mowing in the fairways  has to be done in the afternoon when it is dry so we will bounce around member play and get it done. The remaining core aeration around the surrounds can be achieved by some different front nine and back nine starts. If we acheive this goal we will core aerated as much area in two weeks as would have normally taken us four to five weeks. The goal is  achievable as long as we don't get more rain next week although some is forecasted. 

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