Friday, September 30, 2022

Rough Seeding Continues

The seeding process of our primary rough with Tall Fescue is going well as we have completed most of the front nine this week, 9/26/22 through 9/30/22. We also conducted our bi-weekly bunker maintenance this week which takes allot of man-hours that will next week be shifted to rough seeding which will allow us to finish over 90% of all the primary rough by weeks end.

We are opening hole #'s 1, 4 & 9 today, Friday 9/30/22 to limited golf cart traffic. When I say limited, I mean;

We Need To Keep Cart Traffic on Fairway's Only, Not in the Rough.

I wrote a course update in April about carts return to the golf course describing entering and exiting through gates and not driving in the rough. I can tell by traffic patterns that the gates are used by the majority of cart's to enter and exit fairways, but I  can also tell that golf cart traffic in the rough is common place. Driving in the rough on these newly seeded holes can compromise germination and establishment, as well as potentially migrating some seed into our hybrid bermuda fairways, which we definitely dont want. Driving in the rough simply cannot happen in the month of October while this new seed establishes. 

We are all used to the gates now. It will be imperative that we use them to both enter and exit any given hole while the Tall Fescue seed in the rough germinates and starts to get established.

Overhead from springtime shows the typical pattern we need carts to take while seed in rough is germinating and establishing.
Do Not Drive In The Rough.

Golf holes that will be cart path only will be lined with multiple signs.

#4 left-hand rough, which is a typical thinning stand that has been aggressively interseeded with Tall Fescue. The timing, weather,  preparation is perfect. It will need to be kept moist for germination as well as keeping cart traffic off of it. 

Look for multiple signs reminding you to not drive in the rough.

We have invested allot of sweat and treasure into this golf course to give us a chance at surviving summers, and have a product that is both  sustainable and something we can all be proud of. The 2021 renovation was the move that made this possible. These subsequent moves of establishing more durable Tall Fescue in the rough and future moves of installing supplemental  irrigation to keep the fescue thriving in the summer will bring us even closer to this goal. I truly believe...

The Best is Yet to Come! Thank You for Your Support and Patience.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Rough Seeding

It was about a year ago, we re-opened the golf course  after going through a major renovation converting fairways to Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda, re-surfacing all putting greens and adding a few more, and  re-shaping all of the bunkers. In fact, at this time last year we were still not open to our members and still under construction. And when we did open in early October, we opened to cart path only and a golf course that was in various phases of growing in. 

A big part of the renovation was converting our fairways from cool season turf to warm season Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda. The rough and new turf around new bunkers remained cool season turf. The primary rough areas were pretty wore out from the construction processes and were in the process of being seeded with Tall Fescue, a durable cool season variety of turf which is the same turf we used around the new bunkers during the renovation.

We had allot of loose ends on many different levels to tie up after the whole renovation process, and re-establishing rough with the aforementioned Tall Fescue was just one of them. Fortunately the cooler weather of fall arrived, and all of the seed we put down germinated and established, but we never had the time to properly prepare the seedbed for wide scale, long lasting success. Never the less, the durability of the Tall Fescue began to establish itself and grass plants from last years seeding are still present today despite another summer of hardship for cool season turf throughout the region. 

Another  reminder is during renovation we chose not to convert our rough to warm season hybrid bermuda like the fairways because hybrid bermuda does not do well in shady conditions. And the trees and associated shade on our Parkland Style Golf Course, hybrid bermuda would not be the right choice of turf in those areas. 

This brings us to today and the seeding once again of our primary rough areas with Tall Fescue. We just took the last two weeks and core aerated all of the primary rough on the golf course in preparation of seeding the rough with more Tall Fescue. This seeding process is starting this week on 9/27/22 and will go through the first week, maybe second week of October. We will update with many specifics the process's we will be undertaking as we proceed, but I wanted to bullet point  some main concepts for us all to understand.

 1. We need to keep the fescue seed out of the fairways.

 2. In order to achieve this we will have to restrict carts to paths only on the holes we are working on which will be more restrictions at any given time then the last two weeks when we were aerating the rough. Cart path only holes will be plainly marked with cart path only signs. 

3. Once we open a newly seeded hole to cart traffic, it will be important to enter and exit holes through the gates and drive carts in the fairway only.

Even though we core aerified all of the rough last week, we plan to hit extremely bare areas in the rough prior to seeding one more time with shallow, solid tine aeration

The TriWave seeder will be just one of the tools we plan to use in the seeding process. Here it is in action in the rough on #1

I'm confident once we get the seed covered with topdressing as well as worked  into the soil with irrigation, the seed will not migrate into the fairways. Keeping rough areas moist while the seed germinates will be another issue we will have to face  as without adequate moisture the seed cannot swell, germinate and establish. 

The timing and our ability to focus on seeding rough aside from normal course setup should elevate our seeding efforts  this year over last. Another reminder however is our renovation converted approximately half of our course to warm season turf that can handle our summers. The other half, the rough, is still cool season turf that will need to survive next summer, and summer is coming. That's why we are promoting Tall Fescue and its's better summer durability and tolerance to other cool season varieties as well as our plan to start adding supplemental irrigation to these rough areas. Our goal is to give us the ability independently irrigate our cool season rough apart from our warm season fairways which should put us in a good spot for all of our turf  to survive summers of the future.

This supplemental irrigation work will not get done over night and establishing our rough to primarily tall fescue will take multiple passes as well. We should however, with our focused seeding efforts this fall  and addition of some supplemental irrigation, be in a better place in fall of 2023.

The Best Is Yet To Come! Thanks for your Support & Patience



Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Rough Aeration Continues

Early this week we received some rainfall that is always welcomed in September, but untimely for our aeration operation as dry conditions are essential for the clean-up process. It rained here at the course all morning on Monday 9/19/22 making conditions to wet to start the back nine  process through Tuesday 9/20/22. Then just when we finished the actual aeration process on holes #'s 10 & 12 on Wednesday 9/21/22, an unexpected two hour steady rain made the aeration cores way to wet to process. We will have to wait until tomorrow afternoon to clean them up as well as adjust our plan to stay on track to start seeding rough next week on 9/27/22. Below is our revised plan to get the rough aeration completed.  

 Revised Rough Aeration Schedule for Week of 9/19/22

Tuesday 9/20/22 - Too Wet
Wednesday 9/21/22 - Hole #'s 10-12 -  Rain 9:30 - 11:30. Too Wet to Clean-up
Thursday 9/22/22 - Cleanup Holes #'s 10-12 in the early afternoon
Friday 9/23/22 - Hole #'s 13 , 15 , 17 - Front Nine Start
Monday 9/26/22 - Hole #'s 11 & 18
Tuesday 9/27/22 - Seeding Process Begins

Somewhat unexpected rain hit at the most inopportune time today as we were just 
finishing the rough aeration on hole #'s 10&12.

Even a light rain, like what we received, makes it impossible to clean up the cores.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Aerifying The Rough

We started the recovery process for our rough this week with an aggressive core aeration. Turfgrass aeration is the dreaded but necessary process of punching a hole and sometimes extracting a core consisting of thatch and soil, thus providing passage ways for water and air to the soil and roots of the turf grass surface.  We are planning on core aerating all of the rough on the front nine this week and the back nine next week. Afterwards, the week of 9/26/22, we plan to start seeding the rough we just aerified. 

The process of core aerifying large turf areas like our rough involves using a large Toro Procore 1298 aerifier that penetrates down into the turf area and either punches a simple hole or extracts a core depending on the tine that is used and what we are trying to achieve. Typically core aeration is more aggressive procedure that has the added benefit of removing excessive organic matter from the soil profile. Core aeration for golf course turf requires a lot of clean-up as we need to process and remove the extracted cores which requires dry conditions to do so. Therefore, we typically aerify in the early AM and start cleaning up in the afternoon after some drying has taken place.  Pictures below will tell the story better than I can for those who are interested. 

Rough Aeration Schedule for Week of 9/12/22

Tuesday 9/13/22 - Holes 1-2     Back 9 Start
Wednesday 9/14/22 - Holes 4-5     Back 9 Start
Thursday 9/15/22 - Holes 8-9     Back 9 Start
Friday 9/16/22 - Holes 6-7     Back 9 Start

Since we will be working on the front nine this week, we will adopt a back nine start all week to give GCM a little extra time in the AM.

I mentioned in the previous course update that we would be adopting cart path only restrictions to the holes we were aerifying. Signs will be posted along cart paths and walnut shells as a reminder.

GCM core aerifying around flagged irrigation heads.

Core aerified rough awaiting some drying prior to removal with a sweeper.
Keeping these moist cores from getting smashed back into the turf prior
to removal is crucial and why we need the cart restrictions while we are
cleaning up the mess.

After the cores dry and we process them a bit by dragging or scarifying, we start to sweep them up. This can be a dusty, dirty process. 

So far so good with the entire process through Wednesday 9/14 as we have had no equipment issues or setbacks and have stayed on schedule. Assuming this momentum continues we will proceed with the below schedule for next week. Thanks for bearing with the process.

Rough Aeration Schedule for Week of 9/19/22

Tuesday 9/20/22 - Holes 10-11    Front 9 Start
Wednesday 9/21/22 - Holes 12-13    Front 9 Start
Thursday 9/22/22 - Holes 15-16     Front 9 Start
Friday 9/23/22 - Holes 17-18     Front 9 Start

Thursday, September 8, 2022

End of Summer Update

 The Fall Equinox is only two weeks away, marking the astrological end of summer and where nighttime and daytime hours are equal in length. Granite Bay Golf Course Maintenance will look at this date a little less passionately this year as our new Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda fairways will miss the warmth of summer, but our primarily cool season blend of turf in the rough and around the bunkers will indeed welcome the change.

Currently we are in the tail end of an historic heatwave and we are not experiencing  the devastating turf losses this property has endured over past summers. It is a nice position to be in.   The rough has taken a hit and some spots in step collars will need some re-sodding when things cool off, but all in all we have a  golf course that is alive and very playable. 

Rough Recovery

Fall is a great time to year to recover and grow cool season turf and to germinate seed. Therefore beginning next week on Tuesday 9/13/22, we will start to aggressively aerify the rough on the golf course in preparation for aggressive interseeding with Tall Fescue

Last fall we were opening the golf course after our 2021 renovation and were embroiled in a myriad of tasks left behind in the wake of the renovation and recovering the rough was just one of those tasks. This year, for maybe the first time ever, we will be able to focus much of our fall renovation efforts on the rough aeration and seeding since our cultivation on the new fairways is done until next year. We plan to get aggressive with the rough aeration to facilitate some much needed recovery.

Rough Aeration Schedule For Next Week

Tuesday 9/13/22 - Holes 1-2     Back 9 Start
Wednesday 9/14/22 - Holes 4-5     Back 9 Start
Thursday 9/15/22 - Holes 8-9     Back 9 Start
Friday 9/16/22 - Holes 6-7     Back 9 Start

During the rough aeration process we will close the holes to cart traffic we are working on. We will communicate our progress through the Golf Shop daily e-mail and post adequate signs along cart path's regarding the cart restrictions. I will post another Course Update next week with an updated rough aeration schedule for the back nine based on progress at that time, as well as our plan for seeding the newly aerated rough,  which will require some nuanced cart restrictions to keep seed in the rough and out of the new Santa Anna Fairways.

Thank you in advance for understanding the necessity of this work and co-existing  around these messy and loud non-routine maintenance practices. The only other option would be to close the golf course, and we dont want to do that. 

Aerifying rough. We are starting this process next week and plan to get aggressive. 


Michele McCormick is a Granite Bay Member and professional photographer who really enjoys capturing wildlife images of GBGC, particularly birds. On a recent Monday walk about, Michele had 21 bird species sightings and captured these spectacular shots, one of a White Tailed Kite and another of a Red Shouldered Hawk. Michele had never seen a White Tailed Kite here which makes that image something special.

Not to be out done, Felipe Reyes, a long time GCM staff member captured this image on his cell camera of a White Winged Dove that from I can find out,  is rare in our area. The cactus are out on the Barton Road lot, planted by GCM staff years ago and used in certain Hispanic cuisine. The cactus is used in the cuisine, not the dove.

Fall is a great time of year, and substantially less stressful this year as we have much less recovery then what we have had to endure in seasons past. It will still be busy, as cooler weather and ending vacations will bring members back to the club. We in golf course maintenance are looking forward to getting the rough back to good and starting further irrigation improvements at the end of the year to help us hold onto more of this cool season rough before next summer. Much still to do, but .........

The Best Is Yet To Come

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Fairway Aeration and Sand Topdressing

We started our second heavy sand topdressing of our new Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda fairways following a solid tine aeration this week as scheduled. We aerated and topdressed hole #'s 1 & 2 as well as  #'s 17 & 18 yesterday. Spreading the topdressing sand  is a  time consuming process as we can move and spread only 4 yards at  a time from three locations where we have stockpiled sand. 

We topdressed only three holes yesterday but will topdress another four today. We have the front nine tomorrow to continue  and because of the specific holes proximity to sand, we are shooting to get another 4 completed, almost finishing the front nine with #7 & #6 left. We will complete these along with back nine par 3's on Monday 8/29/22 when we are closed. That will complete the FW aeration and topdressing process for 2022

Thursday 8/24/22 we will have to topdress the back nine hole's of #15 & #16 and the entire course is scheduled to be open. Playing off of the topdressing is one thing, but we need to drag the topdressing in on these holes  after it has dried.  We will start this dragging process around 10:30 AM  and it will be a dusty mess, as evidenced by some of the below pictures. We don't want to expose our members too this dust,  so when we start this dragging and blowing process at 10:30 AM we are going to ask members to skip these hole's after playing #14 and head straight to #17. 

A picture is worth a thousand words. Above depicts how dusty it gets when we drag the topdressing in. It has to be dry to get it to move so Thursday 8/24/22 between approximately 10:30 AM and 1:00 PM we are going to post the above sign on #15 tee 

Conditions are never perfect when we are executing any of these necessary cultural practices, but the only other option then F9 & B9 alternating closures  would be to close the golf course for 5 days to complete the process. Below are as promised, some pictures of the process that is currently underway.

Step # 1 -  We flag all the sprinkler heads, valve boxes, yardage markers  etc. so the operator can lift aerifyer over the object and not destroy it. 
Step #2 - Aerify fairway. We chose solid tines this application which requires no cleanup of cores or debris prior to topdressing.

Aeration pattern directly after aerifying.

Step #2 - Applying topdressing at the rate of 50 tons per acre. That's 1500 tons which equates to over 50 truck and trailer transfer loads. We stockpile sand prior to this operation in the maintenance yard and adjacent to #12 green, as well as  the corner lot on Barton Road and in the back corner of the parking lot.

Another cool shot of Enrique topdressing #12 fairway with lake in the foreground and bunker in the background.

Step #3 -  Initial dragging of the dried topdressing into the fairway aeration holes and turf canopy

Closer look at the dragging process

Step #4 - More subsequent dragging, blowing, mowing with an old mower, whatever it takes to get this volume of sand incorporated into the turf canopy. Typically we would irrigate heavily after aeration and topdressing to get the soil profile evenly wet facilitated by all of the aeration holes, but then we need to dry the area out to do the extra dragging and blowing necessary to move the sand deeper into aeration holes and turf canopy. 

This sand will dissipate after a few days while it gets further worked into the turf canopy and soil via aeration holes. This leaves us with a week to catch up on some details and then as I indicated earlier, we will start to aggressively core aerate and seed our rough areas. More on the specifics of that process next week.

Thanks for Your Support

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Upcoming Fairway Aeration

Starting next week on Monday 8/22/22 we will be aerating and sand topdressing the Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda fairways here at GBGC. Our new fairways will benefit greatly from a aeration, allowing air and water to move deeper into the native soil profile. Immediately following the aeration process we will sand topdress with our second 50 ton per acre topdressing of 2022. This topdressing sand will work it way into both the turf canopy as well as the aeration holes and help to continue smooth, level and dry out these one year old fairways. Mid August weather will facilitate very rapid recovery.

Keep in mind, all of our cultural processes we did to the course this year, and the sequence in which we did them, were somewhat out of the norm because we are still are growing in  these turf grass surfaces. As an example we topdressed fairways early in the season as soon as the hybrid bermuda woke up  as we desperately needed to fill in the many surface inconsistencies of the previous years sprigging. A few weeks later we verticle mowed, which in normal practice would be done in conjunction with sand topdressing and aeration. The aeration we ae planning next week moves us closer to normal routines and provides us data for future planning.

We have all day Monday to start  the process and will have alternating F9 & B9 closures Tuesday and Wednesday to complete it. Below are older pictures of fairway aeration as well as some repeat pictures of our initial topdressing of the Santa Anna this past spring. I'll provide real time pictures and updates as the process unfolds next week.

Monday 8/22/22 - F9 & B9 FW Aeration      Course Closed

Tuesday 8/23/22 - Complete B9 FW Aeration      Back 9 Closed

Wednesday 8/24/22 - Complete F9  FW Aeration      Front 9 Closed

Old picture of Enrique aerating our old fairways

Applying 50 tons per acre of sand to our new Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda fairways just this past spring.

Dragging in the topdressing sand after is had dried

Closeup of the fairway after initial pass with drag mat. The visible inconsistencies are not necessarily a thing of the past but continued topdressing at the 50 ton per acre rate will in time smooth them out. 

Thanks for Your Support

Friday, August 12, 2022

Ball Marks

Recently we have had to put out signs to remind some of  our Members about their responsibility of repairing ball marks on greens. I know the very active segment of our golf membership are passionate about repairing ball marks and educating those who are not as passionate,  and it is time that the message comes from golf course maintenance as well.  Your golf course maintenance staff is limited in what we  can do with ball mark repair ahead of mowing greens in the morning. We start at 4:30 AM and work with vehicle lights and headlamps for the first few hours of our day as it is dark. Once a mower runs over a elevated ball mark, or even a slightly elevated pitch mark, the scalped turf will  die and will need to recover from creeping grass around the scar or be repaired with sod or sand. 

The most effective & successful repair of a ball mark or a pitch mark depression is the proper repair made immediately after the ball mark was made.

Our greens have matured substantially since October but they are still young and developing root mass and depth. And it's their first summer after their initial planting, so we are not taking any chances with them. This means at times they might be wetter and softer then they will be in the future and these conditions lend to deeper ball marks, although very evident  and should be repaired by the golfer.

We repair massive ball marks every morning that had to have been visible the day or evening before to the Member  Golfer that created it. Below are examples of what we come across on a regular basis as we prepare the greens for daily play. 

Very visible ball mark prior to GCM repair.  Monday AM ahead of brushing in topdressing sand. 

Another evident ball mark prior to GCM repair on Monday AM as well

This is not a ball mark, but a divot taken out of #2 green sometime on Sunday 8/7/22. 

None of us are fans of signs on our Private Golf Club as it is implied that with the privilege's of being a Member of Granite Bay Golf Club comes responsibility of basic golf course care. That being said, I agree with the Golf Committee that we need to do something and try to get everyone on the same page.

The USGA provides tips for ball mark repair in the linked article in which has a nice video as well. The 5 steps for properly repairing a ball mark are reprinted below.

1. The proper technique for ball mark repair is easy and fast.

Insert the ball mark repair tool behind the ball mark and gently pull the top of the tool toward the center. Continue working around the ball mark, pulling the surrounding turf in toward the center of the indentation. Avoid using a lifting or twisting motion because this can damage turf roots. Once you have finished pulling turf in toward the center, gently tamp the area down with your putter to create a smooth, firm surface

2. Unrepaired ball marks cause lasting problems

Failing to repair a ball mark may seem like a minor oversight, but there are lasting consequences. Unrepaired ball marks can take weeks to heal, during which time they can cause balls to bounce off line. The damage to the putting surface is also an entry point for weeds that can cause serious problems.

3. Certain putting greens are more vulnerable to ball marks than others.

Any putting green that typically receives high, lofted approach shots will be more susceptible to ball marks. The putting greens on par-3 holes are a perfect example. If you recognize that a putting green is prone to damage from ball marks, it is important to be mindful of repairing your own ball mark and a few unrepaired ones nearby.

4. Soft conditions mean more ball marks.

When putting greens are wet or soft, ball marks will be more of an issue. This is just one of the reasons why superintendents work hard to promote firm playing conditions with aeration, topdressing and other maintenance practices. If excessive thatch accumulates beneath the putting surface, ball marks and other turf issues will be more problematic.

5. Almost any pointed tool can be used to successfully repair a ball mark.

Many different tools have been created to repair ball marks, including single-pronged and fork-shaped tools. Almost any pointed tool, including a golf tee, can be used to effectively repair a ball mark. Using the proper technique is the key to success.

Traditional ball mark repair tool that I like using when repairing ball marks and pitch marks. The tool is beside a ball mark that is recovering as grass is moving into middle but who knows how long that repair process has taken. 

I understand that  most Members who read these Course Updates repair both their own  and other ball marks constantly and I thank you for your care as well as your continued efforts to educate fellow Members.

Progress on this front will need to be collaborative effort, so we will step up our efforts in GCM to catch the errant mark that escaped the responsible party before mowing, and of course our continued mission is to work on maturing and firming these greens. Firmer greens will not necessarily make ball marks a thing of the past, but will help, although it will take time. At the end of the day, the responsible party for the ball mark or pitch mark is the golfer who made them. The best quote from the  USGA Article is:

"Repairing ball marks is one of the easiest ways that golfers can help superintendents deliver high-quality playing conditions. After hitting a great shot onto the putting green, fixing your ball mark and a couple nearby is an excellent way to celebrate".

Thank You for your Help!

Friday, August 5, 2022

Continuing The Growin

We have always indicated that 2022 would be a grow-in extension of our 2021 golf course renovation, and if you were following progress, you would have to concur. All golf course renovations have a frenzied nature about them and our 2021 renovation was  no exception as we simultaneously re-built greens & bunkers and converted fairways to hybrid bermuda. This chaotic at times, and intense pace was carried out while racing against mother nature's deadlines, as well as rushing to get our Members back out on their golf course  prior to the cold of winter

One of the late and frenzied operations  of last year was the sprigging of #12 fairway and the recovery of #17 fairway. Seventeen fairway was our beta hybrid bermuda fairway sodded in 2019 and was used as a sod farm during the 2021 renovation. Hybrid bemuda will regenerate itself after sod removal, but  #17 was in varying stages of recovery as fall approached in 2021 and #12 was the last hole to be sprigged on the last day of August. Neither of these scenarios left much time for hybrid bermuda recovery or establishment from sprigs as days were getting shorter and the warm weather required for hybrid bermuda establishment was waning. 

Fast forward to now, the summer of 2022, and the warm weather opportunity to finish what we started with these two fairways last year. In July we started an aggressive fertility campaign on these two holes as well as weaker areas in other fairways to get the hybrid bermuda establishment that dident completely fill in during our initial  grow-in season of 2021. This fertility campaign is very similar to what we did in 2021 to get the sprigs to cover before opening. Below are some on going examples of those efforts for those of you that are interested. We will continue these efforts through September while the Santa Anna is actively growing. 

Because of the late sprigging of #12 fairway last year on the last day of August, we dident have much warm weather left in the year to adequately grow in the hybrid bermuda sprigs. The warm late summer  / early fall in 2021 provided more warm growing weather then anticipated, but #12 & #17 were still behind the other fairways in establishment. We decided that it would be prudent to inter-seed these fairways with cool season grass for the winter months then transition those grasses out of the fairways in the summer of 2022.

This picture from #12 fairway illustrates some of these overseeded cool season turf areas that are starting to thin  from summer heat while trying to grow in Granite Bay. The surrounding Santa Anna hybrid bermuda that established last year is starting to fill in the voids of the cool season turf that is checking out.

Frequent applications of fertilizer, two to three times per week, will fill in the voids that are depicted in the previous picture. How do we know this? It was exactly what we did to grow in sprigs in 2021.

Larger areas of cool season overseed from 2021 that has now checked out will require some sod repair despite our current fertility regimen on #12 & #17. We plan to start re-sodding these areas this week into the next.

We still have some good Hybrid bermuda establishment weather ahead of us, at least six weeks. Finishing what we started and filling in the voids is imperative during this time. We will be aerating and topdressing all of the fairways in mid August (more on the scheduling of this next week) which will be beneficial for the work described above as well. 

Thanks for your support and patience. The Best Is Yet To Come!

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Recent Greens Spiking

Below are the pictures of the steps we took for spiking / aeration of the new putting greens this past Monday 7/25/22. We were watching the weather forecast and decided a 98 degree high for the forecast was about as good as we were going to get in July having postponed the Monday prior. Turned out to be quite pleasant and we experienced no weather related issues. For those that are interested, enjoy the pictorial of the process all the way through Tuesday AM.

Step 1 Aerify Middle - The size of the cores depicted here are deceptive. They are actually 1/4" wide by 1/4" long after  the associated sand is removed in the cleanup process. This lines up with the strategy I wrote about last update of doing small timely cultivation events to minimize disruption for both putting quality as well as poa encroachment. Above picture also depicts a new aerifyer that is larger and more productive.

Step 2 Aerify Perimeter - To minimize any injury to the putting surface when operating the larger aerifyer we opted to use our smaller aerifyer in the perimeters of the putting surface.

Step 3 Cleanup - We use an assortment of blowers & shovels to remove all of the little cores. This is the labor intensive, time consuming step.

Little cores piling up during the clean-up process

Little cores appear larger then they are in this close-up picture.

Step 4 - Rolling the green. Little tufts around the small holes need to get rolled out. 

Step 5 - Applying sand topdressing. The USGA Green Section recommends targeting 30 cubic foot (cu. ft.) of topdressing sand per 1000 square feet (M) per year on putting surfaces. The application above represents approximately 2 cu. ft. / M and it will fill the small aeration holes nicely. We routinely lightly topdress the greens at rate of approximately 1 cu. ft. / M but will still struggle to get to that 30 cubic foot per year. Especially because we dont want to have to do large aeration events where topdressing amounts can be in the range of  4 - 5 cu. ft. / M. 

Step 6 Brushing - Topdressing sand needs to be brushed into open aeration holes and turf canopy. This can be a stressful process if the putting surface is stressed or temperatures are too warm. Typically we will have to go over the green in varying patterns a couple of times to get the sand worked in.

Finished product after brushing. These small holes make it difficult sometimes to get the sand worked into the holes. Moisture level in the sand or in the green itself making sand wet causes it to bridge above small open hole. Too much brushing to break this bridging can cause damage to the bentgrass leaf blades so we try to wait as long as we can to start brushing. Its a balance because too dry can cause damage as well, especially when it is warm. 


Step 7 Irrigation - We would not irrigate the putting surface prior to a cultivation event like core aeration but definitely want to immediately afterwards for multiple reasons. First the process of opening the greens up exposes them to the elements and potential 
desiccation, so we want to re-hydrate. Secondly having all of these open holes allows us to easily irrigate the entire putting surface profile to complete saturation subsequently resulting in irrigation field capacity where there is a perfect balance of air and usable water for the plant. Getting the entire putting surface to this balance is not always easy in the absence of the open passageways provided by aeration. This is one of the main reasons we greenskeepers are always trying to poke holes in the turf. 

View of #1 green after initial irrigation following aeration.

Step 8 - Rolling on the morning after aeration. We like to keep the mowers off of the newly aerated green at least a day after the aeration process. Rolling smooths the surface out and makes them playable.  

Step 9 - After we roll the greens we blow off any imperfections and  accumulation of sand. 

I wrote about our poa annua prevention strategy last week as it related to spiking and aeration. We need to have flexibility to do these cultural practices outside seasons of poa germination. This means we need to carry out these practices in the summer and need to be careful undertaking them in extreme temperature's. Therefore we need to be flexible and adjust to  summer weather forecasts.

Neglecting these proactive cultural practices is easy and happens all the time, usually to the playing surface detriment. Golfing events and weather and "the greens are perfect, why are you poking holes in them?", all play a part in neglecting doing the right things for the short and long term health of the playing surfaces. It's a WIN, WIN if we can stick to doing a few timely micro tine aeration or spiking events per year that accomplish agronomic necessities, mitigate poa encroachment and at the same time maintain a very playable putting surface.