Aerification and topdressing are seen as negatives by most golfers but they are vital to maintaining healthy turf and creating the best possible playing conditions.
We will look at what it takes to achieve both of these practices as well as the benefits both provide to the turf.
Aerification can be a time-consuming practice, however, when done the right way we can achieve it with little to no interference with the golfers. We use two Toro Procore 648 machines to aerify our tees, approaches, and greens.
We aerify our tees and approaches once a year with half inch side eject hollow tines.
When aerifing our greens we use multiple sizes of tines depending on the time of year, weather, and what we are trying to accomplish.
In the fall, we use half inch side eject hollow tines as our goal is to remove organic matter from the profile and replace it with sand.
This also helps our greens drain well throughout the winter.
In the spring, we use either three eighths of an inch side eject hollow tines or quarter inch solid needle tines.
The benefit of the smaller tines in the spring is that they allow our greens to heal much quicker and therefore does not disrupt play for an extended period of time.
Throughout the golf season we will vent our greens every four to six weeks depending on weather and play with the quarter inch solid tines.
We follow this venting by rolling the disturbed greens so they are ready for play immediately.
It is necessary to vent the greens regularly to help promote a healthy turf and in return a better playing surface.
A few of the main reasons we aerify are to break up compaction, help with gas exchange, help with drainage, and remove organic matter and thatch from the profile.
Since purchasing our Procore aerifiers, we have noticed a significant improvement in the depth of our roots.
This is extremely important for many reasons, but mainly because now the plant can reach deeper for water.
This allows us to dry the greens out when we need them to be more firm.
Topdressing is often seen as a poor maintenance practice by golfers, as they feel as though it is not allowing them to play on the best possible putting surfaces.
However, this is a very common misconception.
Our fall aerification requires a heavier application of sand to help fill in the larger holes.
Whereas during the peak golf season we will apply a light dusting of sand to our greens every four weeks.
Following the sanding we brush the sand in, then brush mow, and use sand reels to clean everything up.
The benefits of topdressing are not just to fill in the areification holes but to provide a better playing surface for the duration of the year.
The sand will smooth out the playing surface allowing for a smoother roll and will help with consistent and desired green speeds.
So, next time you see our amazing maintenance team out venting or topdressing the greens, thank them for making your Gold Mountain Golf Club your favorite place to golf!