Sunday, August 27, 2017

The devil is in the details...

You might think that the aerification process is the same now as it was 20 or 30 years ago.  However, quite a bit has changed both in terms of the equipment and labor we use in this process.

To start with, bigger isn't always better.  While our tractor-mounted aerifier can cover a whole lot of ground, the clean performance and tighter hole spacing that the walking machines give us, is now preferred.

We often say that the actual aerification process is pretty fast and simple--it's the cleanup afterwards that takes time and effort.  Once the aerification plugs have dried a bit, we separate the thatch and soil by using an old fairway mower which has verticut reels, and pulls a steel drag mat.  On a hot, dry day, this is a dirty job.

We then follow behind with our core harvesters, which pick up the thatch. 

Back in the day, the final cleanup was done by a tractor-mounted PTO blower.  Once again, we found the bigger machine wasn't necessarily the best machine for the job.  Today, we use up to 10 backpack blowers to do a final cleaning of the turf.  This is really labor intensive (and yes, another dirty job), but allows us to have a very clean finished product.

Some courses keep a set of old mowing units for cutting post-aerification, which they may refer to as mud or dirt reels.  Given our detailed cleanup, these are not necessary!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

It rained on our parade...

After extolling the wonderful weather last week, we should have known that we were in for some less than perfect conditions for aerifying.  Monday's green aerification went well...for most of the day.  However, just about the time we were going to give the greens a final blowing to redistribute the sand, it started to rain. 

The topdressing sand we use for filling the aerification holes is kiln-dried, which allows it to spread easily, quickly filling the holes.  Once this sand got wet, it was like trying to spread cake frosting across the greens.
Greens aerification started with sunny skies.

Tuesday came, and we aerified the rain.  Once again, both cleanup and working the topdressing sand into the holes were challenging activities.  We absolutely could not have gotten the job done without the great teamwork that took place.  This year, several members of the Pro Shop staff pitched in to help, which made a huge difference in our success.

We are moving on to fairways this week, and that can mean only one thing:  The weather forecast is calling for temperatures well above average.  To this, we say, "Bring it on!"  The team is ready to don their ear plugs and dust masks and tackle this important task!  

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Wonderful Weather

Often times, it seems like all we do is complain about the weather (especially at this time of year).  So, in an effort to be fair and balanced, let it be known that we are extremely grateful for the great weather we have had the past week.
Looking back down #12 from the green.

When it comes to giving the turf a break, cool nights are equally as valuable to us as cool days.  Any August morning when we need to throw on a light jacket is welcomed, and we were happy to have a few of them this week.

Some folks have already forgotten the six heat waves we experienced before August, and are referring  to this as an "easy" year.  While this may end up being just an "average" year when the books are closed on it, it has had its share of challenges, including way too much rain for many local courses.

The forecast looks like we will have good weather for aerification this week.  Less stress going into this process will hasten recovery and get us set up for some great conditions this fall.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Touting Our Tote Uses

If you read the Repurposed post last month, we discussed a way we had found to reuse the totes which liquid fertilizer comes in.  A quick zip with a reciprocating saw gave us a great container for storing divot mix.

Well, the creative juices were at work again recently, and we found another time-saving use for these totes.

We often need to water plantings around the Clubhouse, and it is impractical to hook up a hose. Once again, a search on Amazon led us to what we were looking for:  A 12 volt, self-priming pump, with 4+ gallon per minute flow.

We now have the ability to take close to 300 gallons of water wherever we need it.  In addition to making the watering easier during the summer, this can also be used as a water supply when we are pressure washing the bridges over the winter.

When not needed, the tote and attached pump slide right out of the utility vehicle.  Who knows what the next use for these totes will be...