Friday, August 7, 2015

Greens Aerification



It’s that time of the year once again, we get out those dreaded machines that “mess up the greens” and start our aerification practices. Please realize that aerification is for the long term health of the turf and will ultimately promote a healthier green. 

“Aerification (also known as aeration) achieves three important objectives. It relieves soil compaction, it provides a method to improve the soil mixture around the highest part of a green’s roots and it reduces or prevents the accumulation of excess thatch.

Like so many things, the quality of a good putting green is more than skin deep. In fact, the condition of a green has a lot to do with what goes on below the surface. In order for grass to grow at 1/8-inch, it must have deep, healthy roots. Good roots demand oxygen. In good soil, they get the oxygen from tiny pockets of air trapped between soil and sand particles.

Over time, the traffic from golfer’s feet (as well as mowing equipment) tends to compact the soil under the putting green – particularly when the soil contains a lot of clay. When soil becomes compacted, the air pockets on which the roots depend are crushed, and the roots are essentially left gasping for air. Without oxygen, the grass plants become weaker and will eventually wither and die.

Aerification is a mechanical process that creates more air space in the soil and promotes deeper rooting, thus helping the grass plants stay healthy. In most cases, it’s done by removing half-inch cores (those plugs you sometimes see near a green or in fairways) from the compacted soil, allowing for an infusion of air and water that brings a resurgence of growth. The spaces are then filled with sand “topdressing” that helps the soil retain air space and makes it easier for roots to grow downward.

Older greens often are constructed of soils with significant amounts of silt, clay and fine organic particles that are prone to compaction. Filling aerification holes with sand improves drainage and resists compaction. The periodic introduction of sand to a green’s top layer can, over time, avoid or postpone expensive rebuilding or renovation of greens.

Finally, growing of turf adds to a layer of organic matter on the surface. This layer, called thatch, is an accumulation of dead stems, leaves and roots. A little organic matter makes for a resilient green, but too much invites diseases and insects. Topdressing with sand can prevent thatch buildup, and aerification is one of the best ways to reduce an existing layer and prevent an excess of thatch from becoming established.”

For several days after the aerification, the greens will not be as smooth as desired and the patience of all golfers will be tried to a certain extent. But rest assured, the greens will quickly return to a normal, smooth putting surface and will be all the healthier for the effort.

Aerification - Brought to you by the USGA

It's that time of year again! You can click on the link below and watch a USGA video on greens aerification and why we have to do it. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Sun City Golf Club Bunker Maintenance

During the past several weeks many emails and conversations have gone on concerning our bunker maintenance practices or lack of.  We have discussed this and working with the staff have generated a plan and steps to improve and correct the situation.  Attached you will find the components of the plan. Please remember that you have the option of playing a Bunker as Ground Under Repair if you can see that it is obvious we are in the middle of working on it.

July 31, 2015
To:  Sun City Texas Golf Committee
From:  Gary Wilson   Director of Golf Course Maintenance
Ron Delaney   Director of Operations

Subject: Bunker Maintenance Plan 

White Wing – During this past week July 24 – July 28, 2015 we have added three semi- truck loads (66 tons) of sand to the White Wing bunkers. We will continue to distribute one load of sand (22 tons) to the green side bunkers every week moving forward until we feel all adequate depths are being reached.  Brad Sladek, Assistant Superintendent at Cowan Creek will be splitting his time between Cowan Creek and White Wing to assist Jonathan in implementing the new procedures outlined below.
Cowan Creek – The fairway bunkers still have the original bunker liners that have been failing over the past two – three years. They are slowly being addressed by staff but the majority of the bunker refurbishment will be done this fall.
The following procedures began Wednesday, July 29, 2015.
·         The bunkers are inspected every morning by the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent at each course.
·         We have ordered new trap rakes that will be delivered prior to Aug. 17th 2015 and this will help with any grooves left in the sand.
·         Each Course will have a staff member assigned to working on bunkers throughout each day. Their job will be to check depths, repair or remove liners and insure proper raking. This staff member will start after their first job assignment has been completed each morning. They will have rakes, shovels and all necessary equipment with them to address any deficiencies in bunker maintenance. This will take place daily until further notice.  

We are reviewing and revising our training of equipment operators in proper bunker care and educating as to what is the acceptable standards required. 

In the next few weeks I (Ron Delaney) am relocating my office to the White Wing Pro Shop.  The purpose of the move is bring me more to the “center” of our golf operations and maintenance and to be more accessible to residents.

GPS Tracking

Beginning with this mornings tee times at White Wing we will be asking golfers to carry small GPS tracking devices in their pockets.  These trackers will provide us data on golfer traffic patterns on the golf course.  Where are you driving on the fairways, what parts of the golf course are being used and which are not, which bunkers are really in play and other data.  The data is then overlaid on Google Earth providing very clear maps showing patterns on the course.  We will be collecting data on all courses during the month of August.  This project is being done in conjunction with the USGA who are assisting us and providing the trackers at no charge.  The results will be extremely useful as we move forward with refurbishing and upgrading the courses in the future.  We appreciate your participation and cooperation.