Late Season Aerifying

For many years we have had the same aerifying schedule and practice: Spring coring (plugs removed), day after Labor Day same coring, early Nov deep tine (solid tine no cores, outside contractor). Last year was a tough summer and I decided to deep tine in Sept. instead of pulling cores. The major difference between pulling cores and not is the time, energy and effort to deal with the cores. It is very labor intensive and it adds a dynamic to the aerifying process that can be a pain see here. Every part of aerifying and topdressing is bolstered by dry conditions. What I mean by that is if we pull cores they clean up better if they are dry. When we apply sand it works into the turf better if it is dry. So why not just do these processes on nice days you might ask? The easy answer is you the golfer. We try to give notice, we clear the tee sheet, schedule the staff etc. Most times we get lucky and the procedure goes smoothly. Calling it a procedure reminds me of one of the Superintendents I worked for who compared aerifying to open heart surgery. Not very far off really as it is a necessary process that often times could save the patient and if complications occur could kill them as well. Very stressful nonetheless for both the patient and the doctor. So after the dates are picked it becomes harder to just move them around without upsetting golfers and their plans. We had some players come over this week from Plymouth country club and after playing nine on the sand decided to pass on the back. They liked the course and hopefully will reserve final judgement until after a round in-season. I am disappointed if anyone does not enjoy their time at Mink but can only feel so bad about conditions in Winter. I like the timing this year because I feel the holes should close up enough for the surface to smooth out for winter play and we did not disturb the surface through most of the great fall weather. Our illustrious Fred Pekari has a way of asking me about cultural practices especially on greens. Every time we do something to the greens he says: "boss what did you do to expletive up the greens today? Why is it every time you get the greens so they are rolling perfect you screw them up?"

Kev punching the nursery

6 green at end of day one. long shadows at only 2-3 pm

8 green buried in sand
The answer I have to Fred's eloquent statement every time we do a cultural procedure to greens (spike, aerify, water inject, topdress) is we need to do these things to make them healthy, smooth, "Perfect". I truly believe the answer I give to people when they ask me 'how do you get the turf so thick and healthy compared to my lawn' is mowing frequency. But lets face it what makes a putting green, which is mowed at an 1/8th of an inch on the high side, truly the phenomenon that modern greens are is all the cultural stuff we do to them. Without frequent venting and topdressing we could not maintain them at the heights we do nor have the consistency of health and ball roll. For you older players that have been playing for over 30 or 40 years think about it. Exclude aerifed greens or a ball mark or other such calamity when was the last time you regularly complained about ball roll on a golf green? Watch some old footage of the PGA from the 70's and you can see the players almost turning to swing at a putt and the ball may hop a bit on the way. Today even with close ups and HD the ball barely wiggles on its way to the cup, and they barely touched it. We constantly try to balance all work to the season we are in and try to have as consistant conditions all year. Below is a picture of a green on sat after punching them on monday. Quite playable for December. A few rain storms and rolling and they will be back to 100 percent.

one green today.

all is well at the end of the day

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