Course Maintenance

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We are committed to maintaining a superior golf experience as well as enhancing and protecting our environment, property and aesthetics of The Sands.

Why Core Greens?

– Keegan Powell, Golf Course Superintendent

Over the years I’ve worked on different golf courses around the world and have progressed through various management positions within the golf maintenace industry. In my experience I have noticed a lack of communication between Course Maintenance teams and the members when it comes to explaining the importance of performing necessary procedures that cause short term inconveneince for long term gains.

With this in mind I thought I would take this oppurtunity to educate all the new/old members  as to why we will be closing our golf course and coring our golf greens on October 15th and 16th and hopefully answer a few other frequently asked questions during this renovation period.

We might have different perceptions and opinions on what makes a great golf course but one thing we have in common is the passion for the game of golf and everyone wanting to play on a quality golf course surface. Coring greens is an essential part of ensuring long term sustainability along with optimal playing conditions. Although this is the case many people don’t understand what this process does. Hopefully after reading this you’ll understand more about this process and the sinifigant improvement that has already been made after renovatons last year.

Please take note of the two photos below. These photos have been taken nearly 12 months apart. Taking them from the 2nd green in the same spot. The first photo is before we commenced on green renovations in 2017 and the second photo is what we currently have in July 2018. Even to the untrained eye you can tell how much healthier the soil profile is in the second photo. Hopefully members and guests have been noticng improvements over the past 12 months in consistanticy, playability, firmness and drainage to the putting surface.

Left: 2nd Green Black Layer August 2017
Right: 2nd Green July 2018

There are three commonoly asked questions:

  • Why must we do them?
  • What are golf course renovations?
  • What happens to our greens if we don’t renovate?

Why must we do them?

This is a prime example what happens in our soil profile when hollow coring renovations get ignored for a number of years in the photo above labelled 2nd green Black Layer August 2017.

Left: Soil Profile
Right: 
Healthy Soil Profile

We currently still have a minor level of Black layer still in a couple of greens which means we will not be going as aggressive as last year. Having done severe renovations last year have improved greens significantly.

Black Layer is a foul smelling continuous or discontinuous subsurface layer in the turf grass layer. In simple terms this is created when we are not getting enough oxygen into the soil profile. These anaerobic conditions can cause numerous issues such as compaction, excessive irrigation, organic matter accumulation and thatch build up to name a few. Once Black Layer development occurs the drainage decreases in the soil. As the layer increases, the soil become filled with a hydrogen sulphide gas. It is a commonly known fact with in the industry that hydrogen sulphide gas is lethal to the root respiration of the turf grass plant.

What are golf course renovations?

There are many different types of renovations when it comes to the golf course but in this instance we will be looking to hollow core our golf course greens. Although core aeration demolishes the putting quality temporarily the short term pain results in a long term gain by reducing thatch and organic matter levels, relieving soil compaction, increasing soil oxygen level and stimulating healthy growth and most importantly produce a better putting surface.

What happens if we don’t renovate?

If we don’t carry out these works required we will have spongy greens, more susceptible for disease, compaction problems and shallow roots and the very worst case scenario loss of greens.

I hope this has giving you a better understanding of why we will be hollow coring greens on October 15th and 16th. There will be no doubt a temporary disruption with a bumpy putting surface for the next 2-3 weeks. Aeration of this magnitude should be done every year to improve turf health and playing conditions. Core and deep tine aeration are critical to the health of a highly maintained grass. Keep in mind every time you comment on exceptional conditions during the season, a large part of keeping these conditions is core aeration. Please do not lose sight of the long term goal because of the short term inconvenience.

Left: 8th Green Black Layer August 2017
Right: 8th Green July 2018

Again the dramatic difference to the 8th green soil profile. If you look closely at the right hand side photo at the bottom of the soil profile in the centre you can see roots coming out of the soil profile. 12 months ago the roots wouldn’t have been half the length.

Over the last couple of weeks you may have seen some yellowing in the greens. This is me applying a post emergent herbicide to stress out the Poa annua so the Poa annua plant slowly deteriorates. This week leading up to renovations I will be applying various fertilisers to the greens to encourage the bent grass growth of the golf greens so the bent grass plant is healthy before we put it under stress with the hollow core renovations that follow. This will be then followed by a wetting agent which will the help water get into the soil profile rather than sitting on top of the surface, also adding in a systemic fungicide to protect any disease outbreak that may occur while the turf is under stress.

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