Friday, April 15, 2011

Putting Green Maintenance Begins

The warmer weather of last week was well received by both golfers and the maintenance staff alike. While many members were able to take advantage of the recent spring weather by playing a few rounds, the golf course staff initiated a couple of key practices in our intensive putting green maintenance program.

Days which are both dry and sunny lend themselves to the successful implementation of both vertical mowing and sand topdressing the putting surfaces. While these practices may be completed independent of one another, the completion of both practices in conjunction with one another serves improves the quatlity of the putting on a number of different fronts. The labor intensive process includes:

  • Vertical mowing in two directions at 1/8" deep and perpendicular to one another which removes thatch and other organic material

  • Removal of the debris created during this process

  • Sand topdressing

  • Sweeping the sand into the turf canopy

  • Mowing the greens following the sweeping process in order to ensure a smooth surface

The vertical mowing serves both to remove organic matter from the putting greens as well as to stimulate growth on the plants that have just begun to grow. The removal of organic matter ensures a firmer putting surface, while at the same time maintaining the proper water and air movement throughout the turf canopy. As you can see in the picture, a significant amount of material is removed during this process. On average an entire utility vehicle full of organic matter is generated per putting green. The new growth stimulated during this process allows the turf to more quickly cover any remaining aerification holes and other imperfections which may exist following winter.

Sand topdressing also helps to provide a firm and smooth putting surface, while at the same time further diluting the amount of organic matter in a putting green. When this light application of sand occurs immediately following vertical mowing, the sand readily fills the small grooves created by the vertical mowing and very easily penetrates the turf canopy.

Sweeping the greens forces the sand into the groves and also stands the turf upright. A final mowing following the sweep removes these long blades of grainy turf and provides a uniform height of cut and smoother ball roll.

When the weather cooperates, the golf course maintenance staff on Mondays which are golf course maintenance day. Since the course is closed until noon on Mondays, the golf course staff completes this process without disrupting play.

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