November 18, 2014

What a Difference a Week Makes

I'm happy to report that all of our cultural practices are now complete for the year. The last of these practices were wrapped up a few weeks ago with the aeration and sanding of the fairways. 

This is an important part of our agronomic plan for the golf course and we are quite pleased with the results. Applications of 10 tons per acre were made on Monday and again on Wednesday bringing the total applied sand for the year to 1200 tons. To work the sand into the turf, we drag the fairways with a plastic mat. This is disruptive especially to the warm season turf and due to the damp conditions we had to drag fairways again and again. All the sand and dragging made for some rough looking fairways and for a short time, less than ideal playing conditions. Just a week later, conditions have improved greatly thanks to the work of the staff and a light rain courtesy of Mother Nature.

This soil plug was pulled in 2012 and shows why we have modified our approach to the maintenance of the fairways. The layering seen in the top 4 inches shows each year of sanding (light color material) and the thatch that accumulated in between each of the sand applications. This kind of layering in the soil can result in localized dry spots, poor rooting and increased insect activity all leading to unhealthy turf grass. Due to this layering, we implemented a plan to core aerate fairways three time per year and apply sand at the same time. The results have been successful...

No layering found in the picture taken today.  Moving forward into 2015, we will use various soil testing methods to determine how we adjust our plan moving forward so as to maintain the sand base that's been built up throughout the years.

The fairway sanding program here at Claremont has resulted in an outstanding soil to grow turf on. It's also allowed the course to stay open throughout the winter rains with very few days when the course is closed to carts. Now, Let It RAIN!