We will be performing our Fall Aerification of greens on Monday, November 2 through Wednesday, November 4. The golf course will be closed these days. Hopefully, the weather cooperates and gives us some dry days so that we can complete everything. Still, the days are much shorter this time of year, so the process from start to completion will be much slower because there are not enough drying hours to get sand incorporated into the holes.
Once we complete greens, we will move on to start aerifying fairways and tees as weather permits throughout the following weeks. Given our favorable position compared to the budget, we can reintroduce some essential items into our fall maintenance procedures that were initially cut. We will apply our first application of sand to tees and fairways during the weeks ahead to prepare the course for winter. Usually, we strive for a minimum of three applications per year.
We finished verticutting tees last week and will move on to approaches next. Thinning out the turf by removing a large percentage of the thatch is essential to maintaining firm playing conditions. It is also a great opportunity to incorporate fresh sand directly into the root zone when the turf canopy is opened. For the remainder of the season, we will keep the tee markers in areas that we may not usually use to move wear away from the main areas to help next season. Several tees and fairways have significant areas of divots, given our record levels of play. We will do our best to continue filling divots, but essentially growth of bentgrass is done for the season. We will also switch to using a darker soil mix for filling divots at this time of year to help retain more heat and better insulate any seed in the ground. We do not use this throughout the season because it can get very unsightly in landing areas and tees. We switch over to this product when we reduce our mowing frequency and play naturally curtails. After this point, most wear on the golf course will not recover until late next spring, so please replace divots (they will survive this time of year better than seed) and fix ball marks. Ball marks may be difficult to see after aerification and may seem pointless to fix, but it is even more critical because the greens will be softer, so more marks will happen. The better they are fixed now, the better they will be when we reopen next season.
Given the late timing of all of these cultural practices, it is reasonable to expect most of the playing surfaces will have sand on them until we close. The sand will be more prevalent when conditions are wet. We felt delaying as many of these practices as possible was the best decision for this season, given everything going on globally and even locally at the club, to maximize the golf season and member enjoyment while conditions were the best. We certainly hope everyone enjoyed an outstanding season and continue to make it out to the course through the rest of the fall. It was great seeing the vibrancy of the club on display during a difficult time.
Thank you for your continued support of the Grounds and Greens team.
See you on the course!
Connor Healy, Superintendent