Last week seen a break in the weather which has really helped dry the course up. We took full advantage of the dry spell and carried out 7 operations on the greens. We started with the slit tines for the 2nd time in as many weeks. This is great to help get air into the subsurface and to relieve compaction with minimal disturbance to the playing surface. We then verti drained the greens with an 18mm tine to a depth of 7inches instead of 10-12inches, we vary the depth to target different levels of the sub surface and to also reduce the risk of creating a pan effect. A pan effect is a consolidated layer within the subsoil caused by the tines repeatedly targeting the same area and this can hinder drainage. We then applied 7.5tonnes of sand, the 18mm tine may be more disruptive to the surface but it is great for allowing sand down into the subsurface. This aids drainage and also helps breakdown any thatch.
Now we have created disturbance to the putting surfaces we reinstate them as best we can firstly by double rolling the greens to settle the surface down and integrate any remaining sand down the tine holes. We then aerate with a 6mm micro tine to a depth of 3inches, as well as the normal benefits of aeration this also helps integrate the sand into the subsurface. When the 6mm tines goes into the green it closes the 18mm holes up to smooth the surface and because we have applied the sand down the 18mm tine holes the surface firms up. This is due to the extra 7.5tonnes of material now in the same area that previously wasn’t there. The surfaces are now firmer and smoother but to really polish them up we apply another 7.5tonnes of sand. This time the sand is applied partially to migrate down the 6mm tine holes but mainly to settle at the base of the leaf. Over the winter the greens are naturally softer and more susceptible to general disturbance such as pitch marks and foot printing. This application of sand helps to smooth out these imperfections on the surface creating a smoother faster putting surface. It is worth noting that when applying sand to the surface and not down the holes we would normally only apply 5tonnes but because there were partially closed 18mm tine holes and fresh 6mm tine holes we increased the amount to 7.5tonnes to further capitalise on any more integration. We finish the whole process up with a final roll to smooth the sand down into the plants base and surface imperfections. We now have a fantastic putting surface that we look forward to progressing to summer standards.
On Monday the sand had settled nicely into the plants base away from the upper leaf so we were able to hand cut the greens with the effective height of cut at 3mm to further increase the surface quality.