I think it’s fair to say, coming out of winter and into spring, the greens were in great condition. The greens responded well to a new nutritional plan we have implemented, before we started our renovation we were regularly hitting our summer target speed on the greens.
We had planned to use the Graden sand injection as part of our renovation work but when we trialled it on the putting green little to no organic matter was being removed. We were effectively ripping sand out to then inject sand back in, it didn’t seem to make sense. We decided to send a soil sample from 6 different greens away to be tested for thatch/organic matter. The results can be seen below.
The target zone for organic matter content is 4-6%, the greens we had tested were all below that which is fantastic and just goes to show that all the hard work and disturbance has paid off.
So where does this leave us? We are all ready and fired up to get some work done on the greens but for now organic matter isn’t an issue.
We decided that instead of focussing on removing organic matter we would concentrate on creating vertical drainage channels away from the surface using 16mm solid tines to a depth of 75mm and then back fill with as much sand as possible. This firms the green up and also improves drainage.
We have done this operation before but never with this size tine. Because of this were we unsure about the amount of sand we could get into the greens. We agreed that 40tonnes would be great as it is double the amount we would have used with the Graden machine.
To start with we scarified the greens to a depth of 3mm to remove a small amount of organic matter but also to create small lateral channels for the sand to settle into to further boost the amount of sand we could apply. We then cut the greens straight after to clean up the surfaces. The 16mm tine is next using the John Deere aero core which allows us to finish all 18greens in a day. Using the Dakota top dresser we applied 20tonnes of sand in perfect drying conditions. At this point we realised that it was going to take a lot of sand to fill the channels we had created. After the first application of sand we used our zig-zag brush to sweep and work the sand down into the channels. We repeated this process until the channels were packed full with sand. The more sand we apply and the fuller the channels get the harder it is to work the sand away from the surface. We applied 60tonnes of sand before we were happy that the greens had reached their capacity. With such a high volume of sand the amount of stress we place on the greens through brushing in is very high and we had to be careful not to push them over the limit. We used different methods to work the sand down such as a steel drag matt attached to the back of the zig-zag brush and the cassette clean up brushes on the toro greens machine.
Once we were happy the holes were filled, we then used the aero core again and spike using a 6mm solid tine to a depth of 75mm. This helps work the sand away from the surface through vibration but more importantly closes the big 16mm tine blemishes and leaves a much small hole that will effect ball roll less. A final 5tonnes of sand were then applied to maximise our sand usage and to help smooth out the 6mm tine holes. Now that the work has been done we reinstate the surfaces as best we can with a double roll and finish up by running the irrigation to settle the sand down into the surface.
To help explain the process better please watch this video that demonstrates some of the operations we carried out.
In all, the spring renovations were a great success and in total we applied 65tonnes of sand. The weather was kind and all operations ran smoothly save from a few hiccups with the irrigation system resulting in some wet golfers. Since completing the work we have had some testing periods of heavy rain and the greens have stood up very well. It’s reassuring knowing that we now have good drainage channels working water away from the surfaces, just incase the jet stream isn’t kind to us this summer.