Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fall Progress Report

If you've played lately, you've probably noticed all of the mess around the course. The tees and approaches are getting shaggy, the collars are a little tall, and the fairways do not look as groomed as normal. The main reason for this lack of cleanliness is the recent sand topdressing.

The greens were aerified on September 15th and 16th and are now two weeks healed. The time between aerification and the first mowing varies from course to course depending on personal preference and the rate of growth and recovery. Personally, I do not like the turf to get too much taller than our regular playing height. If it does, we will have to adjust the mowers down between mowings to avoid injuring the plants. This time around, the greens were growing so fast that we cut them three days after punching holes. From then on we mowed everyday to keep up with growth. So what does this have to do with sand?

The topdressing absolutely destroys the blades of a mower. Each of the green mowers has a reel with 11 blades and a bedknife that completes the scissors action as the reel spins around. Each bedknife costs around $25 and must be replaced after mowing sand for a week. The reels can be sharpened and four mowers will take a full day to get back into shape. Obviously, we do not want to repeat this process more than once for each aerification. We closely monitor the amount of sand that each mower collects and decide when it is safe to put on some fresh blades. The difference is like night to day as a sharp edge will get more turf with a clean cut and leave a very crisp surface for your putting enjoyment.

The same is true with the fairway units, the tee mower, and the walk mowers used on the collars. We have to wait for the sand to settle down before we can start cutting with sharp reels.

Currently, the green mowers are sharpened, the fairway unit should be ready for tomorrow, and the tee mower is scheduled for Friday. Fall aerification and overseeding are always messy, so hopefully this helps to explain some of the time involved.


Reytigre said...

Good write up Jim.