Monday, September 23, 2019

"Hard as a Rock" ... Literally

Each summer all areas of the golf course are core aerified at least four times. Aerification is the mechanical process of removing a core, which among other things reduces compaction by loosening the soil. It also creates air space in the soil. 

Turfgrass on a golf course endures significant stress and compaction from golf play, golf cars and maintenance equipment. By decreasing compaction, aerification helps to bring a resurgence of growth. The process is vital in maintaining a healthy stand of turfgrass. 

Construction of the golf course at Olde Florida was challenging because soil was at a premium. Consequently, when the golf course opened in 1993, a significant amount of rock remained beneath the fairways, tees and rough. This has created serious challenges with aerification since day one. 

During the golf course renovation in the summer of 2000, after the turfgrass was eradicated and removed, all of the fairways were tilled and most of the rock was physically removed. It was a very lengthy and tedious task, but it was necessary so more advanced aerification equipment could be utilized in the fairways. The newer, improved aerification equipment provides tighter spacing and greater depth, ultimately providing a greater reduction of compaction.  

The two short drone videos and the pictures below provide a visual understanding of the differences in the fairway and rough aerification equipment that is utilized at Olde Florida.  

Fairway aerification on #1
The list price on the Toro 1298 aerification unit, 
which came on the market in 2007, is $40,000 
Until this year it was only used on fairways at Olde Florida  

Rough aerification on #2 tee complex
The list price on this Toro 686/687 aerification unit is $4,000
Tines and other items damaged by rock can be removed and replaced relatively quickly and inexpensively
Until 2016 these units were used on the fairways and the rough at Olde Florida  

Rough aerification on #1
Fairway aerification in the background

Golf car traffic around tees and greens has become a serious issue at Olde Florida. The traffic, which has creeped closer and closer to greens and tees creates a significant challenge in maintaining a healthy stand of turfgrass in the busy winter golf season. If golfers, and thier guests would maintain a greater distance from the tees and greens with their golf cars, ideally not parking on the grass while putting or teeing off, it would help improve turfgrass quality tremendously. 

Due to the significant compaction existing in these highly trafficked areas, this summer the agronomy staff embarked on a significant project of subsurface rock removal around tees and greens. The fairway aerification unit was utilized to locate subsurface rock. Two to three staff members followed the unit at all times flagging each rock that was struck. Additional staff was then utilized to dig up and remove the rock. 

Aerification this summer on #16 greens complex

Flags marking subsurface rock waiting removal on #18 tee complex

Rock removal on #15 tee complex

Rock removal on #15 tee complex 

Rock removal on #7 greens complex 

The goal of this project is to eventually remove enough rock so the agronomy staff can utilize the more advanced, higher quality aerification equipment in the rough. It will be a multi-year project with tee and green complexes being the highest priority. 

No comments:

Post a Comment