Summer golf maintenance – What’s up?

Skip and Dreama Fumia

Our Golf Course Superintendent J.R. Kies has refreshing plans for our golf course this summer. Just like a professional golfer or sports team works hard to achieve peak performance for the biggest competitions, J.R. and his crew strive for our golf course to peak for the April tournament season. Afterwards, during the summer, it’s time to make an investment of resources into course maintenance that is critical to the long-term health of our course. Just as an athlete needs refreshment after a competition, so does our golf course.

As we’ve done in previous years, we will close one nine each Monday during the summer so that our maintenance crew can accomplish more time-consuming tasks without working around our golfers. It’s amazing what they can do without us on the course! With lighter play volume during the summer, closing nine holes each Monday does not have a great impact on obtaining desirable tee times.

One task that will be pursued throughout the summer (not just Mondays) is solid tine aerification of our fairways. J.R.’s crew will be pulling a multi-tined unit behind a tractor to punch holes in our fairways. Using a large-diameter tine and pushing for a three to four inch penetration of the soil will create maximum ventilation for our fairways. What is the benefit? Aerification is important to healthy fairways because it improves water uptake, improves fertilizer uptake, reduces soil compaction and improves the gas/oxygen exchange for our fairway grass. Since this is solid tine aerification no cores will be removed. Thus golfers will be able to play on the aerified fairways immediately.

Another notable maintenance effort for the summer will involve a drill and fill of our greens. A contractor will be brought in for this specialized work. The greens will be cored and those cores filled with sand on one pass of the drill and fill unit. Afterwards the greens will be brushed then rolled and can be suitable for putting the next day. One Monday in early July we will close all 27 holes. The contractor will drill and fill 18 holes; J.R.’s crew will perform normal Monday maintenance on the other nine holes. Play on the 18 drilled and filled holes will resume the next day (Tuesday), while the other nine will be drilled and filled. By Wednesday all 27 holes will be open for play. The benefits? The drill and fill process relieves soil compaction, promotes deeper root growth and increases water percolation – all essential elements of healthy greens.

Remember, a golf course is a living, breathing entity that is constantly changing. It needs continuous care and feeding to thrive. That is the work of our outstanding superintendent and his crew. Thanks to J.R. and his team!