The golf course maintenance team from MWG is very excited about 2020 and all the projects we want to tackle to enhance the golfing experience and aesthetics of the golf course.
2019 has seen us transforming the course from a dry dead patch of grass to a healthy and beautiful playing golf course. Different mowing patterns and height of cuts enabled us to define the respective areas of play. This is just not more pleasing on the eye, but also improved the playability of the golf course.
Plenty work went into upgrading the irrigation system and this is the heart of any golf course. 2020 Will see us take our system to its full capacity despite it being 24 years old.
No operation becomes a success with only the Superintendent leading in the front; the true quality of a course gets measured by the team that does the tasks behind the scenes. At Pecanwood we are lucky that we have a great team of 20 staff that has been dedicated to deliver a golf course of high standards and to ensure that the playing surfaces are in the best possible playing condition. At Mark Wiltshire Golf (MWG) we put a lot of time into training and uplifting our staff and that is a direct advantage to the club.
I have always said “the captain of a ship is only as good as his crew allows him to be” and this is a very important aspect in any business operation. Here at Pecanwood we are lucky to have some staff members that have been working on the course since construction days and they have a fast amount of knowledge with them around all the areas of the course.
2020 – WHAT TO EXPECT
We plan our year carefully due to seasonal factors and the monitoring of the Clubs’ events calendar. One of our most important weeks of the year as a maintenance team is our Annual Spring Treatment week.
I do not think that I have ever hollow tined a green in 24 years that did not look great. It seems that greens are always at their best when we go ahead and hammer them full of funny little holes and go and throw them full of sand. Sometimes me myself I am wondering what are you doing Andre? But then I focus on what the reasons are and the advantages it brings to the greens and the club.
When love and hate collide
I know the heading of this sounds like a song, and maybe it was written for Course Superintendents as they start their Spring treatments on the course every year, the time of the year when course superintendent punch holes in their well-manicured greens that resembles billiard tables, also the time of the year when members “love to hate” the poor guy maintaining the greens, the Course “Sup” .Why would any person in their right mind want to mess up a perfect green?
I hope to answer some of these questions from a Superintendents point of view.
Why do we hollow tine?
It is hard to believe that hollow tinning helps you keep your greens perfect, but this is true. The main reasons why we do hollow tinning will be named and highlighted in this article.
Thatch removal is a key reason why greens and fairways for that matter gets hollow tined, the definition of thatch can be described as, “Thatch is a tightly intermingled layer of living and dead stems, leaves and roots which accumulates between the layer of actively-growing grass and the soil underneath. Thatch is a normal component of an actively growing turf grass. If the thatch is not too thick, it can increase the resilience of the turf to heavy traffic. Thatch develops more readily on high-maintenance lawns than on low-maintenance lawns.” The definition sums up why it is important to remove thatch on greens.
Compaction relief, with this I mean compaction caused due to traffic moving over the green on a daily basis, whether it is the machines cutting the grass or golfers enjoying a nice round of golf .Imagine walking in a veld and ahead of you are animal paths heading in all directions, have you ever noticed that nothing grows where all the traffic is focused on? This is all due to compaction and outside stresses that are not advantageous to normal plant growth, take the traffic out of the veld and the weeds will start growing on these compacted areas and water will struggle to infiltrate the soil. Let me explain how hollow tinning helps with compaction relief. A hole gets punched into the greens surface and a core extracted (or not in the case of solid tines), immediately the tine breaks the hard crust under the surface and depending on the severity of the compaction the Superintendent can set the depth of tinning accordingly. Now for the rest of this article I will focus on “Hollow tinning” where we extract a core from the actual green and fill the hole with sand to ensure a smooth putting surface. By filling the hole with new sand it creates a new growing medium for the roots to move into, and the more roots you have, the stronger the plant, and the stronger the plant, the less it will suffer under the stresses of heat and disease.
The open holes on the greens give the Superintendent the perfect opportunity to get all the needed soil amendments down to ensure optimum plat growth. The open holes also promote air movement within the soil, and like all living things, the most important components to stay alive are air, water, food and temperature. I think I have touched on most of these key components now, except water. Due to the compaction relief, water now drains freely through the soil profile where the plant can absorb the water through its roots and also due to the water movement, a lot of unwanted salts can get washed out of the soil that will usually be harmful to the plant.
The time of the year when most clubs do their tining will be dependent on weather, golf days and scheduled tournaments, but most courses do it between September and November and some courses even do it twice a year, with this I mean that they do it again in March or April. This seems a lot, but the only reason most clubs don’t do it twice a year is because of budget constraints and loss of income during and after the hollow tinning.
Now you can take this information and apply this to your lawn at home, trust me, you will see some amazing results. There are contractors that specialize in hollow tinning and scarifying of lawns. Ask your course Superintendent for some advice; he might just be able to put you in contact with contractors like this.
This is in short why we hollow tine and how we can keep giving you great greens surfaces for most of the year. Next time you see your Course Superintendent, have a chat with him and ask him more about the process, because the more we all know the better, and remember this “sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind to get the best results”.
Some projects we want to do during the year will be;
- Upgrading of our current bunkers
- Initiate some natural “veld grasses” around the golf course
- Continue to improve all playing surfaces
- Upgrading and improvement of the irrigation system
- Drainage upgrades on fairways
- Removal of some trees and re-planting them in strategic areas
Careful planning will be done prior to undergoing these projects with timelines that will be put into place.
We at Mark Wiltshire Golf are proud to be associated with Pecanwood and we are very excited about all the positive planning and ideas to uplift the course. With our very dedicated and professional team we will ensure that all aspects are carefully planned and implemented.