Whenever aerification comes around, the weather seems to do the opposite of what we need it to do. Last year we had heavy frost before and after, this year untimely rain.
Here’s a breakdown of what we accomplished as of tonight and what you can expect when you tee it up tomorrow, and the next few days:
- We’ve applied 250 tons of sand to Greens, Tees, Surrounds, Approaches, and select Fairways
- All Greens, Tees, Surrounds, Approaches, Driving Range Tees, Target Greens and Fairways (1-10) have been solid tined aerified
- The sand on Tees, Surrounds, Approaches, and all Fairways except 10 and 15 have been dragged in
- Sprinkler heads, drain inlets, and hose water valves have all been blown clear of sand
- Soil amendments have been applied to all Greens and Surrounds
To get to this point has taken a massive amount of dirty/dusty labor, every piece of equipment we own, borrowing equipment from 2 other local clubs, and two 16-hour days. I’m proud of my staff for working through some very frustrating weather, and long hours. There is nothing worse than planning everything to go off perfectly, but then to be altered by weather, with no control.
The weather I speak of is rain. Around 1:00pm on Monday, we had a pop up thunderstorm drop .25″ of rain on the sand that was already put down on Greens and Tees. The sun came back out 2 hours later and we continued with our process until 9:30pm. At about 3:00am Tuesday morning, another .55″ fell on the sand. Then at 8:00am Tuesday morning, another .15″ of rain. At this point we’ve applied approximately 175 tons of sand and there is standing water in the perennial wet spots of fairways and roughs. This left us in a less than ideal situation. So now we have to wait even longer for the sand to dry so we can properly drag it in. At 3:00pm on Tuesday, the sand on the Tees, Surrounds, Approaches and all Fairways (except 10 and 15) dried to the point to begin dragging in. This process was completed by 9:00pm.
This is what is not complete and how it will impact golf:
- The sand on the Greens is not yet completely drug in. Because of how short the green’s turf is, air cannot get underneath it like it could the Tee and Fairway heights to dry. The sand on greens is also finer and holds onto the moisture because of the lack of air space. Those two aspects have left the sand smeary and wet, preventing us from getting the sand down into the smaller sized holes we poked. We need the openings of the holes to dry before the sand can fall down into them
- The two pictures below show you what they look like as of Tuesday night. The sand is uniform but still sitting on the surface
- Tonight and tomorrow’s forecast is for over another 2.5″ of rain, so golf tomorrow is unlikely
- That same forecast will prevent us from again getting the sand worked into the profile of the greens, as well as finishing aerifying the fairways on 11-18
When will we get the sand drug in is the question everyone will want to know. The answer is simply – I don’t know. The weather has cooperated somewhat to let us get this far, just not all the way complete. We need the weather to allow the sand to completely dry for us to finish. Why did we aerify when we knew rain was in the forecast? Because the golf calendar and outside events are scheduled along side aerification during the winter months. We close the course for two days and don’t want to close it for another two. We don’t operate under a dome, we work and adapt with the weather. We were not going to forgo aerification regardless of the forecast. Our agronomic practices are what keep our playing surfaces to the level that everyone has come accustomed to. I will chance the weather every time, and get as far into the process as possible. The short term pain is worth the long term gains we’ve seen over the past several years, as they are a result of our determination to make sure we take care of the golf course to promote survivability as well as playability. That’s my main responsibility to our membership.
My blog title of Mother Nature 1, Midland .75 was to state that we’ve accomplished a lot in the past 2 days. We may have not won, as winning would have been to completely finish. The greens are not ideal, but playable. When the sun comes back out for long enough to dry the sand, we will finish, and you will be happy, as will the turf.
If you have questions or comments, feel free to contact me at any time.
Thanks for your patience and support.