Head Greenkeeper’s Blog | Update 29/08/18
It’s the time of the year when greenkeepers up and down the country will be carrying out one of our most important annual maintenance tasks. In order to keep our greens in the best possible condition, we will be starting three days of intensive aeration work from Monday 3rd September.
If you’ve played Richmond Park Golf Course over recent years, I hope you’ll agree that we’ve made some significant improvements to the overall quality and presentation of both the Prince’s and Duke’s courses. Much of this is down to implementing a strict schedule of aeration work, with the biggest operations taking place before and after the main golf season. Timing is critical, as this work needs to take place while grass is in a strong growth stage.
We’ll start on Monday morning by punching holes in the greens with a solid tine aerator. This machine creates 20 mm holes to a depth of 8 inches and is very effective at breaking up compacted turf. This compaction is caused by tens of thousands of golfers walking over the greens during the season, combined with the drier summer climate.
We’ll follow this up with a double-pass of our Greentek scarifying units. These machines remove unwanted organic growth that naturally builds up over time, such as thatch and moss. Removing this material means the grass will become denser, resulting in a better quality playing surface. This scarifying process also has the secondary benefit of ‘closing up’ the holes created by the solid tine aerator.
The next step is to apply topdressing material to fill in all the holes and imperfections left from scarifying. Topdressing is a carefully measured mix of sand and soil and its application helps to improve drainage, reduce disease and promote stronger grass growth. Excess topdressing is then brushed in and any remaining material is removed using a drag net. While the greens will have a visible coating for several days after, they will play perfectly well.
Finally, we will double-pass with machines equipped with sarrel rollers to further close up the surface and work the topdresssing deeper into the soil. A liquid plant feed will then be applied, which will help the greens return to their normal playing standard within just 10 days.
This work will inevitably cause some minor disruption, however it will be minimal and you’ll be able to carry on playing as normal. Please be aware that there may be a maximum of two temporary greens in play at any given time, while the greenkeepers are carrying out the above tasks. In consideration of this, we will be charging off-peak rates all day from Monday 3rd to Wednesday 5th September, on both courses. There will no further disruption from Thursday 6th September.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this work, however we can look forward to superb greens for the rest of the year as a result!
Ross Cook – Head Greenkeeper