In October we conducted our first greens aeration session with small diameter tines which extracted cores of sandy material (from years of sand topdressing) which we then reincorporated for a number of important benefits. (See October Aeration post). This week, typically at this same time every year, we conduct a deep aeration using solid tines which provide different but equally beneficial results.
The equipment used is a Verti-drain aerator and the solid tines we use are 3/4" in diameter and penetrate the soil 9-10" deep on 4" center spacing. These channels that are created aid oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange deeper into the soil profile, provide avenues for deeper root growth, allow the incorporation of sand (from follow up topdressing ) improving rootzone characteristics, and help drain excess moisture from late season rain or melted snow off the putting surfaces. Additionally, moisture that fills these channels will freeze, expand, and in the process fracture the rootzone creating cracks and fissures that further improve all of the aforementioned aeration benefits. So, should we have some nice weather and you get a chance to play, you'll find the putting surfaces rather disrupted (even with several rollings) but at least you can take some solace in knowing that the benefits are highly valuable and help us to provide the quality putting surfaces you enjoy during the golf season.
Verti-drain, Deep Aeration in Progress
Aeration Channels 3/4" x 9-10" deep
(with 1/2" tine added in between for good measure!)
Grassing Improvement Project
A few weeks back we used a product (Roundup herbicide) to control several unwanted grasses and broadleaved plants adjacent to the regular tee and alternate tee (across the bridge) and pond at #12. One particular grass that we wanted to control is Switch grass which is a native plant, and originally intentionally planted, but has proven to be too aggressive and invasive. With these areas controlled, the soil was prepared for re-seeding and the species sown was fine leaved fescues along with a "smattering"of the less aggressive native grass, Little Blue stem. This dormant seeding was covered with a straw blanket to protect the seeds and keep them in place ready for germination in the spring. In time we will continue this same vegetation control and re-grassing around the entire pond at #12.
Blanketed Fine Fescue & Little Blue stem seed awaits spring germination
Paddle Parking Extension
Over the last few weeks we have been constructing an area, adjacent (west side along Forest Preserve) to the entrance road to the Paddle Area and Grounds Operations Center. We first removed all the vegetation (mostly buckthorn trees) and then added 30 or so truckloads of fill material to elevate to the proper grade. After leveling and compacting the fill material we're now adding, leveling, and compacting approx. a dozen semi-loads of base gravel. When complete, likely next week, we'll have an asphalt company apply a "base layer" which will allow parking and plowing capabilities. Next year a final "top course" will be applied smoothing and leveling any settling that may occur over winter. This project will add nearly 50 additional parking spaces, sorely needed on many days during heavy paddle play. This additional parking will also come in handy next year during the Western Amateur Championship.
Gravel base (6-7") being spread for Paddle parking extension
Northern end of new parking area awaiting gravel base#17 Championship Tee Expansion
Plans have been in place for many months to lengthen the championship tee at #17, and with other tees and the new bunker complex at #18 now complete, we are moving ahead with this work. It's a fairly straightforward extension (or should I say straight back!) which will add 10 yards to the back of this tee.
Lengthening of #17 tee begins
It may not seem like much distance but it will surely add a bit more challenge from this tee. I'll keep you posted on our progress.