During spring renovations, most courses will be looking to aerate the greens and get some new topdressing materials back into the surface to Restore levels and maintain surface porosity.
The choice of aeration varies between solid tine and hollow tine spiking depending on your goals, with the aim of getting some air back into the soil profile. Vert-draining using solid tines to a good depth (preferably> 8 inches) should help the roots to start Chasing the Moisture down the soil profile, providing the sward with a Stronger root system, which is the foundation of plant growth success.
This will be followed by topdressing with a compatible rootzone material. Do not over-do the topdressing rates; you don’t want to smother your sward. The type of sand used in topdressings is vitally important, and you should be aware that now sand sales in the UK are for other uses. The sports turf market is small in comparison, so be careful if you are offered cheap materials, as these can be finer, differ in shape, color, lime content and be more interpacking than the Sands specified for sports turf.
For golf courses, the dominant particle range in the sand should be medium sand (0.250mm to 0.5mm).
The amount of topdressing will vary depending on your needs. However, at this time you would be looking to spread between half to one and half tonnes of material per green (2 to 3mm of material per m2). Many Greenkeepers are now topdressing on a monthly basis, a little and often approach.
Feeding programs should be determined by soil analysis. Obtaining nutrient levels for greens, tees and fairways will provide essential information that can be used to help choose the appropriate fertilizer product for your given turf surface. There is a wide range of fertilizer products now available and tailored to stimulate healthy grass growth.
It is important that your mowing machines are Serviced regularly and are set up accurately, ensuring that both the height of the cut and blade sharpness are correct. Damaged blades affect sward quality.
Irrigation systems should have been tested and calibrated by now, there is a need to ensure that all sprinkler heads are working and delivering the appropriate amount of water to the turf. You should calibrate your sprinklers at least once a year to ensure the spray pattern and coverage is sufficient for your needs. This can be done by placing out a number of catch can on your green and measuring the amount of water collected. You may be surprised to find how much your sprinklers are actually delivering. There may be a need to irrigate during spring renovation programs, as air temperatures and daylight hours are getting longer, increasing the likelihood of the ground and surfaces drying out.
Once these spring renovations are completed, you can then get on with the daily routines of maintenance, albeit they are likely to be reined back somewhat because there is no play.
Mowing operations are generally in full swing, with frequencies varying from daily to Weekly operations dependent on the growth of the grass and the standards set by the course Managers.
Mowing heights may vary depending on local conditions, type of course, course expectations, sward type and mower type. The mowing heights are a guide, and will be subject to local weather conditions, but remember not to remove more than 1/3 of the total grass height in each cut. The less stress that is placed on the grass at this Vital time the better the results further on into the season.
* Greens – height should be maintained at around 4-6mm.
* Tees – height should be maintained at around 10-15mm.
* Fairways – height should be maintained at around 15-20mm.
* Rough, semi rough grass areas – mow and tidy up these areas.
Ensure you clean your mowers after use (Wash down or Blow off), ensure you apply some WD 40 or similar oil based lubricant on the cutting cylinder after washing down. Keeping them clean makes the job of checking cutting heights and maintaining the bottom blades easier.
Hole changing should be carried out regularly, at least three times a week as a general rule; however, frequency will be dependent on a number of factors – green size, greens construction, tournaments, amount of play and condition of the green. During any wet period, it is likely the hole will wear more quickly, resulting in a crowning affect and surface wear. This wear is more apparent if the green has thatch problems. The hole will tend to wear quickly and form a depression, caused by the placement of the Golfers’ feet.
Ponds, Lakes and Streams – Inspect all water features on course, cleaning out any unwanted debris and litter. Some Clubs arrange for their Ponds to be dredged to clean them out while at the same time recovering any stray golf balls.
Tea boxes, tea markers and competition markers should be inspected daily, cleaned and moved to new tea positions as required.
Regularly empty litter bins / tee boxes.
Mark out trolley areas, out of bound site areas, ground under repair (GUR) and range markings.
Estimate and order seed, loams and fertilizers, fuels and other Consumables.