Significant progress has been made over the last month with preparations on the South Course for the 2021 season. Numerous cultural practices (aerification) have been completed, with more on the schedule before we cover the greens for their winter hibernation. Towards the end of the first week of November, we will punch the green surfaces with fourteen inch long solid tines. This will be followed up by injecting sand via the DryJect.
Aerification is a necessary evil and several methods are used to achieve turf conditions that can withstand traffic from everyday maintenance and play. Traditional aerification of coring (removal of thatch and soil) lessens compaction from traffic. This removal naturally makes ground conditions softer. However, when we inject sand mechanically using machinery such as the DryJect, our goal is to increase firmness for play.
If you think of a green cavity as a completely full, sealed Ziploc bag of mixed soils, and you inject more material in the bag, what happens? The bag swells and becomes firmer or harder. By injecting more material in the plastic bag, we are increasing the bulk density of the contents inside the bag. The same process happens we when inject sand into the greens. Although this has been a process on the greens for a number of years, we began in 2019 addressing the South Course approaches and grass tennis courts with the purpose to have golf shots release to the green and to receive a better bounce of the tennis ball. In 2021, we will expand the DryJect process to the North Course approaches as well.
We are currently forging ahead with South Course improvements and the bunker renovation is going well. To date, we have completed about 40% of the bunkers in their entirety – subsurface drainage, Capillary Concrete, sand and grassing. As we begin the month, we will shift equipment to holes 5, 14, 15 and 16 with many enhancements that will be communicated throughout the month and in more detail for our December update. Last month in the Bulletin, we discussed the newer technology of Capillary Concrete. Click here for a video to hear from our Assistant Superintendent Cody Sander as he water tests the Cap Con.
During the month of October, we added to our team with the hiring of an arborist. We are excited to have Jon Auer come aboard as we continue to improve our operations. Jon has been in the care of trees and shrubs as a certified arborist for the last twenty years. He has a passion for horticulture and is thrilled to tend and help shape the landscape of the Club for many years to come. Jon lives in Chesapeake City, Maryland with his wife and three sons and his initial areas of focus has been to address plant health care needs throughout the Club, including the replacement of trees lost in the tornado. Jon has begun preparation regarding programming for the orchard on 9 North to increase fruit production in 2021 and beyond.
It’s hard to believe we are in the eleventh month of the year. With all the hurdles we have faced in 2020, we hope everyone continues to remain safe and healthy. From all of us in the Grounds Department, we wish you and your families a happy Thanksgiving!