Healthy free draining golf greens

Feb 15, 2021 | Jenni Ashford

Parkland golf greens in the UK, like those at Exeter Golf and Country Club, require 20% surface displacement per year. The surface displacement ensures that the greens remain healthy and free draining.

Surface displacement can be achieved by hollow coring.

In January and now in February, the greenkeeping team at Exeter Golf and Country Club removed 5% each time. The further 10% will be removed in August to ensure the 20% target is achieved for the year.

Approximately 80 to 100 tonnes of sandy top dressing is required each year to keep the organic matter diluted. The greenkeepers at Exeter Golf and Country Club start this process straight after hollow coring. In January and February, 20 tonnes have been applied each month.  In August another 40 tonnes of sandy dressing will be applied, with a further 20 tonnes applied throughout the season.

This process of aeration has multiple benefits to the golf course, so that it is playable throughout the year, in a healthy and resilient condition, by enabling water, oxygen and nutrients to access the roots of the grass.

The purpose of aeration is five-fold.

Removal of organic matter (thatch) helps the grass plant root to breathe. Venting toxic gasses and allowing oxygen in.

Enable air to circulate around the roots of the grass plant.

Assist fertilisers to be easily absorbed by the roots.

Improve surface drainage where consolidation has occurred caused by mowers, rolling and foot traffic.

Encourage easier rooting, as roots do not go through the soil particles but go through the voids between them.

There are six benefits to applying top dressing.

Helps to form a level, smooth true surface after tyning or verti draining, and damage caused by footprints and pitch marks.

Increase the pace of the green without putting grasses under stress by mowing too low.

Add different soils, for example sand to aid drainage.

Assist with drought resistance.

Increase the depth of free draining rootzone.

Helps to dilute thatch, thus improves surface drainage.

exeter golf and country club, golf course, greenkeepers, hollow coring, golf greens,

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