Colchester Golf Club

Greens Maintenance Work September 2023

Aeration, Sand Filling, and Scarification

September 2023

The last year has seen an increase in the frequency and variety of aeration practices carried out to the course, particularly the greens.  Combined with the weather allowing significant sustained growth, we believe the quality of the course is certainly heading in the right direction.

The level of rainfall that we have experienced this year is vastly different to 2022 and has resulted in a very lush green course.  This increased growth has in turn led to a greater than usual build up of thatch on the greens surfaces and makes the work we will be carrying out next week vital to the medium and long term health of the grass plant.

As we have seen previously, excess organic material results in a lack of moisture penetration during rainfall and irrigation, a lack of air movement through the surface of the plant and soil profile, a reduction of sustained root development, and an increase in poor surface performance by way of soft spongy conditions.  This makes the grass plant less able to deal with the stress of long periods of hot weather, with a loss of moisture and nutrient uptake due to an increased level of evapotranspiration.  Increased applications of soil surfactants, foliar feeds, bio stimulants and amino acids are then needed to replace that which is lost. 

It is imperative that we continue to remove some of the organic matter, replace it with top-dressing sand, and apply a percentage of bent grass seed to improve the moisture penetration capacity, improve air flow in the surface and upper soil profile, firm up the greens surface to enhance performance, and renovate areas of turf stress/loss.  This has to be done within a narrow timeframe, while we can still rely on soil temperature to aid with growth and recovery.  It is vital that we can carry out and complete the necessary works before we head into the winter months to minimise the potential drainage, stress, and playability issues we will encounter otherwise.

The process we have outlined is the use of the GKB Sand Fillers operated by professional contractors.

The process will include:

The removal of thatch and organic matter by scarification.

An immediate backfill of kiln dried sand to replace organic material.

An overseed of pure bent grass to improve surface coverage.

The use of drag mats and brush to ensure sand levels are to the surface.

A turf iron to settle the surface.

An application of Autumn feed to provide nutrient and promote recovery.

The aim is to complete this work in one day on Monday 11th September.  Please note that 18 temporary greens will be in place until the entire work programme is complete.  Both contractors and greenstaff will be working on each green at a different stage, with various pieces of equipment both manual and machine driven.

Although there may be some short-term disruption to the greens surfaces, the processes we plan on implementing in the immediate aftermath give us confidence that we will see quick recovery, and playable surfaces almost immediately providing conditions are suitable.

I strongly believe that it is important for us to continue this necessary work for the long-term health and sustainability of our green’s surfaces.

Kind regards

James Rattenbury

Head Greenkeeper

Terry Mellish

Course Chairman

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