THE HOLE TRUTH

Why cour­ses punch their fair­ways and greens

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life -

It’s never a great mo­ment to ar­rive at a course for a round you’ve been think­ing about for weeks, only to dis­cover that the greens look like they have been strafed by ma­chine gun fire. Un­for­tu­nately, punch­ing holes in the turf – a prac­tice known as hol­low­tin­ing or aer­i­fi­ca­tion – is an im­por­tant part of course main­te­nance. To bet­ter ex­plain the process, we reached out to some of the coun­try’s top golf su­per­in­ten­dents. Here’s what they said.

once a year is not ideal thatch re­moval; 5) Re­leases toxic gases when cores are re­moved.

Frikkie Pot­gi­eter, Wood­hill CC

2014 Su­per­in­ten­dent of the Year, 39, has spent 11 years at Wood­hill. Grew up in Her­manus, and first green­keep­ing job was at 9-hole Klein­mond GC. Re­ceived tur­f­grass man­age­ment diploma at Pre­to­ria Tech. a per­fect seed bed for the Poa plant to spread. Golf course su­per­in­ten­dents would ideally like to hol­low­tine at least twice a year, dur­ing sum­mer, to al­le­vi­ate com­paction, but as this prac­tice is dis­rup­tive and re­cov­ery is slow (up to three weeks), thus af­fect­ing rounds, we are forced to hol­low­tine usu­ally once a year on av­er­age.

There are other tools avail­able to al­le­vi­ate com­paction for the re­main­der of the grow­ing sea­son. Solid tin­ing, spik­ing, wa­ter in­jec­tion, ver­tidrain­ing or air in­jec­tion are all far less dis­rup­tive, but cer­tainly not as ef­fec­tive. Gen­er­ally greens are playable im­me­di­ately af­ter such a cul­tural prac­tice, usu­ally with­out the golfer’s knowl­edge.

Rich Met­calfe, Parkview GC Chair­man of Tur­f­grass Man­agers As­so­ci­a­tion.

For­merly head su­per­in­ten­dent at Rand­park for 26 years. Spent a year at PGA West in Cal­i­for­nia. Com­pleted Tur­f­grass Man­age­ment cour­ses at Pre­to­ria Univer­sity. Re­ceived his CGCS (cer­ti­fied golf course su­per­in­ten­dent) in 1988. Lec­tures at UNISA.

the busiest course in sa My course, West­lake in Cape Town, is the busiest in the coun­try.This year we are look­ing at 56 000 rounds, so we hol­low tine ag­gres­sively twice a year, in late March and late Septem­ber.This is ex­actly when the cool sea­son grasses are grow­ing at their best. Get­ting these dates cor­rect is crit­i­cal in hav­ing the fastest re­cov­ery time.

Our process starts seven days be­fore hol­low tin­ing. We first fer­tilise the greens, as it takes six days for the fer­tiliser to start work­ing. The greens are thus grow­ing rapidly when hol­low tin­ing com­mences, a prac­tice which short­ens the re­cov­ery pe­riod by al­most seven days. We start hol­low tin­ing di­rectly be­hind the last four­ball on a Sun­day af­ter­noon and fin­ish 18 holes by mid­night. Mon­day is spent re­mov­ing the cores and

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