THE HOLE TRUTH
Why courses punch their fairways and greens
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