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Los Gatos, California, United States
Kevin is currently the certified superintendent at La Rinconada Country Club. Kevin was the Director of Maintenance at Lahontan Golf Club for over 14 years. Some of the responsibilities over the expanse of his career include the daily upkeep of multiple golf courses, natural resources, environmental compliance, and roads and streets. The wide ranging expertise has come from a combination of education and experiences. Degrees in Meteorology (1987 University of Nebraska/Lincoln), and Horticulture (1992 Colorado State), complete the formal side of this important combination of qualifications. A lifetime of experience around golf courses, and the game of golf was provided by Kevin's father.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Post aerification the greens never heal as fast as we would like.  At 2 weeks after aerifcation we are recovering nicely, with the holes closing  to about a quarter of an inch opening; Considering they started out at half an inch, and the amount of clouds, rain and low daytime temperatures we have experienced recently, this recovery rate is to be expected.  Another week and those small remaining holes will be completely grown over.

I want to explain the decision making process of why aerification must occur, and how aggressive to get with the number of and size of holes.

First; Why aerify?

1) Roots need oxygen.  Grass plants physiology, and microbial organisms require oxygen.  Very simple and straight forward, roots do not grow without oxygen, and grass dies without roots.  The stronger and deeper the roots, the more the plant can withstand environmental stresses such as heat, drought and disease.

Black layer in La Rinconada green. A sign of a lack of oxygen
Aerification tube in a La Rinconada green introducing oxygen and drainage

2) Drainage. Good drainage reduces disease pressure, and firms up the surface for better ball roll. 

Standing water on #18 green resulting in no oxygen and poor playing conditions

Second; How do we decide how many holes and the size of the holes??

1) Perform a physical analysis of the soil that measures the percent organic matter, the infiltration rate, and the percent of the air porosity of the soil.  We were advised to remove 30% by the USGA based on the amount of black layer and a layer of organic matter at a 3 inch depth. Brookside labs also recommended aggressive aerification of this layer.  ISTRC lab is scheduled to perform a post aerification physical properties lab test that will guide our next aerifications.

2) Based on the lab testing performed in the first step, we refere to a chart that lists all the different types of processes that will improve the physical characteristics that are deficient.


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This chart is an excel based calculator and the numbers used are only examples of an aerification program and not what will be done at La Rinconada this year. It does represent what is recommended by the USGA, and ISTRC labs. Look closely at the Tine OD for the size of tine and the differences in displacement.
More aerifications with smaller tines or less aerifications with big tines?
For La Rinconada to reach 30% this year we are needing to do a lot more aerifications than what has been done in the past. In 2011 approximately 9% was impacted.
  Spacing   Spacing TOTAL
  Width   Length Tine OD Surface Area
DATE   (inches)  (Inches) (Inches) Impacted %
April 1.5 2 0.500 6.54%
April 1.5 1.5 0.250 2.18%
June 1.5 1.5 0.250 2.18%
July 1.5 1.5 0.250 2.18%
Sept. Choose Choose Choose  0.00%
Choose Month Choose Choose Choose  0.00%
Sept. 1.5 1.75 0.750 16.83%
Sept. 1.5 1.75 0.250 1.87%
Nov. GRADEN Choose Blade mm 0.0393 0.00%
Choose Month GRADEN Choose Blade mm 0.0393 0.00%
                     Place Cursor & Click on apporiate cell --- Choose from the Drop Down Menu selection

The aerification process is measurable, consistent, and well thought out.  Hopefully this helps explain how I came to the decision of what to do, and why it was so important to be more agressive with my first aerification here at La Rinconada.


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