About Me

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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.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Aeration Techniques

Over the course of the last few months I have been asked about the techniques that we will be employing on the greens. To produce greens that are healthy and fast, the methods and timing become critical so I am providing an outline of the machinery we will utilize, the timing, and the benefits that each process provides.

Maintaining water infiltration rates is critical to both health and play-ability throughout the year, and the machine that will provide this is the planet air. Click here for video and further explanation on what this machine does and the benefits it provides. What I like best about this machine is the speed at which it operates and that green speed is increased after its use. It is a lot less disruptive than using a traditional aerator to vent the greens and produces the same  agronomic benefits. Ideally this machine would be used every other week throughout the year.

Planet air on the 15th green

The Graden verticutter is the most agressive machine due to its ability to go deep into the turf. We have 2 Graden verticutters for greens, tees and fairways. I have provided a video link here so you can see them in action and get a sense of the blades and how verticutting works in general. This machine is not for the faint of heart. It is a lot of work and takes skill to not do damage to greens and other fine turf areas. This machine is used on the majority of top courses in the world. It would only be used during aeration and with green and ground committee approval, as it does take some time for the grooves to grow over and not be visually intimidating while putting.

Light verticutting  with triplex mowers will be done to remove thatch and regular light topdressings behind the verticutting will increase the sand percentage in the top layer of the root zone. The combination of these 2 practices keeps the greens true, and the increased firmness enhances the greens' ability to withstand damage from ball marks and foot traffic. And although grain is not presently an issue on our poa and bent greens, verticutting is the management method to make sure that it does not become a problem in the future. This process is done about once a month in the winter and about every other week in the summer.

Verticutting greens using triplex mowers

On a daily basis surfaces can be lightly groomed using grooming blades set at a higher less aggressive height. Our new walking greens mowers have the ability to groom the grass as they are cutting, and they are set on about half of the mowing days when the grass is aggressively growing.

New greens mowers with thatching blades

As you can tell there is a large menu of techniques that are available to keep greens healthy, smooth, and fast. They all entail hard physical work, and the motivation to using them is to provide great playing surfaces.


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