Days like today are without a doubt some of my favorite days of the year. I was already smiling at 5:30 this morning when I saw a clear sky awaited us for the day, but there was more good news to come... this was a day of some of my favorite cultural practices on our greens.
We started the morning by brushing the greens to stand up the longer grass that is laying down below the reels on the mower. Right after they were brushed we mowed with our regular walk behind greens mowers to cut off all the grass that is now standing upright, this usually results in removing at least twice as much than if we had not brushed them. This is evident in the picture at the left where you can see the right half has yet to be mowed and the left side is much lighter in color after removing a LOT of extra growth. This is a practice that we will continue to use through the season to maintain smooth greens free of too much lateral growth.
The next step in the process was to verticut (vertical mow) the greens, this again is to remove excess lateral growth. This is a process that has been used here at Kenosha CC for many years, however, this year over the winter we purchased new blades which make the practice much more effective. Last year with the old blades we were simply cutting a line in the green but not effectively removing any material, this year we needed a cart to follow the machine to continually empty the clippings from the baskets. After the verticut mower went across the green we mowed it again with a riding greens mower to remove any standing debris and blew the rest of the remaining clippings into the rough.
At this point we are about half way done with the process... next was to topdress liberally with sand. There are a few reasons for this, one is to smooth the surface from both the verticutters as well as any ball marks or other imperfections. After we spread the sand we drag it in with a brush pulled by a utility cart. Finally we spread fertilizer to encourage new growth and an overall healthy plant and water the greens for 10 minutes to help the sand settle as well as wash the fertilizer into the turf canopy for uptake by the roots.
It was a long and busy day but in the end very successful. Great day to be a Golf Course Superintendent!