The first cut of the season using our new Jacobson Eclipse 122 walking greens mowers was on Friday, May 11th in the morning. The LHCC Grounds Crew will be using walking greens mowers on a daily basis throughout the season. These precision cutting machines have been University and field tested as the top performing walking greens mowers available.
All Eclipse series mowers feature independent electric motors which control the cutting reels. Using electronics it is possible to maintain frequency of clip (FOC) independent to operational mow speed. This means that no matter who is operating the mower, the FOC set by the Superintendent or technician will be maintained across all greens at all speeds.
By utilizing the new Jacobsen Classic XP 15-blade reel the desired FOC and reel speed can be maintained while operating mow speed can be increased up to 36%, substantially increasing productivity.
The additional blades provide a tighter FOC, reducing stragglers thereby yielding a smoother surface. This superior quality of cut, in combination with a lightweight footprint, is a significant feature that can only benefit the greens at LHCC this season.
Spring is the time for us to begin preparing the turf for the summer stress periods that will soon be upon us. This opportunity to aerify and improve the turfgrass growing environment in preparation for summer stresses including heat, drought, and disease is critical. This season at The London Hunt and Country Club we will be using a combination of cultural practices including traditional Core Aeration and Deep Tining.
Turf grows in a unique environment, getting nutrients and life support from the soil it grows in. An ideal soil system is 50% insoluble material, while the other 50% is made up of 25% water and 25% oxygen. The root zone make-up at The London Hunt and Country Club is predominantly a layer of sand over a soil sub-layer. Over time, this soil layer was introduced into the sand topdressing layer above causing a distinct band in the profile 4-5 inches deep. In order to break through this barrier and improve water and gas movement a deep tine aeration machine was used during aeration to fracture and penetrate the greens to a 7 inch depth.
To offset thatch buildup, an optimal removal of 20% of the surface per year is recommended by the USGA. This season the intention is to aerate in the spring, summer and fall with the majority of the removal taking place in the later part of the year. Due to weather conditions, our May 7th aeration date included a Deep Tine aeration to the greens with conventional aeration being performed to aprons, collars, tees and select fairway areas.
A deep slicer aeration unit was used on all the fairways during closing as the saturated soil conditions limited drying time and impending rainfall prevented the traditional core aeration to be completed.
The primary goal of these activities is to improve the growing environment of roots and crowns by introducing oxygen and sand into the root zone. The topdressing sand application helps cushion and protect the growing points at the same time increasing the putting greens firmness and smoothness. In conjunction with sand topdressing we will, on occasion, use a variety of solid and open tines to break through surface compaction to improve oxygen exchange and water movement within the root zone.
All cultural practices will be carried out in such a way as to minimize the impact to Membership with the ultimate goal of providing superior, healthier putting surfaces.