Course Manager at Sweetwoods Park Golf Club, Allan Tait, talks about the process of course maintenance and hollow coring, answering many of the common questions such as why, what and when.
Why do we do it? What does it actually do?
Hollow coring is an important process in the removal of thatch from golf greens. As grass grows older, leaves die and a layer of organic matter called thatch can form at the base of the sward. Although constant scarifying and topdressing is undertaken throughout the year, it is also necessary to hollow core at least once a year, to remove larger amounts. Verticutting removes thatch from the base of the plant and the topdressing applied dilutes the thatch and encourages it to break down naturally – as well as level the putting surface off (a green is at its smoothest a day or so after topdressing). Allowing a build up of the thatch would encourage diseases such as Fusarium patch; this is due to the water holding capacity of the thatch. In the summer months thatch can become hydrophobic (repel water) therefore causing dry patch issues. In a nutshell too much thatch is bad!
What’s the process?
Depending on thatch levels the Graden (deep scarifier) will be used, with the next stop focusing on improvement of the drainage rate of the greens. The greens will be vertidrained, as deep as possible, and sand will be added. These deep sand filled channels will aid water movement. Hollow coring then takes place, to a depth of 5/6 inches (cores collected), and then top-dress with sand, which will be brushed in. Overseeding will also take place. Once the drainage capabilities of the greens have been improved there will be the opportunity to consider a specie exchange program i.e. encouraging finer grasses.
Why do we do it now?
Due to the unpredictable nature of British spring time it is thought the best time to hollow core is August. This is due to the guaranteed temperature and conditions for recovery. If coring took place earlier in the year when temperatures were low the greens could take a lot longer to recover.
The course maintenance programme at Sweetwoods Park is taking place between 8–22 August with reduced green fees on offer during this period. Why not head down and see the benefits of the course maintenance for yourself? Book your tee time at www.sweetwoodspark.com or call the Pro Shop on 01342 850729 Ext. 1.