Stow Acres Turf

Golf Course Maintenance News & Live Updates from @stowacresturf

A Breath of Fresh Aer-ation

Stow Acres has been open for just about a month now and the courses are truly starting to show the hard work that the grounds crew has been putting in. We seem to have pretty much fully recovered from the massive amounts of rain we got a couple of weeks ago. There are still some damp areas scattered throughout the course such as 4 South, 18 South, 4 North and 6 North but all of the greens complexes are open and playable and now both courses are allowing golf carts. As a reminder I’d like to ask all golfers to respect all of the roped off areas as well as the carts signs throughout both courses.

Earlier this week the grounds crew completed aeration on the South Course greens as well as both practice putting greens. As an intern, this week I had my first realization that I was no longer just a regular member of the crew, but had started to delve into the practice of actual turf management. As opposed to last year when I would be required to go and cut greens or fairways, or go rake the bunkers, this year I’ve begun to take on more crucial tasks and greens aeration was the first major example of doing so.

We started Monday morning with the front 9 South early in the morning by punching cores in the greens. We punch cores as a way of loosening up the compaction in the soil. Throughout the year the ground gets compacted due to foot traffic and from mowing and as a result the natural pockets of oxygen in the ground get crushed making it harder for the grass to receive oxygen. Also, because of the highly compacted soil the roots of the grass have a hard time growing and nutrients cannot not interact as well as they should.

After punching cores, as a crew we push the cores off the green, scoop the up and remove them, and them proceed to blow the remaining soil and leftover cores off of the green. This makes sure that the holes we have punched remain open for the next step in the aeration process. Once the greens are cleared we topdress the green with a very fine grade sand. We then spread a low nitrogen organic fertilizer on the greens. After that we go over the greens with a drag mat and large turbine blowers so that the sand and fertilizer is pushed into the coring holes. Once the sand and fertilizers have filled in the holes we spread more  organic fertilizers. Finally we pro-seed the greens with a creeping bentgrass mix so that a new generation seedlings may flourish and replace the shoots that are lost through core punching as well as those that may die naturally throughout the year. Once all this is done we water the green heavily so that it may recuperate from the stress it has incurred during the aeration process.

It’s a long and arduous process but once the greens heal up the results are amazing. Without aeration, which we also do later in the fall, the greens wouldn’t be able to survive over the years. This insures that the greens remain healthy and playable for years to come. What many would consider the hardest work days there are on a golf course, become much easier when you realize the incredible amount of good you are doing for the turf. When it comes down to it, what you’re really doing is aiding in the survival of a living organism, and the feeling you get from doing so is enough reward to make those tough work days seem a whole lot more enjoyable.

We will be aerating the North Course greens on Tuesday the 20th and Wednesday the 21st of next week.


-Andrew Lanigan, Turf Intern


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Up and Running…

Well maybe Punxsutawney Phil was on to something with this whole shadow thing. I’m not sure there has ever been a more abrupt changing of the seasons in my lifetime. Six more weeks of winter you say Mr. Groundhog? No problem. Just like clockwork once the thrid week of March rolled around somebody flipped a switch and it was Spring all of a sudden. It’s been a wild few weeks recently having gone from the last snow storms of winter, to torrential rains that one co-worker fittingly described as “biblical.” With the waters receding and the course recuperating from being water-boarded by mother nature we find ourselves enjoying a beautiful 70 degree sunny day. With clear skies and warm weather forecasted for the weekend its perfect weather for golfing.

All this week the crew has been recovering from the rains. Fixing bunkers, cleaning up brush, and preparing the South Course to be cart-friendly once again, it has been all hands on deck for the small spring crew to get everything ready for the wave of eager golfers looking to get out on the course. Today the crew made a great push prepping the North Course for play. Water still remains from the weekend storms but as of late this afternoon the North Course is officially ready to go. Come tomorrow morning golfers will once again be able to choose between North and South courses. While the South is now officially cart-friendly the North will be walking only until further notice so that the turf may get a chance to dry out and heal without interruption. Holes have been cleaned off and foot bridges have been put in place to accommodate golfers until all of the water recedes.

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks and one thing is for sure, if the weather is nice and the ground is clear then the golfers will come. In the blink of an eye spring has sprung and it’s officially golfing season. Starting tomorrow morning all 36 holes of Stow Acres Country club will be open and all are welcome.

-Andrew Lanigan



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Welcome to the Big Show…

The New England Regional Turfgrass Conference & Show took place this week in Providence Rhode Island. I joined my fellow co-workers today at the convention center and finally got a real idea of just how far the turf industry stretches. It was amazing to see just how many different working parts there are to something that seems so basic. You go golfing or you work on a golf course and think to yourself, “okay you got lawn mowers and golf carts, seems simple enough.” But once you step on the trade show floor it finally hits you. I’ve been to trade shows before for auto and construction and this was right on par(pun intended) with what I had seen before. The amount of vendors, from fertilizers, pesticides, PGR’s, irrigation, design and construction, light equipment and tools is overwhelming. Not only that but a course superintendent or assistant is going to three or four of these a year, spend a few years in the industry and you begin to develop a solid work relationship with a lot of these guys. It’s great to see how close-knit the whole industry is while at the same time being so far-reaching. You’re never really on your own  when you’ve got so many business connections like it is in this case. There’s always someone you can call when you need to borrow a piece of equipment and there’s always someone you’re comfortable with that you can get in contact with should you ever have a problem you can’t handle.

The seminars are a great part of the experience as well. You get to learn some up to date information from people at the forefront of the industry. Whether it’s your pesticide license or your GCSAA membership you can sit in on an informational seminar and learn some new things you can apply at work and at the same time take care whatever certification credits you may need. The superintendent and the assistants sat in on a seminar detailing the effects of anthracnose and annual bluegrass weevil on Poa annua while the shop mechanics attended seminars on sprayer maintenance, calibration and use and how to maintain and ensure optimum performance on mower reels. I joined the mechanics for the seminar on spraying seeing as how that would be a primary responsibility of mine come summer time.

Overall, the conference is just a great atmosphere to be in. It’s a great place to network and meet people in the industry if you’re new to it all and for those who’ve been a part of it for a while it’s like a class reunion of sorts. A place to meet up with others you may have gone to school with, worked with before and in a lot of cases the sales reps that you associate with on a regular basis. You can observe the progression made in the industry from the vendors you’re familiar with and also discover the newest technologies from companies trying to break their way into the industry. One thing is for sure, being there today was a nice appetizer to get me ready for the entrée that is the upcoming golf season.

-Andrew Lanigan