Why do we do hollow tining? How long will it take to recover? Why do you always do it just when the greens are looking good?
These are just a few of the questions we get asked following and during hollow tining. Grass needs air to survive just like us humans, and part of the hollow tining process allows air into the surface while also removing thatch and relieving compaction.
Golf is played all year round and this constant traffic causes compaction, which is when all the air pockets in the soil are compressed together reducing air in the soil and reducing the drainage properties. You as golfers expect cut and prepared greens to play on all year round, so we therefore must take our machines onto the greens to achieve this by daily mowing and rolling, which both cause compaction. As the grass grows the lower leaves die off and create what is called thatch. This in turn causes the surface to become spongy and waterlogged, as any water gets trapped in this layer which again prevents water movement through the soil causing the roots to rot, and a waterlogged thatchy green is especially susceptible to disease. Therefore. we need to do hollow tining to reduce this thatch layer - and over recent years we have been forced to leave out this process or not do it as frequently as we would have liked.
How long it will take to recover is very weather dependent, and as we try and carry out this work either before the start of the season or at the end of the season so as not to disrupt playing season, this has a huge impact on recovery times. For example, this year the ground temperature is still too cold to promote any meaningful growth and we have in fact had several frosts following springs maintenance which further slowed recovery. So the million dollar question is, do we do it in the middle of your playing season when we are likely to have better recovery or do we get it out of the way beforehand to allow you to have an uninterrupted playing season?
Despite all this, the team have worked wonders this year and managed to not only get the maintenance done in three days but during that time we also carried out a full fairway divoting session on both courses. We have over seeded the Kings greens with a new grass variety that should in time give us better winter colour and more resistance to disease.
The greens on the Kings course are obviously about a week behind the Earls but are making good progress and we will continue to work on them to get the best surfaces we can. We have invested in new ball washers and bins for the course which are moveable so we can place them in the most suitable places for all sections. Hopefully this means placing them away from dog walkers who insist on putting their dog mess in the bins, so if you think that there aren’t enough bins in certain areas, that's the reason why. We have also installed new numbered fairway discs (100,150 and 200) as well as replacing the nasty old wooden hazard posts with shiny new recycled plastic ones (we do still need a few more of these). All the tees have had fertiliser applied in readiness for the warmer weather and the Kings greens have had their first application of spring fertiliser to help boost recovery with the Earls planned for next week. We will shortly be putting out some very expensive new flags, pins and cups so keep a look out and let us have some feedback.
We’re all set for a good season with lots of new team members and some new pieces of equipment - all we need now is a bit of warm weather and an occasional shower of rain!