Hyde Park Est. 1909, A Donald Ross Design

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Drainage, Aerfication and the PGA Championship

The summer is winding down at HP but the Grounds Staff is busy preparing the course for the final events and the winter months. The staff and I are focused on the following:

  • Deep tine aeration of the fairways and second cultivation on new sod to relieve compaction. Added labor, sand and fertilizer have helped recovery of these areas.
  • Shade and poor drainage on the 11th fairway, the addition of drainage will help with growing healthier Turfgrass. Shade is still an issue on the 11th, 9th and 18th fairways and need to be addressed
  • Mystery spots have returned to the greens, staff has removed about 80-3" spots on 10 greens. The spots are concentrated so far on older bentgrass varieties. Multiple labs and University Extension agents over 3 years have not been able to identify the cause of this decline.
  • Summer Cultivation of the putting surfaces will begin in the evening of August 18th and will continue through Wednesday pending weather. The choice to aerify in August allows for faster healing, promotes bentgrass over Poa and allows for less disruption of fall golf. Healing time last season was roughly 10 days. In late October, deep tine aeration of the greens will occur.
  • The benefits of the added drainage have been well noted this season especially on holes 3, 5, 14 and 15. To date, there are 8 greens with drainage. The drainage in these near 100 year old surfaces has helped with reducing Poa, promoting bentgrass and increased consistent playability. The goal is to complete all drainage on the remaining greens to improve consistency from green to green to avoid this:
PGA Championship 2014: Greg Nickerson Ast. Grounds Superintendent
5 members of the staff including: Pat, Dan and interns Chris and Max and I had the opportunity to volunteer at Valhalla for the PGA Championship
We were there to do whatever tasks were required of us. The primary duty for Pat was monitoring and reporting of green speeds to adjust maintenance practices in order to achieve desired conditions. The rest of us split the week and our primary task was mowing of practice greens and greens on the course as needed.

Many of these tasks took place in the dark conditions of early morning and late evening.Due to wet conditions, we were also tasked with removing water from playing surfaces and restoring the course to playable conditions.

This opportunity was a great learning experience for all, and was very exciting. It is something we will all remember for a long time. The scale of such an event is bigger than can be imagined, and needs to be experienced first hand to truly comprehend. Thank you to Roger Meier, Golf Course Superintendent of Valhalla Golf Club and his entire staff for allowing us this great opportunity.

This picture includes most (but not all) of the Grounds Staff of Valhalla Golf Club and volunteers who worked the golf course for the 96th PGA Championship.


If there are any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at grounds@hydeparkcc.com


Pat O'Brien

Grounds Superintendent