March 18, 2011

Rain, Aeration, and Irrigation?

High water on hole 4

It has been another wet week at Sandpines.  The golf course has received 3.36 inches of rain over the past week.  The precipitation total for March is up to 8.25 inches.  Next week looks better, but there is still some rain in the forecast.  Like everyone else in the Pacific Northwest, I am ready for drier weather.

Solid tine aeration

The greens have been in good shape this winter.  However, the seemingly constant rain has led to puddling of greens on many holes.  The puddling subsides after the rain stops, but it seems to take longer after each rain storm.  Since play was light due to the awful weather earlier in the week, we took the opportunity to aerate the greens with solid tines.  The improvement in infiltration was immediate.  The holes will be visible for a few days, but the positive impact on infiltration will last for a month or more.

Improved infiltration

I took the picture above during a heavy rain squall that occurred while I was aerating the ninth green.  If you look closely, you should be able to see a difference between the left and right side of the picture.  The left side had not yet been aerated, and there is water present on the surface of the green.  The right side, which had been aerated had no surface water present.  As I continued aerating the green after taking the picture, the remaining water on the surface of the green was gone within seconds of being aerated.

The video below is from the USGA.  It gives a pretty good two minute explanation of why superintendents aerate greens.

Jerry and I (mostly Jerry) also worked locating a faulty power wire that provides power to 10 irrigation control boxes this week.  We are still in the process of solving the problem, but we have narrowed it down to one wire and 3 control boxes.  We are hoping to locate the fault in the wire next week.  I don't think we will need to irrigate anytime soon, so in a way its not the worst time to have an irrigation problem.  Far better timing than the hottest week of the year, which seems to be when many irrigation problems arise.

Jerry in problem solving mode