Summer Green Speed Trial Pt 2

BASIS - Year round our number 1 priority is turf health, our 2nd priority is course set up and condition to member expectations, both are very closely related, for we have next to no chance of reaching member expectations if turf health is poor.
For the majority of the year we achieve both, during summer however there is always some difference between member expectations of green speed and our methods to maintain turf in healthy condition (for the reasons explained in PT1).
In an effort to close the gap between the two we trialed different methods in excess of our present practices and budget. It must be noted these methods are in excess of our present budget as such results need to be assessed against financial sustainability as well.  

PRESENT PRACTICES / BUDGET LIMITS
The height of cut for most of the year is between 2.5mm and 2.8mm.
Summer heights range between 3mm and 3.2mm. Except for major events where lowering occurs
Frequency during the non summer period is 6 out of 7 days with at least 3 up 5 double cuts depending on conditions and or events.
Summer frequency is single cut only, 6 out of 7 days except for periods of high temperatures when reduced cutting days are implemented. Exception in the lead up to a major event.
Due to small staff Triplex mowers are used.
2 renovations per year include, aerating, dethatching and topdressing, no other aerating or sanding occurs due to budget limits.
3 weekly greens grooming from Late winter through early summer, then early autumn to mid autumn.
We do not own renovation equipment.

FINALLY WE BEGIN........
Countless thorough research has been undertaken across the globe with this subject nature, this trial did not intend to duplicate or dispute any of these, rather the simple aim of evaluating different methods trialled under our conditions, our turf and the impact on our budget.

AIM - The aim of the trial was to asses different methods in excess of our present Summer maintenance procedures focusing on green speed with 4 desired outcomes -
1) To eliminate the subjective nature and emotion when discussing greens speeds by putting a number on what is reasonable to members.
2) Asses the actual speed increase of each method.
3) Asses the impact on turf health.
4) Asses the financial sustainability of each method.

TRIALED METHODS
1) Grooming
2) Light Sanding
3) Grooming and Light Sanding
4) Rolling
5) Height of cut impact on green Speed.

METHOD
1) 6 greens were selected, 2 for each of the first 3 methods.
2) A stimp meter was used according to USGA guidelines to take speed readings from the 2 greens in each method trialled prior to the method being carried out and then again at regular intervals after. The readings from the two greens were averaged, compared to the readings prior to intervention and the difference recorded in cm.
3) Turf Health Observations were recorded against each green and trial method compared to those greens not being trialled. Root depth was also measured though not conclusive due to the relative short time frame of the trial.
4)  Four averaged green speed readings were taken from all greens under various Height of Cuts and frequency representing our various practices through the year.


In the next post I will show results and comments, before I do I would like to point out each method trialed has been proven by independent research to increase green speed, and more so have a cumulative effect if carried out regularly, due to the short nature of the trial and cost we could not asses the cumulative effect of each method.

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