Golf Course Management

JAN 2017

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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62 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.17 ther Roy Kizer (for whom the Roy Kizer Golf Course in Austin, Texas, was named) used to do things, focusing mostly on organics. "I had to change my whole management strategy and went into a biological program through compost teas," Kizer says. He began brewing his own compost teas to stimulate mi - crobial activity in the soil, and he hasn't applied any fungicides or insecticides in more than five years. Only once in the past seven years has he core-aerified because the budget wouldn't allow for contractor services or sand to fill aerification holes, or for the lost revenue from closing the course to play during the process. About a year ago, Kizer found room in the finances to invest in a new type of aerification machine, called the Air2G2, that inserts tines into the ground and forces air laterally out into the soil profile at 7 inches and 12 inches below the surface. The forced air fractures the soil underneath the turf with little to no dis - ruption of the playing surface. Before recently leaving Hidden Falls to be - come the Texas distributor for Trimax Mow- ing Systems, Kizer used the Air2G2 once a month to inject air into the soil column and aerify without suspending play. "What hap - pens is when the air is injected into the soil, the microorganisms will just explode. They come alive once they get air," Kizer says. "It's a unique tool, plus there's no disturbing golf - ers and there's no cleanup. It fits my program of what we are doing at this course. Our soils are very alive." "The conventional wisdom is that aeration is accomplished through punching holes in the turf. We aerify by injecting air into the soil profile up to 12 inches deep," says Todd Jones, general manager of GT AirInject, manufac - turer of the Air2G2 machine. "The Air2G2 is true aerification. In the manner in which we inject the air into the soil profile, compaction is relieved immediately, porosity is increased immediately, and it forces an immediate gas exchange. It releases the bad gases such as car - bon dioxide that are created under the soil. The ancillary or long-term benefits are in - creased root growth, increased microbial ac- tivity and healthier turf." In Naples, Fla., Robert Bittner, CGCS, di - rector of golf course operations at The Club Pelican Bay, still core-aerifes in spring and fall. However, during the busy winter season, when most of the club's members have fled snowy weather up north to enjoy winter golf in Flor - ida, he's had few options to relieve compac- tion. Aggressive methods such as verticutting or core aerifying drew member complaints about disruption of the putting surface. Before the Air2G2, Bittner's only real alternative was to send crew members out with pitchforks to manually relieve compaction. "We use the Air2G2 surprisingly a lot in fairways, along cart paths — anyplace show - ing compaction or drainage issues, we use it and it seems to help," says Bittner, a 34-year GCSAA member. "The Air2G2 does a better job than any other aerating unit we'd use." Bittner has trained three crew members to use the machine whenever they have time to take the Air2G2 out to relieve compaction on the green perimeters and other stressed areas. What really sold the Air2G2 for The Club Pelican Bay, though, was the reaction of the club's general manager after a demo of the machine three years ago. Bittner says there had been a problem every summer with a 15,000-square-foot swampy area in front of a green where "you could sink up to your ankles." Because the expanse stayed too wet to run traditional aerifiers through it, again crew members with pitchforks did their best to manually punch holes in the soil. After one aerification treatment with the Air2G2, the area was dry enough to walk on three days after the test. Bittner says his GM asked, "What did you do there?" Shortly thereafter, the club owned the machine. Rethinking fertilizer application Superintendents who adhere to standard practices apply fertilizer in spring and fall. But Veteran superintendent Jamie Kizer found he could stretch his budget at Hidden Falls GC in Marble Falls, Texas, by fertilizing greens with compost teas and aerifying with subsurface lateral air injection. Photo courtesy of Jamie Kizer "It's a unique tool, plus there's no disturbing golfers and there's no cleanup. It fits my program of what we are doing at this course." — Jamie Kizer

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