In this section I shall explain some of the types of golf course maintenance procedures we carry out specifically to the greens and the benefits of doing so. Some of these operations can be disruptive to play and a large amount of patience will be required from our members whilst we carry these operations out. The quality of playing surfaces you see all year round are the results of various aeration techniques carried out to our playing surfaces.
What Is Hollow Tining For?
The hollow tining of greens, tees and even fairways is an essential part of most golf course maintenance programmes.
It’s a recognised and proven technique carried out every year at most UK golf clubs.
But at those clubs you’ll hear cantankerous members bemoaning the holey putting surfaces.
Here we give you the lowdown on what hollow tining is and why it occurs.
So what is hollow tining?
It’s the physical removal of cores of turf from a playing surface.
The holes are generally 13-16mm in diameter and of varying depths depending on the reason for the tine.
The cores are ejected, swept up and removed. They make excellent compost.
When completed, a smaller mass of soil will occupy the same area of green/tee/fairway.
Why is it done?
Course traffic causes the ground to become compacted and hardened.
This means drainage is less efficient and the grass’s roots are prevented from absorbing oxygen.
Hollow tining allows the compacted turf to expand and air and moisture to be more easily absorbed.
The coring helps address the problem of thatch. (Thatch is a layer of grass stems, roots, and debris that settle and accumulate over time.)
A thin layer is acceptable but too much thatch will hold water like a sponge.
Tining also removes accumulated fibre in the grass’s root zone. It allows for the exchange of a poor soil for a better one through top dressing.
That’s why the greens are normally covered in sandy top dressing immediately after they’re cored.
In addition, coring allows for overseeding: another effective way of improving the quality of the playing surface.
When is it done?
Hollow tining is generally done out-with the main playing season: often in early Spring or early Autumn.
It’s important that the tining is completed before the weather turns wet and cold so there’s time for growth and for the holes to seal up.
So the best time to hollow tine is early April or late August/early September, but this coincides with the playing season at most clubs.
So what is Verti-Draining?
It's the deep aeration procedure that involves inserting large solid tines deep into the surface of the ground. Usual depths between 8-12 inches. The verti-drain also allows us to insert the tines at an angle which can further break up compaction.
Why is it done?
To reduce deep seated compaction which conventional aeration is unable to reach. This creates a deeper, better aerated, free draining medium / soil profile. The benefit of this will allow the greens to drain during wet weather conditions and maintain plant health. Free draining greens also become firm greens which are essential all year round for play ability.
When is it done?
Verti-draining is usually carried out during the winter period which often tends to be the wettest periods, October/November and again early February.