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Advancing The Game Through Agronomic Technology

The spring golf season is in full swing and summer will soon be upon us. This time of year excites our department as we have worked in the “off-season” to modify our agronomic practices. Just like a golfer tweaks his swing and tries to improve, so do we. Some practices worked last year, some didn’t, but this will hold true every year as we are always trying to stay ahead of Mother Nature. Changes to our agronomic practices include acquiring new maintenance equipment that are considerably “cutting-edge.”

By Mark Semm

Air2G2 Aerifiers manufactured by GT AirInject. 

These machines fracture the soil with compressed air at varying depths up to 12 inches and provide compaction relief, increased pore space for more balanced air-to-water ratios, and provide great gas exchange. There is no machine like it that can provide the benefits up to 12 inches throughout the greens profile with virtually no disruption. As greens age, potential problems can fester deeper into that profile. The new aerifiers have the ability to work shallow and deep; whereas, traditional aerifiers can typically only reach the upper 4 to 6 inches. Our hope is with continued regular cultural practices (topdressing, brushing, and venting) combined with the Air2G2’s, we can maintain a healthy profile while being able to continue to reduce the large diameter aggressive core aeration like we have done the last several years. Cordillera Ranch is one of the first golf courses in the area to invest in this new technology.

POGO Turf Pro. We began using this technology last year. The system uses a probe combined with an app on our phones to collect pertinent data, which is stored for later analysis. With this new knowledge gained from the data, we’re continuing to improve and maintain putting surface conditions. Last year we were mainly focused on soil moisture, but early this year we began using select data to further dial in our fertility programs on the greens. It has been a tremendous tool in helping us produce better putting conditions and a healthier plant.

Uni-Rakes and Groomers for our reel mowers.

These two pieces work hand-in-hand. The uni-rake is a tractor mounted rake that helps remove thatch and stands turf upright in fairways and rough. Too much thatch can be detrimental, and typical verticutting on fairways is a lengthy and messy process. The uni-rake allows us to de-thatch (at smaller quantities) with much more frequency and without the significant disruption to play. Groomers have been added to our fairway reel mowers. They sit just in front of the reels and stand turf upright before mowing, thus reducing grain and providing a better quality of cut. Over the last year we have installed grooming systems on all reel mowers (greens, fairways, tees and approaches). We can change to various grooming cassettes quickly and can run the groomers with or against the mow based on turf needs.

We are continually trying to improve our agronomic practices. So just as a golfer adds a new driver or wedge, the Agronomy team has added several new “clubs” to our bag this year to help continued improvement of our maintenance practices.

We hope you enjoyed this spring golf season and look forward to the summer!

Mark Semm is the Director of Agronomy at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. He can be reached at msemm@cordilleraranch.com or 830.336.9186.