Yes it’s that time of year…getting the golf course in good shape for the coming season. Don’t fret, we’re still putting a lot of work into the course this year. Autumn can be a great time to play and we want you to enjoy the course now! Weather conditions are directing the turf to harden off and head toward dormacy, therefore the plant is putting most of its energy toward the root system rather than its growth above ground. Because that growth is slowing down, greens are being mowed 3-4 times per week now compared to daily mowing in the summer…with very little sacrifice in speed.
Tomorrow we will be aerating the greens through a process called Dryject. This will be the fourth consecutive year we’ve used this method and I believe the benefits are great; for now and next year. Through dryject, channels are created in the soil (3/8″ in diameter by 8″ deep) by sand injection that makes it much easier for air and water to reach the roots. Another big benefit of the dryject process is the finished product; greens are playable immediately after on a smooth and firm surface. Obviously this is much preferred over convential aerification methods of the past when greens were not very playable for a couple weeks.
Fall is also an excellent time to make improvements to the bunkers. Our staff has been working hard to improve drainage in the sand traps. 2018 produced extreme amounts of rain (3 different months had rain totals that were all time highs). Needless to say the water pumps were busy; not to mention the shoveling of sand back onto bunker slopes that had been washed down.
This picture of the bunker left of 4 green pretty much tells the story; sand mixed with the underlying soil in a bunker that had to have water pumped out a dozen times over the summer. This sand trap along with 7 others will have all the old sand/soil removed, followed by new drainage pipe installed, with fresh new sand added. I know that will please many a customer at Hilldale along with all those who work on the grounds. Thanks for your patience and understanding this season and I’d love to get your thoughts on the course now and in 2019.