End-of-winter renovation is one of the most significant tasks undertaken in the sports turf management cycle – and never more so than this year. While many grounds managers have their own machinery for routine maintenance, others call in contractors when the situation has become severe enough for drastic action.
The savage winter has thrown up many problems, says Kevin Smith, contracts manager of Speedcut Contractors.
“I have inspected some very badly worn surfaces with severe compaction caused by the winter weather,” he says. “Being under snow for more than 10 days some playing surfaces have suffered more than others and the only immediate answer is to verti-drain, topdress and overseed.
“In severe cases sandbanding or sandslitting is required and that is if the primary drainage system is okay underneath. Surfaces which have been sandbanded or sandslit in recent years may have suffered smearing over or capping during the winter making that secondary drainage system ineffectual. The only solution is to carry out the process again.”
Burgess Hill Golf Centre in West Sussex had its 28 bay two-hectare floodlit driving range sandslitted and topdressed by Speedcut.
Around 14,000 metres of sandslits were installed at one and a half metre centres and backfilled with shingle and sand. Then greenkeepers overseeded the site before Speedcut continued to spread more than 300 tonnes of Topsport sand over the entire site.
Burgess Hill Golf Centre offers a championship nine-hole golf course and is home to the PGA Professional South Region Short Course Championships. The course has USGA-spec greens, maintained to the highest of standards with ponds, ditches, and subtle undulation providing variety for those playing a sociable nine.
Speedcut’s Gwazae deep-probe aerator, which can aerate an entire football pitch in a day – and can also incoprorate soil improvement materials – has also being used to great effect on golf course greens, including West Chiltington GC and Ham Manor GC, both in West Sussex.
“The Gwazae has proved a very effective machine, where the conditions are right, and a great many greenkeepers and sports surface managers have found this to be a cost-effective solution to compaction with minimum disruption,” says Kevin.