Our annual spring programme (Hollowtining) happens for good reasons!
Why do we hollowtine?
When love and hate collide
I know the heading of my article sounds like a song, and maybe it was written for Course Superintendents as they start their Spring treatments on the course every year, the time of the year when course superintendent punch holes in their well-manicured greens that resembles billiard tables, also the time of the year when members “love to hate” the poor guy maintaining the greens, the Course “Sup” .Why would any person in their right mind want to mess up a perfect green?
I hope to answer some of these questions from a Superintendents point of view.
Why do we hollowtine?
It is hard to believe that hollowtining helps you keep your greens perfect, but this is true. The main reasons why we do hollowtining will be named and highlighted in this article.
Thatch removal is a key reason why greens and fairways for that matter gets hollow tined, the definition of thatch can be described as, “Thatch is a tightly intermingled layer of living and dead stems, leaves and roots which accumulates between the layer of actively-growing grass and the soil underneath. Thatch is a normal component of an actively growing turf grass. As long as the thatch is not too thick, it can increase the resilience of the turf to heavy traffic. Thatch develops more readily on high-maintenance lawns than on low-maintenance lawns.” The definition sums up why it is important to remove thatch on greens.
Compaction relief, with this I mean compaction caused due to traffic moving over the green on a daily basis, whether it is the machines cutting the grass or golfers enjoying a nice round of golf .Imagine walking in a veld and ahead of you are animal paths heading in all directions, have you ever noticed that nothing grows where all the traffic is focused on? This is all due to compaction and outside stresses that are not advantageous to normal plant growth, take the traffic out of the veld and the weeds will start growing on these compacted areas and water will struggle to infiltrate the soil. Let me explain how hollowtining helps with compaction relief. A hole gets punched into the greens surface and a core extracted (or not in the case of solid tines), immediately the tine breaks the hard crust under the surface and depending on the severity of the compaction the Superintendent can set the depth of tining accordingly. Now for the rest of this article I will focus on “Hollowtining” where we extract a core from the actual green and fill the hole with sand to ensure a smooth putting surface. By filling the hole with new sand it creates a new growing medium for the roots to move into, and the more roots you have, the stronger the plant, and the stronger the plant, the less it will suffer under the stresses of heat and disease.
The open holes on the greens give the Superintendent the perfect opportunity to get all the needed soil amendments down to ensure optimum plant growth. The open holes also promotes air movement within the soil, and like all living things, the most important components to stay alive are air, water, food and temperature. I think I have touched on most of these key components now, except water. Due to the compaction relief, water now drains freely through the soil profile where the plant can absorb the water through its roots and also due to the water movement, a lot of unwanted salts can get washed out of the soil that will usually be harmful to the plant.
The time of the year when most clubs do their tining will be dependent on weather, golf days and scheduled tournaments, but most courses do it between September and November and some courses even do it twice a year, with this I mean that they do it again in March or April. This seems a lot, but the only reason most clubs don’t do it twice a year is because of budget constraints and loss of income during and after the hollowtining.
Now you can take this information and apply this to your lawn at home, trust me, you will see some amazing results. There are contractors that specialize in hollow tining and scarifying of lawns. Ask your course Superintendent for some advice; he might just be able to put you in contact with contractors like this.
This is in short why we hollowtine and how we can keep giving you great greens surfaces for most of the year. Next time you see your Course Superintendent, have a chat with him and ask him more about the process, because the more we all know the better, and remember this “sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind to get the best results”.
Greetings from St Francis Links where we hope to make a first impression a lasting impression.
Estate Maintenance Manager/Golf Course Superintendant
parkrun has changed lives - 5kms at a time!
Every Saturday, St Francis Links hosts the popular parkrun! Bring your family and friends for the 8am start and stay for a special parkrun breakfast that includes a nice cup of coffee after!
Enthusiastic participants enjoy the run and the walk every Saturday at St Francis Links
More to remember!
This was our best year to date in almost every way:
- We finished our 114th home on the estate (55 are permanent residents)
- Four more homes will be underway in the next two weeks
- 12 homes are under construction
- 26 homes are in the planning or application stages
- We are financially sound with great lifestyle choices for the entire family
- Our golf rounds featured golfers from more than 20 different countries - from Wisconsin to New South Wales
- We moved up in the nation ratings to No. 7 in Golf Digest
- The UK rates us No. 6
- The Swedish press rate us No.4
- With our members, No. 1
Don't stop yet! New Events are listed below!
Will be our sponsors for OPEN Wednesday (2nd Wednesday) with meat and added prizes. Invite your friends to enjoy SA’s best with special rates for golf, snacks after the game and great prizes – Hey, Curry Night follows – stay or take away!
Monday Roll-up! Pitch up and play (9 holes or 18 Par-3 from 2pm) let's add you to the What's app group
All day Saturdays-Morning and afternoon fields - the afternoon field will be booked from 12 noon backwards with emphasis on "ready golf" - Prizegiving and Happy Hour at 17h00
Aug 6 Sanlam Cancer Finals HERE (Danie Cronje, Gillian Hammond and Dave Hart advance to Sun City!)
Aug 9-25 Club and Course Closed for Springe Programme
ST FRANCIS LINKS “MAJORS” AND “SPECIAL EVENTS” FOR 2017
Jan 2-3 Men’s Member-Member, St Francis Bay wins by .18 of a point! Well done!
Jan 7-8 The Pam Golding Annual, Derek Ryan and Scott Keevy, Champions
Mar 11 Greensomes over 18 holes (NEW) Sandra Marais/Ingvild Stiansen; Mauro Nettl/Yan Coesens
Apr 28-30 Club Championships - Ralph Richardson and Helen Bridges, Champions
May 7 Inter-Estate Challange (St Francis Links)
May 18-19 Woodlands' Dairy Golf Days for HOSPICE R400 000-00 raised for Hospice
May 20 Stulting School Day R280 000-00 raised on the day
May 27 Foursomes over 18 holes (NEW) Margot McGregor and Dr Lynn Slogrove, Champions
Jun 3 Ladies' Invitational Dr Lynn Slogrove and Noeline de Ridder, Champions
Jun 10 Sanlam – Links Qualifier
Jul 2-3 National Junior Order of Merit Wilco Nienaber, Champion (ranked No. 3 in SA)
Jul 20-23 Men’s Invitational Derek Ryan and Pieter Jerling, Champions
Jul 23-25 The Annual "Road Trip" Brian Wessels, Individual and Pards Cup Champion
Aug 6 Sanlam Cancer FINALS at St Francis Links
Aug 8-23 Spring Programme – Course and Clubhouse Closed
Sep 30, Oct 1 Links Cup
October 5 Els for Autism at St Francis Links (finals at Highland Gate)
Nov 11-12 Pam Golding Ladies OPEN Weekend
Dec 2 Ladies' Member-Member
Seasonal packages are now on offer
It's also the time of year for golf travel. We join others in advertising our course countrywide. The are are a couple of subtle differences between what you pay and what you receive in a golf package. We pride ourselves on over-delivering with personal services, additional opportunities, special events, shoot-outs and so much more. We'll supply the braai or what you need to do it yourselves; we'll serve your meals here or recommend the area establishments who will exceed your expectations (and of course, we'll do the booking for you). Why? Because we can and we want to!
Why not sign up for the special events coming up in the future and expand them into a few days of play! Play in the Inter-Estate Challenge, enter the Ernie Els for Autism in June, start planning for the Invitationals - ladies and men; Invite your friends in for the best golf in SA (and beyond).
Every Great shot starts with a SMILE