Friday, November 17, 2017

Dryject on the Greens

  Its been a busy week at Highlands Falls. The croquet project is well under way, we have been working on drainage projects, and we are finishing our aerification program on the greens.  Two weeks ago, we completed the traditional "core" aerification of the greens.  This process is where we pull plugs from the greens and follow that up by a heavy dose of sand.  We are now finishing up an aerification process called "Dryject" where we inject sand into the root zone of the greens.

Dryject on the 17th green.
  Despite what the name might imply, "Dryject" actually involves high pressure water injecting sand into the green.  While traditional aerification only works to a depth of about 3 inches, "Dryject" can penetrate up to 8 inches, however we prefer to inject the sand to a depth of about 4 - 5 inches.  The "Dryject" process has several benefits that make it unique.  First, it is minimally invasive in that play can resume when the process is finished.  Second, we can calibrate exactly haw much sand we want injected into the green.  It can also shatter any soil layering that may occur over time.  Additionally, it has many of the same benefits of traditional aerification.

A soil profile showing the sand injection.
  The process can be a bit labor intensive as two crew members need to be with the contractor to keep the sand bin full.  Once finished, we will have injected over 22 tons of sand into the greens.   Along with traditional "core" aerification, the "Dryject" process has helped our greens perform at high level.

Two men per machine are needed to keep the hopper full of sand.

Once brushed in, the green will be ready for play.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Reel Maintenance

One of the many jobs that is essential that we perform during the off-season is the maintenance of our vast collection of reel mowers.  These are the mowers that cut the greens, tees, and fairways.  It is a monotonous but technical job that includes oil and filter changes, replacing worn bearings and cables, sharpening reels, and a lot of precise adjustments.  While this sounds simple, in practice it takes a lot of time and care to do successfully.
A triplex mower on the lift getting ready to go through winter servicing.  This mower has 3 sets of reels.
Reel mowers require a lot of maintenance and care to perform at the level that we expect.  Every year, all of the mowers are torn down and built back up to "factory specs".  Each reel on a mower takes a full day to have it fully ready for the next year.  To put that into context, we have approximately 45 reels in total on our mowers and each has to be made ready for the next season.
Equipment manager Aaron Brown, sharpening the reel of a triplex mower.
Aaron is preparing to sharpen the "bed knife" of a reel mower.
With course conditioning being of the highest level at HFCC, this maintenance is essential if not glamorous.