Aerification a necessary step to keep Aspen Lakes in terrific condition while new method should keep greens rolling
A well-planned fall can make all the difference come next golf season. It is for this reason that Aspen Lakes Golf Course will aerify its greens.
Using a new method that takes less of a toll on the putting surfaces, the Aspen Lakes maintenance staff will first aerify the front nine on Wednesday, Oct. 7. Then on Thursday, Oct. 8, the front nine will reopen and the back nine will be aerified. All 18 holes will reopen on Friday, Oct. 9.
The temporary inconvenience during fall comes for a good reason.
“We have noticed that if we aerate like we are right now, our greens come out in spring better and they heal up quicker from winter damage,” says Josh Knapp, Aspen Lakes’ superintendent.
“Everything we do in fall dictates how it’s going to look in the spring,” he adds. “If we don’t do these things now than in the spring the course is going to have a really tough time and have really poor playing conditions.”
A new aerification process
One of Knapp’s first acts as Aspen Lakes’ superintendent last fall was to change the way the golf course aerified its greens. The idea was to leave a less significant footprint on the putting surfaces in the days that followed aerification, a process that is a necessity at every golf course to maintain healthy turf.
The first year was a success.
“It’s about a 180-degree difference from what we were doing before,” Knapp says. “It’s just less invasive.”
The new method will first be seen on Friday when the maintenance staff fertilizes the golf course, which comes later in the season than what was considered typical.
“That will help with a real quick growth spurt,” Knapp says. “That way while we’re punching we’re still growing and we’ll heal quicker. Plus it will help winterize the greens better and help them come out in spring in good shape.”
In addition, Knapp’s new aerification process punches smaller holes, making them less noticeable when the greens do reopen. Plus, the staff now uses a brush trailer, which allows the maintenance crew to use less sand to top dress the greens and apply it more evenly than a more conventional metal drag.
Finally, the staff will roll the greens and irrigate well to get the sand into the punched holes.
“Our aerification process is about as noninvasive as you can get,” Knapp says.
That bodes well for golfers who still want to squeeze more golf in before winter comes.
Knapp says he expects the greens to be nearly fully healed within about two weeks. And the smaller holes should keep the putting surfaces in fair condition in the meantime. In addition, a warm forecast should help speed the healing process as well as tantalize golfers.
“Aeration doesn’t mean poor course conditions,” said Rob Malone, Aspen Lakes’director of golf. “It just means that for a short period of time you’ll have a little bit more bumpy putt, but still very playable.”
That was certainly the case last year when Knapp first put the new process in place.
“We had compliments last year,” Knapp recalled. “The next day after we did the front nine, golfers said for recently aerified greens it still played pretty well.”
Lower rates are coming
Of course, with aerification comes new rates.
Beginning Oct. 7, green fees will drop to $45 per round, which is a $30 discount off of Aspen Lakes’ prime summer rates. Nine holes can be played for $25. (Prices do not include cart or GolfBoard rentals.)