Tractors dumping sand.

West Hills


/ Greenside blog

Fairway Aeration

“The greens seem to be recovering very well!! Congratulations to you and your team. Any plugs you can share in regards to the health and progress of the fairways?
Thanks for all your efforts and your information”

This comment was left on the bottom of my last post, Greens Update, Flag Locations, and Greens Speed, and is a great question. Most of the information I have shared over the last few weeks has been related to the recovery of the greens, but our work hasn’t been limited to that aspect of the course. Anyone who has been to course has seen the damage from the winter, but I’ll itemize the damage for clarity.

Due to the ice, the loss of turf on the fairways was  roughly 60 percent. In terms of area that’s about 15 acres or 650,000 square feet of close mowed turf. Most of the turf injury occurred in the low lying areas where the snow was shallow and ice subsequently formed during the melt around Christmas time.

The process is as follows;

Aerate to create seed holes

The video below is of our 864 Toro Aerator using solid tines to create seed holes on the fairways.  Fortunately due to early winter, the holes from the previous fall aeration were not filled in and we were able to utilize them as seeding receptacles, as well as the new ones created this spring. For our second seeding this summer we used solid tines as the cause less interruption then pulling aeration cores.


The seeding process was pretty simple.  We calibrated our seed applicator for four pounds of seed per 1000 square feet and applied manually to minimize loss and improve accuracy. This was a very labour intense procedure and the guys did a great job on all 15 acres.  Here are Conner and AJ on 15 fairway around mid May.

Topdress to cover seed and fill holes

The topdressing process is pretty straight forward. We use our Toro MH400 material handler to distribute the sand as evenly as possible over the fairways. Because of the large amount of sand going out, about 400 tonnes when finished, this process is time consuming and can effect play. Generally if the nines are reversed, its because we are fairway topdressing and trying to minimize interaction with play.

Tractors dumping sand.
A tractor spraying sand over the green.

Our spring seeding netted some very good results. We saw a marked improvement from the onset of spring compared to today. As of last week we began the process all over again to aerate the fairways and seed the weak areas. Below is the beginning of 16 fairway, a weak spot we seeded a week ago.

Damage from golf cart traffic across the green.

Please help us by not driving on the fairways if possible, use the rough and cart paths when convenient to do so. Please also respect the placement the wooden barriers on the course, they are there to direct the traffic into certain areas and minimize concentrated compaction. We try to move the barriers on a regular basis to alter the traffic patterns because the cart traffic is so heavy. Each cart weighs about 1500 pounds and with golfers and equipment, that becomes closer to a ton. If each cart makes only one trip a day that’s 45 carts each day, and 45 tons in the same spot. Every day for the summer. Here are some photos from just one days traffic.

A wide view of the tracks from golf cart traffic across the green.
A wide view of the tracks from golf cart traffic across the green.
A wide view of the tracks from golf cart traffic across the green.

While not perfect, we are making headway considering the devastating spring. Here are some before and after media.  The video is of 16 fairway early May and again July 7.  The photo is of ten fairway around same dates. 

The 10 fairway showing signs of damage.
The 10 fairway healthy and green after repair.