The spring hollow tining of Atalaya’s Old Course greens is well underway. As of Wednesday evening, the 25th of March, hollow tining was finished on Greens 1, 8, and 16. Three or four more greens will be cored on Thursday, the 26th, with the remainder of surfaces completed within the next few days.
Normally, this turf cultivation work is done at the end of May through the beginning of June. However, with the present government imposed closure of our courses, the decision was made to do the work now, rather than wait until later in the spring. Hopefully, the early coring will allow our courses to be open and playable throughout the summer.
The hollow tining process involves coring to a depth of 75 – 100 mm by using a vertically operated coring machine. Tines in the largest diameter are used to better prepare the greens for the top-dressing process that follows. Interestingly, the humid, rainy weather we are experiencing does not help with the coring procedure; however, it is a fantastic catalyst after coring to accelerate the germination process.
The cores of soil that are left on the surface of the greens after hollow tining are picked up by our greens’ staff and then recycled to fill in bare spots in other areas of the course.
After hollow tining a vehicle is used to work a top soil mixture into the greens. This top-dressing consists of a mix of sand, fertiliser, seeds and gypsum. This dressing reacts with the sodium in the water to create the proper pH balance of the soil and results in the creation of optimal growing conditions. After the top soil is applied, the greens are regularly irrigated to initiate the forthcoming germination process as soon as possible.
Hollow tining and top dressing prepare the greens perfectly for the intense play they will experience in the summer. Water loss is reduced. Greens are effectively aerated, and compaction is reduced to provide a receptive green for approach shots and an excellent putting surface.
Normally, greens totally recover and are ready for play seven days after hollow tining. This year, Old Course greens will have more than a seven-day rest. As a result of the mandated government closure, our courses will remain in the lockdown phase until, at least, the 11th of April.
After hollow tining is complete on the Old Course, our maintenance crew will move first to the putting greens and then to the New Course to repeat the process.
It is quite likely, but not yet confirmed, that the Old Course will remain open throughout June instead of being closed for two weeks as is Atalaya’s normal practice. Our summer schedule will be announced in the forthcoming days.
Also FYI, the daily mowing schedule of our greens has been changed from daily to three times a week. This reduction in mowing provides time for our greens to rest and recover from the continual stress they experience when open to players. This new three-day schedule will help to speed their recovery and insure that hollow tining results are optimal.
We at Atalaya, even with the current constraints of having our maintenance staff reduced by 2/3rds, work daily to keep our courses in the best condition possible.