Wednesday, 12 January 2022
Course Manager, Barry Nichol, at East Renfrewshire GC in Glasgow’s southside has been twenty years at the club; ten years as deputy course manager, and the last six months in the top job.
One of his key tasks moving into his new post was to identify an aerator to target historic deep-lying compaction on greens. The club, a notable moorland course, designed by James Braid, celebrates its centenary this year and has traditional clay push up greens, many plateau style.
“Most have an ash layer about ten inches (24 cm) down, so we needed something to hit and go through that to break compaction,” said Barry Nichol. “We’ve been redraining two or three every year, and you can see progress, but regular deep aeration is essential.”
After discussion with Rob Hogarth Regional Sales Manager, and Stuart Cameron, Area Demonstrator, from local dealer, Fairways GM, exclusive Wiedenmann UK dealer for Scotland, Barry Nichol opted for a new Terra Spike XP6, the deepest machine in the Wiedenmann UK fleet.
“You always get good advice from the GM team as many are former course managers and greenkeepers themselves. The ability to go to 14 -16 inches (35-40 cm) with wider tines was required.”
The XP6 arrived at the beginning of December, enough for several outings before Christmas, all using 20 mm diameter tines and around 5° of heave.”
“Deep compaction layers need a bigger tine to break them up. It is great to shard through the compacted layers of the soil’s profile to allow air, water, and nutrients through, and while it would have suited us well to get more done before the year end, we made a good start.”
“The XP reaches so far down, leaves a clean hole and does exactly the job we need. The 1.6 m width suits us as we have a few tight spots to turn.”
East Renfrewshire GC is set 500 feet above sea level and its distinctive moorland credentials ensure it is always busy.
“When you are talking greens, even in winter, we have to be mindful of disruption to the surface” continued Barry, “Tining up to three times in the off season will probably be enough. In the playing season, aeration must be discrete. We still need to break up compaction layers just below the surface to keep it loose for drainage, so we will only ever pencil tines to a depth of 120-150 mm, but you could have a particularly wet or dry summer, so the knack is to choose when to go if the conditions are right.”
Barry is supported by a team of six greenkeepers. Wiedenmann UK’s lead demonstrator, Andy Kerr, was on hand for installation and user training.