Eliminate Spring Aerification: Gain Happier Members with the Air2G2 324
The members at Wayzata Country Club waited all winter to get out on the 18-hole golf course maintained by Jesse Trcka, who is in his seventh season as golf course superintendent. Wayzata Country Club is a member-owned private club in Wayzata, Minnesota grassed with Bent/Poa greens. Most years, the members would have their spring golf interrupted “just as the greens were getting good” as the grounds crew went out to aerate the putting surfaces.
Trcka, a graduate of the Penn State Turfgrass Management Program, found a way to appease members by adding a new turfgrass maintenance tool to his spring aeration practices, the Air2G2 324. The Air2G2 324 relieves Compaction, increases Porosity and enhances Respiration by laterally injecting air into the soil profile with minimal surface disruption and without damaging the roots below.
The Air2G2 324 uses the Air2G2 air-injection process to inject three probes that reach up to 12 inches into the soil while air is injected laterally at a diameter of six to nine feet. The Air2G2 324’s non-disruptive technology leaves greens ready for play immediately after treatment.
“We have been using the Air2G2 on a regular basis where we are trying to get out there every two to three weeks. Depending on what our schedule is, we try to do nine holes on a Monday,” Trcka says.
Trcka originally heard about the Air2G2 324 in a magazine article. Intrigued, he did some research online and watched YouTube videos before requesting a demo of the Air2G2 324 from local distributor Soil O2 Solutions based in Michigan. Trcka first demoed the Air2G2 324 at his course in May 2016. Another test of the Air2G2 324 for two days a few months later in July 2016 sealed the deal. By spring of 2017, he owned one for himself.
“I was trying to find an alternative method that would help me to reduce core aerification and make the playing conditions more consistent throughout the year for members,” Trcka says.
“It was my desire to look for an alternative method to help improve the greens at every turn, and to look for another tool to help the greens weather through the summer months.”
His overall goal was to “minimize the core aeration that we are doing on the golf course to make it easier on the membership here because it created a big inconvenience ... I was trying to find an alternative method that would help me to reduce that and make the playing conditions more consistent throughout the year for them.”
Before he started using the Air2G2 324 on his Bent/Poa greens on a regular basis, Trcka says he’d have roots start off as long as four or five inches at the beginning of the summer. By the end of the season, he found the roots were reduced to only a couple inches long due to heat stress and compaction. Even though the Poa greens are less tolerant to stress and are not water efficient, Trcka says since he invested in an Air2G2 324, he has seen a noticeable improvement in root health and depth on his greens.
“Those roots aren’t backing up. We aren’t seeing such a decline in that root mass,” Trcka says.
“That has helped keep those roots intact, regardless of all that wear and tear.”
For healthy turf, the ratio of water to oxygen in the soil should be 1-to-1. The Air2G2 324 injects air to loosen compacted layers and oxygenate the roots below the soil. Increased oxygen in the root zone improves root health and increases water movement in the soil profile. As the Air2G2 324 causes little to no surface disruption on his greens and no damage to the roots, Trcka says Wayzata’s members are happy to get in more rounds of golf on higher quality turf.
“Using this tool,” Trcka says, “it has given us a chance to provide some mid-summer relief with minimal invasion so the members don’t even know we’ve been out there.”