New greens iron. Rolling and the benefits.

Today we received our latest addition to our fleet, a new greens iron. Big thanks to the golf committee for helping in the cause and justification, and a big thanks to Ben Watkins our Business Manager, Justin Carpenter our Grounds Committee Chairman and the trustees for choosing to invest in what will prove to be an invaluable tool.
There are a lot of benefits from rolling the putting surface the obvious ones from a golfing stand point are a little extra speed, smoothness and trueness, but the benefits for the club extend beyond trying to achieve a double digit stimp reading. We can achieve speed without needing to cut everyday saving wear and tear on a £27000-£30000 machine and transferring it to a less expensive mechanically simple unit, potentially saving money on fuel powering a bigger unit, wear on cylinders and bottom blades which need sharpening regular and saving servicing costs to a machine not accumulating a lot of hours use. Rolling or ironing also has benefits from an agronomic stand point. The act of rolling and reducing mowing has been proven to reduce fusarium patch incidence and the spread of existing disease possibly reducing fungicide costs and future proofing the inevitable fungicide removal from the market altogether. (see graph below from the Oregon state university)
If you don’t believe that cutting spreads disease then see the image below with obvious disease spread following our mower lines
These fungicides cost around £700 each application and 2 years ago we was well into double figure applications, so a reduction in disease is a reduction in substantial costs. But just because the Oregon state university have done a trial with up to 8 rolls per day doesn’t mean this is going to happen. The operation of rolling will be two or three times a week and eventually on a Saturday morning for the competitions, everyone wants to avoid compaction and the more we compact the more we have to disturb decent surfaces with aeration. 
Lately green-keepers have found the act of ironing to also remove Poa Annua seed heads which are a nightmare from April right through to early June, slowing surfaces, causing bumpy surfaces and are generally unsightly. This may reduce the need for verticutting but time will tell. 
So there you have it a very good investment all round producing better surfaces with cost benefits aswell.

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