For the first time in four years, the players at Warrenpoint Golf Club are going into the winter on main greens, thanks to an extensive aeration programme introduced by Head Greenkeeper Matt Purcell. It's also no coincidence that this year, Matt purchased a Redexim Carrier and Verti-Drain® 1513 allowing the team to effectively aerate all 18 greens in as little as a day - keeping them bone dry and proving themselves as fit for year-round play.
Warrenpoint is ranked as one of the top parkland courses in Northern Ireland, situated in the heart of County Down and surrounded by the Mourne Mountains on one side and Carlingford Lough on the other. Matt heads-up a maintenance team of five and, on joining the club in late 2021, took some soil samples on the greens which highlighted the need for some 'TLC'. "Like a lot of golf clubs in Ireland, we were previously relying on contractors to come in and aerate, but my experience from working in clubs in England means I appreciate the multiple benefits that can be brought about with regular aeration every five to six weeks."
"After speaking to the board, we invited Ian Lauder from Redexim and local dealer Cyril Johnston in with the Redexim Carrier and Verti-Drain®, which I had trialled at a previous club. I was no-less impressed seeing it the second time around! The great thing is that the implement can be used with the Carrier or swapped onto a tractor giving you complete flexibility, and a power unit that can then conduct other operations on the greens and tees" Matt explains.
Since the combination was purchased and delivered in March this year, Matt and the team have aerated all greens once a month, along with the tees twice and specific problem areas on some of the fairways. "This set-up is just brilliant. It is faster and wider than other comparable models meaning we can complete most of our greens in four or five passes, and all 18 greens in a day. The tyres are much better as well being slick, which means we can go anywhere with it and not have to plot a specific route around the course."
The Redexim Carrier is powered by a 31hp engine and hydrostatic transmission which lends itself to high output and ease of operation. It can work with a variety of implements such as seeders, verti-cutters and in this instance the Verti-Drain® 1513 - a lightweight 1.3m model, working with 15o of heave and to a maximum depth of 6" making it ideal for use on sensitive turf areas.
Matt adds, "Time is of the essence with everything we do on the course. Not only do we need to be aerating when the conditions suit, but when we do the operation, we want to be round as quickly as possible so that the members can play golf. With this combination, we can now do both - delivering huge improvements to playability and course condition that hasn't gone unnoticed by the players and the club."