"That's one heck of a machine! It's astounding - I can't believe what it does!"
Quite an accolade after just 5 months' use of the SISIS AER-AID, but the improvements at Denbigh golf Club speak for themselves.
Head Greenkeeper Dave Goodridge came to Denbigh in 1979 when it was still a 9-hole course. In the early 80's the opportunity arose to lease land across the road and add another 9 holes. The new land was mainly agricultural with some rare trees, whereas the original 9 hole course is heathland, and rocky limestone outcrops abound. These rock formations make the course look attractive, but it is often difficult to use machinery.
An irrigation system had been installed, but was very close to the surface, so it was impossible to aerate the surrounds without hitting the pipes. The resulting compaction had led to poor grass cover which had to be rectified by frequent re-turfing. Three years ago a new irrigation system was installed, at a better depth and, as Dave says, "The shackles were now off!"
His first purchase was a deep tine aerator which helped eliminate the annual meadow grass and improved drainage. Next on the shopping list was the SISIS ROTORAKE 600 which has done a tremendous job removing the thatch that had taken hold on many of the greens. Regular use is keeping them virtually thatch-free.
Then Dave Goodridge read in the press about the new SISIS AER-AID SYSTEM. He says that as soon as he read about the air injection principle he knew it was just what he needed. Most of the compaction on the greens was in the top few inches of the soil. This compaction had affected the grass cover and there was often standing water. When Dave began to use the AER-AID, he found that the water disappeared almost instantly. Even during the "monsoon" conditions endured by greenkeepers during July, Denbigh Golf Cub fared better than most. On one particularly bad weekend Denbigh remained open whilst other courses in the area were forced to close.
The AER-AID is literally transforming the course. Dave says that the fissuring effect is very beneficial. The surrounds now have good grass cover, with no need for re-turfing; the previously sparse, hard tees also have good, well-rooted turf and are actually soft enough now to accept the golfers' tee pegs.
The AER-AID can be used often and in conditions where the deep tine aerator would be too disruptive, as it is so fast and leaves no "mess". One pass is all that is necessary. Grass coverage on the course is now virtually 100% - even under oak trees where grass wouldn't grow before.
Dave still uses the deep tine aerator, and says that the two machines make the ideal combination for the perfect maintenance regime.
The SISIS reputation for rugged engineering has also impressed Dave Goodridge. He says, "The tines on the AER-AID are very robust. I have bent them many times on such rocky terrain, but they straightened out OK, and no breakages so far. After-sales service from SISIS has been excellent."
Denbigh Golf Club also uses the services of STRI Turfgrass Agronomist Emma Beggs to advise them. "She was," says Dave, "Very impressed with the progress achieved since her last visit."
The club members are equally impressed with the improvements achieved with the AER-AID, and appreciate the lack of disruption to the playing surface. Dave says that within two days there is no sign of any disturbance at all.
2008 is Denbigh Golf Club's centenary, and Dave is confident that the course will be looking and performing better than it has ever done in its 100 year history.
Photos: View of Denbigh Golf Club , Sisis Territory Mgr Andrew Roberts helps Asst. Greenkeeper Edward Parry set up the Aer-Aid.
A range SISIS Machinery can also be seen in the Pitchcare shop :- Machinery