Wrexham Golf Club has used the SISIS AER-AID air injection aerator for a year and Head Greenkeeper Ian Gibson says the members are "Over the Moon" with the improvements he has achieved on the greens.
He certainly got off to a good start. Remember the exceptionally wet winter of 2005/06? The AER-AID arrived on a bleak, wet day in February. One of the greens was very wet with standing water in some areas. The AER-AID was hitched up and used to aerate the green. Amazingly, after just 30 minutes, the greens staff were able to put the flag in the hole and open their wettest green for play.
All the greens have been aerated with the AER-AID once a fortnight ever since, and Ian says that they all drain more freely, have less thatch and a deeper root-mass. Members have commented that the greens are now better in February than they used to be in June!
Wrexham have also been delighted to see substantial savings in materials.
In the past only the greens were watered at Wrexham. However with recent trends of hot, dry summers, greens, surrounds and tees are all now watered. Nevertheless when Ian compared his records of water usage for 2006 with those of 10 years ago he was amazed to find that consumption was considerably lower.
Their expenditure on fungicides has been reduced by 30%. Their fertilizer usage during 2006 was described by Ian as "minimal" giving them a saving of 50%, because the grass plants are now better able to absorb nutrients. Top dressing is now applied "a little and often" giving still more cost savings.
Overall, the savings mean that the AER-AID will pay for itself in a couple of years.
Ian is equally pleased with the AER-AID's overall performance. He started his working life as a draughtsman so knows good design and engineering when he sees it.
He says, "The AER-AID is so simple to operate and we have had no break-downs. In fact excluding the greens mowers, it has done more work during the past year than any other piece of equipment in the sheds."
The speed of operation and lack of disruption to the playing surface enables him to keep the course in tip-top condition throughout the year. In 2006 Wrexham hosted the Welsh Ladies' Team Championship, with a Golf Festival the following week. The AER-AID was used the week before this testing fortnight and immediately afterwards. Ian is understandably proud that the condition of the course during these two important events led to Wrexham being chosen as the venue for the 2008 UK Ladies' Home International Championships.
Ian says that his crew of 5 all enjoy using the SISIS AER-AID. In fact one of them likes using it so much that he makes sure he is first there, and when the rest of the team arrive, is to be found sitting on the tractor, in the car park, ready ….
Photograph:- Ian Gibson, Head Greenkeeper at Wrexham Golf Club and Andrew Roberts SISIS Territory Manager examine the greens on 6th February 2007.