We all like that we can play on the greens with little interruption right after aeration. I do like the aeration Technique and what it can accomplish. We did a test run with the local dryject company and got mixed results however.
1. The cost is extremely prohibitive for us.
The average cost of doing aeration the way we usually do is about $600 for sand and pretty much an entire day’s labor for everyone on the crew.
With dryject it
cost about $6000 dollars for sand and another $5000 for the service. On top of that we still have the labor cost. Considering that after labor cost for the year our budget is about $80,000 it is not feasible in the long term.
2. It is
even more labor intensive than our way of aerating.
The way that dryject works is you need dry sand and a lot of it. We have to fill the medium sized hopper on the machine 15-20 times per green, about 10 five gallon buckets for each fill.
It would not be as big of a problem if they would stop and allow us to fill at the end of a pass. They want us filling nonstop while moving for the entire day which requires our people carry buckets of sand from a large bag near the cart path. Our staff was
barely able to keep up and exhausted by the end of the day. If we ever use this service again the price will actually increase. We will need to buy the dry sand in 50-80 pound bags because we actually did damage to the course taking out the 2500 lbs bags.
The way we do it now is labor intensive but there is a lot of down time in the middle. When we wait for the sand to dry we actually accomplish golf course maintenance tasks. We also can take a lunch which is nice when working that hard and
for that long.
3. There were problems with the machines and the square footage count.
When we set the service up I was asked how many square feet our greens are. I know for certain that they are around 55,000-60,000
square feet with collars. The machines they used came up with over 88,000 square feet. I spray our greens here with a very good sprayer and it is calibrated perfectly. We mix our tank for about 65,000 square feet and always come out just right. We add extra
because the booms are 4 ft in length and sometimes you have to spray some rough in order to get an entire area.'
They also gave me a total amount of sand needed to finish all of the greens here. I was told to order 20% more than needed
which I did. So when we bought the extra 20% we should have had enough sand for about 70,000 square feet. We ended up with almost a third of the sand left after they finished. I do not think there machines were working correctly for that reason. We had multiple
issues throughout the day and with a few greens left they dropped a machine altogether.
For these reasons I do not think we should use this service again. I did like the playabilty of this type of aeration but
it is not worth the damage to the course and the effort it entails.