Thorpeness Golf Club solves compaction problems with Terralift machine


Thorpeness Golf Club solves compaction problems with Terralift machine
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

Faced with a panning problem on some of the course’s greens, Thorpeness Golf Club in Suffolk, UK, turned to Terrain Aeration for help after trying various other techniques.

Based in the nearby Suffolk town of Stowmarket, Terrain Aeration used its Terralift machine to inject oxygen back into the root zones and relieve the compaction panning.

Speaking to GCA, Ian Willett, course manager at Thorpeness Golf Club, said that all in all, Terrain Aeration had provided a ‘first class service’.

“We tried various methods but struggled to find something that matched our needs,” explains Willett. “Pans were forming beneath our greens. The club’s previous owners used lots of fertiliser on the greens and this drifted through the profile and built up.”

Willett has been extremely pleased with the results.

“We tried postholders that were drilled down to a couple of feet, but the Terralift machine and in particular the fracturing it offers were the most effective method we tried and has been very beneficial,” he said. “Our course is built on quite sandy ground, and for this type of terrain and our course’s conditions, it’s perfect.”

In what has been a particularly testing time for clubs in UK due to heavy rainfall, water can build up and increase compaction problems. This can be particularly damaging in the case of flood waters on courses, and Terrain Aeration’s product provides an opportunity for ground to recover and return to former conditions.

The Terralift machine hammers a hollow probe into the ground to a depth of one metre before letting out a blast of compressed air into the soil, providing the necessary air to the root zone. To keep the fractures and fissures open for longer, dried milled seaweed is incorporated on the tail end of the air blast. This sticks to the walls of the fractures and fissures, expanding and contracting with the moisture conditions within the soil structure and helping keep the fractures open longer.

Other clubs in the UK to recently use the Terralift machine include Copt Heath Golf Club in Solihull, West Midlands, Ufford Park Golf Club near Woodbridge, Suffolk, and Flint Golf Club in Wales.

The Terralift machine can also bring benefits to the trees that give courses character and style. “A mature tree situated on a golf course is part of the planning of the greens, so losing such trees is something which greenkeepers want to save,” explains Lynda Green of Terrain Aeration. “Deep aeration treatment using the Terralift machine around tree roots is usually a one-off treatment, unless the tree is showing signs of severe stress when a second treatment may be required.”