Usually, we’ve pushed aeration back as late as we can go.
We usually go at the end of September, but we’ve been caught a couple of times where the weather hasn’t been really good afterwards and we haven’t had really good regrowth, so we’re aerating this week.
We may have to give up some revenue, but we’re going to get the golf course in good shape and that way, it can heal well in the winter and be good to go in the spring.
It takes four days to aerate and that’s four days of summer when you’re losing some good revenue and then, it takes two weeks to bounce back. You know you should do it when the weather is good, but at the same time, you say, `if I can squeeze a couple of more weeks out of summer, we’re not going to lose the revenue.’
On the other hand, we’ve had it in the past when we’ve opened up in the spring and the golf course hadn’t healed yet, so it can become a matter of short term pain for long term gain if you want your golf course at its best next year.
Everyone goes through this dilemma. Do you give up the revenue or do you give up on your golf course conditioning?
One of the things we’re known for is our conditioning, so we don’t really want to start messing with that. Where we are, we have to let our course speak for itself because we don’t spend a lot on advertising and marketing. I know our golfers won’t like it this week, but unfortunately, it’s an absolute necessity.
It would be nice if it wasn’t.
I know there are courses that have skipped aerating a couple of times. They may get a few extra bucks during that season, but the season after that and maybe even the season after that, the golf course wasn’t in good shape.
I know of one course that parted ways with its superintendent and when the new person came in, he did all of his tests and went to the board, saying `Listen, I known I’ve only been here three weeks, but we have to aerate four times this year.’
The previous guy hadn’t been aerating and the board thinks it’s great because they can play golf and there’s no downtime, but after two years of doing that, all of a sudden, you’ve got three inches of thatch under the property and you have to be aggressive.
Nobody likes it. The staff doesn’t like it and the customers don’t like it, but if we can do it in prime season and be healed in a couple of weeks, we’ll still play golf in good weather until mid-October and maybe later and the course will be properly prepared for the winter and go into next year in good shape.
Short term pain works into long term gain.