By Pat Jones
The renovation boom of the last decade drove a lot of aspects of our business: construction, irrigation, re-grassing, bunker sand…you name it. But for Nathan Neumann, his restoration at the venerable Oklahoma City CC also provided a unique opportunity to try a new wetting agent.
Neumann has been at OKCC for three years and is a 20-year veteran of the profession. He came just in time to work with architect Tripp Davis on a complete renovation of the classic old course. “When I got here the golf course was great but we needed to renovate and refresh it with updated grassing and such.”
The golf course was designed by Maxwell and Mackenzie “but it had a lot of little hands touch it over the years” says Neumann. “We actually went back to restore some strategic elements, clean up trees, update irrigation, bunkers and updated grasses on greens, tees and fairways. The course was tired so we woke it up and gave the members something new along with the course they always loved.”
The renovation also opened the door for some experimentation with Zipline, a product that was new to Neumann. “I’ve used Aquatrols products for a long time and I’ve always thought highly of the company and products that I’ve used a lot, like Revolution. They just work.”
Prior to the summer of 2018 when the renovation was set to begin, the Aquatrols team reached out to Neumann to do a trial with Zipline to study how it suppressed dew. The goal was to demonstrate how dew suppression could help to alleviate disease conditions and to see if it produced a golf course that was relatively dry and ready to play every morning during big events.
“We knew we were going to do the renovation in late summer so we did an early tryout on test plots on our nursery greens,” recalls Neumann. “We sprayed them out that day and a week later the dew was just non-existent. We were impressed.”
But the Aquatrols team had another idea: study them on practice putting surfaces that had already been redone prior to the big renovation. “We actually had two greens in our short game area that had been already been rebuilt with the new strain of bentgrass on them. They came to me and said I want you to use Zipline on those two greens. I gave it a shot and I gotta hand it to him for doing that trial…I was really impressed with the product and the performance.”
Neumann called it a “perfect trial” because he didn’t have to worry about golfers. “We could play around with all the intangibles of the product.”
What did he learn?
“It’s great tool for dew suppression but I think it may even be a better wetting agent. I actually think it’s the best wetting agent I’ve ever used .”
That’s a pretty remarkable statement so I asked him to explain.
“I think there are two things. I’ve found that some wetting agents work well early on but when you use them continually, they start to stack in the profile…especially with high dew points and high humidity levels. Zipline has two different kinds of wettings agents. It would have never occurred to me to put these two particular wetting agents together, but the combination of the two really works.”
With Zipline, he didn’t see the usual problems. “I don’t feel like they stack, they really pull the water through the profile and they keep it hydrated at a good level. The LDS just went away too. I’ve been really, really impressed of the performance of Zipline as a wetting agent.”
Neumann took what he learned from those two practice greens and added it to his regular program for the renovated course, spraying Zipline once a month on the greens all year. “Cool, heat…it doesn’t matter. I’ve been very pleased with the consistency and the product performance. When we got wet it really helped pull that moisture down.”
What’s the process like? “We’re big on using TDRs and managing our moisture that way. It really keeps us in balance. You can tell at the end of the 28-day cycle when it’s getting a little out of balance. Once we put it out and water it in really good our (TDR) numbers are really consistent.”
Neumann likes the monthly app schedule but continues to fine tune his moisture management program. “Aquatrols’ sales team technical expertise really helped me get a comfort level on these products by telling me exactly what’s in it, how to use it and getting me the technical info and facts I need to make a good decision. Best of all, they get it. They can look me in the eye and tell me they’ve seen it work and it will work for us too.”
Final thoughts? “I’ve been very pleased with the product. I didn’t really want to switch but I gave it a shot and I’m glad I did.”
Learn more about Zipline: https://aquatrols.com/zipline/
Learn more about Nathan’s work on the OKCC restoration: https://clubandresortbusiness.com/oklahoma-city-gcc-superintendent-embraces-the-challenges/
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