The fan at the 17th West green has now been operational for a week and under going assessment for the best location and height, whilst on the back of our tipper. At this stage I am confident that it is now in the optimum position to provide the required airflow across the green. A more permanent mounting is the next phase of the installation and this will take place within the next two weeks. It has always been the intention that the fan will run 24/7 during the peak stress time, which will be November through till the end of March at the earliest. A couple of days this week have been quite humid with a variable wind and this is where the fan can come into its own by ensuring that air movement is maintained across the green surface. There will be days where the wind is blowing constantly and it seems that the fan isn't doing much, but it is critical that it is on to supplement the wind at any time that wind speed drops. Obviously operating during the night time when the air is heavy and moist is also crucial Actual running costs are difficult to determine but around $7 per 24 hour period or $50 per week is expected.
I mentioned in a previous post that fans are not a new phenomenon on golf courses and that they have been widely used on golf courses throughout the world. This past summer in the USA has seen a huge increase in the use of fans on Bentgrass greens with air circulation problems, due to the severity of the heat and humidity. In the south east States of Georgia, Alabama, The Carolina's and northern Florida, virtually all courses with Bentgrass greens now use fans. The main objective of the fan is essentially to create a wind vortex across the surface of the green to replace humid air with less humid air. This drier air environment is critical in assisting the turf plant to resist invasion by disease. Although the 17th West green doesn't appear to be in a "pocket" location like the 12th River green is, it definitely has major air circulation issues that cause ambient, surface and soil temperatures to be several degrees higher than elsewhere on the courses. As golfers you are lucky as you only need to spend a few minutes on the green before heading to the 18th and then the Clubhouse for a cool refreshing drink. The turf on the green however, has to endure these temperatures on a continuing basis and this is where the fan will assist most. The following is a good quote from an article by Darin Bevard of the USGA Green Section; "Good air movement is crucial for turfgrass maintenance. When possible, the best option for improving airflow around putting greens is to remove trees and underbrush to maximize natural airflow. When tree and underbrush removal are not possible, properly installed fans provide a good alternative to improve the growing environment. The worst thing to do is nothing. Poor growing environments do not improve without help."