Since the writing of my previous report we’ve had recorded rainfall of 23.6mm
Shortly now we’ll be commencing with the Spring renovations on our greens. The scheduled date for works to begin (weather permitting) is the week commencing Monday 18th March. As in years passed, we shall endeavour to keep disruption to a minimum but we’ll also have a considerable amount of work to get through and your co-operation will therefore be greatly appreciated.
The planned works will include and not necessarily in order:
a) Hollow Tining using 14mm tines
b) Micro Tining (Dynocore units) using 8mm hollow tines
c) Top Dressing (application of sand worked into the surface)
d) Possibly Over-seeding (dependent on growth?)
e) Granular Fertilizer application
All the above tasks are primarily aimed at the removal of unwanted thatch from the rootzone and this has never been more important than now especially when you realise just how many chemicals (Fungicides) have recently been or are imminently to be removed from the market. Pretty much everything associated with this layer of dead and decaying organic matter is problematic to the production of fine turf. Traditionally, scarification would also be coupled with hollow tining as this generally works far more in the way of surface area (approximately 14%) against Tining alone which works about 5%. However, over recent years there has been a significant move towards more frequent maintenance but also less disruptive maintenance and the recovery time from scarification is far greater than that of tining...
The greens have held up very well I feel over the winter months and to that end we have a relatively strong base from which to begin this year. As with all my previous reports, I would ask each and every member to pay special attention to Pitch Marks as many are still clearly visible.
Remember, that by repairing your Pitch Marks you’re not only carrying out your obligation as a golfer but also improving the surfaces for those playing behind you!!
As late as yesterday morning, the lads began Hollow Tining the tees. This comes about for two reasons really a) the weather has been so nice recently and b) our maintenance week mentioned above is set aside primarily for the greens. Our tees and fairways don’t get allotted maintenance slots like the greens do so the works are simply undertaken either just before or just after the main renovation week. Following on from the excessive heat of last summer the teeing grounds have recovered well and this has been further enhanced by the use of our temporary teeing areas and astro-turf mats throughout the winter.
A recent application of granular fertilizer has been made to these surfaces with the main ingredient being Iron (Fe). Iron has an important roll within the grass plant in that it hardens it against disease. By applying iron you will also enhance the green colour everybody associates with healthy turf.
These surfaces continue to hold up well and have also come through the winter in reasonable shape given the conditions last summer. As I’ve said all along, I very much doubt that we’ll need a blanket over-seed, but probably more a selected approach to finally pick up some of the weaker areas. The need for any over-seeding however will only be properly known once the spring flush has taken place. This period of time usually about two to three weeks in length sees incredible growth as the soils come out of their winter dormancy and warm up to approximately 7/8 degrees where upon cool season grasses begin to grow.
In preparation for the season starting properly, you’ll notice we’ve re-introduced the divot stand and your help with filling the fairway divots will be greatly appreciated as it was last year.
Shortly now you’ll begin to see the birds start to peck at the fairways in search of grubs that have over wintered prior to emerging in the spring. In years past, we’ve been able to apply insecticides to prevent or at least minimise this problem but unfortunately they to have now been banned.
Damaged turf caused by pecking birds:
The ropes at the start of our fairways will shortly be removed and may I say a massive thank you to all of you for adhering to our policy of staying off the fairways throughout the worst of the winter weather. Your efforts have made a huge difference and will enable us as mentioned above to start from a very good base this year.
Mentioned in my last report was the fact we’d imminently move the astro-turf teeing mat from the main 3rd tee down to the front temporary location. This has now been achieved with only some simple turfing around the mat itself to complete once the weather warms a little.
We are now very close to finishing off the 3rd main tee with only the turfing remaining (See picture below).
3rd main tee almost ready for turf:
You will also have noticed that the greenstaff have stripped the turf from the bank leading to the 3rd green, and this area is now almost ready for turf also.
With all the talk about laying turf you’d be forgiven for thinking when are we going to start, and the answer is very shortly. However, following on from last summer two of the main industry suppliers recently announced that they actually have no turf until early March. They obviously lost a huge amount of quality turf to the heat and in simplistic terms the next batch isn’t yet ready. We can get turf from one other source but you’ll not be surprised to know that they’ve recently put their prices up by over 100% and I’m simply not prepared to spend the Club’s money at those sorts of prices... For example, the turf required to complete the 3rd tee would at present cost in the region of £2,400 against waiting another few weeks and the same turf costing approximately half that!!
Over the last few weeks the greenstaff have replaced what was completely rotten half round rails coming down the 15th Ruberoc pathway. This task is now complete with some simple seeding required at the lower end to finish off.
The temporary red and white indicator post sited on top of the 5th hill will eventually be replaced and the white disc returned to the top of the telegraph pole. However, this will not happen until such time as we have a Cherry Picker in again thus enabling this task to be completed safely.
Bunker Faces and their Stability:
LHS of 9th Green:
Members are kindly reminded that where possible we ask you to avoid either entering or exiting the bunkers by climbing the faces. Due to the age and shape of our bunkers along with the inherent problem of “sand splash”, many of the faces are now unstable. You will see from the picture below the exact problem to which I refer where the rabbits have taken to burrowing into the predominantly sandy face causing its instability. The angle of this face is quite steep and if you were to now try and either enter or exit this bunker by standing anywhere within the red line there would be a strong possibility that the ground beneath you could break away.
Unstable 9th bunker face:
This is now the case on several of our bunkers around the course, so please do take care. The bunkering in general is currently being reviewed and hopefully with the relevant funding we can address issues such as these and eradicate them for the future…
In closing, may I take this opportunity to openly invite members with any questions or queries regarding our works either past or present to contact myself?