Friday, 28 March 2014

Rolling into April

This week, we have taken advantage of some fairly kind weather and we have managed to prepare the golf course to what could be considered a more defined  set of playing surfaces:

- Tees and approaches cut
- Fairways brushed and cut
- Greens rolled twice and cut Friday

You will also notice, when you are putting, that there are small holes in the greens' surfaces. We decided to continue our aeration practices by using our Sarel Roller. 

Quite simply, the Sarel Roller pricks small holes into the surface to ensure that the greens stay dry. We then followed this operation with the greens mower to smooth over the surface and to restore playability. 

I took the opportunity to have a quick putt on the Putting Green and I'm of the opinion that ball roll was pretty good bearing in mind we've had approx 25mm (1 inch) of rainfall this week. 

Anyway, as usual, below are a few photos of our trusty Sarel Roller:




Enjoy your golf this weekend and let's look forward to April!

Friday, 21 March 2014

Greens 5 & 8

As we approach April and the traditional start of the new golfing season, I am receiving more questions from members as to when play will resume on the 5th & 8th greens. 

Members are right to ask and I feel that I have addressed their concerns in a consistent manner. However, for those of you who still feel out of the loop, I will try to explain!

The 5th green has had a soil analysis done (along with greens 4, 6 & 8) to test for nutrient levels and soil pH. I wanted to determine if this green had any nutrient deficiencies. The results show no abnormalities. 

So I have had every green from 1-9 sampled to check for organic matter percentages. This will tell us if there are underlying thatch problems that need to be addressed. I am still awaiting those results but I will keep you all informed via the blog. 

I am convinced however (but am happy to be proven wrong!!) that the trees to the left of the 5th green are causing shade issues. This causes decreased, slower growth compared to the more exposed greens. The general principles of Photosynthesis dictate that grass needs adequate sunlight for basic growth and I feel this is being affected in this area. Tree thinning work over time will alleviate this. We aim to get this green back into play in the next 2 weeks.

The 8th green, likewise, has had soil samples taken for testing. The problems with this green are more clear cut. It is constructed upon clay. Clay naturally retains water and has poor drainage characteristics. We aim to tackle this problem by hollow coring (removing cores of clay) and backfilling the holes with sand. In addition, we will verti-drain this green soon, and also backfill the holes with sand. 

To give you an idea of the soil profile at the 8th, I removed a plug with the hole cutter. The photo below demonstrates this to good effect: 


I have also left a couple of these plugs at the back of the 8th green for you to look at during your round.

At this moment in time, I do not wish to risk the long term playability of this green just for the sake of a couple more weeks. The persistent rain that we are experiencing obviously doesn't help but hopefully we shall get a prolonged dry spell soon! It will be in play just before Captain's Drive In and thereafter, the hard work shall begin on this green. Please bear with us for the time being.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Spring has arrived...officially!!

Well, today was the Spring Equinox and it provided me with the last opportunity  to get some mowing done in dry conditions out on the golf course (before rain hit Thursday pm).

As Ryan has been away on annual leave, project work has been temporarily postponed until next week. However, it has allowed me to concentrate upon several other tasks this week. 

Despite limited personnel on the course, a great deal has been achieved, including:

- All fairways brushed to stand up grasses and disperse worm casts
- Greens rolled for smoothness
- Greens cut to maintain uniform height
- All rough cut around greens and fairways
- Weeding/renovation of 5th and 9th paths
- Start made with bunker weeding, raking  
and restoring sand levels

Many thanks this week to Len Dilnutt, Dave Asprey and Jeff Perkin for their valuable work and assistance! Great stuff fellas! 

Below is a photo I managed to snap of the great effects of fairway brushing (7th hole):



Friday, 14 March 2014

Brushing


This week, we have started brushing the tees on the course. The main reasons of this are:

- To disperse any worm casts
- For surface aeration (removal of debris)
- To stand the grass up before we mow the tees to ensure a better cut
- To improve the overall appearance of the tees

We found an old Implement in the yard that consisted of a levelling lute mounted on an A frame. Nick Fletcher and Alan Whitty kindly offered to grind off the levelling lute from the A frame and proceeded to attach a 6 foot brush that we had purchased for £50. Many thanks to Nick and Alan for their help.

Now we have another tool to help us to further refine the playing surfaces on the golf course. Fantastic!!



Monday, 10 March 2014

Slitting - the knives are out


Today, we took another opportunity to get the greens slitted. We link up our Slitter to the compact tractor and run it over the greens.

The reason for this is that it is extremely good at promoting root growth in the soil profile. The triangular shaped knives or tines are able to penetrate several inches into the soil profile. The added benefits of slitting are that this operation helps to maintain a dry surface and provide yet another gap (however slim) for surface moisture to pass through. 

The surface disruption is minimal and as always, we mow afterwards to clean up and smooth out the putting surfaces. I have included some photos of this operation, ably demonstrated by Ryan.