Friday, 27 June 2014

Preparing for Gents Invitation

This week, we managed to complete the topdressing of the approaches and surrounds. This is a really worthwhile exercise as it helps to keep these areas just off the green firm, smooth and consistent.

The sand fills in any bare areas or any hollows/voids to assist us with mowing and to improve playability for golf.

We will continue to topdress the surrounds over the coming months and keep mowing them twice/week at 10mm. 

Also this week, Alan Cooper kindly sponsored some new yardage discs that you will now see mounted in the middle of the fairways. They look great and are a vast improvement on the awful things that were there previously. Alan & Nick Fletcher put them out on Thursday and I hope you'll agree that they are another step forward in our pursuit of continually raising standards. Great work fellas!

The last 2 weeks have finally allowed us some time to start our mid-season servicing of our mowing machinery. We carry out oil & filter changes alongside greasing, cleaning air filters & radiators and coolant levels. 

It is perhaps part of our work which goes unseen but it is essential that we maintain our machinery fleet to ensure these vital assets can operate to their optimum level.

Have a great weekend and enjoy your golf!

Weed control

After the hard work of the last 2 weeks with intensive mowing, we have at last managed to identify priority areas for spraying with selective herbicide to control weeds that are popping up at the moment. 

We have started working out from the greens and onto the surrounds & approaches. Several have been done so far and we will finish these and then aim to target tees & fairways. With Ryan having just passed his PA2 spraying course, this is a nice little job for him to get some spraying experience. 

Rest assured that we intend to get all priority areas done, given the time available.

New bridge at the 7th hole

Big thanks to Mike Hall for repairing the bridge at the 7th hole (which was vandalised last weekend). 

Unfortunately, we'll always get muppets doing things like that but they'll have their work cut out breaking it now!!

Anyway, nice to add a photo of Mike and Lee's handiwork to the blog. It's not all about us cutting grass!!

Only one thing to say as far as I'm concerned. The quality of the finish has raised the bar now for all the bridges out on the course. The members will want them all looking like that, I bet!! No pressure then Mike!!!

Friday, 20 June 2014

Divoting...rights and nearly rights!!

I noticed, whilst mowing fairways this week, that members have been diligently divoting fairways during their round.

The only advice I have is that some members are putting too much mix in the divot holes. It only needs a small amount so that the grass can fill in. Caking it to surface level or above is too much and unnecessary.

Example 1 (below) is indicative of too much:

Example 2 (below) is the correct way:

Please spread the gospel according to Ben. Thank you!!!

7th Path... Nearly there!

Big thanks go to Mike Hall, Phil Lockett and Nick Fletcher for their efforts in getting the 7th path close to completion. All that remains is a small skimming of surface material on the area near the back of 6th green. 

Another load of material is arriving next week and then more areas of path can be resurfaced. Make sure you pass your thanks on to these guys for a great job!

Captain's Day

We have had a great week, weather wise, and it has served us well in getting the course as presentable as possible for Captain, Jeff Perkin and the rest of the members.

Hitting mid-June, we believe the course is starting to look fairly decent now. The greens have had some Nitrogen fertiliser this week to improve sward density and they are rolling nicely. More topdressing over the coming months will assist with surface firmness and smoothness.

We are pleased with the decision to lower the mowing height on tees & surrounds to 10mm (3/8 inch) and this has paid great dividends. They are now nice and tight with the option for golfers to putt, lob wedge, pitch or bump and run off them. A nice tight surface helps to promote check and spin. Good luck with that!

Congratulations to Ryan for passing his PA2 spraying course this week. He can operate a tractor mounted sprayer legally now. So well done Ryan!

Finally, may we wish Mr Captain a great day tomorrow! Enjoy your golf!

Friday, 13 June 2014

Club Championship preparation

This week, we have been working towards the Club Championship and taking advantage of some much needed dry weather. 

The difference this makes to our mowing schedule is immense and I'm hopeful that we get continued dry, warm weather. Not only is it great for us but also it is much more enjoyable for members and guests too. Golf is way more fun when the sun is out!!

You will notice that we topdressed the greens again. This will be a continuing trend because it helps with surface trueness, ball roll and helps to dilute thatch. I cannot emphasise enough how important topdressing sand is to a Greenkeeper. It is the most valuable resource we utilise and we must continue to apply it continuously.

We have also started to topdress the surrounds too. This will firm them up, fill in any patchy areas and help the grass sward to become tighter and more consistent. I am keen to continue this because I believe that the surrounds, playability-wise, should be very similar to the greens.

Perhaps the best news though is that Mike Hall and Phil Lockett have dedicated a lot if time and hard work this week to the path work at the 7th. They have had assistance from a number of other guys and the work so far has been absolutely fantastic. Well done guys.

Lastly, I finally got time to play the course this week. Having not played for quite some time, I was a bit rusty but I am pleased with our progress so far. I do understand golfers comments regarding the trees and how narrow some holes are. All I can say, in that respect, is that it is the same for everybody! Until winter, no tree management work can begin.

Finally, good luck to all of you vying for top spot in the Club Championship. Have a great weekend of golf!

Monday, 9 June 2014

Repairing ball marks - a simple guide

Just a quick link for you to have a quick peek at. I'm not suggesting that members are not repairing ball marks or aren't proficient in the art of ball mark repair.

However, the Greenkeepers Association have provided this free link for educational purposes. It's great for those just starting the game.

Spread the word - and help to ensure the greens' surfaces remain intact!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

8th green - Drainage improving

Despite seeing more rainfall in May (96 mm/4 inches approx) than in any other month since I started work at PPGC, the 8th green seems to be standing up really well to some adverse weather.

When I started, the 8th green was out of play and a temporary green was in use. It would puddle at the merest hint of rain.

Since then, we have micro tined the 8th green 6 times, slit tined 3 times, verti drained once, hollow cored twice and heavy top dressed 3 times with sand. 

March, April and May were not exactly dry months to say the least! However, the  8th green now seems to be draining much better. Testament, I believe, to punching holes in the surface and backfilling them with sand too. As the photo above demonstrates, it is now looking fairly good too.

Likewise, the other greens are almost recovered from hollow coring. From talking to sales reps, it is clear that leatherjacket grubs have been particularly troublesome this spring at many golf courses and I'm quite sure that they have had an impact on the recovery of the greens following hollow coring.

Leatherjacket grubs feed on grass roots and stems, causing stunted growth. I have noticed patches on the greens that show typical leatherjacket damage around coring holes. After applying an insecticide last week, I hope that we have curbed their activity.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Big thanks to the Vice Captain

This week, our machine for maintaining the rough had a breakdown on Wednesday. One of the rams that lifts the mowing decks broke, potentially leaving the golf club with a significant repair bill.

However, we made a call to our Vice Captain, Graham, and within 48 hours he had pulled in a favour from an engineer that he knows. Although we didn't manage to mow all the rough, Graham's fantastic assistance got us back on course (no pun intended!) and the cost to the club was a bit of machine down time.
So, Mr VC, hats off to you! What a top guy.

We have now started to settle back down to regular maintenance after finishing all the coring and topdressing. Looking back, the work was a success but the irritation was the inclement weather that interrupted this important work and prevented us from completing it quickly.

The course is now starting to look good and the feedback has been very positive. It's also nice to see the orchids growing around the 5th and 6th holes. Please do not pick them or whack them with your club. They are rare and it would be nice if they stuck around a while longer!!

Enjoy your golf!!