Thursday, 31 December 2015

Christmas wishes to all members

This week we have tried our best to tidy a few areas on the golf course. All the areas where old turf had been stored have now been cleared & tidied. 

Going into the new year, we can just focus on laying out the remaining turf. This arrives in the first week of January. Any help would be greatly appreciated, particularly if we are hindered by any more wet weather.

The greens last week and this were sprayed with a preventative fungicide, whilst this week, they were sprayed with a dew dispersant. All of this spraying is carried out as part of our overall disease management strategy. 

Moisture that sits resides in the thatch layer contributes to fusarium outbreak, particularly when the weather is mild and affected species (annual meadow grass, bent grass) are present.

We want to give golfers the best playing surfaces possible and, hopefully, our greens have been well received this autumn and winter.

Ryan & James have made great work of presenting the bunkers that are still in play. Each one has been edged, raked, weeded and had the leaf debris removed. They look really good so well done to the lads!

Have a great Christmas and all the best for 2016. 

Next week, I will review 2015 in an extended blog!!

Review of 2015

As we approach 2016, I thought that I would do a quick review of 2015. It has been a fairly eventful year and it started in an eventful fashion with the EA flood defence work (quite topical, given the flooding that has hit the UK over the past 2 weeks):

Then we had a load of trees removed, (also free of charge!):

The winter work of 2014/15 started to look much improved:

Some bunkers changed dramatically!:

As did our 12th tee, among many:

We had chance to mole plough some fairways to improve drainage:

The putting green had a (sort of) makeover:

Agronomy testing.... :

...Justified, through scientific data, among several recommendations, the need for Vibro rollers: 

These helped to firm up and speed up our greens, and these looked pretty good for the summer:

Our fairways looked much sharper, thanks to a more modern, refined machine: 

We enjoyed some much needed help from James, our apprentice:

We even managed to mow out some walkways in between tees and fairways:

Alas, the Autumn renovations tore up the greens temporarily:

However, they stayed firm and dry as we hit an unusually wet winter:

Then we started this year's winter work:

We squeezed in a UK fungicide trial with Syngenta, providing us with protection against fusarium:

These are some of the highlights of 2015. 

Thank you to all the volunteer help this year. You all know who you are!

Thank you to the Board for sanctioning a lot of work and new machinery. Things are looking good for 2016.

Well done to Ryan & James for some excellent work this year.

We have a great team of staff. Step forward Freddy, Kim, Ann, Alex.

Have a happy new year and please continue to support our great golf club!

Friday, 11 December 2015

Dear December, can we have some frost?

Well, the rain and mild weather has continued. Following 7.5 inches of rain in November, we've had well over an inch so far in December. Not only that but the temperatures have remained unseasonably mild. 

Some frost would help to stunt grass growth. Let's hope for some soon!!

The greens are looking in good shape. They have stood up well to all the rain and are fairly firm too. 

The reason that we have had very little disease (fusarium) is that the golf club have been involved in a UK fungicide trial.  I will reveal more about this in the New Year once the results have been published.

I have sprayed the greens monthly (September, October & November) as part of a preventative disease control strategy. The idea behind this is fairly straightforward; the turf is sprayed with 2 fungicides with different modes of action and the grass plant is protected before disease gets an opportunity to break out.

Hence why, despite the recent wet, mild weather (the perfect conditions for fusarium), our greens have been disease free. The feedback from members has been very positive and we are very thankful for the nice comments.

Both green side bunkers at the 3rd were turfed this week. Good progress was also made on the 1st tee too. Many thanks to John Newns, Phil Rowsell, Barry Barlow and Phil Lockett for their hard work. Great stuff fellas!

We hope to get the 11th and 13th tees turfed next week. Some dry weather would help us out with that but I live in hope for that rather than expectation at the moment!

Many thanks to the board of directors for sanctioning the purchase of a second greens mower that will be used to mow tees and surrounds as well as being useful backup in case of a breakdown with our other greens mower. We now have suitable mowing equipment to assist us in improving course presentation in 2016!

Have a great weekend (weather permitting) and enjoy your golf (weather permitting).

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Good progress with turfing

We have made really good progress over the last 2 weeks with re-laying the turf from the areas that were affected by Lakeland's construction work. 

The important thing from our point of view is that we get all the turf laid that we stripped with the turf cutter. 

The reason for this is straightforward really; the areas that are being completed first are primarily tee banks, hence it is less critical that the turf is of the best quality. 

Perhaps more importantly, we have to work to a budget and so we believe it important to re-use (recycle) turf wherever possible.

The 1st tee and surrounding area should start to look very different to what it used to! For us, the first impression for members and visitors should be excellent and I feel that this 1st tee area did not quite create the required first impression. However, once completed, this whole area will look fantastic. 

I am really pleased with the condition of the greens for the time of year. Consider that over the last 3 weeks, the course has been pelted with over 5 inches of rain (131mm). That is an incredible amount of rain and it stands to reason that the golf course has the odd wet area!!

Many thanks to some great volunteer help with turfing over the last 2 weeks. John Newns, Dave Shingler and Phil Lockett have all given their time to assist us in some (at times) awful weather! Well done also to Ryan & James who have both grafted their socks off!

Have a great weekend and enjoy your golf!

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Monsoon season

Since the warm weather that was present  at the time of the last blog, it has rained. And rained. And rained. Over 4 inches or 100mm +. 

Hence, the golf course is very wet and looking a little battered by the elements. Good old British weather eh?? 

Lakeland Construction completed the contracted earthworks last week. Now we are in the process of re-turfing. Our first priority is to re-use as much of the existing turf (that we stripped with the turf cutter) as possible.

The new bunker that was created on the left side of the 3rd fairway has been re-turfed. The turf is a bit yellow at present but that is due to it being deprived of sunlight for a couple of weeks. In time, it will recover and green-up.

We have also re-turfed the 17th tee bank and we have also started re-turfing the new 13th tee complex. 

In time, all the existing turf out on the golf course will be used and then we will make arrangements to have some new turf delivered for the teeing areas.

Friday, 6 November 2015

A warm week to start the winter work!

Wow! It is November and the weather is almost summery. Temperatures have been getting to 14-20 degrees. 

We have had to mow greens 3 times this week because the warm, damp weather has produced a surge in growth. Compare this to late September/early October when we were wanting a little bit more growth but the cooler nights prevented this from happening.

Normally, we might have expected some frosts by now to stunt growth and give us a break from mowing. I only hope the frosts are arriving soon! 

That said, I am very pleased with the condition of the greens. It just goes to show that all the aeration and topdressing work done over the last 18 months has been worth it. They are firmer, drier and very playable given the time of year.

This unusually warm weather is proving a bit of a headache for us. We want to be focusing our attention on leaf blowing/collecting and the winter construction work. Adding mowing to this equation just gives us more work than is needed. 

Last week, we were faced with a mountain of tree brash, logs, stumps and 
several felled trees to chainsaw at the 13th tee area. It took 3 of us the best part of 3 days to clear this. 

However, this was necessary so that Adie from Lakeland Construction could start immediately with renovating and remodelling the new 13th tee area. We hope you agree that the change and improvement is fantastic!

Now, this tee is oriented to encourage golfers to drive away from the houses (sited along the left hand boundary of hole 4). When turfed and established, it will look magnificent.

We have a new fairway bunker on hole 3. Sited to the left of the hole, the aim of this new bunker is to encourage approach shots away from the houses (again to the left of hole 3). 

The left green side bunker on hole 3 had been remodelled. Before, it looked a little tired. Now, it looks modern and exciting!

The majority of this work is designed to modernise the golf course, keeping us as a golf club in line with current trends. What it also achieves is reduced maintenance of these areas for the green keeping team. 

Time saved on labour intensive maintenance can be redirected into maintaining the key playing areas; greens, approaches/surrounds, tees, bunkers and fairways - in that order.

The right hand green side bunker on hole 3 had also been remodelled. It is now stunningly good and finishes a superb green complex at the 3rd hole.

Finally, the 17th tee has been remodelled. Gone are the old, rotten railway sleepers that were as much a health & safety hazard as anything else. Now, we have a level tee with tee bank that is easier to maintain and is in keeping with the other redesigned tees on the golf course.

Many thanks go to a team of volunteers who have assisted with leaf blowing and collection. Take a bow Phil Rowsell, Craig Taylor, Tom Frame, Barry Barlow, Ray Barnes and Phil Lockett. Great work guys!

Finally, thanks to the board of directors for sanctioning the purchase of a Toro Workman. It is a diesel machine and this will prove to be more economically viable to run than the old petrol Gator.

Have a great weekend and enjoy your golf!