Saturday, 30 May 2015

New apprentice joins team!

Great news for the greens team this week. We have a new apprentice in the ranks. Welcome to James, who has had a really good first week of work. He will assist Ryan and I in developing the golf course further. 

He has already started to edge bunkers, trim the fairway yardage discs, change holes, rake bunkers - and learn the art of topdressing greens!

We had to topdress the greens again this week to top up the surface levels that we were unable to complete during greens maintenance week. 

Under normal circumstances, we would have applied a heavy topdressing following the hollow coring. However, that week, we had heavy rain and that prevented us from applying and brushing in a heavy topdressing. Hence the need to do two lighter dressings a few weeks apart.

The greens are now firming up very well and hopefully, surface trueness will improve and be more consistent. 

We also applied a Plant Growth Regulator and liquid Iron. The PGR has been applied to reduce the annual meadow grass seed heads that are flowering at the moment (they are the grasses that produce a white seed head that cause bobbly putts). In time, the seed heads will diminish. 

This is a yearly occurrence that is frustrating for both golfers and greenkeepers. Please bear with us! We do not like this part of the golfing season either in respect of this issue!

Many thanks also to Connor Yarwood who had been a great help with strimming duties. What a grafter he is! Top man Connor (hope I spelt your name right).

It was also pleasing to take some members on a course walk on Thursday. I was delighted that I could talk about our aims and ambitions for the golf course as well as listening to members' feedback. Hopefully, the members that did attend were able to understand some of the challenges that we experience. In addition, it was a useful exercise for me to receive positive feedback and constructive criticism from the members.

We are now into our second week of double cutting fairways with boxes (removing grass clippings from fairway surfaces). Already, they look so much cleaner and tighter. Jeff Perkin made the comment that they look much improved and that the definition between fairway and rough is that more pronounced.

Next week, they will be brushed prior to mowing to help stand up some of the grasses that lie too prostrate for the fairway mower to mow effectively. We welcome your comments regarding playability of the fairway surfaces.

Have a great weekend and enjoy your golf!

Friday, 22 May 2015

A great mowing week

We have had a great week of mowing this week. Feedback from members and guests has been positive. It seems that the weather is finally picking up after a very slow, drawn out spring.

Monday, we fertilised all greens with an 8:0:0 sulphate of ammonia. This should give them a good kick of Nitrogen following the recent hollow coring. 

We plan to continue topdressing next week to restore surface levels after hollow coring and this should assist in further smoothing the greens surfaces.

Despite over 2 inches of rainfall, the course has stood up really well. We applied a systemic fungicide last week as the greens were showing signs of fusarium disease. The fungicide has checked the disease and will protect against further potential disease outbreaks for the next 2-3 weeks.

Most of the tree bases were strimmed around this week. Rough, tees and approaches have been cut. 

We have also started mowing fairways this week with grass boxes on the fairway mower. By collecting clippings, this will help us to control growth on the fairways and will also assist in discouraging the broad leaf grasses that love nutrient rich soils. Our aim is to tighten up the fairway surfaces and to promote a dense sward, finer grass species and to provide tight lies for golfers. We hope the feedback is encouraging.

Next week, we welcome James McHugh to our team. James has been employed through a local government funded apprenticeship scheme. With his help, we intend to raise maintenance standards in order to provide a more consistently managed golf course.

Have a great bank holiday weekend and enjoy your golf!

Friday, 15 May 2015

Tree stump removal

This week, it was great to have a contractor at the golf course removing tree stumps that remained following our tree thinning program.

We estimate that about 60 stumps were removed over 2 days. The result is that the woodland areas now look a lot more managed and tidy, allowing easier recovery shots to be played back onto the main playing areas.

Quotes are currently being sought for chipper-shredders that can be hired to quickly dispose of the brash from the woodland between the 4th green and 7th tees. Please bear with us until we find an opportunity to clear this area.

Also this week, we managed to catch up on some much needed mowing. The course is beginning to take shape now after quite a drawn out spring. Although the days have been quite warm, the nights and mornings have been quite cool, resulting in slow, patchy growth.

However, following hollow coring and topdressing, the greens are now recovering fairly well. Some extra fertiliser next week should accelerate recovery further.

Many thanks to some sterling volunteer assistance this week. Phil Lockett, Barry Barlow, Ray Barnes and John Newns have all made great contributions to the collective cause. Well done fellas!

Have a great weekend and enjoy your golf!

Friday, 8 May 2015

Spring renovation week

This week, we have carried out hollow coring, topdressing and over seeding. 

I recently put a poster on the members notice board (provided by the Greenkeepers Association, BIGGA) describing the reasons for this operation.

We have nearly completed the targeted greens. Green 5 will be completed next week. 

The wet weather this week hampered our progress significantly. Trying to brush wet sand into core holes was, to say the least, quite challenging, particularly given the fact that we had to get a lot of work done in a 4 day week. 

That said, we have done fairly well. All the rough has been cut alongside approaches and surrounds. Some tees and fairways were also cut. However, time constraints prevented us from completing these tasks. We will ensure normal service resumes next week.

It is great that our rough mower is back in action after being down for 2 weeks. We hope that it can remain intact for the foreseeable future!

Many thanks to a number of members for their assistance this week. 

Phil Lockett put in a great shift collecting twigs/branches alongside Barry Barlow and young James McHugh. Big thanks to Barry and Ray Barnes for removing those twigs/branches from in play areas. Also, a huge thank you to Dave Asprey for helping Ruan and I to collect cores and topdress greens. What a trooper! Well done Dave! And, yet again, well done to Phil Lockett for getting the rough cut. A massive help to us.

The great tree thinning work continues at hole 4. Continued thanks to Mark Marks for his expertise and diligent work with the chainsaw!

Finally, my apologies for a lack of photos. Must do better next week.

Have a great weekend and enjoy your golf!