Sunday, 13 November 2016

Repairing pitch marks - a great video

Thanks to David Moreno, Assistant Greenkeeper at Mendip Spring Golf Club, Bristol.

USGA Turf Minute: Should All Bunkers Play The Same?

Poulton Park Golf Club - Drone

November Rain

The last 2 weeks has seen a gradual shift towards winter. Leaves are now falling and we have had some cold mornings with leaf frosts. It's the time of year when we are carrying out a variety of tasks that best maximise the weather and ground conditions.

We have started to verti drain the greens. This gives us the opportunity to loosen any soil that has become too compact over the last few months. For us, it is important that the greens remain healthy over the coming months but also that they remain dry, firm and playability is not compromised.

We will do our best, weather permitting, to maintain play on regular greens throughout the winter. Frost and persistent heavy rain might prevent this at times but we hope that for the most part they will remain in play. The recent mild, wet weather has encouraged some red thread disease onto some of the greens.

This is evident particularly on the 3rd green. This green, given its thatch content above a very free draining sand, will be particularly susceptible to red thread. The disease is just a blight. It doesn't result in actual turf loss. It is common where nutrient levels, mainly Nitrogen, are low. Hence a very free draining sand will tend to leach nutrients more quickly. Surface thatch will harbour the disease pathogen. A liquid fertiliser was applied to the worst affected greens to discourage the disease.

We have continued to plug away (pun intended - see what i did there??!!) at the 8th green. We use the hole cutter to remove the heavy soil as seen above. This is just not capable of draining any real quantities of rainfall. All that happens is that the surface puddles because the rainfall exceeds the drainage rate. Golf greens built on heavy clay soils are destined to fail at some point with the UK climate. They simply hold water in wet weather.

The plugs are replaced with a sandy root zone. This is a painfully slow process that we turn to with a spare 30 minutes here and there. It will not provide a quick fix to wet weather but it is infinitely cheaper than a complete green reconstruction (£17-19000). This green will always be compromised until funds are available to rebuild it. In the meantime, what we are doing will not hurt and in a small way will improve this green.

The annual leaf drop has begun and we are appreciative of the volunteer assistance to help with leaf collection. Ray, Barry, Wally, John Newns, Dave Asprey, Tom and Len have all given their time to the cause. Many thanks to you guys for your help.

It is a big task and although it is necessary, the sheer quantity of leaves from trees causes us a headache. When many golf clubs have already started winter project work (drainage, tee/bunker/path construction etc), we have to address a huge leaf clear up operation. Precious time is lost simply with dealing with leaves. At this time of the year, every playing surface on the golf course is compromised because leaves have to be collected.

Talking of leaves, we have taken the opportunity to tidy the woodland to the left of the 3rd carry so that we can use this area as a dumping ground for leaves. Here they will rot down nicely out of the way of play. This area will, in time, look much more open and presentable. This work is inexpensive to execute and gives us the opportunity to improve the perimeters of the golf course over the winter.

Our winter topdressing continues. The greens are protected with a fungicide and this enables us to continue light topdressing on our greens to keep them firm, smooth and dry. This is essential if we are to maintain year round play on our greens. At certain times during the week, one green will be out of play for half an hour or so (a temporary green will be in play) until the green has been top dressed and brushed in. These greens will be back in play immediately following this operation.

A final thank you, before signing off, to John Newns for his fantastic divot bag holder that is located by the 1st tee. It looks amazing and hopefully is appreciated by all the members. Please use the divot mix to help maintain the fairways.

We hope you have patience with the recent wet weather. Bear in mind that other golf clubs will also be affected by heavy rain and frosts too. Nothing lasts forever, even cold November rain.

Have a great weekend and enjoy your golf.