Friday, 10 November 2017

A cooler start to November

Greetings pop pickers.

We are now over a week into November and at last we are starting to experience some sustained dry weather. It has only taken 4 months (the last full dry week before October end was June!!). Joking aside, the weather since July has been truly abysmal and I was starting to wonder whether the golf course would ever dry out. 

So a few things to catch up on then since the last blog...

Greens are looking okay heading into winter. We finally got some recovery following the autumn coring and scarifying. As it was so wet and cool in September, the recovery took forever. However, the greens are finally drying out (with the exception of the 9th - a perpetual headache) and going into winter, they look fairly decent. We will try to get a really light dressing to them over the next week or so.

I did see Ronnie Minshull with a wry look on his face this week as we topdressed the putting green! The issue we had with some greens was that because it was so wet in September, we never managed to topdress the greens and drag in DRY sand. So we couldn't top up all the holes created from the hollow coring. Hence some greens just need a wee bit more. The sand will also help to protect the plant against winter play too (the abrasiveness of the sand should mitigate against spike marks and general foot traffic, particularly when rain is thrown into the mix). Ronnie knows this anyway - and with him being a demon putter, he actually dreams of playing on freshly top dressed greens.

As is normally the case these days, more trees have been felled following the latest round of chainsaw training on site. And as is normally the case, when the trees have been felled, logged and collected, it doesn't look like anything has been done! Such is the quantity of trees in certain areas on the golf course, a few removed here and there barely scratches the surface.

However, in some areas (such as between the 1st and 2nd, above top), we really are making great progress. This area is now much improved and can now start to support some maturing trees that will develop correctly. It also continues to remove our leaves burden - a task I find so demoralising and unproductive. I would much rather be carrying out course improvements than dealing with leaves. But, deal with them we will and I hope they will all be fallen soon.

Many thanks to Tom Frame and John Newns for installing a permanent mat behind the 5th tee. This will serve both 5 and 14 in the winter. Well done fellas, it looks great!

Recently, we took an opportunity to dig a soakaway in the middle of the 9th green. It presented a chance to work on this problematic green whilst it was closed for play. The top photo shows the base of the green after removing a sand improved rooting layer. Unfortunately, once this was removed, we hit a really wet, compacted heavy clay soil. Not the sort of soil that will drain well or quickly nor will support good root growth.

In saying that, the photo above at least demonstrates that roots will grow through a verti drain hole. Punching holes in greens, despite the complaints of golfers, does actually draw many benefits. But 12 inches down, we found gravel (unfortunately capped off by clay and then gravel covering another layer of clay. This is probably (and I'm sticking my neck out here) why the green floods during really heavy rain. The water just sits on the surface because the drainage rate is so poor. The photo below shows just how wet it can sit.

With that in mind, the soakaway was filled with a thin layer of grit before we added 6-8 inches of a sandy root zone (similar to our divot mix). This should at least drain better than what was previously  here and provide us with a starting area on which we can expand this work further into the green. It is by no means a quick solution nor a long term solution. However, the alternative is to do nothing and that is in no way proactive.

We also started something similar at the back of the 8th green. You don't need to see the gory details of the soil below this green to realise why this doesn't drain. I'll give you a clue though; it's a bit like the 9th! 

All we can do is adopt a piecemeal approach to these 2 greens. There is simply not the budget available to do anything bigger or more drastic with either the 8th or 9th green. The compromise is that, during heavy rain, they puddle/flood and we go to a temporary green. Enough said.

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

Friday, 15 September 2017

September update

Recently, the weather has been a bit naff. So wet in fact that the autumn renovations have stretched over 3 weeks (when all finished). Really, when working as a team of 2, you need everything to work in your favour to get the work done in a week. We were grateful for the help of Dave Asprey, Colin Riley and John Newns for their assistance. Great work guys!

The trouble we had was that it tipped it down from 4th September and trying to pull cores out of wet greens is a nightmare. They just don't come out. Dragging in wet sand is just as bad too. So the work really has dragged on because everything has been so stop-start.

We must get the work done so that the greens are nice and dry (and firm) as we head into autumn and winter. We aim to finish next week.

One positive to report is that I arranged a demonstration day with Bernhard's. We managed to get the greens mower cylinders re-ground FOC. This saved the golf club about £250-300 which is money that won't be lost out of the budget. Re-grinding is a pricey business (maintaining golf courses is a pricey business but that's the way it is when you're running a business that caters for a luxury hobby such as golf) and to keep greens, tees, approaches and fairways looking in good condition, mower cylinders need to be regularly sharp.

Regards the weather, it has been a terrible summer in all honesty. The monthly rainfall totals are as follows:

• January - 51mm
• February-  79mm
• March - 84mm
• April - 18mm
• May - 46mm
• June - 99mm
• July - 81mm
• August - 75mm
• September - 94mm (so far)

Interesting that the wettest month of the year was June with September close behind. It has been a summer of extremes really and I guess warm & wet will become the norm for our summers from now on!

Many thanks for all volunteers who have assisted this summer with a special nod to Len Dilnutt for getting wet on a rough mower!

Friday, 4 August 2017

The cooler months of summer

As we head into August, we can reflect on a couple of quite wet months; June and July. Rainfall records show that June was easily the wettest month of the year so far. July was third wettest after March. 

So the heady days of May have been replaced by cooler, wetter days. This week, in particular, has been almost Autumn like. Winds and rain have provided a challenging week. However, there has been a noticeable slowdown in growth, understandably so, given the cooler days and nights. Casting worms have been really active too - the 4th fairway, normally quite wet and fertile, has been hammered by worm activity this week.

Greens are now looking smoother with the poa having stopped seeding. You will notice some anthracnose disease has hit the poa in places. We will overseed these areas with bent grass seed to hopefully fill in any minor gaps (replacing poor quality grass - poa, with something significantly better - bent).

Complete Weed Control were recently hired to spray fairways and roughs with a selective herbicide. The weeds are now dead, evident from the 2 examples above of dandelion and plantain. The cost of weed control is quite high due to the quantity of product required to cover the whole golf course. However, this operation will ultimately prevent weeds from regenerating in greater quantities in future years.

It has been nice to spruce up the fairway yardage discs with a well needed jet wash. These products are made from recycled plastic and as such will never rot or break easily. Keeping them clean and trimmed up enhances the golf course. A new set of tee signs has updated our course furniture and is long overdue. They look really sharp and modern. Thanks to John Newns and Tom Frame for their efforts in siting the new tee signs. Some more sponsors should help to repay the investment.

Elsewhere, Mark has been prominent in the woodland with more chainsaw training. Continued attention to woodland areas is now bearing fruit. Areas that never had grass growth before are now beginning to pick up. In addition, close examination of this essential work shows that the careful selection of trees to be removed has in fact created more space for other trees to flourish. The removal of trees is considered and Mark's expertise in identifying rotten or dying trees helps the golf club to meet the requirements of the Course Masterplan.

We continue to mow fairways with grass boxes to remove clippings (and reduce nutrient from the soil) so that the fairways stay shorter for longer. This work that started 3 years ago is now starting to click. We are now in the position where certain fairways are growing much slower and this will reduce the need to mow fairways so regularly. Mowing is a big expense - diesel, labour, cylinder re-grinding and replacement of machinery parts are all a considerable burden on the course maintenance budget.

We have also purchased a trailed spring tine harrow to help us address dense growth in fairways and roughs. The idea is that the harrow will help to thin out these areas by removing unwanted thatch from the surface. In time, fairways and roughs should start to improve further in regards to playability. We hope that any balls landing in rough shouldn't sit down too much. Broadleaf grasses will also be discouraged. With the removal of thatch, these areas should also firm up more and hold less surface water in inclement weather.

Well done to James for some stellar tees and approach mowing. He is proud of his stripes and loves mowing these areas, particularly with the brush on the mower. "They look much cleaner and tighter" is his usual remark. Nice to hear!

A small project has seen the weeds sprayed and trimmed down on the bank by the 15th tee. The views of these 2 adjacent holes are really good. However, maintaining a huge bank like this is just not practical due to the severity of the slopes involved.

This whole teeing area ultimately needs to be redeveloped in the future. It would really make a huge statement for the tees at holes 6 and 15 to be modernised. In their current state, they are not capable of being maintained effectively. The 6th tee, for a par 3 that gets hammered by divots, is way too small. It can never recover from wear because there is not enough room to allow divoted areas to recover.

The 15th tee has similar issues. The encroachment of trees and the hawthorn hedge to the left of the path renders the left side of this tee unusable (in the same way as the 7th, 8th, 14th and 16th tees. Look closely at the wear (divot) patterns and this tells you everything about the limitations of the aforementioned tees.

Hopefully in the future, funds will be available to make more efficient use of the current 15th tee site. It would make this hole an outstanding par 3 and allow a redeveloped tee complex to be maintained much more easily.

I thought it would be nice to sign off with a lovely photo of my daughter Violet. She's an absolute beauty and is doing really well.

Have a great weekend and enjoy your golf!

Monday, 3 July 2017

Looking closer at fusarium disease outbreaks

I'd like to communicate some information about disease outbreaks and disease control. It is quite topical because the past week has, due to rainfall and humidity, prompted some fusarium patch (michrodochium nivale) disease on the greens.

It is important to understand the reasons for an outbreak of disease and a simple but effective diagram is the disease triangle, below:

Basically, as the diagram demonstrates, disease occurs because a pathogen (fusarium), environmental factors (moisture, humidity, thatch layer etc) and a susceptible host (poa & bent grasses) are present at any particular time. If any of the factors are not present, then disease will not occur. 

For example, it is extremely unlikely that fusarium will occur during hot, dry weather because the disease favours humid, moist conditions. Given, the pathogen will be present at any time and the host (grasses) are always present but without the correct environmental conditions, an outbreak will not occur.

Fusarium can occur at any time of the year, providing it has favourable conditions to do so.

Control of disease can be addressed either culturally or chemically.

Cultural control includes dew removal (mowing, switching, brushing), well timed aeration (grooming, verticutting, scarifying) to encourage a less humid grass surface, regular aeration and topdressing to provide a drier surface, overseeing with grass cultivars that are more disease resistant, thatch removal (scarifying, hollow coring) as disease pathogens inhabit the thatch layer, irrigating only when necessary and fertilising correctly. 

We are aiming, always, to keep putting surfaces DRY. Fusarium requires MOISTURE. Hence why so much of the work over the last 3 years has been targeted towards providing greens that are firmer, less thatchy and drier. Essentially, cultural control forms part of an annual greens maintenance program.

Chemical control is essentially applying a fungicide to achieve control. It is generally a last resort because it is expensive. The other issue is that, legally, fungicides can only be applied so many times per year and this will generally be determined by government and industry bodies. The product label will specify the maximum number of doses that can be applied in any year. Beyond that, an alternative fungicide (generally with a different active ingredient) will have to be used.

So it becomes evident that common use of fungicides can become expensive. That is why we first aim to achieve control with sound turf management practices.

Secondly, we look at the time of year that the disease occurs. Although an outbreak can occur at any time, summer and autumn are not as problematic as winter and spring. This is because of growth. Fusarium is most problematic during winter because there is often very little growth and recovery from grass due to low temperatures. 

Conversely in summer, disease may be present but regular growth will help with disease control because regular mowing will generally remove the affected grass leaves. Importantly, an application of fungicide in the summer will often be wasteful because it too can quickly be removed out of the grass plant by mowing. That is why we are less concerned about disease occurring in the summer as well as the obvious point that applying a fungicide that will give control for 10-14 days in the summer is a complete waste of money. Far better to deploy fungicides during winter time when the grass needs assistance due to lack of growth and recovery.

As a point of interest, I've included a diagram of the fusarium disease life cycle below. This explains more about using different types of fungicides at different stages of the disease.

A preventative fungicide approach can be useful, particularly in autumn and winter because it will help to control disease before an outbreak occurs. 

A curative fungicide approach targets disease when it has progressed (stages 2 & 3).

The use of a fungicide with eradicant mode of action is deployed at stages 4 & 5 when the disease is advanced and causing turf loss. 

What we always have to consider is cost because chemicals are extremely expensive to purchase. With our budget, we cannot afford to be continually spraying fungicides to control fusarium. There is simply not enough money within the budget to do so.

Secondly, and maybe this is more a moral viewpoint, is that we have to ask ourselves if continuous fungicide spraying is environmentally friendly. To which the only answer is no. Additionally, we have to consider pathogen resistance to repeated use of the same fungicides.

Just as penicillin has been over prescribed by medical practitioners over the years, causing bacteria to become resistant to it, disease pathogens in turf can develop resistance to over use of fungicides because like everything else that lives, they adapt.

So, in conclusion, we do not enjoy to see fusarium disease. But as we have a limited budget, we must utilise fungicides sparingly and at the most critical times during the year. If we can achieve control without resorting to chemicals then that is the best outcome financially and environmentally.

It is a bit like type 2 diabetes which is linked to excess sugar in the diet and insulin resistance alongside other elements of a poor lifestyle. If we stay healthy, exercise regularly, limit sugar consumption then we are less likely to need the last resort (insulin injections). Prevention is better than a cure, as the saying goes. Or, perhaps cultural control is better than chemical control.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

May & June - Chalk & Cheese

It must be June as the rain is non-stop. This is the 9th green on Saturday, the supposed Day 1 of the Club Championship. Let us contrast this with May as demonstrated in the photo below

Both months have posed different challenges. But let's start with May and we'll answer a few questions with it too. We followed April (cold nights, frosts, drying winds, very dry weather indeed), with quite a warm, dry May. 

The photo above demonstrates the perimeter of the 4th green. Localised dry spot (LDS) was evident on several greens. I think in the case of the 4th green, several issues played a part in this; thatch dries out quickly in the surface and any roots (from shallow rooted poa annua) suffer without constant water. Warm, drying winds will also contribute to turf deterioration. But what is perhaps a bigger issue - and it is very common on parkland golf courses - is tree roots. Ultimately the height of a tree will indicate the width/extent of the tree roots, and tree roots care little for what is in their way, be that a golf green or a land drain, as long as they are able to access water.

The photo above with the screwdriver shows a tree root in the collar that is a yard or two from the dry patch on the green. Coincidence? I very much doubt it. Luckily, we are moving in the right direction with large tree removal like what has taken place in the woodland adjacent to the 4th green as shown in the photo below. When turf (and particularly turf on a golf green) is compromised by tree roots then the question is - what is the bigger priority - trees or the golf course turf? 

Another question asked recently (related to dry patches on greens) was whether the greens had been irrigated. If irrigation was not being used, then surely the whole green would look dry. The fact that the patches at the 4th green and those seen at the 6th green, below, are surrounded by green turf demonstrates that the problem is localised and is not an irrigation issue. I think that the areas affected on the 6th green are partially due to tree roots but also due to the affected area being on a south facing slope. Let's not also forget that sand based golf greens are also prone to drying out too.

At least with the onset of June, these areas are no longer affected. Perhaps if we get a mix of a little rain mixed with a good dose of warm, dry weather then we will be onto a winner!

Other work that has ben carried out includes mowing rough slightly shorter. We are now mowing at 2 inches and this has benefited by making the rough look less patchy, more tight and giving better definition too. Maybe it helps, it being shorter, of helping with recovery shots too. 

We are also looking at other small areas on the golf course that we can improve. The woodland edges near the 7th and 16th tees have been sprayed to knock down weeds and to improve the aesthetics of these areas. A small improvement but that said, it is progress and eventually small things contribute to the aim of continually improving the golf course. 

We are able to present the greens fairly well at the moment but one obstacle we have to overcome during May, June and July are the poa seed heads that are present on the greens. Poa seeds because it is an annual (weeds are annuals and also produce seed heads). The seed heads produced by poa are due to stress (e.g. heat, cold, lack of moisture, lack of nutrient, mowing etc). The problem for golfers is the seed heads can often affect ball roll and give a 'snakey' ball roll. We use a plant growth regulator to tighten up the turf, reduce clipping yields and as top growth is reduced, the seed heads produced by poa sit closer to the surface.

You can see the white seed heads above and they are very noticeable at this time of year. Often, the greens can look 'white' from a distance. The seed heads will eventually set as seed at the height of summer and will produce future generations of poa annua. Getting rid of this weed grass is next to impossible. It is germinated by seed that is often carried by wind and will germinate anywhere. All it needs is moisture and that is in abundance in the UK.

As I write, the Club Championship has been postponed due to the heavy rain of Saturday. Hopefully, the course will be drier next time around which should make for more enjoyable golf and enable us to produce slightly faster greens.

Have a great weekend and enjoy your golf.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Fairways - fair or unfair?

Ok, it's time to address fairway mowing height, their presentation and playability since the topic has been raised again recently.

We purchased an ex-demonstration fairway mower in 2015. It cost a few quid to say the least but has served to improve exponentially the quality, appearance and playability (in terms of encouraging a well struck golf shot to generate backspin and be receptive when landing on a green). 

I purposefully asked the golf club and machine supplier to provide grass boxes for the mower and the reasons for doing so are provided below:

  • The grass boxes collect the grass clippings and, as a matter of fact not opinion, provide a surface that is superior in appearance as the clippings do not sit on the surface
  • Removing the grass clippings will, in the long term, reduce the nutrient content in the soil. This will slow down growth which will enable us to mow them less and reduce associated costs
  • Reducing the nutrient will encourage the finer grass species (bents, fescues) at the expense of the poorer grass species (poa, yorkshire fog, agricultural ryegrasses) rice the finer grass species will thrive in nutrient poor, drier soils
Currently, the fairways are presented at a mowing height of 11mm. We aim to strike a balance to please a variety of low, medium and higher handicap golfers. Ultimately, mowing them lower enables us to get on with other tasks in the knowledge that they won't have grown too much by the time we next go to mow them and also to account for weekends - when we aren't there and, more importantly, when members are playing in competitions.

This last point is important. If we mow fairways at 11mm on a Thursday and Friday (since having 2 staff does not allow the opportunity - given the level of play on a Friday - to get them all mown in one day and still complete other tasks), this will allow for some, but not too much growth over the weekend. This means that for weekend competition play, the fairways will be neither be too short nor too long and thus the balance is struck for all handicap ranges.

The photo above shows a patch of yorkshire fog on the 4th fairway. It is a broadleaf grass and prefers a higher mowing height as it can outcompete the finer grasses being able to expose more leaf surface for grass growth and sunlight. But the problem is is that its does not make for a good quality fairway grass and mowing the fairways longer - at the present time - will only serve to encourage broadleaf grasses (and weeds too) at the expense of the finer grasses.

If we are mowing at 11mm, then the photo above will only contradict this practise since there is no way on this earth that all of the fairway grasses are being cut at 11mm. They can often be rolled flat by the rollers on the fairway mower and remain unmown.

They then flourish and only serve to diminish the playing surface and playability of the fairways since playing off broadleaf grasses from a golfing point of view will lessen the chances of a clean ball strike (e.g. club to ball then take a divot). Any grass that makes contact with the club face before contact with the ball is made will encourage topspin (or a 'flier') at the expense of backspin.

What we need to do, soon, is to scarify the fairways in order to remove unwanted thatch and to thin out the broadleaf grasses. Over time, these broadleaf grasses will be discouraged and that will allow us to mow our fairways slightly longer.

So what we are doing is maintaining the fairways with a long term approach in mind.

But anybody who thinks that a golf ball should be 'teed up' on a fairway is wrong. We do not advocate punishing higher handicap golfers. It is not a case that maintaining fairways at the current mowing height is unfair to them.

Golf is a sport and as a sport it is supposed to be a challenge. Talent always rises to the top and that is part of the challenge. If golf was fair then nobody would finish second or last and everybody would win. But then the same could be said of life too.

We have a plan. It is long term. With the correct maintenance practices, the fairways will improve for everybody. But they will neither be fair or unfair.

Friday, 2 June 2017

The three sides to our ditches

One of our recently joined members approached me a couple of weeks ago to ask about the maintenance of our ditches. Not wishing to fob him off, I explained the situation to him but perhaps not in great detail, given he was golfing and probably wanted to get on with his round.

Essentially, we as a golf club are a 'riparian' landowner of the ditches. They are sited on our land and as such we are responsible for their maintenance and to ensure they are maintained correctly. However, we do not assume total control for them.

Our legal rights are enshrined in common law but we must acquire permission from a third party risk management authority (e.g. Environment Agency) for certain works to them. To explain this better, I have included a link document below which explains the rights and responsibilities of 'riparian' land ownership.

From reading the document, page 8 states our responsibilities (the golf club in its capacity as a landowner) for their upkeep. Clearly, you can see that we must maintain the banks, bed and ensure the water can flow through them properly but not to the extent that they cause a flood risk. Further rights and responsibilities are explained from pages 9 onwards.

The issue we have (as greenkeepers) in terms of maintenance are explained below:

  • We can stream them but in doing so face a health & safety risk by standing on the banks of the ditch with a strimmer
  • Any grass/weed clippings that fall into the ditch will essentially sit there and act as a nutrient for aquatic plants such as reeds and bullrushes
  • Consequently, the aquatic plants will proliferate and cause any flow of water to slow down (as is evident in the photo above at Hole 5/14
If we as a golf club wish to improve the ditches, we must apply to the local risk management authority for consent to do so.

My personal view is that the ditches on golf club land are unsightly. They are not a feature of the golf course. They do not support any real wildlife diversity.  Strimming them only serves to cause them to deteriorate since the resulting clippings will clog up the bed of the ditch and feed the aquatic plants leading to a snowball situation; strim > clippings > nutrient > increase growth > more strimming > more clippings > more nutrient.

So in summary, yes we will maintain them but this leads to their detriment. Only a more considered long term plan can improve them.

Friday, 12 May 2017

A cold, dry spring

Firstly, I am pleased to be writing this post after (some) rainfall at the golf club. Perhaps we can avoid situations like the photo above just for a while at least!

It is fair to say that since the end of March, the weather has been a) extremely dry and b) unusually cold. April showers never materialised. Instead, we had a mix of cold, dry weather and, more recently, warm dry weather. Either way, it was dry. With this in mind, it demonstrates why it has been such a tough spring for getting grass growth and recovery.

As a quick recap, we had the following in the build up to Captain's Drive-In:

The course looked in decent shape and although we didn't achieve everything that we set out to achieve by the end of March, the greens were in really good shape. March gave us some rain, some warmish weather and it was all looking really good going into April.

So the week after Captain's Drive-In, we started our hollow coring (a little early for my liking, knowing what I know about unpredictable April weather). We had some great volunteer help and I must pass on my thanks to (in no particular order): Tom Frame, Len Dilnutt, Chris McHugh, Colin Riley, Barry Barlow, Ray Barnes, Mike Warbuton, John Newns and Wally Wiley.

James was able to get some experience using the Aercore and this will contribute towards him completing his NVQ.

Following the hollow coring, we applied 15-20 tonnes of sand to the greens. And we waited for rain to help wash it in. But it never arrived. Instead, the mercury dropped and then we started to get Northerly winds which are very cold. Air temperatures at night dropped to 3, 4, 5 degrees (meaning the soil temperature was about -1 to 0. Regardless of day temperatures, no growth (and certainly no recovery) will be observed with those night time temperatures.

Hence why the recovery from hollow coring took weeks. The situation unfolded like this:

  • Liquid feeds were applied since it was way too cold to apply a granular fertiliser (the week after coring, we had light frosts). Liquid fertiliser gives slight growth but not enough for proper recovery 
  • We had to use regular irrigation (due to lack of rain) to try and wash the topdressing sand into the greens. But irrigating with cold water onto cold soil just makes the soil even colder and slows down any chance of growth or recovery
  • The seed we put down was waiting for warm, wet weather to germinate. That never arrived!
  • Our greens rollers are currently awaiting repair so we had no proper way of smoothing out the surfaces after hollow coring
  • The cold, drying winds caused the grass plant to just shut down and conserve its energy 
  • More liquid fertiliser was applied but to little effect
  • Most importantly, the poa (meadow grass) just sat dormant waiting for warm soil temperatures. Since our greens are a mix of poa and bent, the bent started to grow slightly but the poa didn't. This just produces an uneven surface and was exacerbated by the hollow coring work
  • Following 2-3 weeks of cold weather, we started to get warmer, drier weather but with cold nights and North to North Easterly winds. So then we had turf that was drying out, trying to recover but still not growing

Hence why the photos above reflected the weather conditions. You can see the patchy growth and lack of recovery. April, by our recorded rainfall data, has been the driest month for 18 months at Poulton Park. That's why we needed to supplement irrigation water with localised hand watering!

To add insult to injury (the last moan I have, honest!), we have had to contend with leather jacket grubs feeding on grass roots and stifling recovery even more. In addition, our irrigation system has developed countless issues recently as it is old and inefficient so that has been another headache too!

The issue we have with leather jacket grubs is that in 2016, EU legislation forced the golf industry to withdraw use of the one insecticide that we had at our disposal to control leather jackets. Now, we don't have any proven products available to use to control them. So scenes like those below will ultimately become more commonplace on our greens in future.

The bottom photo (here on the 5th green) shows where the grubs have burrowed up through the coring holes and eaten away at the plant. Once this happens, you get the situation of dealing with grubs and also birds (crows, magpies) pecking away for the grubs - see the photo below on the 9th green.

All in all, I am not currently the bearer of great news save for the fact that the golf course is playing firm and fast. July playing conditions but with night temperatures of late indicative of January/February as demonstrated by the early morning frost on Wednesday this week.

I will wrap up by saying that things must improve as we get (if we get) a better mix of sunshine, showers and warmer night temperatures. Here's hoping.

Enjoy your weekend and enjoy your golf.