Sunday, 29 January 2017

Greens vs Temporary Greens - Examining the differences

Above are 2 photos of the 3rd hole. The top photo shows the temporary green and the lower photo shows the regular green.

But why are they so different in playability? Let's look at the numbers.....

  • Mowing: 5-7 times/week in spring, summer and autumn; 1-2 times/week in winter
  • Mowing height: 3-5mm year round
  • Topdressing: 50-60 tons/year
  • Aeration: 20-30 operations/year (slitting, vert-draining, micro-tining, sarel rolling, coring, grooming, scarifying)
  • Overseeding: 3-4 times/year with bent and fescue grasses
  • Fertilising: 50-60kg/hectare using granular and liquid fertilisers
  • Irrigation: as required
  • Fungicide applications: as required - usually 3-4 times/year dependent upon disease pressure
  • Average staff hours: 20-30 hours/week in summer, 15-20 hours/week in winter
  • Hole changing and pitch mark repair: 2 times/week year round
  • Greens area: 3200 square metres for 11 greens
  • Approximate materials cost to maintain: £4000-£4500 excluding labour & machinery costs
Temporary greens
  • Mowing: 1-2 times/week in spring, summer and autumn; as required in winter
  • Mowing height: 9-12mm dependent upon season
  • Topdressing: none
  • Aeration: vert-draining (time permitting)
  • Overseeding: none
  • Fertilising: none (grass clippings are removed to control growth and encourage finer grasses)
  • Irrigation: according to rainfall
  • Fungicide applications: none
  • Herbicide applications: 1-2 times/year
  • Average staff hours: 5-6 hours/week in summer, as required in winter
  • Hole changing: as required
  • Temporary greens area: 550-600 square metres total
  • Approximate materials cost to maintain: £100 excluding labour & machinery costs

The differences are obvious and quite staggering.

The reasons are mainly due to time allocation (greens are more important than temporary greens), size (greens can spread wear more easily than the tiny temporary greens) and budgetary input.

Temporary greens are used for frosty weather mainly. Otherwise, regular greens are in play.

In conclusion, temporary greens can be as good as regular greens if they were to be a similar size and could have the same time allocation and budgetary input. That would require the golf club to either increase membership fees or drive visitor revenues substantially.

Otherwise, temporary greens will remain a green mown out of the fairway.

Dry January?

We are approaching the end of January and, in the main, it hasn't been overly wet! Certainly, December was a whole lot wetter and not very Christmas like. We have taken the chance to verti drain the greens with pencil tines this month. This helps to maintain a dry surface and to allow any compacted soil to be broken up by the tines. The positive of this, from a golfing perspective, is that there is very little surface disruption. The larger tines have more impact upon play but occasionally, the larger tines are required.

We also continued with a few small projects this month. Given that we needed to place a mat near the 7th tee, we decided to work for a day on the hillside above the path. It has long been felt by many members that some of the tree branches interfered with tee shots off the 7th white tee.

Therefore, we chopped back the scrub and removed some of the offending trees and branches to create more room on this hillside. This has now opened up the driving line and created more of an open aspect to this whole area. For a day's work, it has really been quite effective and the cost to the golf club has been a bit of hard graft and some 2 stroke mix!!! In doing this work, it will afford us a good few years for any regrowth to creep back down the hillside - that is if the regrowth gets the chance!!

What you might have seen on the 7th tee is some disease - the dreaded fusarium. You can see the white fungal mycelium that has matted into the turf. This has taken hold here mainly because of mild, wet weather and heavy dew formations. The issue here is one of shade. The total lack of sunlight prevents the turf from ever drying out. The lack of wind also contributes to a continually soaked grass leaf and so the disease proliferates. Without sunlight getting to this tee, it will always be compromised in this way. Hence you now see turf that shows disease scarring and a loss of turf cover. We will oversee these patches towards spring but this will not eradicate this problem.

The chance was taken a week ago to spray the greens with a liquid iron product. This hardens the grass and supports it against disease pressure. It also gives the turf a bit of colour. Likewise, iron deficiency in humans represents itself in poor skin colour. That is why the doctor will prescribe a nice steak - the iron contained will encourage more red blood cells. What a blog this is - every post is an education!!!

We hope you are enjoying the fairly continual play on our regular greens. Getting through January without too much fusarium disease scars is usually a good sign and so far, we have done well. The surfaces have excellent grass coverage and look pretty good as we head into February. They are obviously not rolling at 11 on the stimpmeter but that is to be expected in winter, particularly with inclement weather that can cause a variety of issues. Nevertheless, they are not too bad at all! So signing off on a positive, here's a photo of the 6th green in all it's winter splendour!

Have a good weekend and enjoy your golf!