Posted on Friday 31st March, 2017
As the golfing year comes to an end I would like to thank the Captains for their help and support. Both Barbara and Colin have made telling contributions to the course in their year in particular Colin who has helped immensely with organising help when doing the greens maintenance. Would also like to take the opportunity to welcome the new Captains Martin and Jane.
When I accepted the head greenkeepers job nearly 3 years ago the target I set was to improve the golf course on 5 fronts. This was as follows;
As we all know the greens have been badly affected by fusarium disease over the winter which has proved a constant menace. We have done everything possible to eradicate the fusarium and yet it has continued to affect us. The problem is that we have an unacceptable amount of thatch within the soil profile which we need to remove and dilute to a controlled level. The thatch is where the disease lies waiting for the optimum conditions to emerge. We can achieve this by increasing the amount of work which we do on the greens. We already aerate the greens with solid tines on a regular basis,slit with the iron weekly and verticut weekly throughout the growing season. In addition to this we used 90 tonnes of topdressing on the greens of which the majority is used during the two maintenance weeks when we hollow core.
The majority of time this would be adequate but with years of not doing this work we need to ‘catch up’ which will put us in a healthier position. This is not to say that there will be a lot more disruption to play, far from it. Our aim is always to work with the members, not against them. We have already worked 63 tonnes of sand into the greens as opposed to 38 tonnes last march and with topdressing after solid tining throughout the season we will be able to dilute the thatch which will promote firmer, truer, faster and much healthier greens.
We have also purchased a deep linear aeration machine called a shockwave which will allow us to aerate the whole course including the greens to a depth of 10 inches. A big thank you to John Pownall for his further backing and investment.
We have started to apply topdressing to the tees today and the rebuilding of the wall on the raised tee on the 4th is also under way. The tees have been treated with a growth regulator for a couple of years now and I feel they are in a lot better condition now than ever and along with more topdressing and regular divoting they can only improve.
We have worked on a total of 14 bunkers over the winter period in some form or another. Drainage has been added to the bunkers and they have been reshaped to aid maintenance and to add interest to the holes. New sand (off white) has been added and so these bunkers are obviously going to play differently to the original bunkers. We will continue to work on the bunkers in an effort to improve playability, quality and maintenance.
The Practice Facilities
We are in the process of building a small chipping green on the practice ground and are going to build a mound to segregate the practice ground from the 8th tee. We have also put some additional holes on the putting green and on the practice ground.
The 1st Impression
We have installed more posts and ship rope around the clubhouse area and we have purchased a new fountain and had some new lights fitted around the entrance. Storm Doris has also forced our hand into having a new fence erected in the car park which is being put up this weekend.
Other areas which we have worked on this winter is to improve the path network and bridges in an effort to keep the golf course open at all times.
Fairway aeration was carried out for the first time and a dyke was created to stop the 5th and 6th flooding.
The trees have been crown lifted to aid playability and maintenance and some areas have been thinned out to tidy up some areas to allow much needed light to certain areas of the course.
This year we will continue to strive to improve the course on all these fronts and to work with the members to achieve our goals. Our only request is you help us along the way by doing your bit to help us by repairing pitch marks, raking bunkers and replacing divots.