HEAD GREENKEEPER'S BLOG - MAY 2019
Head Greenkeeper’s Blog - April 2019
It is true to say that I’m never happy with whatever weather we’re experiencing, ever. However, to put into perspective, I love all weathers as they each bring advantages, what I don’t like is that we never have a correlation between the weather we need and the weather we get! The recent weather of cold nights, drying wind and a lack of light showers would have been a dream in the Autumn – but it isn’t exactly helping the recovery from last year’s droughts or helping surfaces to improve. Therefore, I have had to adjust my programme slightly regarding mowing schedules and fertilising.
Works undertaken over recent weeks
As growth has been slow (up to bank holiday weekend) we have now been able to complete work on the area around the path from the 13th tee. It has been widened to allow all traffic to pass, old drains found & cleared and new drains installed. Shaping of the base material will be similar to 16th – 17th path, creating swales to divert any surface water off the path, eliminating wash-out. Areas in the vicinity have been shaped too, these will be rotavated and over sown as soon as possible.
FAIRWAYS – we recently had delivery of our brand-new, fairway mower, which is an absolute dream to use. Following feedback from members’ questionnaire into consideration, we have set the mower at 15mm height of cut (HoC). I feel that this is detrimental to the presentation of the course as it soon looks like they haven’t been cut, but will continue to listen to feedback on this. I’m hoping to get a working party organised soon to divot.
I know a few people have observed a resident who backs onto the 6th fairway clearing garden waste and fire. This is all following discussions and in full agreement with me.
GREENS – we have gradually reduced the HoC over recent weeks as and when the weather has allowed. We kept it deliberately higher to protect the greens longer term. Some clubs have chosen to reduce heights early, which may prove to be a short-sighted strategy. The frequency has also been increased and we are now to our summer HoC of 4mm and mowing every day. As with other areas, they are in need of a little refinement, but all is in hand.
To confirm the recent plans to get the greens to their maximum, we have been watering the greens, we also have (as above) been mowing the greens, we just have to ensure that previous chemical treatment has been absorbed before shaving – which is why we rolled on Saturday, allowing the chemicals to work.
BUNKERS – All bunkers have now had the weeds removed and their sand moved/shaped. Bunkers which required more sand have now had it added.
Reminder: Please can we ask that all members rake the bunkers after play and ensure the rakes are placed IN the bunkers at the CENTRE (not the back or side of the bunker).
PATHS – Winter reinforcement of course pathways etc has all been removed and it is purely a matter of time for the very limited damage to recover. Work is on-going on improving the 6th tee path, removing cobbles as part of the course improvement plan, ensuring more of a Parkland look as well as enabling access to mow properly.
As negotiations continue with ENW on the path approaching the 14th tee, it was agreed at the Greens Meeting that the area should be tidied up as much as possible and within our budget limitations.
STRI visit – This took place on 23/4/19 and Emma was quite impressed with the course, given the conditions (again) and very pleased with work completed within budgets. It was highlighted that there was a problem with leatherjackets on 14th and 15th greens. Although previously treated, further treatment is needed and I have a clear plan to tackle this. There has been treatments and wetting agents applied prior to rolling and then, cutting as mentioned above. Following advice, it has been agreed to revert the tees on the wider tees e.g. 7th back to narrower tee positions so that wear and tear of the tees can be managed.
Health and Safety
Can we remind members that the course is the work area for the green keeping staff and as such we have a duty of care for their safety? If you see a green keeper on the course whilst you are playing, please wait until they’ve moved away, finished or have acknowledged you/waved you on before hitting your shot.
A number of greens have been damaged where a ‘divot’ has been taken near to the hole (see photos attached). It is assumed that this has been done by a player out of frustration. There was also an incident where someone had spun trolley wheels on the 15th green. However, as I’m sure all are aware, this damage has to be repaired by the greens staff who have to cut out the damaged, divot area and replace with another part of the green. We all know how frustrating this game can be, but we urge members to avoid damaging the course in this way. We acknowledge that this may have been a visitor, but ask all to be considerate in this regard.
Good luck to all in this golf season