The greens have been mown throughout the winter at a height of 5.5mm . We have solid tined in November and January this will continue as and when required . This type of aeration is an essential part of our maintenance program . It aids air and water movement away from the surface and down into the soil profile . This has the benefit of producing a healthier sward and a firmer putting surface able to sustain play more often through the winter .
In general the greens are in pretty good condition for the time of year . There are areas of damaged turf on certain greens , this has been caused by the near record levels of rainfall over the past few months . Although unsightly at present these areas will regenerate in the spring and will be helped along by scarification , over seeding and top dressing . There is also a thatch layer of 40 to 50 mm just below the putting surface . Thatch is made up of a mixture or roots , stems and leaves which intertwine and can make a thick matted layer which water , air and roots can find extremely difficult to pass through . From a playing point of view this can cause an often wet spongy putting surface that puddles up much quicker than it should and takes a lot longer to dry out . I will be tackling this aggressively throughout the coming season both mechanically ( deep scarification , hollow coring , slit tining and verti – cutting ) and chemically with ( thatch eating products ) .
The tees have been cut throughout the winter when required at a height of 10 mm . The tees have remained in play throughout the winter 9 with and 9 without tee mats . Having the tees on 12 months of the year can create it’s own problems but I’m sure the members appreciate the longer course .
The 4th tee continues to not be of the standard required at our course . The initial problem was the turf purchased was of poor quality and has improved very little since . I will be taking steps to improve the tee this season by regular scarifying and over seeding with a better quality grass seed with more suitable and robust properties .
All other areas
The fairways , approaches , banking’s and rough have been cut when time allows . Currently down to 4 staff , It has been an extremely busy few months not helped by the much later than usual fall of leaves . The collection of leaves from the many hundreds of trees around the course is a long laborious process which took more than a month to fully tidy . All greens , tees and approaches were treated to prevent worm casts from forming . This has been a big success and kept the turf virtually cast free all winter .
Since last years extremely wet summer many areas of the course have been under water for many months . So the work we have undertaken this winter is to rectify some of these areas to try to prevent any similar flooding problems in the future .
The areas we have targeted so far are :
* The banking at the back of the 2nd green
* A large area to the left of the 5th green
* Banking between the 7th tee and 8th green
Areas still to do this winter :
* Drain the 3rd green behind the left hand side bunker
* Damaged area across the 9th approach towards the buggy path
* The bunker to the right hand side of the 11th green
* The walkway back to the 13th tee from the 12th green
* The back left hand corner of the 17th green
The winter greens have been cut throughout the winter at a height of 7 mm . This is a lower height of cut than in the past and I think this along with making the greens larger and cutting them more regularly has resulted in a far superior putting surface this winter . We have also cut new winter greens on the holes where the surface of the previous greens had deteriorated .
Many trees have been pruned and tidied up . This is beneficial to the tree as the larger lower limbs of the tree which we have removed take most of the trees energy and nutrients causing the tree to grow upwards much more slowly . It will also allow the golfers easier access to play their ball . Some areas that have been pruned up are :
* The large plantation between the 1st and 2nd fairway
* The laurels to the side of the 4th green
* The clump of trees in the right rough on the 7th hole
* All the trees around and behind the 12th green
* All the trees around the 10th and 13th tee
This is an ongoing process and will continue over the coming years
An email account has been set up so the members can have direct access to the head greenkeeper . I would invite all members to use this service if you have any questions regarding the course . Could I ask that any member wishing to ask questions please leave their name and membership number so I know who it is I’m talking to . The email address is :
Finally I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr George Cuthbert for all his hard work over the winter on the course it’s most appreciated .
Acting Head Greenkeeper