Tees: 9th, 16th & 12th
In the last few weeks all of the tees, having been levelled and left to settle, have been turfed. The turf selected is a hard wearing rye grass, with good recovery and repair properties. The turf used on the tee banks was chosen for its high wear and disease tolerance and also for its appearance and recovery qualities. The turf was then left to knit in (become firmly rooted to the soil) and as the playing season nears, will be continually assessed as to its progress. Please note to date that a small section of the tee bank on the 16th remains to be turfed. A first cut of the tees was carried out in the past few days using a hand machine.
Some of the bunkers notorious for flooding have had some work done to reinstate the original drainage. (Left of 2nd, 9th green, right of 12th were the ones put forward by the greens committee. Also the right side of the 6th green.) Where possible, existing drains were exposed and inspected as to the effectiveness of them. New perforated twin wall pipe was installed and surrounded by an aggregate conducive to drainage. A membrane was then added to separate the aggregate from the sand. In the case of the 2nd bunker, supplementary drainage was added leading away from the bunker in to the rough where a sump was installed.
It was agreed to redesign the right side bunker on the 6th. The mound directly in front of the existing bunker was removed and a new shape was excavated closer to the green, creating a hazard that not only protects the entire green but that also looks natural in its position. In order to improve the presentation of the bunker wall, a revetting turf was used. This turf comes in slabs with a thickness of 35mm and is harvested specifically for use in bunkers. New drainage was also added to the existing drain. To date, the turfing of the surrounding area is still outstanding. Despite this area being GUR, because of the size of it and the fact it is currently a wet area, it was decided to form a new winter green, 30 yards short of the summer one.
As part of the general maintenance programme, the greens and tees have all been verti-drained and tined twice since the turn of the year. An application of a granular product was used on selected dry areas of greens to aid with water retention and also help reduce compaction of the area. Additionally a fungicide was sprayed, which acts as a curative and a preventative against major turf diseases.
When time has permitted, pruning work on the trees has continued, carrying on from where we finished last winter; 16th and 17th holes. Priority is given to trees or limbs that obstruct the vision of play, overhang or interfere with grass cutting or are damaged/ dead.
In the past week, all of the paths on the course have been strimmed, edged and weeded. We have also started to top up the paths with a red granite aggregate. This has been levelled and will be mechanically compacted next week. A total weed killer will be applied to the paths in the near future to prevent any unwanted growth.
Looking forward to the next few weeks, much of the focus will be on preparing the course for the beginning of the playing season. Turfing all remaining areas will be the priority, followed by completing the bunkers.
This week has seen a variety of scheduled tasks either completed or nearing completion.
Tining of the summer tees was carried out early in the week. This process enhances gas exchange between the roots and atmosphere which in turn helps to produce a better quality turf. Additionally to aerating the tee boxes through tining, it is planned to verti-drain them in the near future too. These deeper tines help to relieve compaction and also encourage stronger rooting. Both tinning and verti-draining of the tees will be performed again before the playing season begins. The tees were of a good standard throughout the season just gone, so we aim to improve on that this year. Bib aprons were also tined.
The area to the right of the second green was dug up on Tuesday. This area has never fully recovered since previous work was done to it. After digging down, around 25 rubber mats were removed and then the area was landscaped, taking away the existing hump. We then rotavated the entire area to break up compaction and added a layer of root-zone in preparation for turf to be laid. This area will remain g.u.r.
Later in the week, we began work on a new ditch on the left side of the 18th fairway to clearly identify the out of bounds. At the end of Friday, approximately 80 yards still has to be dug. As we have loan of an excavator 360, primarily for use on the three tees getting relaid, we are using it help accomplish as many jobs as we can whilst we still have it.
The three tees do remain a priority, with turf ordered and delivery expected by the end of next week. Whilst some progress has been made on the twelfth, bad weather early in the week prevented us from finishing the levelling process as we planned. As conditions have turned mild and not much rain forecast over the weekend we aim to have the twelfth ready for turf by the middle of next week. The 9th medal tee and 16th tee have been left to settle with levels rechecked and any needed adjustments made and are now ready to be turfed.
In recent weeks, the priority has been given to the three tee boxes; levelling them in readiness for turf. Unfavourable weather at times however has slightly delayed work.
Getting the desired level on the tee box is achieved through a pegging method known as 'datum' pegging- with pegs placed in to the ground at regular intervals all at the same height. The datum peg is the one where all other levels on the tee box are taken from. Every peg is then examined to check that it is the same level as the surrounding pegs, ensuring a perfect level. Following this, a layer of root-zone (70-30 mix of top soil and sand) is spread on the underlying clay and then compacted until it reaches the desired finished level. The compaction process is repeated several times to reduce the chance of any sinkage on the teeing surface. Then after a little settling, the pegs can be removed in preparation for the turf to be laid.
Work on the 6th right hand side bunker was completed. As was done on the 14th bunkers, the bunker was reshaped and a revetted face was installed. All bunker maintenance work has been postponed for now until the completion of the tees.
Elsewhere on the course, a daily course inspection is performed first thing by the green staff and any update to the course conditions for that day is made: the update is made to the phone system and the website. Although efforts are made to minimise any disruption to golfers, it has been necessary at times in recent weeks to ban the use of trolleys. Conditions on course have made the course in many areas potentially unsafe.
When possible, at the dictation of weather, the summer greens/ winter greens are cut as are the summer tees/ winter tees. General work on the course continues too, with holes changed weekly, bunkers raked when needed, tee markers moved and winter tee mats cleaned to remove any debris. Additionally, in the past week the burn received some much needed attention; clearing all leaves and any rubbish that had gathered in it and then flushing it clean.
Looking forward to the next few weeks and month, we anticipate the laying of turf on the tees as a priority in order for it to bed in properly in readiness for the seasons beginning.
14th bunker- before renovation with the basic shape sketched out Click to view all 9 images...
First two levels of the turf wall
Revetted face taking shape
Each level is partnered with an application of rootzone behind to help with compaction and to create a sturdy face
Laying turf to the top to blend in the bank
Finished revetted face
12th tee after the turf has been lifted and roughly rotivated
Petrol turf cutter in action
2nd green after it's been verti-drained
With the playing season coming to an end, our attention turns to course protection, recovery, and playability for next season, whilst simultaneously completing the winter projects that have been scheduled by the greens committee.
The mild weather, conducive to growth, continued for longer than anticipated, meaning regular cutting of the greens, tees, fairways, surrounds and semi-rough continued well in to mid November. As the cold snap has now set in, we will strive to cut, were weather and time permits throughout the winter months.
The acquisition of a new tractor and a verti-drainer attachment has been a vital addition to the fleet and will benefit the course now but also for years to come.
Already the greens, tee boxes, the majority of fairways and selected walk off areas and other problem areas have been verti-drained.
Verti-draining is designed to de-compact the soil. Regular deep spiking, using the verti-drainer, is imperative for healthy root growth. The model that we selected for purchase can shatter compaction in almost all ground conditions.
The idea is that equally spaced holes provide a 'surface pan shatter'. This allows water, air and nutrients to disperse to the grass roots easier and more quickly and also means that the roots can penetrate the ground deeper. This process has an instant improvement to the turf. We will continue to verti-drain areas systematically throughout the winter and also the playing season.
Tees: It was decided that the 9th medal, 12th medal and 16th medal tees would all be relaid. To date, using a petrol machine, all turf has been cut with the majority of it already removed. The next process is to rotivate the existing surface to loosen it up before getting it level. Then it be left to settle and new, more hard wearing turf will be laid.
Additionally, in order to help protect the medal tee on the 16th, and help minimise wear and stress; it was decided to widen the tee and square the shape off. This meant the removal of around 8 hawthorn trees to create the needed space. After the trees were felled, and removed, the stumps will then be ground down.
Bunkers: Concurrently with the above mentioned tees, bunkers on the 6th and 14th have been elected to be renovated. Starting at the 14th, the three bunkers on the right hand side are being made in to two, with the top right bunker being filled in and turfed over. The remaining two are being reshaped with a revetted face being installed on both. To do this, turf recycled from the tees will be fully utilised in building a turf wall. Each level of turf is recessed by 10-20mm from the level below, creating a face with a gradient that is not overly steep, meaning bunker shots will be easier than the grass face before. A revetted face will also be installed on the left side bunker on the 6th.
On all bunkers that receive attention, efforts have been made to expose the drains/ sumps beneath and to assess their effectiveness and to make adjustments were necessary to improve drainage and to try to eliminate bunkers flooding from heavy rainfall.
This Week On The Course
Monday 9th October
Following the cutting of the greens, a granular fertiliser was appplied to them in order to help stimulate growth and aid with recovery after the sand injection process last week. Tees were cut, as was some long rough. Leaf collection was carried out on selected areas of the course also. Elsewhere, tees were moved on to the winter tee boxes or winter mats where appropriate, leaving the summer boxes to recover over winter. Some ropes and mats were also put out to help protect areas that get particularly worn over the winter period.
Tuesday 10th October
Dew was removed from greens, and standing water was removed from them after heavy rainfall during the night. Leaves were blown from putting surfaces also, after which pins were moved to new positions. Green surrounds and fairway surrounds were cut and cutting of the semi-rough continued. As part of the winter maintenance programme- tinning of the summer tees began in order to assist with their recover whilst the weather is still favourable.
Wednesday 11th October
Greens and winter greens were cut first thing in the morning, with semi-rough being cut throughout the day. Tinnning of the summer tees also continued. The long rough left to grow on the mound behind the 13th left bunkers was also cut down, with longer bunker collars strimmed to a slightly lower height.
Thursday 12th October
Todays principal task was the top dressing of the summer tees, which was then brushed in. Maintenace on the tee boxes will continue throughout the winter months in order for them to be ready for the seasons beginning. Elsewhere on the course; posts, ropes and mats were put out throughout the course to aid with traffic management before the weather turns for the worse. Also, as the leaves are falling in abundance, leaf collection takes places whenever possible with bad areas prioritised.
Friday 13th October
Greens, tees, fairways and surrounds were all cut. With the blustery weather dying down, efforts were made to collect or blow leaves from areas in play- with emphasis placed on greens, tees and landing areas. In readiness for the weekend, holes were also changed, with pins and flags being changed with the older ones for use over the winter.