This Week On The Course
This Week On The Course
Monday 14th May
Today the greens were verti-cut. This process removes excess leaf growth, dislodges and removes unwanted seed heads and weeds. It also produces an upright grass prior to cutting to give a cleaner more consistent cut. After cutting any residual debris is cleared by hand. Additionally today, bunkers were raked, tee boxes were repaired with some winter tees hand dressed and the cutting of the semi-rough cutting began.
Tuesday 15th May
A light dressing was applied to the greens after they had been cut. The verti-cutting yesterday opens grooves in the turf canopy which allows for the incorporation of sand topdressing. After the dressing was spread, it gets matted in using a drag mat and then watered in using the irrigation sprinklers. Later in the day, a gap in play was created at midday, allowing for dry cuts of the aprons, surrounds, tees and fairways. Also the greens were re-cut to help improve playability after the dressing.
Wednesday 16th May
As the green staff worked late on Tuesday, a shortened day today was about setting up the course for the Pro Sweep. Greens were cut and ironed afterwards. Holes were changed and bunkers raked. Some machine maintenance also took place.
Thursday 17th May
All green staff focused on the bunkers today; flymoing, weeding, blowing to remove debris, moving sand around and raking. The greens committee has chosen the best way for the bunkers to be raked to improve ball lie and also playability: with a compacted face and edge and fluffed up sand in the middle. Efforts are made on a Thursday and at other times when they are raked to ensure this is maintained. Bunkers were topped up with sand where necessary. Also today, tees were divoted and tee markers moved to new areas.
Friday 18th May
Greens, aprons, surrounds, tees and fairways were all cut and also some longer semi-rough was re-cut. Cutting was delayed by almost an hour this morning as a heavy unpredicted frost lingered. Bunkers were raked too.
Whilst the automation fault was corrected, a further ongoing fault continues. A suspected leak has meant that the sprinklers on the 8th, 12th and 15th greens are out of action. The only solution is to hand water the greens daily, especially as we have seen such little rain in the past few weeks and not much more forecast. This also means that an extra member of staff is required for each day over the weekend to carry out this task.
This Week On The Course
This Week On The Course
Tuesday 8th May
With a shortened week due to the bank holiday weekend the priority was cutting; greens, aprons, tees, surrounds, fairways and semi-rough. Tees were repaired and moved to new areas. Holes were also changed for the league match.
It is of note, in order to maximise efficiency and productivity on the course, from the beginning of the current season the green staff now work longer hours on certain days. On these days, the first tee will be blocked off at a selected time creating 'a gap' amongst play. This means staff can work uninterrupted and also allows us to cut later in the day; achieving a dry and better cut. At peak times through the week, green staff won't be working on the course.
Wednesday 9th May
Greens were cut first thing and sprayed with a blend of iron, seaweed and other organic ingredients. This increases rooting, acts as a soil conditioner and increases drought and disease resistance. This application compliments the wetting agent that was sprayed to the greens last week which helps with the penetration and spreading of water. Also today, the bunkers were raked and the greens and some of the tees were hand watered.
Thursday 10th May
The main job of Thursdays this season is the bunkers; strimming, flymoing, weeding, moving sand around and raking. In April, all of the bunkers on the course were topped up with sand. On Thursdays we will check each bunker to see if it has the correct amount of sand in and adjust if necessary. Already to date, some bunkers have been topped again with one or two being topped up more than once. In addition to the bunkers, greens were cut and tees were repaired and moved.
Friday 11th May
Greens, aprons, tees, surrounds and fairways were cut and the cutting of the semi-rough was completed. After the greens were cut another spray was applied. This mixture is a vertical growth retardant which produces a more compact, dense sward which improves the playing surface but also the colour and visual appearance of the turf. The bunkers were raked today, and the hedge in front of the 2nd medal tee was reduced slightly.
A fault on the irrigation system meant that the automation wasn't working correctly. As the weather was so hot and no rain was forecast, this meant extra green staff had to come in at the weekend to hand water all of the greens. The fault has now been rectified.
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.