Welcome to the first of our monthly Greenkeeping Blogs. The aim of this blog is to give you a little insight into what goes on within the greens department with some information about what we have achieved and what we are hoping to do going forward.
Over the past month or so, as through much of the season, the main focus has been on maintaining the playing surfaces. With the summer months packed full of competitions and the weather providing us with springlike growth, we have spent plenty of time just having to keep the course cut, alongside regular maintenance activities such as raking bunkers, divotting tees. Other time has been spent, with the assistance of our small band of volunteers, on clearing the lakes. Whilst not perfect, there is a marked improvement in their appearance.
This year saw the installation of a small upgrade in the irrigation system. Ironically, following its installation, we had the 6th wettest July on record however the system should help us manage moisture levels in the greens going forward and is a welcome addition.
August saw the second visit of our agronomist this year (please find his full report attached). In general, he was pleased with the progress across the course and whilst there was some fine tuning required. The conditions at the time of the assessment were not ideal however note was made to increase the greens speed slightly by lowering the cut, which has since been done.
It was also noted that aeration has been minimal this season, but is something that will need to be instigated and increased in future, along with top dressing of the greens. As part of this plan the course is scheduled to be closed on the 9th October, with the 10th as a reserve day, when we will aim to core, clear, seed and dress the greens in one day. Whilst a small inconvenience, this work is essential to the greens and by getting the work done in one day, the disruption to golf is minimised whilst the efficiency of the work is increased by not having to work around play. The closure will also allow contractors to come in and work safely to dismantle a diseased Elm that requires removal
As highlighted in the agronomist’s report, there is a significant amount of tree work to be carried out, particularly given Ash Dieback and Dutch Elm Disease apparent around the course. Felling of trees will be an ongoing process that will tie into periods of reduced growth.
One thing that was noticed by the agronomist was the lack of etiquette observed by the members during their rounds. Please continue to rake bunkers, replace divots and repair pitch marks to help keep your course in the condition you want . The one that stood out though was players taking their trolleys or buggies between bunkers and greens. Please remember that if you aren’t carrying your clubs, you should give the greens and tees a wide berth to help reduce compaction in these areas.
As we head into autumn and winter, we will see a return of the no go zones and the winter mat policy. These had a massive impact on the condition of the course coming into Spring this year and the efforts of the members in following these rules is fully appreciated. With your help, we can repeat the success of this heading into next season.