What’s happening on the golf course, weather has continued to be dry and windy with 0 mm of rain again in August.

As I said in my last report the weather was about to change due to the reduced daylight hours and the time of the year, little did I know that we were about to get the hottest days of the year all in a row, 11 days actually which passed the 33 degrees mark and then 3-4 days which were in the high 30s almost 40 degrees. This lead to a lot of problems for us with the old irrigation system we have and the control mechanisms it uses, some areas which need water daily like the greens are connected with areas which don’t need water as much such as the approaches and roughs, so we end up with dry areas if we cut down the water or wet areas if we apply the amount of water needed, to maintain the dry areas. This high lights why when we reform the course there is a whole new irrigation system being installed with much more modern and up-to-date control mechanisms fitted for more micro management of the whole course.

Although after the nearly 2 week hot and extremely dry spell the tees and fairways stood up ok, this is mainly due to the extra treatments of wetting agents and fertilizers we have applied.

One thing to note as we move into September I have now placed preferred lies on the fairways to avoid the problems we will start to see with worm casts and grass clippings sticking to balls due to the heavy dews we will start to experience at this time of year.

Going forward into the future with the new irrigation system we should not see photos like below, when we have a burst on the course at present we have to bring in the digger just to locate the problem and then solve it.

Maintenance area

At the maintenance area work still goes on every day with the general upgrade and repair of the area, if you have passed by recently you will see the outside has been painted and repaired it’s hard to remember what it looked like before as it is so different now, so I have added a few photos below to show the difference. The work has now moved inside to the store rooms and staff facilities.


New Course

We have started, and by the time you read this report possibly finished the work we needed to carry out on the New course greens. We needed to over seed heavly all the greens with new bent grasses to compete with the weed grasses present in the new greens to be able to maintain a good sward cover over the next year, to do this we needed to be a bit brutal and used a machine called a Graden sand injector which cuts a groove 15mm deep and 2 mm wide in the sward and fills it with sand producing a ready made seed bed for the new seed to germanate in , this we then had to leave alone and not touch for 7-10 days to allow the seed to germanate and produce enough leaf that we could cut and not instatally kill the seeded grass. This operation also at the same time removed a lot of thatch build up, then we hollow tines to produce more seed holes for the bent grasses to establish in and then overseed in 4 directions. See the photo below. This is why we had to close for 2 weeks as one week was never going to be sufficent time for the seed to germanate and grow.

Test Areas

The test areas have given us some positive grass contenders for what we will use in the new reform on the old, as you can see from the picture below we did a different test on one of the Bermuda grasses and in 7 days look at the roots present.

Also at the beginning of September we had a 2 day visit from one of Europe’s top seeded bent grass experts, this was Agostino Gaude who is the president of Greenmasters who are the European master distributor of bent grass. It was a very informative and interesting 2 days we spent together discussing grasses and there grow-in methods in fact the 1st night we were still discussing it at 1.30am in the morning (its ok my wife thinks I’m sad as well.) and before I said anything to him about our test areas he told me which he would select for the course and why and it turned out to be exactly the grass which has performed the best in our trials.

Trees

The tree surgens continue there work, we have relocated them for a short time to the new course to clean up some areas before the closing of the old but then they need to quickly get back to the old to get all of the trees that are in the areas of play cleaned before we start planting grass.

New machinery

We are still increasing and replacing our machinery fleet and as you can see below a new sprayer on the right, has arrive this is for the fairways and rough and as shown in the photo it is twice the size of our greens spraying machine, the work we now do is completed in half the time it used to be and with one operator not two.

Reform

As most of you are aware who play here every day there are more and more people checking out the old course, they are contractors and specialists alike, involved in things like planning the new pump system need to work the new irrigation system to measuring areas which need to be drained and landscaped. So sorry if we are causing any disturbance but they are necessary jobs which need to be done before the big work can start, and I thank you in advance for your patience in this process. Also please be aware that in front of the old club house crossing the whole area we will be installing a large open drainage ditch, this will exit on to the driving range. Let’s hope it will not be used but this is in case we get a storm like we did on the 4th of December 2016 and all of the clubhouse and shop areas were flooded, we don’t need this after we have just reformed the club house.

One final thing as we approach the date we will start the construction we will need to spray off the entire old course with non-selective herbicide this is to kill all grass on the old course before we start the work to minimize the amount of weed contamination when the new areas are re-grassed. This is planned to take place during October although this date may change and I will keep you informed when we have a fixed date for this work.

That’s about it at present but when you write these reports its strange how much work you get through in a very short time so till next time.

Robert Bell.