“I’m looking forward to the future and feeling grateful for the past”

This is a quote I came across the other day, it sums up more or less exactly what I am feeling at this moment, I am excited for the future and what we plan to do but also grateful for the memories I have of the old course in its present form.

As we move into November the old course has closed already with the reform about to start.

(Please be advised during this time the old course will be out of bound for all non-construction staff this is due to safety regulations during the reform and also stipulations on the insurance documents.)

I will keep you up dated on what we are doing and how it is going through the monthly report.

Back to the report.

It’s amazing how time fly’s I look back a year, to the date when John and Elisa took over there captaincy’s, and feel like it was only yesterday. But then you also remember what happened a week later when we were told that the club was going into receivership. This part feels like a life time ago when you think about where we are today and the plans for the future. So here I would just like to thank John and Elisa for their work over the last year and especially the early part of their year when it was very difficult indeed.

On that note I would like to welcome the new captains for the coming period David and Liz and hope we have a good year ahead.

So looking back at October it again was a dry hot month with only a small amount of rain, I would say here this is not the usual climate for this time of year in this area but it’s hard nowadays to know what is normal with the weather. We only had 13.92 mm of rain this month the normal average for the last 10 years for October is 80.60mm according to my records.

Work is beginning to start on the old, since the last report soil testing for the new range area has taken place all furniture has been removed from round the course and the transfer of equipment to the new course has taken place.

Above we have Craig Hanney checking out the soil tests on the driving range; Craig is our project manager for the reform.

Also last week I was in Extremadura to visit the turf farm where the new grass for the old course may be coming from to check quality, supply and conditions of the nursery itself, for contamination of other grasses etc. See below this is the nursery I visited as far as the eye could see grass at tees height.

So on to the New course like I said last month we are still cleaning the trees to let in light and air to the course to help the grass and also to make it more player friendly.

Also as I said before we have topped up most of the bunkers on the new with fresh sand to make them more playable.

The greens are also improving and I feel they are the best they have looked at this time of year for a long time.

We experienced a few problems on the new course last week some we cannot control but some I am looking into for solutions.

This one we couldn’t control. But it is a warning as if people are crossing on to another fairway to look for their ball and are driving up the hole the wrong way it is very easy to drive straight into a bunker that you cannot see, it is a little known fact that most buggy accidents in the world happen to course marshals who tend to drive the course backward checking the speed of play etc. and they drive straight into the hidden bunkers.

The problems on the 5th we will try and make a little easier, I have started to install a set of steps in the middle of the fairway. This fairway was designed not to have buggies on at all, the problem is as time has moved on and the wild boars have decided to change the shaping of the slopes and the conditions in that area, so the pathways or as Perry Dye describes them,” goat tracks” that were installed to get people from the paths to the fairway have disappeared. So a permanent stairway from the path to the fairway seems a better option. Like I said it doesn’t stop all the issues on this hole but it’s a start and if we need something else we will check later.

On this we have identified a few more areas which need access checking some it’s just a matter of installing the “goat tracks” again like the large bunker on 12th, some it may be another set of stairs or roping.

Wild Boars

As you are well aware the boar have caused a lot of damage this year more than other years but again this is due to the climate this year when you look at it we have had not substantial rain for nearly 18 months so the boars are in all of the golf courses in the area, as I have mentioned before there is no easy way of controlling them on a golf course within an urbanization, but we are still trying and to this we have installed another 300 meters of electric fence on the side of the 3rd hole( please note that the fences are turned on last thing at night and off first thing in the morning 7 days a week so there is never a time when you are playing that they are working) Also we have been in Discussions with the town hall for some help with the problem and they have contacted the Junta de Andalucía to check our options on the problem so we may have a better solution in the future but I will keep you informed.

Looking ahead we are preparing to take San Roque Club into the future and take control of our own destiny, to do this we are setting up methods and programs to check, analys and improve all aspects of the courses ,this has already started , with the daily monitoring of the grass surfaces. The new pogo system we use monitor’s the moisture content, temperatures, E.C. reading and the salinity of areas and when this is analyzed a program can be put in place to produce a more consistent condition all year round.

An example of where we started from and where we are now is clear to see in the table below and for the future we want to carry on the process to get our golf courses into the best shape possible all year round.

As you see we have reduced the moisture content the EC level has been reduced and the salinity index has come down.

The moisture still needs to come down a lot to give the greens a firmer and truer surface but this will be controlled and reduced by thatch control and sand dressings to reach the optimum percentage. The E.C is heading in the right direction as a good score would be between 0.2 and 0.28, although this changes with fertilizer applications and irrigation or rain. The temperature is difficult to controls as this dependent on the time of the year and the area the green is in and the salinity index shows a fall but it also depends on the fertilizer you apply and the water present.

We will expand our system out to measure everything from greens firmness the compaction of the soil, trueness and even the color of the grass to take the club to the next level of condition and standard, I will keep you updated on this as the months go by as it is a good way to track our improvements and be able to back them up with evidence.

So at present I think I have covered most relevant points and will leave you till next month.

Thanks till next time.

Robert Bell
Head Greenkeeper