Friday, 23 December 2016

Christmas Update.

A busy few weeks, with favorable weather helping us move around the course.
The work has continued on the 1st tee and putting green area. with the new path fully stoned and compacted all the way to the 1st carry. The ground conditions have been testing due to the nature of the infill material used when the Ladies tee was constructed. The base of the new Ladies/Winter tee has been formed and covered with drainage stone. The next step in early January will be to install irrigation and spread the rootzone ready for turfing in late January. The other paths will then be prepared for the contractors to surface in February/March. As always, this schedule will be heavily dependent on the weather.

The greens have received a micro-tining to keep the surfaces open and aid recovery from the Fusarium in November. They have also been sprayed with a penetrant and a micro nutrient liquid to ward off further disease attacks.
We are continuing to cut them with hand mowers which should keep the surfaces tidy.

The bunker renovation work is continuing, with 2 completed and 2 more in various stages of completion. We are waiting for a turf delivery at the start of January and by then, a couple more should be ready. Some remedial work has also been carried out to the L/H bunker on the 17th green. These areas are GUR until Spring.

Merry Christmas to everybody from the Greenstaff.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Weekend Update

Well the course is drying out nicely following Mondays deluge. FYI we actually had more rainfall in 24 hours ( 46mm ) than we did last Boxing day. The course stood up to it so well, and was open for play the next day on main greens with just buggies restricted.

The greens are continuing their recovery from the Fusarium outbreak and the surfaces are dry and firm. Lets hope the scars fill in some more before the end of the year.
Work has carried on around the 1st tee, with 3 large Sycamore's being removed. I know there is always controversy when we remove trees, but Sycamore's are not a good tree to have close to playing areas on a golf course. The large leaves kill grass in the Autumn, change the nature of soil and grass species and they encourage the development of moss. The roots also cause heave and restrict drainage. 
With the path alterations we intend to complete around the 1st tee, they really did need to be felled.

The Path on the 16th hole has been turfed, but we are awaiting delivery of some more on Monday to complete the work on the 12th. When this has settled we will place the ground stabilisation matting and apply some fertiliser to encourage growth and rooting. Please keep off these areas till recovery is complete.

The course has received some mowing to tidy areas up for the weekend and the bunkers have been raked and sand pushed back up the faces. 

Next week we intend to slit the greens, approaches and start the fairways. Work will also continue on the 1st tee and some bunker renovation.

Enjoy the weekend.

Mark & the Greens team.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Weekend Update

Well, just like last year, the Winter has arrived in the middle of November. As i sit writing this, the course is closed following heavy rain & sleet. The temperature is 4 degrees and more rain/sleet is forecast.


Despite this, we have been busy on the course this week. 
The greens were slit on Monday with little surface disruption. They were also cut & ironed on Wednesday to further restore the surfaces. The Fusarium scars are recovering and the greens certainly look much improved from 2 weeks ago. Lets hope the seedlings continue to develop and fill in the gaps.
We have continued our work on the 12th & 16th paths, with drainage gullies installed, surface preparation work done and turf laid. The plan is to introduce some ground stabilisation material onto these areas the same as we have used on the 4th hole. This should spread the wear and combined with the hard wearing turf should provide sustainable grass walkways. The teeing area on the 12th has been moved to the start of the fairway to ease traffic issues.
The bunkers renovation work has started on the 3rd hole. These bunkers suffer badly from stone contaminated sand and overhanging faces. They will be lined to prevent this and filled with fresh sand. We plan to rebuild 9 more across the course.
More work has been carried out on the 1st tee, but conditions are difficult due to the weather. When conditions improve, the drainage carpet for the new tee will be installed and more work on the paths will be carried out.


Have a great weekend.


Mark & the Greens team.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Weekend Update

A difficult week weather wise, with heavy frost and persistent rain. The course was closed for 3 hours on Wednesday and all day Thursday. The water is just not moving through the soil profile following a drier than average September & October. When we slit the fairways last week, the blades were not going all the way in due to the compaction in the soil. Hopefully, conditions will improve following more aeration.
The 1st tee is now roughly shaped and the new Tee to fairway path has been shaped. Work will continue when the weather allows. 
We have started digging out some of our stone paths, with the 12th & 16th being the first. We plan to remove all the stone in these areas, creating a wider turf path which will feature ground stabilisation material and hardy Rye grass. We hope that these paths will provide a long lasting, relatively maintenance free alternative to stone paths. If successful, we will convert more paths to turf.

Fingers crossed for the weekends weather.

Mark & the Greens team.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Course Update.

As you will no doubt be aware, the greens have suffered an attack of Fusarium Patch disease.
Fusarium is a constant threat throughout the Autumn and only needs the right conditions to take hold.
Unfortunately, the late timing of the renovation work has provided the perfect conditions for an outbreak.

The sand applied to the greens to fill the tine holes has smothered the grass plant and because of the damp, dewie conditions the base of the turf has been infected and the disease has spread throughout the plant. The damp conditions at this time of year make it difficult to work the sand into the putting surfaces, reducing the chance of an attack. This has been exaggerated by weather fronts coming from the east, which have reduced soil temperatures leading to slow growth and little recovery from the renovation work. 
We regularly spray Fungicide to prevent these attacks, but turf covered in sand offers little leaf for the chemicals to attach to and prevent the disease.
There are 2 types of Fungicide:-  Contact, which lands on the active disease and kill it instantly, but offers no further prevention and Systemic, which is absorbed into the plant and inoculates it against further attack.
We have sprayed Systemic Fungicide 3 times this Autumn (last on 28/10/16)  and a Contact this Tuesday.  Each application costs between £750 & £600.
Members regularly ask me why we renovate greens in the playing season and sadly the reason is now plain to see.
On a positive note, the grass which has been killed is the weaker Annual Meadow grass (Poa Annua) and the seedlings from the renovation work are now coming through to take their place. A granular fertiliser has been applied as well as Iron and a penetrant wetting agent. These should help speed up recovery as long as Mother Nature does her bit.

The 1st tee renovation project is now under way. The plans will be posted onto the notice boards as soon as we receive an updated version from the Club's architect. 

Mark & the Greens team.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Weekend Update and Legislation news.

A difficult week, with weather conditions limiting the preparation of the greens. Its not easy dealing with wet sand.

We have managed to iron and brush the surfaces as well as putting small amounts of sand on to try and fill any remaining tine holes. The heavy rain at the start of the week certainly softened the surfaces as well as washing sand down the tine holes. We have also put on some liquid nutrient which included some elements to help ward off disease, but covering the surfaces with sand does provide the perfect breeding ground for Fusarium Patch. I think now the soil temperatures have dropped, recovery from the renovation work will be slow. This is a major problem when carrying out the work so late in the season.
I will be applying a granular feed next week to try and push the recovery forward, so fingers crossed for no frost.
The area next to the 1st Ladies tee has seen some deep drainage work carried out. This is to cure the persistent wet area and make may for some planned alterations to the Teeing grounds and paths.
We have also started some re-profiling work at the back of the 1st green, this will allow safer access for buggies in the winter months.

Good luck in the Winter League.

Mark & the Greens team.

FYI.
Last year the Environmental Agency withdrew the license for all chemicals used in the control of Leather-jackets (Crane fly larvae). No other chemicals are currently available for the eradication of these troublesome pests. Luckily, we have not had an outbreak this year, but how this will impact on the course in the future we do not know.
To add to our worries, they have announced that in August 2017 they will remove the license for Carbendazim (earth worm suppressant). Currently, they're are no alternative treatments available. These restrictions will have massive implications for Sports Turf in the future. Any new chemicals which become available will no doubt be prohibitively expensive.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this is something golfers must be made aware off.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Friday, 14 October 2016

Weekend Update





A really busy week for all the team carrying out the essential renovation on the greens. 
We started on Sunday night, deep tining (400mm x 20mm) to relieve the deep compaction. We followed this with 75mm x 12mm hollow tines to remove any thatch and fibrous material. We then over-seeded the greens with a mixture of bent grasses to improve the quality of the sward. The greens then received repeated pure sand dressings which were worked into the holes with a brush & dragmat. Weather conditions have to be perfect to achieve this and luckily the afternoons have been dry and bright.
We have cut new holes and ironed and brushed the surfaces prior to the weekend. All we now need is some rain to help wash the sand in.
The greens will be sprayed with a nutrient cocktail early next week and will continue to be ironed and brushed to improve the surfaces.
Thanks for your patience while this work is completed, hopefully, this work will provide drier and firmer surfaces thru the winter months.

Mark & the Greens team.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Weekend Update & future work.

Another busy week cutting and using the good weather to prolong the season.
The greens have been treated to more Air2G2 work, which has highlighted some areas of shallow rooting. This, untreated could present many problems in the future, but back to that later.
We have finally managed to scarify the rough areas treated with "Rescue". The dead grass has been ripped out, leaving the recovering fine species. This (with more treatments) should leave a finer sward, which will give a much improved playing experience.
The winter greens have been cut out and marked as G.U.R. Holes have been cut in them and top-dressing and cutting will continue over the coming months. The aim, as always is to keep their use to an absolute minimum. But as you know, this is entirely weather dependent.

Next week we will be carrying out the much needed greens renovation work. It seems as though the weather gods have smiled on us, as the forecast is for a continuing dry spell, which will improve the chances of the work being successful.
We will start on Sunday afternoon with a deep tining (400mm) of the greens. Followed by hollow-tining (12mm diameter x 75mm deep), over-seeding and a heavy sand top-dressing. The aim is to fill the hollow-tine holes with sand to provide channels through the top layer and improve surface drainage. This will be followed by ironing and a liquid feed application. 
There will be disruption to play and winter greens will be in use while this essential work is completed. Please be patient during this time.
Enjoy the course & sunshine.

Mark & the Greens team.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Weekend Update

A difficult  week on the course, with persistent rain adding to softening ground conditions. I'm surprised how sticky the course has become in the last week, with evidence of buggy & trolley traffic damage already rearing their ugly heads. Things have been tight staff wise too, as I encourage the team to take holidays at the start and end of the playing season.
We didn't manage to scarify the rough and cut out the winter greens due to the wet weather, so I took the opportunity to spray many areas of the course with a worm control chemical. This may be the last year we are afforded this luxury, as legislation is on the horizon to restrict these products use. Like the recent ban on chemicals for Leatherjacket control, this will have a huge impact on playing conditions on the course. 
The greens were also sprayed with a nutrient cocktail to ward off any disease outbreaks. This will continue thru the next few months.
Next week, should see us catch up with a few jobs prior to the proposed renovation work starting on Monday 10th October.
May I remind players to please repair their pitchmarks while the surfaces are soft and help us retain smooth surfaces into the Autumn. 
Enjoy your golf and here's hoping that we retain the Ryder Cup!

Mark & the Greens team.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Weekend Update

Another busy week of cut,cut,cut. The main areas of the course are still growing for fun with the exception of the greens due to the use of growth regulators.
The areas of rough treated with "Rescue", will be scarified next week to remove the dead material, we will then see which areas require further work to aid their recovery. 
The Air2G2 has been out on the greens again and next week should see the remaining greens aerated. The greens will be left undisturbed until the planned renovation work (week of the 10th-14th October). This work will be extensive, but will be entirely weather dependent due to its late timing . With this in mind, the winter greens will start to be cut out next week and dressed. If the weather turns against us, the renovation work may have to wait until the Spring.
Enjoy the course over the weekend.

Mark & the Greens team.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Well that was a hell of a week!
The growth shows no signs of slowing and with it, our inability to keep up. Tuesday brought a storm I'm sure you all witnessed. The greenstaff did an amazing job on Wednesday getting the course back to some sort of order, but the bunker washout will take weeks  to truly sort out. The sand becomes contaminated and cannot be cleaned and re-distibuted in 1 or 2 rakings. The greens held up superbly, but have softened slightly, so get busy with those pitchmark tools please.
Disease pressure is very high at the moment and it's something we have to keep a close eye on. The pressure from Anthracnose has passed, but Fusarium is always just around the corner. We try to control this culturally, as this allows soil biology to continue working, unlike costly chemical control.
Thursday morning saw an invasion of cattle on the 5th hole. This happens a couple of times a year, but this time it has caused some serious damage. The holes and scrapes were up to 12 inches deep. The area will recover and has been repaired.
The areas treated with "rescue" herbicide are now showing real signs of discolouration. The rye and weed grasses have died back and the fescue is unaffected. The bent grass has been knocked back, but will recover. The plan for next year is to extend this treatment to many other thick & lush areas.
Enjoy the course.


Mark & the Greens team.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Weekend Update.

Well the grass is certainly growing now! I can't remember a spell of growth like it. Adding to this are the daily heavy dews which hamper our cutting routine. Some areas are having to be cut later in the day to prevent the accumulation of clippings.
Disease pressure is also very high at the moment. With this in mind the greens were sprayed with a nutrient cocktail to harden them against any fungal attacks. Fusarium is the main worry, but any small marks should quickly grow out.
As mentioned is a previous post, the thick areas of in play rough have been treated with a graminicide called "Rescue" to kill of the lush Rye and weed grasses. This is part of our rough management programme and takes place at this time of year to aid recovery.
The bunkers have had a full cut this week and the tee banks are being tidied but may not be finished before the weekend. 
I intend to put another light sand dressing on the greens next week as well as another round of aeration with the Air2G2 machine. This work will have little or no disruption to play.
Enjoy the course.
Mark & the Greens team. 

Monday, 5 September 2016

Following our rough management efforts over the last couple of years, it was decided by the Greens Committee to extend our efforts into other areas.
Last week, I applied a selective graminicide (a chemical which kills selected grass species) to some areas of rough throughout the course.
The plan is to kill off the lush broad leaved grasses that create difficult lies, lost balls and slow down play.  The areas which have been treated are as follows:-
R/H side of the 1st hole short of the cross bunker.
Parts of the carry on the 6th hole.
L/H side of the 6th hole.
L/H side of the 9th hole.
R/H side of the 11th hole

R/H side of the 12th hole.with an overseeder.
L/H side of the 14th hole.


These areas should see a die back and discolouration of the turf over the next week or 2.

This will be followed by a run over with a scarifier to collect the dead material and some overseeding.
Hopefully, this work will improve these areas of play.


Mark Jones, Course Manager.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Weekend Update.

What a great week on the course. It's weeks like this that really re-charge  a greenkeepers batteries!

We managed to attack some more rough with the scarifier, especially the L/H side of the 14th. As the Captain said in his blog, the rough and fairways has never been so wide and well managed. The cut and thinned areas have expanded year on year. I know the rough is blamed for slow play, but I think you'll find that in April/May when the grass was not growing there were plenty of complaints about slow play. 

We have managed to keep on top of the divotting recently, which bodes well for festival week. On this point, there are a number of divot boxes on the tees which are for your use after play. Please use them and help speed up recovery.


Following the recent storms the surfaces of the greens can soften, with this in mind, can you please repair any pitchmarks you see as these are the only blemishes on the putting surface at the moment. 

We are hoping to put the scarifiers over the greens next week, followed by a very light sand dressing and an application of liquid nutrient. The bunkers will get another trim as well.  This should be the finishing touches to our festival week preparation. 

Enjoy the sunshine.

Mark & the Greens team.


Friday, 15 July 2016

Weekend Update.

A busy week which has been badly affected by the weather. 
The usual full bunker maintenance was completed, but some of the bunkers will need more work due to the wet conditions. The greens have been top-dressed, but again this was impacted on by the wet conditions. 
We have scarified the R/H side of the 15th & 17th holes to extend the semi-rough. The areas have been cut, but it will take a few weeks for them to blend in.
The greens have once again had the Air2G2 machine over them, and hopefully this will prevent the surfaces softening over the coming weeks.
We will continue to scarify areas of rough to keep these areas under control.
Next week, we hope to scarify the tees as some have developed stalky growth.  The tee banks will also receive a full cut & tidy.

Enjoy your golf this weekend.

Mark & the Greens team.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Weekend Update

Another busy week on the course.

For the 1st time in a while we managed to aerate the greens using the Air2G2 machine. This is a very labour intensive operation, with each green taking up to an hour to complete. The recent staff shortages have meant it was one of those jobs which kept being put off. It will certainly help the movement of rain water thru the profile.
We have also completed the tractor mounted spraying of weeds on fairway, aprons, semi-rough & rough areas. The remaining weeds will be treated by knapsack sprayer when the weather allows.
The rough is still proving a challenge as it is difficult to get a clean cut in wet conditions. Hopefully a dry spell will allow us to use the Amazone to scarify and collect the cuttings.
We have some work planned for Monday, but this will only involve a light sand dressing and brush in. Next week will also see another round of bunker maintenance taking place.

Enjoy the weekend.

Mark & the Greens team.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Weekend update.

I hate going on about the weather, but the last 9 months have seen some truly horrible conditions at Hopwood and every time we have a weather "event", it reflects on the course condition.

This week has been no exception and due to this, the surfaces are softening all over the course and cutting is becoming more difficult and less effective. Brian has decided to close the range for the weekend, due to difficulty in ball collection and the length of the grass. A dry weekend may allow us to get a machine on there early next week. Fingers crossed.

Despite this, we have continued to make some progress around the course. The greens were saturated this morning, but the surfaces are holding up following the micro-tining last week. 
The rough is now down to summer height, but can sometimes appear thicker depending on cutting conditions at the time. As you can imagine this is a full time job during active growing periods. If we do get a dry spell, we will put the Amazone scarifier/collector over the thicker areas.

Have a good weekend.

Mark & the Greens team.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Weekend Update.

Well what a fantastic spell of weather, much better than the week I had in Italy!! But on my return (Wednesday) the predicted thunder storms arrived and devastated the course. At its peak, rain was falling at an hourly rate of 138.8mm/hr!!
The course apart from the paths and bunkers stood up to it amazingly well, with hardly any standing water 4 hours after the rain. 
Aside from the storm, the course has come on very well. The greens have still suffered from the seasonal seeding of the meadow grass, but hopefully, this will soon be less of a problem. To further combat this the height of cut has been reduced to help remove the uneven growth.
Extra areas of rough have been cut back to speed up play and lots of other areas have been tidied. 
There are still some outstanding jobs, but due to running 2 staff light at the moment, it may take some time to fully catch up. 
Next week will see us preparing for the Hulbert Trophy, with a light scarification and top-dressing to fine tune the surfaces. 
Fingers crossed for a quiet weather weekend.

Mark & the Greens team.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Weekend update.

Bit of a mixed bag weather wise this week, but it's not stopped us completing our planned works.
Monday saw us giving the greens a light verti-cut, followed by another light sand dressing. After this was brushed in, the surfaces looked significantly smoother, despite the seeding of the meadow grass. Due to a damp Tuesday morning, we ran the iron over the greens, as the cutters were picking up too much sand in the dew.
On Wednesday, they were cut and then given a light application of soil amendment (Calcium, magnesium & manganese). These trace elements are a vital part of the soil profile and keep the rootzone in balance.
The bunkers have had another round of fly-mowing and edging. The sand has also been moved around following the heavy rain over the weekend.
Building up to this weekend, it's mainly cutting to prepare everywhere for a busy Bank Holiday.
The next few weeks will be spent tidying and trying to catch up with some unfinished jobs. This has been made harder by the fact we are 2 greenstaff down at the moment, due to people moving on to pastures new.

Have a great weekend.

Mark & the Greens team.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Weekend Update.

Make hay while the sun shines the saying goes. Well the sun has put in a few appearances, but we've certainly been making hay. The scarifying of the deep rough on the 2nd, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 14th & 17th holes has produced some large mounds of debris, which we've tried to hide around the course. The idea is to thin out these areas so balls can be found and play is not slowed up.
The greens have received another light application of nitrogen, just to tickle things along. Liquid seaweed & iron were also applied to give more colour. The meadow grass on the greens is still behind the bent grass, which is noticable by its pale colour. The newly germinated Velvet bent grass is clearly visible on every green. This will blend into the surfaces over the next few weeks.
The course is now being cut constantly, but growth is still slow following some early morning frosts.
Next week we plan another light verti-cut & top-dress on the greens (Monday am), we also plan to start spraying any weeds across the playing surfaces. The bunkers will also get another round of cutting & tidying.

Have a great weekend.

Mark & the Greens team.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Weekend Update

A great week on the course with the fine weather making up for our reduced staff numbers.
The scarifying of the fairways and semi-rough was completed and it has really tidied these areas up. We then scarified the tees and gave them a light soil dressing as well as a divot. Again, this has really improved the surfaces.
The greens were lightly scarified on Monday which fined the turf up and again we followed this with a dressing of sand.
The irrigation system is now in use, but still has a few issues to iron out which we will work thru next week.
It was also Bunker faces and tee bank maintenance week, so both these areas have been cut  tidied.
The dry weather is having a negative effect on the newly turfed bunker faces, so some hand watering will be taking place.
Next week we will be spraying the greens with a liquid nutrient to keep them moving forward. Spraying has proved difficult of late with the high winds.
All being well, preferred lies will cease for next weekend. So Spring may well have finally sprung.
Have a great weekend.

Mark & the Greens team.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Weekend Update

What a difference a week makes!

We've taken advantage of the conditions to get stuck in to some outstanding jobs on the course.
We have finally started the scarification of the fairways & approaches, which is a slow job but entirely weather dependant. All the outstanding aeration work on the fairways & tees has been completed and all areas have been divotted.
The full course has received a cut (1st time for some areas) and is starting to show some colour and growth. There are signs that germination on the greens is underway and I expect by the weekend the lines will be plainly visible.
The greens received some liquid nutrient on Monday in anticipation of the good weather and the turf has absorbed it well, promoting a nice flush of growth. Height of cut on the greens & approaches will come down slightly for the weekend, which will help the putting surfaces. The repair of pitchmarks would help the surfaces further, so please make sure you repair yours.
I plan to lightly scarify the greens early next week and follow that with a light dressing, again to move the surfaces forward. We will also continue with the fairway work.
The removal of the winter traffic control lines has allowed trollies much closer to the putting surfaces. Can I ask that you don't take your trollies between the greens and bunkers, as these areas will quick show wear and start to thin out.
Enjoy the weekend.

Mark & the (shrunken) Greens team.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Weekend Update.

We certainly are being tested at the moment, so much so, that golfs governing bodies have announced the extension of preferred lies until the end of May. I've never known that to happen before, so something strange is definatley going on.

We managed to get another dressing on the greens on Monday, which was washed in nicely. No sign of any growth though. Last year we saw evidence of germination within 9 days, this year, no sign and it's 19 days since the seeding took place. Everything is in place for when mother nature starts to play ball.

The tidying up jobs carry on, with many areas strimmed and edged. The big task this week has been to sort out the area around the 1st tee. A single Oak was cut down and its stump removed to make way for a new path to gain access to the ladies tee. The path may be a temporary one, as there are some plans to alter this area later in the year, which are yet to be finalised.
The shrubs and Rhodedendron bushes near the course info board have been removed to open the area up and give people an unrestricted view of the 1st hole. A great improvement I think.

The unexpectadley heavy snow fall on Thursday night/Friday morning has limited prep work for the bank holiday weekend. So I'm expecting a difficult morning tomorrow (Saturday).
Fingers crossed for the weekend.

Mark & the Greens team.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Weekend update.

Sunshine!!!

A very busy week all over the course with lots of tidying up following the recent wet weather. 
The drainage work on the 14th & 15th holes is settling in well with real improvements in these areas. 
The over-seeding of the greens has settled down and I managed to get a nice dressing of sand brushed into them on Thursday, it will help fill the grooves in and protect the new seedlings when they emerge.
Lots of rough areas have been cleared of debris and tree bases have been cut. The recently seeded walkway areas have been dressed with sand, fertilized and deep tined to aid their recovery.
The majority of the course received a cut this week despite some morning frosts, fingers crossed these don't continue as the frost keeps soil temperatures down and slows recovery & growth. The 5th carry has been topped up with soil & seed and there are signs of germination already.

It is planned to allow visitor buggy use from next week (weather permitting) following the recent restrictions on their use.

Next week should see more mowing, dressing and some work being carried out on the new 1st tee path for the Ladies.

Have a great weekend.

Mark & the Greens team.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Weekend Update

A really busy week, dominated by the completion of the weather delayed greens renovation work.

We managed to get 75 Kg of bent into the surfaces on Monday with the hired in vredo seeder and followed this with a dressing of sand, which was matted in. The greens were then ironed twice and cut to help restore the surfaces. I sprayed the greens as well with a cocktail of nutrients to move things along. Now we just have to wait for mother nature to do her stuff.

The rainfall since Easter has led to some drainage issues developing. The 14th & 15th fairways being badly effected. We have repaired the damaged drains and put in nearly 100m of new piped drainage to improve these areas. Drainage work in April is a rare occurance, but we have to adapt to whatever is thrown at us.

The new bunkers are now all in play, but the new turf surrounding them is still GUR to protect it over the next few weeks.
The course in general needs a lot of tidying up due to debris from the recent storms, this will be completed next week along with many other outstanding jobs.
Many areas have shown no signs of growth, so mowing has not really started in earnest. Things should look better when growth and colour start to kick in.

Have a good weekend.

Mark & the Greens team.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Weekend Update

A horrible week on the course with the Easter weekend weather playing havoc with the course. It was even closed for a few hours on Monday morning.
The introduction of Summer rules on Good Friday led to widespread traffic damage throughout the course. With this in mind, I have restored winter routes for all buggies.
The start of this short week saw us repairing damage and tidying areas ahead of the upcoming Captains Drive-in. Some bunker work is still outstanding, due to the difficulties we have had moving around the course and the proposed work to the 1st tee path will have to wait til next week also.
The fairway aeration work will be finished next week and then we can concentrate on scarifying the fairways & approaches.
The greens have softened slightly following the rain, so I managed to apply some compost tea & Roca-stem to help firm them up.
I cut the greens on Thursday morning and started counting pitchmarks. By the time I got to the 8th green I had counted over 100 unrepaired pitchmarks, so I stopped counting. Next time you play and notice some bumps, please think of the part you all have to play in maintaining our surfaces.
Copy & paste the following link for more info.    https://t.co/1I8b7LMDu5
They have been ironed to restore some smoothness.
Next week, we start some renovation work on the greens. Deep scariying, top-dressing and over-seeding will take up to 3 days. Lets hope the weather warms up to aid recovery.

Fingers crossed for a good weekend & enjoy the Captains Drive-in.

Mark & the Greens team.



Thursday, 24 March 2016

Easter wekend update.

Another busy week.
The construction work on the 5th is now completed. The dip has been seeded and the remaining area will be raked off and seeded early next week. The small depression on the L/H side has been dug out due to the discovery of viable land drains running into it. This should turn into a nice feature thru the year. Pond in winter, wetland during the summer.
The whole area will be G.U.R. for the start of the season. Please take a free drop on the left of the seeded area.
The fairway and semi aeration work is almost complete, with only 2 fairways to finish.
The greens recieved an application of granular fertiliser on Monday and was washed in using the irrigation system which was commisioned on the same day. We don't like using the system this early in the year as it keeps soil temperatures down. But we needed to break the granules down for them to be absorbed into the turf.
We have cut many areas of the course in preparation for the Easter weekend including some alterations to the 14th fairway. The aim is to move the fairway left to create a sharper dog-leg.
Next week we hope to install a temporary path to the Ladies 1st tee. The aim of this is to send all traffic onto the 1st tees from the R/H side, making the steep path near the starters hut redundant.
Fingers crossed for a good weekend.

Mark & the Greens team.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Weekend update

Extremely busy week on the course, especially due to some of the staff using the last of their holidays.

The cold dry weather has really dried things up, to the extent that we have had to water some of the new bunker turf. It's the northerly winds which really reduce moisture levels in the soil.
With the conditions, we've been able to move materials around the course easily. The remaining renovated bunkers have been topped up with sand. Some may still need more, but that will happen over the next few weeks.
The alterations to the 5th carry are nearing completion, with just the spreading of the top soil & seeding to finish. I'm sure you'll agree, its a great improvement to the playability of the hole without altering the character of the area.
The aeration work to the fairways will be finished next week and we will move onto some areas of semi & rough.
The greens received another dressing of sand and also 2 passes with the turf iron. They were also hand cut.

The tee blocks have been cleaned and had some fresh stone as have the steps & benches.

Next week, we will apply some granular fertiliser to the greens and maybe some water to wash it in.  The tees will see receive some aeration and a top-dressing.

Enjoy the weekend.

Mark & the Greens team.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Weekly Update

Not the best week for the greens team, the course was drying out really nicely until 2 days of rain, snow and hail. All the work we had completed on topping up and moving sand in the bunkers has been washed away. 
All the turfing is now completed on the renovated bunkers and next week should see some shape cut into many of them, depending on rooting. They will then get some new sand in them, weather permitting. Ground conditions have deteriorated and moving materials around the course is nigh on impossible at the moment.
We did manage to apply some liquid nutrients to the greens on Monday, which has coloured them up nicely. The plan is to iron them tomorrow (Friday) ready for the weekend.
We have also started the major work to re-profile the carry area on the 5th hole. This will involve some major drainage work and earth moving. The greens committee were really determined to complete this work before the start of the season. The major work will be completed next week but recovery will take a little longer.

Fingers crossed for a dry weekend.

Mark & the Greens team.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Weekend Update

A really busy and productive week on the course depite some early morning frosts.
We have dug out and shaped all the bunkers we are renovating this winter (10 in all), as we don't want to lay any turf beyond the end of February. The remaining turfing should be complete on Monday and the final shaping a few weeks after that. The edging, cutting and topping up of the other bunkers will be finished sometime next week also.
We managed to top-dress the greens over 2 afternoons and followed this up with a brushing and a pass over with the turf iron to smooth and help close over the aeration holes. We plan to apply some liquid nutrient to the greens early next week to further speed their recovery.
The fairway aeration continues and is a few weeks away from completion. When this is finished, we will move onto the tees and approaches.
If the weather holds, we plan to start some work on the 5th hole, re-profiling the carry and improving drainage. The remaining tree stumps will be dug out as well and the holes repaired.
Despite the recent poor weather, the winter league was completed last week, a minor miracle I think.

Enjoy the sunshine this weekend.

Mark & The Greens team.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Weekend Update.

A busy week despite the weather (enough said I think).

Despite our best efforts the greens surfaces have softened to the extent that using them would damage them. With this in mind and taking advantage of a dry forecast, we have put the tiner over them and banged some deep holes into them to help them dry out and firm up. There always come a time during the winter when this has to be done. The holes created go down nearly 16" and will provide drainage channels for the coming spring and summer.
We will follow this up with a quick iron early next week to restore the putting surfaces. If conditions remain dry, I also intend to start top-dressing the greens. Hopefully, following these treatments the greens will be back in play.
We have carried on with the bunker renovation work as well as edging, weeding, cutting and topping up the rest of the bunkers. The renovated bunkers have all had matting installed and have had their faces turfed. When the turf has rooted, we will trim the final shape and fill them with sand. This should take place during early March.
Several other areas have been turfed including some small drainage projects.

Enjoy your golf this weekend.

Mark & The Greens team.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Weekly update

It's getting really boring and depressing writing these updates and making constant reference to the shocking weather conditions.
Sadly, there are still people about who are sort of oblivious to how it impacts on the course and conditions. 

We are trying our best to keep the course open and in as playable a condition as possible. There are many areas on the course that are causing problems, mostly due to the nature of the soils and layout of the course. The holes from the 4th onwards suffer from heavier soil and slower drainage rates. The centre of the course in particular is very wet and slippy. This is the reason play has been restricted to the outer circle for the past few weeks. Even these holes are suffering with mud and standing water evident on heavily played areas. We have been using sand to keep the damage to a minimum, but even our 4X4 vehicles have struggled to travel around the course.
Despite these difficulties, we have still managed to continue our bunker renovation programme. 8 bunkers have been re-shaped and dug out. We have also started installing matting to prevent contamination of the sand from washouts and stones. 4 of the bunkers have now been turfed and more will be completed next week. On the subject of turf, our longstanding turf supplier has lost over 10 acres of turf following the flooding and quality turf is in short supply throughout the country.
Our programme of Fairway aeration is continuing on the drier holes and hopefully will be completed before the start of the season.
Fingers crossed for an improvement in the weather.

Mark & the Greens Team.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Weekend Update

A busy week with some real progress (at last).

The course had started to dry out nicely, with some cold weather keeping the rain at bay. The snow cleared during Monday and the course was fully open by Wednesday.

We have started our program of bunker renovation. The oldest bunkers have raised faces and the sand is badly contaminated following years of washouts. It is our aim to restore the bunkers to there original design and install a blinding carpet to prevent future issues with contamination. The steepest faces will have the "Bunker Mat" material, while the base of the bunkers will have a more economical material fitted. Some slight alterations will be completed were needed to prevent some drainage issues.

The Air2G2 is still being used weekly on the greens to aid firmness and drainage.

We have also re-surfaced the buggy path on the 5th hole as it has suffered badly during the recent floods.

Next week will see more bunker work and the laying of turf in many small areas around the course.

Fingers crossed the weather stays kind to us all.

Mark & the Greens team.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Weekend Update

Another difficult week weather wise, but it finally looks like we are set for a spell of dry, cold weather. This should help lower the water table in the soil. 

Due to the saturated soil conditions, it has been really difficult to move around the course with equipment, so work has been limited.

The area on the L/H side of the 5th green is particularly bad. The drains in this area have struggled to cope with the volumes of water passing thru them. We have made some small repairs and improvements to them, but drying out will be a slow process. On the plus side, we appear to have improved the washing of sand in the L/H greenside bunker. The new trench will be turfed as soon as possible, but turf is in short supply, again due to conditions in the turf fields.

The wet area on the L/H side of the 15th is drying up nicely, now the drains have been extended and stoned.

As always, the Air2G2 has been out on the greens pumping fresh air into the soil profile. We will continue with this right into the spring to prevent turf die back. The Captain has more info regarding this on his Blog.

We've also spent a lot of time around the clubhouse & Pro's shop, clearing beds and pruning shrubs. The gutters and roof channels have also been cleared of debris.
We also have started the servicing and repair of all our machinery so it is all ready for the start of the season.

With conditions hopefully drying out next week, we have plans to renovate some of the bunkers effected by stones and over-hanging faces. Care will have to be taken to minimise damage while completing this work.  There is also tidying to complete around the 1st tee area and long term the construction of a new path to the ladies tee.

Wrap up warm this weekend, I think its going to be a cold one.

Mark & the Greens team.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Weekend Update

Why are these updates dominated by weather info you may ask? 
I really wish they weren't too, but the weather impacts so much on everything we do and is the controlling factor regarding play on the course.

As you will all be aware, we are in a prolonged spell of record breaking rainfall. Since this spell started around the  5th November, we have had a total of 484mm of the wet stuff! That's a total of 4.8 million litres on the greens alone in 9 weeks!
Its remarkable that up to today (8th Jan) we have only been closed for 5 days.

The conditions have deteriorated over the last week to such an extent that we are no longer able to move around the course without creating damage. Despite wide tyres, 4 wheel drive and keeping to the deep rough.

The greens have held up surprisingly well, only softening during the last 2 weeks. With this in mind, I did manage to apply a liquid micro-nutrient package to them on Monday, which included a product called Roca-stem, which aids water movement thru the soil profile. The tractor did create some wheel marks, which were removed with a quick micro-tine. The surfaces have firmed up very nicely since, but the greens remain saturated.

We also managed to install an interceptor drain between the 5th green and L/H bunker. This should reduce the washout of sand in this bunker. We have also carried out some small drainage work on the L/H side of the 5th green & 15th fairway. Please avoid these areas until they dry out.

As you can imagine, controlling and minimising traffic around the course is vital when conditions are this poor. With this in mind, we have renewed the white lines in front of the greens and put some ropes out to protect vulnerable areas.
If you are in a position to carry your clubs when playing, please do. It really does reduce damage.
Winter wheels are another option, as  this stops electric trolley wheels spinning and smearing the surface.
If you must use your heavy electric trolley, try to reduce its weight and keep away from any obvious wet or muddy areas.
All the above measures will reduce damage and help us keep the course open as much as possible. Your co-operation is greatly appreciated.

Fingers crossed for a change in the weather soon & Happy New Year.

Mark & the Greens team.