Course Update - August 2018
30 Aug 2018
Posted by: Sarah Cross
Subjects: Course updates
I’m glad to say that for the last couple of weeks ‘mother nature’ has come to help us out. The rains have arrived to ease the pressure on the course and the recent heavy morning dews are also aiding recovery. Unfortunately, the worm casts on the greens have arrived too, so there will be some testing taking place over the next few weeks to see if we can find a product on the market that will have a positive effect on this problem. The sulphate of iron we used through the winter months to control worms should not be abused as this can have a negative impact on our soils, so finding suitable alternatives will be a necessity going forward.
Before the rains arrived, the weather has proved to be a real challenge. Priority has been given to the greens and keeping the moisture levels consistent through the soil profile. Hand watering of the dry spots through the day has been required, while trying to keep disruption to the members at a minimum. Aeration is key to allow water and oxygen to the root system. Through the summer months we aerate using 8mm tines to keep disturbance to a minimum. As winter approaches it is required to maximise our aeration and go much deeper, therefore moving up to a 12mm diameter tine and working to depths up to 250mm. Wetting agents have been applied at 3-4-week intervals to make best use of the irrigation. These wetting agents work by reducing the surface tension of the water droplets, therefore helping them to penetrate the green surface and any localised dry spots. A mix of seaweed and chelated iron has also been applied to strengthen the sward and combat heat stress.
Grooming of the greens has been carried out at optimum growth stages thereby not creating unnecessary stress/damage to the plant.
Through the recent Festival Week we applied reasonably high pressure with respect to grooming and rolling, but since then it has been necessary to ease back and allow the greens to recover. Feedback from the membership has generally been very positive and the green staff would like to pass on their appreciation through what has been a very difficult time given the challenges we’ve experienced with the weather. The last twelve months will have seen us apply 110 tonnes of sand dressings.
These areas have struggled with divot recovery and consistent grass cover, but the application of wetting agents and seaweeds have helped. We’ve adjusted many of the sprinklers to gain a better coverage. Since the rains, the tees have been fertilised and this will produce a surge of growth. So at times, the tees will seem quite long, but a quick recovery is a necessity to take us into the winter months. Various forms of aeration together with over seeding will be taking place over the next few weeks.
Packages of wetting agents and seaweeds have been applied; again this will help aid recovery and a liquid fertiliser program is planned to strengthen the weaker grasses. The current growth in these areas is very ‘spring like’, where the grass is coming through very soft and it is difficult to achieve a clean cut. The broader leaved grasses such as Rye, Smooth Stalk Meadow, and Yorkshire Fog have started to come back, but where competition is minimal they are giving a tufty appearance. I’m afraid in the short term this is something we may have to live with until the Fescues get a chance to catch up. Due to the surfaces currently being very delicate we will be giving the fairways a light rake to break up the surfaces created by the dead grass. This will enable new growth to come through. In addition, although we had good results with the spring weed treatment, the lack of grass cover has allowed the weeds to come through again and thrive so we will be applying another selective herbicide, but only once the surfaces are strong enough. When conditions allow, towards the end of September, our over seeding programme will also be carried out.
The roughs will withstand a slightly more aggressive raking to regenerate new growth although where lateral growth has taken place this process will look quite unsightly until cutting has been carried out.
The planned Course Walk took place on Wednesday 22nd August, with 12+ members attending. With the help of our resident expert Arborist (Ben Borley), the attendees were given a comprehensive insight into the problems and challenges we face in managing our extensive tree portfolio. The feedback from the walk attendees has been very positive and we would be happy to conduct a further session should there be sufficient interest from the membership. Please contact the Club Manager should you wish to attend.
Whilst much of the above work is being carried out, it would be a great help if members could avoid as many thin/worn areas around the course, where possible, to allow faster recovery.
10th – 12th September we will be renovating the greens and aprons. This will involve hollow coring, over-seeding and top-dressing.
Please take your time to rake bunkers and repair your pitch marks.
Please see example