Course News January 2021
As we all know it’s been a difficult year trying to keep all our staff safe and well but so far so good.
It’s also been one of the wettest winters we have had in a long time with total rainfall for 2020 of 1400mm with barely a dry day since October.
You may be forgiven for thinking that due to the lock downs the course has had a good rest and has benefited from reduced play. However while the rests from the lockdowns are very beneficial to the course it is short lived with the course being extremely busy once lock down is lifted.
Despite the lockdowns and cancellations of outings and green fees this year, the total number of rounds played on the course was up 9% compared to 2019. Between June and October the total number of rounds played in 2020 exceeded 2019 by 28%.
Even with the bad weather we are managing to work our way through the winter projects. The new tee on the 4th is almost complete with delays getting turf for the tee surface from the U.K. due to Brexit. Once complete it will increase the length of the hole by approximately 12m. Likewise on the 11th, we should be able to increase the length by 10m (accurate measurement is still to be carried out).
To try and improve the visibility off the tee on the 8th we have removed all the gorse from the banks just off the tee box on the left hand side.
We have removed the tired looking Lavender and replaced it with ornamental grasses on the 5th tee, please do your best not to walk in it.
Believe it or not we recovered quite a few golf balls when removing the lavender!!
The 11th tee extension is complete except for a small area on the left bank to be turfed when weather conditions improve.
Continuing with some lanandii tree removal on the 12th and 15th.
This helps increase air movement and sunlight on both holes and opens up the tree line for a more natural look. It also takes away some competition for nutrients and moisture as the roots from these trees extend well into the fairways.
You may be aware that we are trying to promote finer more disease resistant grass into our greens (Bent grass). This is achieved by overseeding, reducing aggressive maintenance practices (where possible), reducing wear and raising the height of cut.
With the investment in specialised overseeding machinery and increasing the frequency it is showing good results with the benefit of the autumn lockdown allowing the bent seedlings to get better established.
It is hoped that over the coming years we will be able to increase the amount of bent by 80%. This will give us a smoother/truer putting surface requiring lower nutrient and water inputs and much better disease resistance which will allow us to reduce the amount of chemicals used on the greens.
We are often asked by golfers why we have to continue maintaining the greens during the qualifying season, especially when they are in good condition to begin with. The short answer is if we don’t carry out maintenance on the greens then as the years go on we would not be able to produce good quality putting surfaces in the first place.
A golf green is made up of thousands of individual grass plants, to produce good surfaces you must produce a good quality healthy grass plant. This means presenting an environment/root zone that has good air movement, maintains consistent/ideal moisture content and provide sufficient nutrients. We also need to balance this and make sure we are not producing an environment that encourages disease and weed grass species.
If we did nothing to the greens for an entire season the following would happen.
|Compaction||Hard greens in dry condition soft in wet.
Low air movement.
Low water movement through the green.
Low nutrient level.
|Thatch build up (a layer of dead organic matter just below the surface)||Soft/Spongy greens.
Encourage disease and scarring.
Pitch marks/foot prints on greens. (bumpy)
|Lateral growth||Nap/grain on green. Slow in one direction, fast in the opposite direction|
By not carrying out regular maintenance the resulting greens will become dry and very hard during the summer requiring a lot more watering due to shallow roots with thinning or bare patches on an inconsistent surface. During wetter conditions they will be spongy and soft and will become water logged with very little rain fall resulting in course closures. Both effects will result in inconsistent bumpy greens.
While you may not notice the effects during the first or even second season the quality of the surface will degrade year on year and it will be very difficult to reverse the process and return to good quality putting surfaces.
While It is our goal to produce the very best greens possible it will always be the case when working with (in some cases against) mother nature that there will be some variability. Our aim is maintain the correct conditions to continue to produce high quality surfaces on a consistent basis.