The common theme that these posts begin with should and will continue to be a summary of the weather of the previous few weeks, so here goes...

As most of you will have heard through the media, the effects of climate change are publicised more widely the trend in the UK is for extremes to dominate weather patterns and for the happy medium to become less common.

I think that the last four months is certainly demonstrating that trend with extended stretches of either one thing or the other since winter ended.

Weather

Following on from the cool, dry spell that we had through April and May, we ended up with a wet June and due to the high levels of cloud cover subsequently suffered from low light levels which gave us poor opportunity for growth. Our rainfall for June totalled at over 3 inches, almost 85mm (average 60mm).

July has given us some fantastic summer weather with extended stretches of sunshine and warm temperatures. Our irrigation regime has had to be quite intensive to keep up with turf requirements and I’m sure that those of you who are teeing off in the evenings have seen irrigation on relatively early.

We are in a good place generally with limited areas needing hand-watering by hose, mainly on greens where sprinkler cover is not quite sufficient. The result of this summer spell is a course that really looks like a summer golf course, seeing seasonal change is fantastic and gives a real reminder of where in the year we are.

Greens

Our greens have settled down nicely after the challenges of May and June with firm and smooth surfaces for the majority of July. We reduced the height of cut ever so slightly for the PGA Championships over the week allowing us to manage the speed differently for all of the pro’s coming for the week.

Greens renovation commences on Monday 29 July and the regime for this summer will be:

• Hollow tine
• Solid tine
• Overseed

Once hollow tining is complete, we will run a heavy sand topdressing over the greens and once they have had a quick brush we begin solid tining over the top of the holes. By doing this, we find that our sand settles into the holes more effectively and aids recovery more quickly.

As soon as we have completed a second topdress and brush after the solid tines we will begin our overseeding. During this phase, we will be incorporating a mixture of browntop bentgrass varieties, in line with previous years and complimenting the progression towards bentgrass dominated swards that we have been moving towards.

Fairways

In addition to greens renovation, we will be undertaking an intensive programme of fairway renovation with a programme of sand topdressing, aeration and gypsum application. The goal of this programme is to further improve the playing conditions through the wetter times of the year, particularly from mid to late winter.

Using a combination of these techniques we will increase the pore space in our clay soils which will help to move rainfall off the surface and into the ground. The results we have seen on the driving range are a testament to the success of this programme.

The gypsum will be brushed in and irrigated regularly to incorporate it into the soil as quickly as possible, all the same though may I suggest white trousers for the few days following application.

Course Care

Our members’ bunker rakes are widely regarded as one of the best rakes on the market and are used worldwide across venues that all are familiar with. The greenkeeping team use the same rake only in a model with a wider head for efficiency reasons. They are the rake of choice for the team giving a fantastic finish.

The caveat on rake performance is this, they are only awesome when used in a pushing motion, moving the rake away from your body finishing with a light flick upwards at the end of the rake stroke. In a single sentence: Our rakes work best when you push them! Bear this in mind when you are tidying the sand after play.

Thank you for raking!

Best always,

Jaey Goodchild
Head Greenkeeper

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