Longer days and brighter mornings, spring in on its way we all hope. Our winter weather has been relentless bar the week that I was abroad, typical.
Although we did not receive the high levels of rainfall that our friends to the west of us received, rainfall for February is still sitting at about 90mm so far following storms Ciara and Dennis.
Strong wind gusts did cause some damage to trees on the course notably a large oak in the woodland between 6th and 7th holes and three poplars on the corner next to the 6th green. Clearing the poplars trunks will be delayed until we can access the area with heavier equipment, clearing the brash has been completed.
Our annual spring renovation will commence on Monday 2 March, one week later than in previous years. A change to the programme for greens this year though as we alter our objectives with spring surface preparation.
Whereas in previous years we have either deep scarified or hollow tined, this year we will be taking a less aggressive approach and light scarifying then solid tine aeration complimented by a heavy sand topdress. Recovery will be faster than when we undertake more aggressive work but as always, the speed of recovery is wholly dictated by soil temperatures.
Our objectives for the spring are:
Ongoing improvement of the approaches will be bolstered by topdressing and solid tine aeration following the same procedures as the greens and we will do both of these areas at the same time to minimise mobilisation resources.
Across other areas of the course we will be hoping for a dry-ish spell in the run up to this working week that will enable us to start addressing our compacted walk-off areas that have suffered.
Clearing and opening up woods around the 2nd stream has been on our to-do list for some time and this wet spell has been the perfect opportunity.
Clearing brambles and bracken on the upper section will allow primula and wild strawberries to flourish and allow some to find their golf balls more easily. Thinning hazels, holly and scrub will allow better airflow along the lower section which will help to dry the area plus the stream will be more visible as a feature of the course.
After a long stretch of limited access the team have completed the renewal of drains and installation of fabric lining into the 6th greenside bunker. A liner will greatly reduce sand contamination from drainage gravel and clay.
Finally, we welcome our new team member to out greenkeeping crew, Steve Taylor will be helping us manage course conditions on the weekend, primarily bunkers, as a help to our full-time team. Great to have Steve with us for the start of a new season.
As we approach March everyone is looking to put the last six months of weather challenges behind us and move on with a new year. March and April are fickle and in recent years we have seen both warm, dry conditions and very cold spells, three guesses which of those we are all hoping for!
Moving forward from that point, it will be a busy year with some great events firmed up in the calendar which we are all looking forward to.
Happy golfing, mind the pick marks!