September ended with just over 100mm of rainfall, substantially more than the monthly average of 60mm. Moving into October it continued with a vengeance with the current total halfway through the month sitting at 110mm. The total for the last 7 weeks now stands at more than eight and a half inches, our wettest September/October total since my records have begun.
The consequence of this rain is wet ground, particularly in the heavy areas of the course down in the valley. Areas that we have treated with gypsum, sand and aeration over the previous two summers have fared quite well although we still have some areas that are suffering from traffic. The wind, sunshine and easing of rain is allowing the course to dry up and today we have managed to mow all fine turf areas of the course which for fairways has only been the third time this month.
Roping off has commenced on the ninth and second, please take note of these roped areas and give our in-play areas a rest from traffic whenever possible, the winter season is yet young!
Heights of cut on greens, approaches and tees have been raised for the season. Greens are currently at 5mm which will be raised one more time in the coming weeks. Tees and approaches are both at 12mm, up from 9mm. Raising height of cut through the cool seasons offers the plant the opportunity to increase its energy production through having more leaf area exposed to sunlight when it is available. The more energy the plant can produce the higher stress tolerance it will have through the dark and wet days of winter.
Disease issues at this time of year are really confined to fusarium infections on Poa annua although we are still seeing some scars from both anthracnose on Poa annua and take all patch on bentgrass from August and September outbreaks. Over the last few weeks the team have plugged and seeded many of these scars with sand and bentgrass seed, these are now germinating and as they grow in we will see healthy little clumps of bent across the scarred areas.
Throughout the playing season areas that need improvement or alteration show their faces and the winter is the best time to remedy these issues.
This winter we will be increasing the yellow teeing area of the sixth tee to enable more marker placement within the measured area of the hole. Additionally we will be leveling the white tee of the second hole which has a prominent domed surface.
Finally, something that we undertake every year is tree pruning across all areas of the course and grounds. Following on from the thinning work that our forestry colleagues have undertaken adjacent to the exit drive we will be crown lifting the trees that line both the entrance and exit drives of the resort. All of this work will be undertaken from either a cherry picker or the working platform of our telehandler. There may be minor disruption including driveway closure while we are undertaking this work.
See you on the course