JAEY'S COURSE UPDATE

 

 

April has seen a reduction in rainfall from what had become an arduous winter period of rainfall although we are still sitting at around average for the month now and with the expected rain over the coming days, we will see the month once again go noticeably above the long-term average.

Currently, we have seen more than 6 months average rainfall in the first four months of 2024, 430mm.

Conditions in the valley have improved over the last three weeks, to the point where we have been able to access with mowing equipment and begin to recover areas to fairway turf, some of which have not been mown for over four months.

These areas will take time to restore, and they will be rolled to restore the surface. Regular mowing will gradually re-establish a tight growth habit.

GRAVEL BANDING

As part of long-term surface management and drainage improvement, Bowood have invested in contractor grade equipment to install gravel bands across areas on the course with a heavy, clay-based soils, primarily in the valley. The process is proven with extensive installations across all areas of the country and at facilities of all statures.

The work cuts a slot and fills it with a clean pea shingle material that ties the surface to existing drainage infrastructure. The slot is narrow, circa 350mm, and cut to a depth that intercepts main gravel filled drains deeper in the soil. We are waiting for the soil to dry a little more before commencing this work and it may open wider as the clay dries and shrinks, which would be counterproductive to our aims. Patience will give us a better result with this work.

BUNKERS

Sand exchange has now been completed in 28 bunkers with a further 8 scheduled to be exchanged in the upcoming period. Outstanding work from the team, which saw roughly 250 tonnes of sand installed into the bunkers on just the fourth, ninth and thirteenth holes. This figure does not include the sand removed from these bunkers.

We will be installing a new style of bunker rake into the bunkers with new sand. The tooth design of the bunker will be more effective, with the dragging motion that most golfers use when raking their footprints. They will pull less sand towards the edges and contribute to more stable sand distribution.

HEIGHTS OF CUT

Following broad feedback from the latter half of last season, the fairway height of cut will be increased slightly. This will provide more turf density. Greens height of cut is currently 4mm and will remain here for the duration of the season, except for brief periods when it may be reduced by fractions of a millimetre for events. This is consistent with long term, previous mowing heights.

Following renovation, we find a higher than usual rate of unrepaired pitchmarks on greens. While greens are recovering from this work, they benefit from all the help that they receive, so may I ask everyone to not disregard their pitchmarks just because the green surfaces have been disturbed through work, and make the effort to help with their recovery and restoration following essential maintenance.

See you on the course.

Jaey Goodchild
Head Greenkeeper