As lockdown continues, we have maintained a small team on site which has allowed us to continue our work programme whilst maintaining the safety of the team.
This winter has been a tough one rainfall-wise with the total since October approaching 500mm. Ground conditions have been challenging with traffic on the course through December particularly inflicting significant damage. We have had a few spells that allowed the ground to dry noticeably, particularly the cold snap in early February. As we move towards March, we are all hoping that our usual pattern of drying winds moves in and helps us along into the new season. Although most of the team have been on furlough with only a small number of us in, we have undertaken two bunker refurbishments, extensive woodland management and significant tree planting as part of a programme to maintain the parkland landscape.
Both bunkers on the 4th green have had their edges rebuilt around the high-traffic areas. Years of sand accumulation from sand splash leads to the edges beginning to overhang and lose structure. The depth of sand on these edges particularly becomes a problem in summer as the ground dries. A deep sand rootzone on the slope of the bunker face leads to drought issues as water retention is almost non-existent and over time the turf loses all strength. We strip the turf, remove the accumulated sand, reshape with soil and turf and finally turf the final layer.
Following the course reversal last year we have been working hard on the course signage to formalise this change. New tee signs have been manufactured for each tee complex, directional signs have been renewed to the new hole numbers and permanent markers have been installed on the tee surfaces in a mow-over format. Our tee signs will continue to be oak and bronze but we will be leaving the oak untreated to allow it to age naturally.
Finally, the team have completed another round of intensive greens and approach aeration which will negate the need for a renovation programme in March. A tight pattern of solid tines has allowed a quick recovery and as soon as temperatures begin to raise a little we will undertake topdressing and rolling in preparation for the season ahead. To compensate for a less aggressive programme now in spring, we will still need to carry on with our planned summer renovation programme in August.
Looking forward to seeing everyone back when that finally happens – an empty golf course is an odd place.
Yours in sport.