A rough patch of winter storms is fresh in everyone’s mind right now. We saw substantial rainfall in the first fortnight of February, with the month total sitting on 70mm as I write this, although there is more rain forecast in the coming days to top this off. Here’s hoping for a dry March to help things settle down before the season’s beginning.
Through the three named storms that have passed over us recently, we have seen some significant windspeeds and really, I did expect more damage to the course than we had. The impact on course trees was relatively small with the damage being limited to a few limbs and brash, although we did have a very large beech limb come down in the woods near the exit drive.
Ground conditions have been challenging at times, particularly following periods of heavy rain. We are continually assessing the course and taking decisions based on the welfare of the course while trying to maintain the highest opportunity for play to continue.
Early spring has been a fixture on our greens management programme for a few years now and this week sees that time come around again. This time is a prime time to undertake this work as we are moving into spring and periods of strong growth. As spring emerges, we see different rates of growth across the different species. Bent is growing now in quite cool to cold conditions but poa is sitting back and not yet reacting to the changes. Given these different growth rates we will start to see some bumpiness in the greens surfaces which will persist until both the poa growth catches up with bent and the poa spring seed production is complete. Therefore, given the projected natural bumpiness and impending strong spring growth, now is the perfect time to undertake disruptive work to putting surfaces.
We will be hollow coring the greens with medium diameter tines before collection of the cores. Topdressing with a clean, specific sand follows the coring to fill the holes. By filling the holes with sand we are reducing the amount of organic matter in the surface and creating an ideal opportunity for the surrounding plants to develop new root growth. Within the topdressing we will be dropping bentgrass seed into the sand as it lies on the surface and before we brush it into the holes. Using the core holes as a seeding opportunity works very well in providing a pot for seed to germinate and establish more robustly before competition from the surrounding established plants.
An expansion of the 16th yellow tee is currently in progress. We are widening and squaring the tee to allow more efficient use of the surface. Most of the problems with the old tee layout were caused by heavy wear in the centre of the surface. The tee wasn’t wide enough to allow markers to be placed away from the centre of the tee, therefore causing continual wear to the is part of the surface. The rounded shape also prevented the markers being placed in the corners so really we were able to use only a quarter of the turf surface.
The new surface will allow us two fully independent columns of marker position that can be pushed right into the corners, both forward and back. Spreading and rotating the wear is key to tee management and maintaining strong turf coverage.
We have seen a slight improvement in pitchmark etiquette on your green. Please keep up the trend and encourage your playing partners to do so. Bunker raking is a challenge through periods of wet weather, sp please make use of the members’ rakes that are placed in every bunker and remember to push the rakes.
Yours in sport.