We think it is fair to suggest that it has been challenging times for most people as of late, subsequently leading to some significant changes for all of us to absorb.
Taking stock of what has been required to keep the course running and managed for you has at times been a tough, but equally so very satisfying to see plans come to fruition. Thanks for all the words of support from everyone, also for your actions of support on what really is a different set up on the course from previous years.
Following a long spell of hot and dry weather through April and May we have had a succession of low-pressure systems moving across the UK and Northern Europe since mid-June bringing wind and rain to our summer season interspaced with short spells of fine weather.
It is a trend that I think we have seen for a few years now, high pressure, fine weather up until roughly the summer solstice then the rain systems set in. Irrigation to the dry areas of the course has been constant despite rainfall as near constant as the wind which has been drying things out quite quickly.
Current height of cut is 4mm. We are rolling two to three times per week, always on a Saturday. Our spell of Poa seedhead production passed in a relatively short time this year allowing Poa growth to pick and catch up with bentgrass growth through the middle of June.
Once the Poa had caught up and finally responded to fertilisation, we saw an improvement in both appearance and ball roll but we are maintaining two cuts per week where the green surfaces are brushed immediately before mowing; brushing helps to stand up any remaining seed heads increase their removal.
There have been a couple of irrigation setbacks that lead to turf loss, particularly on the 7th (old 16th), that occurred during the warmest of spells and in particular one, recurring electrical fault.
Once these areas had dried out it has been a challenge bringing back strong coverage, but there is a good base of bentgrass re-establishing and next week’s renovation work will further bolster this growth by introducing more seed and aeration to the area setting up for strong re-establishment.
The evening of Monday 3rd August sees our summer course renovation work begin, albeit at a scaled-down version compared to the last two years. Our focus will be on greens where hollow coring, overseeding and topdressing will be undertaken.
A small area of the fairways will be sand topdressed before a soil treatment is applied in October and November. Sadly we will not be applying gypsum to areas this time around which I’m sure a few of you will be disappointed to hear as your white trousers will have to remain in the wardrobe for the remainder of the season.
Finally, we will solid tine and sand topdress the aprons and approaches. In preparation for all of this work we have scarified both greens and approaches this week. Once the wind dies down a little we will apply a strong iron-based fertiliser to further stress the moss on putting surfaces that has been persistent since our wet six months across autumn, winter and early spring.
Thanks to everyone who has been helping us out by taking their litter home with them following our removal of bins from the course as part of COVID safety measures.
Although new greens furniture will be installed this week we will still be operating to a no-touch system with the flags, as such our astro discs will remain in place until we have been given advice by the governing bodies that use of communal objects can be unrestricted.
Bunkers are being raked with the bike four days per week plus a footprint on one day of the weekend. Edge raking has been limited by time but we are finding that once the sand around the edge of the bunker firms up it holds a surface that allows balls to roll back in away from the edge. A little care from golfers using their feet or club to smooth deep footprints has gone a long way for those players in proceeding groups, nice work, keep it up.
Hazards have been reintroduced with each hazard being defined by a sprayed line and indicated by an appropriately coloured post. As per recent changes to the Rules by R&A we have marked all hazards as red. Out of bounds are still marked as white.
There are several blue posts along ditch lines, these are purely for operational use indicating drainage outfall points and bear no influence of play or rules decisions.
Thanks for everyone’s support recently, see you on the course.