Jaey's Course Update - 31st May 2020

First of all, I must give thanks to the effort and enthusiasm of the greenkeeping team who have been working hard with a reduced team size through challenging operational and weather conditions. We have also had some fantastic help from the boys starting with footprinting bunkers, good on you all.

It really is a team effort and it is important to point out during this time where we have an unusual and privileged opportunity for members to have exclusive use of the golf course we all, golfers and greenkeepers alike, share a collective responsibility for the welfare of the course.


For you, the golfer, the brunt of this responsibility lies in the form of golf etiquette, most simply to tidy up after yourselves; repair pitch marks, pick up your used tee pegs, and take your litter home with you.

Unfortunately, there’s a small minority, who aren’t living up to their responsibilities as we are dealing with high volumes of pitch marks on greens, damage to greens, and even litter left on the course.

To the majority of our members and guests, keep up the good work on the course and enjoy your rounds, it is great seeing you back and thank you!

Poa Seeding

Our weather has been challenging through April and May with virtually no rainfall and temperatures well into the ’20s for a long stretch now. These conditions in combination with the dry north and easterly winds of early spring have dried the ground incredibly quickly with areas looking like July rather than May. Our irrigation schedule is extensive and we are running the system for over twelve hours every day as I write this. My apologies if this does impact your round but needs must.

From a grass perspective, we are moving to the end of our usual spring challenges with species lag on the greens. Bentgrass growth picked up strength back in March and we did see assertion into stands of Poa annua through these last two months. Surface smoothness is a challenge every spring, and I have covered this several times but given the impact that has on your game here is a quick recap.

  • Bentgrass begins growth much earlier in the spring when soil temperatures are cool.
  • Poa annua will not start growing until soil temperatures raise to a significantly higher level and once growth does start the plants move quickly into a flowering stage for several weeks.
  • The combination of no vegetative growth plus seedhead production means that the Poa sits below the bentgrass and therefore we have bumpy surfaces through April and May, every year.

18th fairway bunker edging

We aim to reduce the impact of this situation by brushing the greens before mowing to stand up the seedheads, rolling as often as we can, and topdressing often, but these practices will only reduce the impact not eliminate it. As we head into June, May Poa seeding is reducing and we are seeing enough growth to fill in the sward and see smoothness improve daily.

Catching up with bunkers was a mammoth task having had two months of no maintenance. We have weeded, edged, and raked as best we can in the limited timeframe and are also trialling presentation on the banks of fairway bunkers by leaving back edges long. We will assess these as the season progresses and already have a list of adaptation to address.

That’s all for now, look after those pitchmarks and enjoy your golf.

Jaey Goodchild
Head Greenkeeper