A spring of contrasts indeed!

Following on from our wet and cold March and April we have now moved into a dry and summery May. Our rainfall at writing was a mere 10mm, less than half an inch and a consistent wind has created some true summer playing conditions as the ground dries out.

Regular irrigation

These conditions have called for regular irrigation to greens, aprons and tees although we are holding back on fairways for the time being. Dry conditions have held back the usual flush of growth that we see once temperatures raise in spring on parts of the course but as expected areas in the valley are thriving and leaving masses of clippings. This will calm down as the season progresses and growth subsides.

Bentgrass taking control

Our greens have come out of the winter with bentgrass taking control and certainly dominating the meadow grass (poa) populations which bodes well for the future with regard to consistency throughout the year. This does present a challenge with smoothness through the coming couple of weeks as the meadow grass pushes into seed. While it is seeding the vegetative growth remains slow as energy is directed in to seed production, the result is bentgrass that is upright and vigorous while meadow grass sits low and slow.  We manage this to reduce the consequences by regularly brushing before mowing, light and regular topdressing and tailoring fertilising to promote growth.

Poa populations reduced

What the current greens conditions do show is the extent that our weak poa populations have been reduced. Four years ago the ninth green was almost entirely covered in seed heads each spring, a silver sheen covering the entire surface. Now we only see a stubborn stand on the far right of the green, the area that receives the heaviest foot traffic by walk on and walk off, and small isolated populations. Maintaining a regular overseeding programme and continuing to a stringent fertiliser programme year on year will help us to further reduce these troublesome poa colonies.

On-going renovation

Tees and aprons have been subject to on-going renovation work through overseeding and aeration and this will continue throughout the year.

Enjoy the season, see you out there!

Jaey Goodchild

Head Greenkeeper