Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Long, Thick Rough!

As usual at this time of year, the uncut roughs on the course have become long and thick. Some players feel the course becomes too difficult at this time and we are regularly asked to cut extra sections. I feel it is worth reminding everyone of our rough grass management strategy and explaining the reasons behind our actions or even our inaction!
Our approach to the management of the rough sets out to balance the needs of the golfer with the needs of the grass plants and the needs of the diverse array of flora and fauna that inhabit the rough grasslands. We are very fortunate that we are able to play our golf in such a wonderful, natural environment and it is a prime objective of the course staff to protect and enhance that environment. The rough grasses here at La Moye are very delicate and must be treated carefully. Only in the late spring/early summer period do they get a chance to grow properly, set seed and thicken up before the summer droughts come in to thin out the grass naturally. This cycle takes place every year and it ensures we have good grass cover throughout the year providing crucial definition between the holes. If we cut too much rough at this time of year we will remove this important aspect of the course character.
Also, the rough grasslands are the most species diverse areas of the whole golf course and as such are the most valuable from an ecological point of view. Our roughs provide the perfect habitat for a vast array of flora and fauna ranging from the green lizard to wild orchids with thousands of things in between.
That said, the single most important consideration is ensuring the golf course remains playable and enjoyable for all levels of golfer. To do this we aim to maintain landing area widths of between 30 and 55 metres. This includes a fairway cut at a height of around 15mm, a first cut of rough at 25mm and a second cut of rough at a height of around 100mm. This ensures that well placed shots are rewarded with a good lie but errant shots are punished incrementally. We think this gives the fairest course set up possible.
The recent weather has given us firm and running conditions on the course of late and this coupled with the height of the rough and the wind has made for some challenging golf. Thankfully the conditions will ease in the next few weeks as the rough dies back and in fact the start of this process is already well underway.