Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Maintenance Week Update

Despite the high winds and rain work on the greens this week has progressed well. All surfaces have been scarified using the pedestrian machine pictured above. Due to the need to work in dry conditions, much of the work was carried out between the many rain showers we have had in the last three days. Half the team worked late in dry conditions yesterday afternoon to ensure the work could be completed.


Overseeding work has been completed on 18 of the 20 greens. Only the 11th and the Western putting green remain. Two passes of the seeder were carried out on holes 4 and 6 to improve sward density following the application of herbicide last autumn. All seeded greens have been top dressed and ironed to reinstate levels and smooth out the surface.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Spring Maintenance Week

Our spring maintenance week starts from Monday 29th March. We plan to carry out a number of tasks which I will explain in this post.
Greens will be scarified in two directions to remove some organic matter from the base of the turf. A pedestrian scarifier will be used and the arisings will be collected. This process will not disrupt the short term playing quality of the greens. Dry conditions are required for this task to be carried out effectively.
Following the scarification we will overseed the greens. Our disc seeder will be used to introduce a browntop bentgrass mix of seed into the greens. The new grass will help fill out the sward, improving density to achieve a smooth as surface as possible. Greens 4 and 6 will particularly benefit from this process following the chemical treatment carried out in those areas last year. Again, dry conditions are required for this task to be carried out properly.
Finally greens will be top-dressed. We aim to apply around 20 tonnes of material to the putting surfaces. Dry weather is again required for this task to be carried out properly so fingers crossed for a sunny few days next week. To allow work to be carried out in good time, one tee starts will be in place and greens will be removed from play while work is in progress. Disruption to play will be kept to a minimum but I hope all players will understand the importance of completing the prescribed work in a timely manner.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Hole 7 Gorse Management

During the recent cold weather we have taken the opportunity to address the problem of old, degenerate gorse on the 7th hole.

  Before Work Commenced

It is very sad to see this beautiful golf hole covered in extremely degenerate gorse and unsightly bracken and bramble. From the tee banks, over the carry to the fairway and at either side of the path near the approach to the green the rough areas are suffering terribly from years of neglect. In accordance with our Ecological Management Plan, we have set out to reinstate the rough grasslands by removing the dead and dying material. Some of the gorse will be retained but to encourage healthy and robust plants it is being coppiced to a height of 150mm above ground level. Whilst this seems extreme, it is amazing how quickly the gorse will regenerate. 

The ultimate aim for these areas is to achieve a balance between rough grasses and small pockets of gorse. Once the brash has been removed some light seeding work will take place. Bracken and bramble regrowth will be chemically treated as the need arises.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Chipping Area Redesign

The chipping area behind the 1st green has been in need of refurbishment for some considerable time. With bunkers that are too deep, greens of poor quality and a generally uninspiring layout it was decided to try to make significant improvements to the area.

Just before work started 

Following a period of consultation to agree the new design, it was established that we needed to make more use of the limited space available. Long pitch shots and an array of short chip shots needed to be accommodated along with bunker practice .
We lifted the turf from the existing greens first and layed it out at the turf nursery area in the valley. Next we constructed the landing area for pitch shots. This area is around 350m2 in size and will allow shots to be hit from the practice tee around 65m away.

 The new landing area

We then began the construction of the teeing area. The area was cleared before stakes were put in to establish levels. A sand sub base was brought in then 100mm of rootzone was added to the top.

 Top soil is brought in to the correct levels

Irrigation pipes and heads were positioned next.

The 250m2 tee was then turfed using sods from the centre of the chipping area. When open, play from this area will be restricted to marked sections between ropes so as to control wear.

We then cleared the rest of the turf from the new green site and rotovated the soil. An excavator was hired to shape the new green and green surround.
 Initial shaping of the new green begins

 For the green we tried to ensure there was enough flat areas to have around 5 pins at any one time. On the surround we created hollows, swales and banks so a large variety of chip shots can be practiced.

Once we were happy with the shape we used mechanical and manual means to firm and rake out the ground ready for turf.


With the final raking completed we were able to begin turfing the 550m2 green. 

Two new bunkers are currently being constructed on the south side of the practice area. These will play to a dedicated green away from the pitching and chipping areas. This will allow more people to safely use the facility at the same time.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Course Update

My apologies for the length of time since the last blog post.

Lots of work has been done on the course in the last two months of which I will give a brief outline of in this post. A number of more detailed posts will follow soon which deal with individual projects we have been undertaking.

The course has fared quite well recently despite the testing weather conditions we have been experiencing. Surfaces have remained reasonably firm and dry for the time of year which has been great for golf. All putting surfaces were verti-drained in February to ensure we continue to have good movement of air and moisture through the soil profile.  Although the holes from this operation are currently still visible, the effect on putting is minimal compared to the huge benefits this operation has to the on going health of the greens. The 38mm of rain which fell in the early hours of Sunday morning caused no problem to the greens, unfortunately the same cannot be said for some the clay fairways!
The winter programme has progressed well. All bunker refurbishments have been completed and are looking good. Sand will be added to all bunkers in the next fortnight so they are ready for the start of the season. Lots of work has been carried out on trees and gorse around the course as per the Ecological Plan and I will post more about this shortly.  To round things off for now, we have spent a lot of time rebuilding the chipping area recently. I will post a seperate blog entry on this topic tomorrow.