Monday, 8 October 2012

Maintenance Week Update

All scheduled tasks were completed successfully during the recent maintenance week. Hollow coring, scarification, seeding and top dressing took place on each of the putting surfaces. A significant amount of organic matter has been removed from the greens, helping to improve air and water movement through the soil profile and also improve ball bounce characteristics and surface firmness.
50 tonnes of sand top dressing has been applied to the greens to fill the void following the aeration operations. The recent rain has been of real benefit in helping wash the top dressing into the base of the sward. A further 20 tonnes of material will be applied over the next few days. 
Greens mowing frequency has been relaxed slightly to help the grass in the greens recover from the rather intensive operations. Weather conditions will determine just how quickly full recovery takes but I would expect around another fortnight at least.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Autumn Update

Autumn Maintenance Week

Our second and final course maintenance week of 2012 commences on Monday 24th of September. Hollow coring, scarification, seeding and top dressing work will be carried out on all greens. To enable the course staff to carry out the work in a timely manner, one tee starts will take place on Monday and Tuesday until 0930 each day. Beyond this time, a temporary green will be used on the hole being worked on to further minimise delay.

We have seen steady improvement in the putting surfaces over the past four years. This is because of the regular and thorough remedial works that have been carried out on the greens during previous maintenance weeks. Undoubtedly, there will be a period of recovery beyond the maintenance week itself. Whilst it is appreciated that this will cause inconvenience to members, please be assured that this work is entirely necessary to ensure continued, long-term improvement in our putting surfaces.

On this occasion we will be hollow coring with a 12mm tine at 50mm spacing to a depth of 75mm. This operation will remove around 5% of the total surface area of the green enabling a reduction in the organic matter (thatch) at the base of the turf. Scarification involves using thin, vertically positioned blades to remove further organic material. Seed will then be applied using a dedicated seeding unit to improve the species composition of the greens. Finer leaved grasses enable the ball to roll more smoothly over the surface of the green, ultimately making it easier to hole putts. Finally we will apply around 2.5 tonnes of top dressing sand to each green in order to fill up the holes and grooves that have been made.

Fair weather is required to carry out most of the planned work but with Mother Nature on our side we should comfortably complete each task within the scheduled five days.

Broadleaved Grasses In Greens

Another application of the selective graminicide Rescue has been made to all greens to control the spread of Ryegrass and Yorkshire Fog grasses. These are wholly inappropriate putting green grass types that have we have been treating now for three years. Thankfully, we have far less of these grass species now so the effects of the spray application will be less noticeable than in previous years. We may for a period have some thin areas of turf on but the areas will be seeded and top-dressed until good grass cover is restored. This has been timed to maximise the benefits from all the operations planned in the maintenance week.

Managing Wear

Somewhere in the region of 35000 rounds of golf are played each year here at La Moye. To help protect the course and minimise wear and tear it is vital that we restrict golfing traffic in certain areas at certain times of the year. With grass growth slowing down in the coming weeks we will begin to rope off various areas around the course and divert traffic away from many of the most heavily used walkways. This gives the turf in these areas a much needed rest and also allows the course team the chance to carry out much needed refurbishments. In some instances we will ask players to walk slightly further than normal to avoid particularly worn areas. It is hoped that members show understanding of this important issue and follow the directional signs and markings that will be used to indicate the routes to be used around the course. Some areas of the new turf laid last winter on holes 10, 11 and 12 is in particular need of respite and these areas will be prioritised.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Course Update

Greens Maintenance

The putting surfaces have performed to a good standard over recent weeks and months. Our programme of regular aeration and top dressing is proving to be successful. Year on year our surfaces are improving in terms of firmness, smoothness and pace. We must continue this work on a 4-week cycle through the growing season to ensure we keep enjoying the benefits of good quality greens. The persistently wet weather this season has made diligent pitch mark repairs an absolute necessity. I would like to remind all players of the importance of making good any ball marks on greens as quickly as possible. Pitchmarks repaired within 10 minutes recover much quicker than those repaired beyond that time.


The wet weather so far this season has made things very challenging and nowhere more so than in the rough. 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 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. In any normal year, 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 most years and it ensures we have good grass cover throughout the year providing crucial definition between the holes. If we cut too much rough we will remove this important aspect of the character of the course. 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 fairways cut at a height of around 13mm, 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. Hopefully the weather we have experienced so far this year will be the exception to the rule. The wet weather that usually abates in June has continued to mid-July causing exceptional rough grass growth. A significant number of additional rough areas have been cut for very the first time recently to try to lessen the impact of the increased growth. 


Greens Reconstruction Project – Project Rootzone

In the three months since opening, the new turf on holes 10, 11 and 12 is settling in quite nicely. Seeded areas have undoubtedly been helped by the very wet weather of late although far drier weather would benefit the root development of the turfed areas. Overall all the new areas are in pretty good shape, ropes and posts are being used where necessary to minimize wear in sensitive areas and this will continue for the foreseeable future. Lots of aeration is required on the new greens to ensure the turf that was used becomes fully integrated into the underlying rootzone. Regular top-dressings will gradually improve smoothness and help level off any uneven areas.
Our architect, Martin Hawtree has visited since the holes re-opened and expressed his delight with the results. He has been asked to look at possibilities for hole 13 and we eagerly await his proposals. 

Sports Turf Research Institute Visit

The STRI provides sports turf consultancy to over 2000 sports clubs and facilities throughout the world. The R&A use their services on all Open Championship golf courses to assess and benchmark performance and to provide agronomic advice. Steve Gingell, their Regional Head of Agronomy, visits us annually. On each visit a number of measurements are taken from selected greens and the results obtained provide help in setting out the following years greens maintenance programme. This year our greens scored very well in all areas of testing. In fact Steve said it was the best set of results he had seen all year! To find out more about putting green quality measurement   at La Moye, visit the blog on the club website or go directly to the address below -

Friday, 23 March 2012

Terrain Aeration - Demonstration

Last weekend we had a visit from the team at Terrain Aeration who have machines capable of aerating to a depth of 1.2 meters. The demo took place on one of our clay fairways and was successful in penetrating through to the sand. We hope to utilise this machine extensively next winter to improve drainage on the fairways of holes 10, 11, 13 and 18.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Spring Maintenance Week

We have almost completed the scheduled works for the maintenance week. Scarification, micro hollow tining, brushing and seeding operations have been undertaken on greens. Top dressing work will hopefully be completed before the weekend.

With the holes made in the greens we took the opportunity to apply our first application of wetting agent. This is a product that helps the soil hold onto moisture making our irrigation applications more efficient. We apply wetting agent once each month throughout the playing season.

Friday, 16 March 2012

New Holes - Update

I am pleased to report that the turf on the new holes has settled in well. Mowing operations have been carried out on the greens at a height of 7mm. This will be gradually lowered in the coming days and weeks until it reaches the same height of cut as the rest of the greens on the course. The imported turf on the surrounds and approaches has, as expected, taken longer to become accustomed to its new surroundings. Although the root development of the new turf is generally good, there are one or two very localised areas that need to improve. Mowing operations on the imported turf are somewhat behind those on the greens turf but the next 2 weeks will see an increase in surface preparations works on these areas in readiness for play by May 1st.
The new bunkers will be filled with sand from early next week.

There are still a two particularly weak areas; the left side of the 10th hole beyond the fairway bunkers was heavily trafficked during the construction phase. The soil in this area has a very high proportion of clay and became very compacted under the heavy machinery. Deep verti-draining has been carried out on two occassions to relieve the compaction and seeding work has been done to begin to improve grass cover. The carry on the 13th hole was used to mix rootzone for the 11th and 12th greens and significant turf degradation has taken place here also. Again, aeration and seeding work has been undertaken to reinstate a playable surface but more time is required before we see proper recovery.

Planting of Marram grass sprigs has been on-going since early February. Individual plants are taken from the dunes near the reservoir and are being re-planted on the left side of the 11th hole. It is hoped that some rain will fall to help in the establishment of these sensitive areas.

We aim to ensure that all new bunkers have easy access and egress for players of all ages.Sand will be shaped to encourage the ball to come to rest in the centre of the bunker; there will of course be occasions when this does not happen but surely that is a fundamental part of the game and part of the appeal of the sport? Much work has been done on the paths next to the tees on holes 11, 12 and 13. A new route is being created for buggies to follow that ensures wear is kept to a minimum. When the holes re-open it is imperative that players adhere to the directional signs that will be positioned on the new holes. 

Friday, 9 March 2012

Growing In New Turf

Much work is being carried out on the new greens to ensure the surfaces are ready for play when the time comes. We have recently completed solid tine aeration on the turf. This was carried out to encourage the roots of the plants to move deeper into the soil beneath.

A light scarification of the turf was followed by top dressing with the aim of improving surface firmness. The greens turf has become excessively soft over the winter. This is mostly due to the fact that there has been no play and very few mechanical operations undertaken. The emphasis over the nest few weeks will be on improving firmness with repeated applications of dressing.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

13th Tee Path Construction

Work is progressing well on the refurbishment and extension of the 13th tee path. New wooden edging is being put in to improve the look of the path and to properly define the edges.


Thursday, 16 February 2012

New 2nd Ladies Tee

Follow a request from the Ladies Section, we have started work on a new ladies tee at the 2nd hole. The new tee will offer an improved line into the fairway and will be situated to the left side of the path, in the area adjacent to the existing tee. Measurements have been taken to ensure the overall length of the hole remains the same.
After the area was marked out, an excavator was used to scrape off the top layer. The soil beneath was then rotovated to improve tilth. 

The next task was to install the irrigation pipework and heads.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

12th Tee Realignment

The 12th tee has been modified slightly to ensure that it points squarely toward the new green. The sleeper edging has been removed and has been replaced with a length of half round rail and a slightly sloping bank. This has allowed us to alter the line of the edge of the tee.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Hole 10 Complete

Following the festive break and despite some adverse weather conditions, we have finally completed the turfing works on hole 10.

We are currently almost finished turfing the banking around the new 11th tees. Next up will be the realignment of the paths at the 12th and 13th tees.