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 -