The year so far has proved to be very challenging from a course maintenance perspective. Poor weather conditions have meant the playing surfaces are slightly below expected levels for this point in the season. Some of the grasses are still in the seeding phase and this has been more vigorous and longer lasting than usual causing green smoothness and pace to suffer. Regular brushing, double cutting and rolling of the putting surfaces is maintaining standards to a reasonable level but aeration of greens has been suspended until the seeding has stopped. We can expect to see a significant decrease in seed heads over the next fortnight or so which will allow a resumption of regular needle tine aeration. This, when coupled with sufficient top dressing is the key element of our in-season greens maintenance program and is entirely necessary to produce the desired putting green performance.
How ironic that as the closely mown playing areas have struggled for growth this year, the rough areas have seen growth in abundance. The current length and density of the roughs is causing some problems from a playing perspective. With this in mind we have cut extra rough areas on holes 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 17 and 18. This still leaves some dense patches on the course but we can already see it beginning to die back now that the wettest weather seems to be behind us. Rough grassland management is not as simple as just keeping it all cut down. We must balance the needs and desires of the player with those of the grasses to ensure we have a healthy and robust sward for the remainder of the year. These grasses provide an aesthetically vital frame to each hole and give crucial definition between holes. There are ecological matters to consider also; the marsh harrier is just one of the bird species that are enjoying the current conditions. Wild orchids have had their best year for some time and countless other flora and fauna have been able to exploit the productive conditions this season.
Old Trolley Shed
The unsightly wooden shed situated between the 15th tees and 16th green is scheduled to be removed in the next few weeks. Specialist contractors will be used to remove the roof section before the rest of the structure is dealt with by the course staff.
New Bunker Rakes
A different style of bunker rake is being trialled in some of the bunkers on the course. This is to try to minimise bunkers losing shape during the days play. It is hoped the new rakes will stop too much sand being moved around causing over softness and contributing to the problem of downhill lies. Players should find the rake lighter, requiring less effort to use. Please remember to leave rakes outside the bunker on the side away from the normal line of play.