Friday, 28 November 2014

Course Update

As we move towards the winter months the tasks being undertaken on the golf course become more varied and unusual. The post will discuss some tasks that have taken place recently.

Sub-Surface Aeration
All putting surfaces have been solid tined using a 9.5mm diameter tine to a depth of 75mm. This improves the movement of air and water through the rootzone. In the coming weeks we will solid tine greens again this time using a 12mm tine working to a depth of 250mm. Beyond greens we have also solid tined all tees, surrounds and green approaches. Work on fairways is ongoing with nine completed so far.

Turfing of Path Ends
Worn path ends are in the process of being stripped, rotovated and returfed. This year we are using the turf from the 1st tee complex as this matches well with the surrounding areas. Turfed areas are roped off to ensure they can establish properly. 

Bunker Construction
Every year we refurbish a number of bunkers across the course and this year we have selected one bunker on each of holes 10, 11, 12 and 18. Work on the 18th has been completed although the bunker will remain out of play until the end of the winter months.

1st Tee Renovation
We have started to renovate and re-shape the teeing areas on the 1st hole to improve this tired looking area of the golf course. Within the scope of this project we aim to address a number long standing issues with this tee complex the most obvious of which is the consistently poor performance of the yellow tee box. This tee is too small to cope with normal levels of play so it will be extended into the area currently occupied by the back half of the red tee. The three tee surfaces will have surface levels restored to ensure all shots can be taken from an even stance. We will also replace and reposition all of the irrigation pipework and heads as this tee was not included in the irrigation system replacement project in 2007/8. While this work is going on we will take the opportunity to change the tee banks on the road side. The hedge is being removed as this has become rather unsightly with gaps and dips along its entire length. Marram grass will be used on the new banking which will provide a natural looking finish. The steps to the new ladies tee will be reduced in size and a new set of steps will be built to access the yellow tee. As this project progresses, the tee will eventually have to close to allow the work to be done. Arrangements have been made to move the red tees to the site of the green tees and to move the yellow/white tees to a temporary tee located on the hill beyond the bottom car park. When this work is complete we will remove the hedging located at the top of the slope to the bottom car park as shown in the image below. This will improve visibility when entering or leaving the bottom car park. Where the hedge has been removed we plan to create an attractive planted area with the bronze Mythical Fish currently located in the foyer of clubhouse relocated outside and used as a centrepiece of the newly planted area.
Clearing the hedge from the 1st tee
Rough Grassland Management

We have recently undertaken work in some of the roughs with the aim of thinning out the grass to improve playability. In selected areas on holes 2, 3 and 18 the grass has been cut short, arisings have been removed and the areas have been scarified. This process will be repeated annually which will enable these areas to become progressively less dense and thus easier to find a ball and then play out of. We hope to extend this operation to cover many more rough grass areas in future with the aim of creating well defined, wispy rough that frames each hole without it being overly penal from a playing perspective.
18th rough before

18th rough after

Driving Range Enclosure

The new driving range enclosure is now fully open with all ten bays operational. Wooden bay dividers have been installed which both look good and meet safety requirements. The area in front of the enclosure requires to be landscaped and this will be done soon (it has been airbrushed in the images below!). With the new enclosure and the revamped external area we feel the driving range now offers a fantastic environment to practice golf and hope to see as many members as possible taking advantage of this facility.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Maintenance Week Update - 2

In addition to the work done on greens and collars we have been able to complete important work on other areas of the golf course.

Hole 7 drainage.

One problem area each winter is the start of the 7th fairway. This area tends to become waterlogged in the winter so to solve this problem we have installed a simple drainage system. This involved removing the fairway turf, excavating soil, installing the drain and refilling with material before placing the turf back on top. Until the turf grows in properly the are will be marked as Ground Under Repair.

Aerating approaches.

Selected green approaches have had solid tine aeration carried out. This operation is done for the same reasons as described in the last post. As on greens, sanding is carried out to smooth the surface behind the aerator.

Inter-seeding fairways.
To begin the long process of improving the species composition of our fairways we have carried out a single pass with the seeder across the whole of the 11th fairway. The grasses  sown will provide a superior playing surface. Crucially, they need less water to remain healthy than the existing grass species meaning less demand will be put on the irrigation system during the summer months.

Maintenance Week Update - 1

Our Autumn Maintenance week work has now been completed and all of the major operations planned have gone well. Excellent weather conditions have ensured the dedicated efforts of the green staff have been rewarded with a good result. This post will outline the tasks undertaken during this important week in the greenkeeping calendar.

Micro solid tining of greens and collars.

Each of these small holes measure only 9mm across but go down 70mm into the soil. The channels created are critical in helping to improve the movement of air and water into and through the rootzone. Even once healed over on the surface the channels will continue to provide superior moisture and gas exchanges while also providing space for new root growth.

Inter-seeding greens and collars

Seeding is carried out to increase the proportion of appropriate grasses in the sward. The graminicide application we carried out a few weeks ago has been successful in selectively removing unwanted ryegrass in the greens and inter-seeding ensures the spaces left behind are filled with high quality fescue grass seed. Our seeding unit uses discs to cut a channel through the turf before dropping the grass seed into the channel. The discs on our machine are spaced at 35mm intervals which allows a large amount of seed to be inserted into the turf at just the right depth to ensure a high germination rate. On this occasion we chose carry out a double pass on each green. A total of 160kg of seed has been used this week which will have a positive impact on the performance of the turf in 2015.

Sand dressing.

To restore levels following some fairly invasive operations sand was spread across the surface of each area before being worked into the base of the sward. On this occasion we used a little over 20 tonnes of material. Top dressing turf has many benefits not least improving surface smoothness and firmness. We will aim to apply more material in 7-10 days to improve smoothness further.

Driving Range Enclosure

Work on our new driving range enclosure began recently and is progressing well. The new enclosure will contain eight bays plus two bays for teaching. On completion of the work we will begin improvements to the outside area at the range.

Saturday, 23 August 2014


The wetter weather today will make the greens slightly more receptive than they have been recently. Please be aware that pitch marks will once again require repair to ensure greens remain smooth.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Controlling Broad Leaved Grasses in Greens

An 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 we have been treating now for a number of 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 but the greens will be seeded and top-dressed repeatedly over the next two months to ensure the broadleaved grasses are replaced with finer fescue grass.
Four interseeding operations are planned. The first will start after the Dolphin Trophy on Monday 25th August. Sanding of greens will take place thereafter to ensure surface levels are returned as quickly as possible.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Verti Cutting & Sanding

We have taken the opportunity to carry out some sward refinement using verti-cut units fitted to a Toro 3250. As the name suggests the blades on these units work vertically into the turf slicing through lateral growth and imparting stress into broader leaved grass species.

Following this procedure sand top dressing was applied to all greens. These tasks complement each other as the verti-cutting grooves enable the sand to be worked into the surface well while the sand helps smooth out any unevenness caused by the verti-cutting.

The sand is worked in to the surface of the green using a rubber dragmat. In this instance we attached some astroturf to the dragmat to achieve a superior brushing effect.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Sanding approaches

We have begun to increase the amount of sand applied to the green approaches. A disc spreader is used to apply the material which will help the green approaches become firmer and with a more predictable and consistent bounce. Some of the smaller approaches have the material applied by hand. Occasionally we need to keep the sand on the surface for a short time to allow it to fully dry before it can be worked into the surface properly.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Long-eared owl

We managed to get a couple of great pictures of what we think is a long-eared owl recently. It was perched on the perimeter fence in the land to the left of the 7th green. The pictures were taken in the middle of the day.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Long Awaited Update!

I have struggled to regularly update the blog in recent months due in the most part to a lack of time but also because it is difficult to produce content that is not repetitive. The blog is now in its seventh year and I feel like we have covered most of the topics of interest quite a few times. Nonetheless, this post aims to give a general update on the work done on the golf course over the past couple of months.

Following the maintenance week at the end of March the greens recovered well from the invasive treatments carried out. A number of applications of sand top dressing have been applied to the greens with the aim of improving surface smoothness. Some pencil tine work was carried out on putting surfaces in early May and this will be repeated in June. It is vital we carry out regular aeration on the putting surfaces to aid the movement of air and water through the turf and upper profile of the rootzone. This needs to be done throughout the year using a variety of pencil, slit and hollow tines working at depths ranging from half an inch up to twelve inches or even beyond. Regular aeration of greens is the single most important operation in sports turf management. High quality putting surfaces can only be sustained if a regular and effective aeration programme is in place.

Applications of selective weedkiller have taken place in all closely mown turf areas. The mild winter and wet spring allowed record numbers of weeds to pop up and chemical control of these has been a necessity. The same weather conditions have caused the rough grasses to grow vigorously. Within these roughs there are diverse and varied plants some of which are protected species in Jersey. This year we have seen record numbers of the Early-purple orchid (Orchis mascula). Literally thousands of examples of this beautiful plant were noted across the course this spring. We also noted Pyramidal orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis) as shown in the image below .

Early-purple orchid
Pyramidal orchid

Currently in flower and most prominent on holes 10, 11 and 14 is the semi-parasitic plant Yellow-rattle (Rhinanthus minor). This is a particularly appealing plant in golf course roughs as it gets some of its nutrients from the roots of neighbouring plants. This helps naturally restrict the growth of grasses in the area keeping a much lighter texture to the roughs where this plant is present. This both increases biodiversity and makes it easier to find your golf ball, a perfect combination!