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!