Monday, 14 November 2016

12th Tee Reconstruction

We have recently started work on the levelling and enlarging of the 12th white/yellow tees.  The area around the tee has been stripped of vegetation in order to create a more natural sand dune type setting for the new tee. New irrigation will  be installed during this project as overthrow from the old sprinklers was the cause of the rank vegetation in the surrounding land. The path to the side of the tee will also be rebuilt towards the end of this project.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Aerating Greens

This week we've been using our Charterhouse Verti-Drain to deep tine through the surface of the greens.This equipment will aerate the soil profile to a depth of 10 inches at 2 inch spacings. Given the disruption of this particular activity on the surface only half of all the greens have been verti-drained. The second half of each green will be scheduled when sufficient recovery is seen on the first half. This is done to ensure ball roll and pin placements aren't compromised during this essential process. Five fairways have already been completed including the 4th; you may have noticed the yellow markings on the fairway of this hole, these were painted to show where the underground drainage pipes are located in order to ensure we can avoid them!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Course Update - April

Just as the weather appeared to be improving we have been subjected to yet more cold, northerly winds which have had an impact on growth and turf quality. This is more noticeable on the greens and surrounds where the Poa annua in the sward remains dormant and weak whilst the finer Fescues and Bents have begun growing and show better colour and health. This variation in growth has led to inconsistent putting surfaces which we are working hard to rectify. The use of lightweight rollers has had some success however we do not expect the growth to even out until warmer conditions finally arrive so we ask for your patience in this time.

Course Maintenance

The team have applied slow release fertiliser to the tee tops which will continue to provide the adequate nutrients required for grass growth in the coming months. Small doses of fertiliser have also been applied to the greens to aid their growth as and when the temperature begins to rise.
The surrounds and approaches have been scarified in two directions to remove thatch and moss and are now awaiting top dressing when growth becomes more vigorous as we do not wish to smother the grass plants.

Behind the scenes in the workshop our mechanic Gary has been busy servicing the fleet. We have a lot of machinery at La Moye and maintaining it is vital to the smooth running of the department. All of the machinery undergoes a basic service each winter, with the mowers receiving extra attention on their cutting units. Every cutting unit has been thoroughly checked and parts replaced if required before going into the grinding machines to resharpen the blades. The cutting units on these machines are incredibly accurate and providing this quality of cut to the grass leaf minimises damage and reduces disease.

10th Tee

In conjunction with our ongoing links regeneration program we have been introducing links species to the car park and clubhouse areas. Our aim is to provide the links experience at La Moye from start to finish and therefore the 10th tee bank, being seen on the drive into the club, was selected as a prime area for renovation. The mixed hedge was unsightly and not in-keeping with our vision for the course so it was removed entirely. The soil was then removed so that it could be replaced with sand before planting Marram grass. The Marram was sprigged in the same fashion as the 1st tee and we are delighted with the results. We now feel that the members and visitors are given an immediate impact that they are entering a links golf course and is another step in returning La Moyes true character.


Members will have noticed more tree removal work centred around the 10th green/11th tees area. This is again to control non-native and invasive species encroaching on playing areas or disturbing important habitats. The trees removed and trimmed behind the 10th and 13th greens were blocking the line of sight from the 11th tees. We understand that whilst the remaining trees are non native they do provide safety from errant shots on the 11th tees so they shall be retained purely for this reason.
Important work has been carried out on the right of the 11th carry to remove many invasive Holm Oaks that were beginning to overwhelm the smaller pine trees in the area. The picture below clearly shows the damage these fast growing trees can do to native species by blocking their light. With the Holm Oaks removal the pines and dune species now have a chance to recover and continue providing habitats to Red Squirrels, Green Lizards and a variety of bird species.

The logs from the Holm Oaks have been put to good use in the creation of our first 'insect hotel' next to the 4th tees. By tightly stacking and part burying the logs they can provide a shelter for many insect species and in turn a food source for larger animals. Holes of varying diameter were drilled into the larger logs to provide refuge for solitary bees which are an important pollinator on the course.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

A New Season

A New Season Begins

The past few weeks have been extremely busy for the course team in preparation for the start of the main golfing season. A persistent and frigid north-easterly wind has been causing some concern but hopefully now the worst has passed and temperatures will begin to rise. Most of our work has revolved around the Captains Drive In which was held on Saturday and making sure that the course is looking its best in these challenging conditions. We moved swiftly on from that competition straight into maintenance week which is now in full flow.

New Machinery

Last week the club took delivery of a pedestrian aerator which we believe will make huge improvements to our ability to maintain quality, healthy surfaces. The Toro Procore is the leading machine on the market and is already showing its quality in its first week on the job. After brief training due to user friendliness and maneuverability the Procore has been used this week to aerate the greens and surrounds in minimal time and with minimal disturbance. The machine is so fast that we have even been able to utilise it on other areas whilst waiting for other machinery to finish.

The team being trained on the Procore

We hope that this increase in speed and lack of disturbance will allow us to perform these operations more frequently with less interruption to play whilst continuing to improve playing surfaces.

Maintenance week

This years spring maintenance follows a similar plan to last year with the added bonus of the new machinery to our fleet. Following on from an application of lawn sand last week to control moss we began by scarifying the greens and surrounds in two directions to remove the dead moss and thatch buildup.

Scarifying 15th green

The organic material that has been removed

The surface showing scarifyer grooves

Once the greens had been scarified we followed with the Procore to aerate to a depth of around 3 inches. The greens were then ironed to avoid any compaction from the topdresser. The greens have been topdressed with straight sand which is brushed into the scarified grooves, aeration holes and fills any other imperfections in the surface and dilutes any thatch present.

Procore being used on the 13th green

Aerated surface ready for top dressing

10th green after top dressing
Now that the easterly winds have died down we hope that the soil temperatures will rise and spring growth will begin. Then we can resume our summer cutting regime and begin preparations for this years tournaments.

New Bunkers

The members will have noticed that the new bunkers on the 16th and 18th fairways are now open and ready for play. The addition of clean sand has given a good finish and we are very happy with all the  winter projects.

Clean sand added

The finished product


Whilst we have finished with our big ecology projects of the winter we are still continuing work on this front. Some of the greenkeepers are involved in beginning to survey the species of birds present on the course which will be beneficial in tailoring our bird boxes. Raith Miller in particular is working hard on creating different types of boxes so that we can maximise the species present. Hopefully this along with the new sandy waste areas which can benefit species such as mining bees will allow the ecology of the course to flourish this summer.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Course Update

Course Update

Whilst the weather is yet to improve and we have had to deal with some high rainfall in the past few weeks, winter is coming to an end and the golfing season is fast approaching. This time of year is spent making the finishing touches to our construction projects, completing ecology works ready for spring and preparing the golf course for the coming season. I will touch on all of these points in this post and show the hard work the team has been doing in challenging conditions.

Course Maintenance

Both the greens and tees have been given their first verti-draining of the year with pencil tines to a depth of around 8". This is to improve air and water movement in the profile and has numerous benefits to plant health. This was followed by 10 tonnes of straight sand top dressing on the greens as part of  our on-going thatch dilution program. We have been managing the greens carefully throughout the winter with particular care to avoid excessive weight on the surfaces. A combination of hand cutting and ironing has allowed us to maintain performance even during the extreme wet weather.

Pencil tining greens

Applying sand top dressing to greens
The members will also notice that a cutting and scarifying operation has been completed around the 9th green. This bank had become rank with Ryegrass and any balls played into the area were more than likely to be lost. Now that it has been cut we will allow it to regenerate whilst managing it to avoid it again becoming too dense.


The flooding on the service track behind the 14th green has been a long running problem and having completed our tees construction we began work on resolving this issue. The track has been raised with hardcore, drainage sumps installed and the surrounding area returfed.

The finished product


After the success of the sandy waste area created on the 8th carry, another area has now been established on the opposite side. The principle for this area has been the same however we did not have to bury as much gorse in the process and were careful to avoid some small heather plants in the surrounding vegetation.

Small heather plants amongst the existing vegetation

Before and after photos of the second area
As with the first area we have planted a mixture of natural sand dune species on the site including Marram, Dune rose and Bents. Creating these areas improves sustainability as they require little management, benefit the environment and speed up play as golfers are more likely to be able to find and play their shot. With the completion of these two areas we are starting to form a link between the front and back nines. Whilst La Moye will never again look as it did in 1902 when George Boomer first laid out his holes in the dunes, in the coming years we hope to return at least some of the course to its natural links pedigree. Notice the sandy waste bunker in the foreground of the photo below (Photo from 'The Boomer Legacy')

The 18th green in 1938

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Weather Update

As I'm sure our members will have noticed, it has been quite a rough few days! Storm Imogen has caused disruption across the Channel Islands and we have not been spared. Fortunately damage has been kept to a minimum on the course however the 15th hole bore the brunt of the storm with two pine trees situated at the back of the green, a hawthorn at the tees and also the flag stick all being damaged. Now that the high winds have passed the clean up operation can begin with these damaged trees being the first to be cleared this morning.

Pine behind 15th green being cleared

Hawthorn at 15th tee

15th flag stick and hole cup damage
With wind speeds up to 75mph recorded in the island it is no surprise that we lost some trees however we believe that we got away lightly considering.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Ecology Update

This week as part of an ongoing ecology focus for the golf club we have been working on transforming an area of degenerate gorse on the 8th carry into a natural sandy waste area. This is part of continued work to improve the links characteristics of the golf course, improve sustainability and enhance species diversity.

The gorse in question was old, degenerate and encroaching on the carry which was blocking the view of the left half of the fairway. Hopefully members will now appreciate the improved view and also that we have managed to create an area of fantastic ecological significance at the same time.

These two photos show the original degenerate gorse.

The gorse was cut and removed for burning. This of course left the are open to regeneration however we wished to transform the area and not simply allow it to return to its original state.

The gorse stumps and roots were removed where there was not room for burying.

Where possible, holes were dug and the roots buried to prevent regrowth. The natural sand that was excavated was then replaced on top.

Clean sand was brought in from another area to give the area better presentation and improve the sand depth.

Natural dune species were then selected from other areas of the course. These included natural Fecsues, Bents, Dune Rose, Marram and Heather along with many others.

Some of the Marram was more efficiently transplanted using a front loader to dig out as much root as possible.

As you can see from these before and after photos the area has been truly transformed.

The area has gone from supporting a single mass of degenerate gorse to 20-30 different species of natural dune plants and grasses. This has improved the links characteristic of the hole and provided a great habitat for local species. The team are very proud of this work and hope that the members also appreciate the ongoing program of links restoration.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Winter Construction Update

Whilst the weather all over the UK hasn't been ideal to say the least, we have managed to make good progress with our winter projects this year. Members will have noticed that most of this work has concentrated on the 16th hole with some bunker construction also on the 18th and path end repairs over the whole course. 
We apologise for the current closures on the course however the rainfall has been extreme for the start of the new year and whilst we are currently verti-draining and using an air injection machine to combat the water, the sheer amount of water has necessitated some course closures.

16th hole progress

All three fairway bunkers on the 16th have been rebuilt this winter along with all of the tees. The bunkers have been raised so that there is less of a step into and out of the bunker and this should help members who are unfortunate enough to find themselves in the trap. 

The bunkers also had to be raised to that they were more visible from the new, lower tee complex.

Work on the tee complex has been time consuming as there was a lot involved in their construction. This was all neccessary as the railway sleeper wall had become unsafe. We also wished to remove the metal handrail as it was unsightly and blocked the stunning vista of St Ouens bay. 
The white and yellow tees have both been lowered by around 3 feet, with the yellow tee being moved to the left giving a straighter line into the fairway. I believe the membership will agree that this has vastly improved the aesthetics of the tee and now gives an infinity effect over the bay. Members driving on the 5 mile road will also notice that the handrail is no longer visible from the bay.

All of this work on the mens tees meant that the ladies tee would also require relocating as it now blocked the view of the fairway. The next project was to lower and move the ladies tee to the left. 

The work on the ladies tee has improved views and also now fits better into the landscape without the sharp bank right in view from the mens tees.
The greenkeeping team now awaits the arrival of turf from the UK early next week. Once the areas have been turfed they will have a chance to root in preparation for the beginning of the golfing season.