Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Grassland Management

During the Autumn we brought in a contractor to undertake grassland management work to a number of rough areas on holes 1, 2, 5, 7, 9, 14, 16 and 18. The aim of this process is to thin out the rough grasses allowing for a wispy rough to come through in the spring, repeating this process annually will not only improve the aesthetics of the holes but will also prove to be less penal from wayward shots. 

Dense rough at 2nd green
Rough cut short and collected in one pass
Cut rough scarified and material collected

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Let there be air and light

Our 2nd green which is tucked away in the south west corner of the golf course has struggled in recent times with high disease pressures due to it's enclosed nature.This in part has much to do with the lack of air and light available to dry out the greens surface especially during the winter months. A section of the large stand of white poplar to the left hand approach and a large conifer branch which hung over the green were removed to allow increased air flow and light across the surface of the putting green. To the right hand side a stand of three holm oak were encroaching into the approach and if left unchecked would start influence the way the hole is played. One holm oak was removed completely while the other two were crown raised, this will allow a variety of golf shots to be played from the right hand side of the fairway.

Large conifer limb shadowing back quarter of 2nd green
Limb removed allowing direct sunlight to the surface
White poplar restricting airflow
White poplar thinned out to open up airflow through green complex
Encroaching holm oaks
One holm oak removed two more crown lifted


Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Maintenance week Autumn 2017

Our Autumn maintenance week concluded 22/09/2017 and we were blessed with fine conditions, all scheduled  operations to greens and approaches have been successfully carried out by our dedicated green staff.

 A chemical application was made to greens two weeks prior to maintenance week. This application will kill the Rye grass, Yorkshire fog and weaken the coarse Bent grasses within our greens. The surface of the greens will yellow and patches of grass will die off, this is a normal reaction to the graminicide that has been applied.

Discolouring of coarse grasses
The greens are scarified in two directions at least 5mm below the surface using vertical cutting blades with tungsten tips. This will remove a proportion of organic matter from the thatch layer and rake through the dying coarse grasses.

Material removed through scarifying
Greens surface after scarification

This year we used two separate solid tine operations to aerate the greens. 8mm x 200mm tines and 6mm x 100mm tines punched small diameter holes into the soil profile at different depths. Aeration plays an important part in helping air and water move through the soil, air spaces between the soil particles will create gas exchanges to help break down thatch and provide space for root development.
200mm Verti-drain aeration
100mm Procore aeration
Again two different methods and seed were used to over-seed our greens. Shallow holes were made by a sorel roller in which 5Kg of  brown top bent seed was distributed per green. Fescue seed was inter-seeded behind the bent at 20g/m2. Persisting with this blend of grass species will provide us with the optimum putting surfaces year round.

Sorel rolling with bent seed
Inter-seeding with fescue seed
Greens, surrounds and approaches have all been sand-dressed and worked into the surface. In all around 60 tons of straight sand has been applied to the greens complex's to restore levels following the invasive work already carried out. Dressing not only aids us in the reinstatement of the surface but also dilutes thatch, improves water infiltration, firmness and trueness. Further light dressings will be applied as necessary.

Straight sand dressing
Working in dressings
All through these processes the greens complex's were cleared of debris, cut and ironed to ensure we could provide the best surfaces possible following the invasive procedures. The use of hole stabilizing rings will be used temporarily to aid the initial instability around the hole, these will not be used in qualifying competitions and will be removed completely following re-establishment of the surface. 

Hole stabilization
In addition to our normal routine maintenance work the surrounds and approaches of 10, 11 and 12 needed extra attention this year. Thatch and Rye grass infestation has become problematic leading to poor surfaces. The Rye grass had been sprayed prior to maintenance week then we set about removing as much thatch as possible by taking cores from the soil profile using a hollow tine. These cores were left to dry before being broken up with the scarifier, the thatch material removed through this process was blown to the sides and picked up. Straight fescue was inter-seeded and cyclone spread over the tine holes with 12 tons of sand dressing applied and further sand dressing scheduled to reinstate the surfaces.

Hollow tine
Cores on surface
Breaking up cores
Thatch material removed

Friday, 15 September 2017

Broad leaved grass control

An application of the selective graminicide Rescue has been made to all greens to aid in the control of Ryegrass and Yorkshire Fog grasses. Members will notice a yellowing and thinning of the turf where these grasses are most prominent. This application has been made to greens for a number of years prior to the September maintenance week, it is evident that these undesirable broad leaved grasses are declining in population. The application will be backed up week commencing 18/09/17 with over-seeding of the more desirable grasses for putting surfaces Fescue and Browntop Bent.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Driving Range Maintenance

This week essential maintenance work has been carried out on our driving range enclosure to sustain it's longevity. All decking was scrubbed with a decking cleaner then the whole building power washed inside and out. Once cleaned and dried a larch oil is applied to preserve the wood. Unfortunately this process does take some time and the enclosure needs to close for 3/4 days, the outside bays however will remain open so you can get some practice in. This process is to be scheduled annually.

Dirt Removal 

Before & After Power Washing

Applying Larch Oil  
Before & After Larch Oil Application

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Approaches To Greens

Following on from the aeration, scarification and sand dressing work carried out on green approaches during spring maintenance week, slight modifications have now been made to the size and shape of these areas. All approaches were marked out, double verti-cut and mowed into their new dimensions. You will notice the slightly discolored turf in the areas which have been mowed out, this will be temporary as it is a normal reaction to turf when cut shorter, these areas will blend in with the surrounding area within good time.
The maintenance work that is being carried out on approaches will not only improve sward quality creating a seamless transition from fairway to green but will also enable a greater shot variety into and around our greens.

                  The pictures below are just some of the adjustments that have been made.
Right hand side of 2nd approach
Right hand side of 3rd approach
Left hand side of 6th approach and surround
Right hand side of 8th approach
Left hand side of 13th approach
Left and right hand side of 16th approach

Friday, 24 March 2017

Walkway Refurbishment

We are constantly trying to improve the artificial pathways on the golf course. Over the years we have tried various materials with varying results. For the first time last year, we experimented using rubber matting placed over turf. The main advantage with this approach is that paths look much more natural with a grass covering, the rubber matting prevents the grass from wearing out under the heavy wear from foot traffic and golf trollies etc. Areas on holes 3 and 8 were completed in early 2016, these performed well throughout the 2016 season so this approach is being used in a number of other locations.

The images below show the path on the exit from the 18th hole being converted from granite dust to a hard wearing grass surface.

Unsightly granite walkway from the 18th green

Granite path and worn turf stripped out

Levels re-established and graded with sandy soil

Turf re-laid around main walkway

A hard wearing turf is laid in main walkway with a rubber mat pegged on top

Walkway complete with the addition of a storm drain to ease flooding in this area

Within 3 to 5 weeks the grass blades have grown through the holes in the mat rendering it almost invisible to the eye

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Bunker Renovations

5th Green side bunkers before refurbishment
Completed bunker refurbishment 5th green side

In total 9 bunkers will have been refurbished this winter. Two at the 1st, Three at the 5th, Two at the 14th and the two chipping area bunkers. All bunkers have been rebuilt in the revetted style associated with links golf, bunker bases have been raised to aid with access/egress and lined for a consistent sand depth.