Tee to Green August 2023

24th August 2023
The latest news from the Golf At Goodwood Golf courses...

The Downs course

I will start with our Nematode issue on our greens. As I have mentioned previously that the 9th green has suffered badly from these microscopic worms, however, we have noticed nearly all greens have some affected areas on them.

We have had soil samples tested in a turf laboratory prior to an application of an organic garlic product (which is the only available product that will help reduce numbers). After the application was made, we re-tested and the numbers dropped to an acceptable level, we then sprayed Garlic again 14 days later, to reduce numbers even more.

Although this has lowered the numbers in the soil, it has been too late to affect the numbers inside the root system itself, which after speaking to the UK leading specialist, has told me the cyst nematode (bad nematode) would have been laying eggs in the root system in the spring, with no signs of symptoms, until it was too late. Therefore, to prevent this happening next year, we will be sending soil samples bi-weekly in the spring to allow us to know when the female cyst nematodes will be laying eggs, so we can minimise any damage before it takes effect later on in the year. After the garlic product has reduced nematode numbers, we then sprayed a bio nutrient package to increase the numbers of the good nematodes which also help us reduce the unwanted nematodes in the soil profile.

Unfortunately, due to this and some other summer diseases we had last month, the turf is much weaker than normal and this is a concern going into the autumn. We will look to maintain good plant health and apply products that have aided us in the past few years to minimise disease.

We continue with our sand top dressing on a bi-weekly basis, however, sometimes this may be done weekly to catch up on missed dressing due to the disease present in the last few months. Top dressing or dusting provide a truer and faster surface to putt on as there is less resistance between the ball and leaf blade. It also dilutes our thatch layer, which also aids in improving the health of the plant. The AVG green speed for the past four weeks has been 9.6 on the stimpmeter, getting up to 10.1 on Club Championship days. Moisture levels were higher than normal with a 30% average (target range 20%-25%) and trueness was in target range averaging at 90%, which was pleasing. I would just like to say a thank you to my team for all the hard work they’ve put in so far this year, especially around Club Championships, where there were a few evening shifts before each competition to produce the course to the best it could be with the resources we have.

With the considerable amount of rain we have had in the past six weeks, the course is looking great and is extremely green. It is the first time in many years that we are cutting the rough constantly (in normal summers we normally cut on a two-week basis). Therefore, there may be some more grass clippings around than normal.

Weeds in the bunkers have now been sprayed with total weedkiller to help with presentation. We continue to move sand to help with bunker levels, however sometimes these hazards have a minimal rake, because of the higher frequency of cutting in the current conditions.

Next month we are scheduled to cut and collect the long rough. This will take a few weeks as it is thicker this year due to the wet spring we encountered earlier in the year.

Finally, The Downs Deputy Head Greenkeeper, Dan Cornish and Agronomy team member, Danny Carter qualified for the BIGGA National Final last week after playing at West Sussex Golf Club in the regional qualifier. Dan won the best gross score with +2 and Danny won the nett Stableford with 39 points and also came 3rd on gross with a score of +3. We wish them all the best in the final which takes place in September.

Look forward to seeing you on the course!

Rob Dyer, Head Greenkeeper, The Downs Course


The Park Course

The Academy Short Course work goes from strength to strength, and we are delighted with the progress. For those of you who’ve passed by on your way to the Academy, or as you are out on the Green, I’m sure you are as keen as we are to see the work in development, and looking forward to the opening when it comes around.

On the course itself, throughout August the greens have remained consistent in speeds and performance. It’s clear to see the benefits from our regular maintenance. We’ve been using folia feeds that help aid heat stress and grass health and soil feeds that help enhance root growth and improve oxygen availability for the plant, as well as cultural tasks such as light sand dressing to aid with trueness and speed. All these practices have been vital in keeping the greens at a very high level.

It has been business as usual on the rest of the course; 100mm of rain throughout the month and the recent rise in temperature has given us a nice growth boost, which has helped our re-seeding programme on some of the damaged areas throughout the course, especially the damage to the 10th fairway.

Bunker work is always an ongoing task with Flymo, edging and topping up the sand a regular job throughout the month.

The good old British summer has been more than a little unpredictable and the more monsoon-like showers we’ve experienced have caused a few challenges. However, cutting continues to keep standards high.

And finally, the Golf At Goodwood Club Championship week went as planned. The Greens were stimping at 10.10 for the Mens and 100% true. We received lots of great feedback which is always appreciated, so thank you to those of you who shared with us, it motivates and drives the team.

See you on the course,

Simon Berry (Head Greenkeeper)

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