Tee to green January

16th January 2023

The latest from The Downs and Park Courses.

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The Downs Course

Firstly, Happy New year to you all and I hope you had a nice Christmas. Coming through a busy winter period it’s pleasing to see that the greens are still disease free and in a healthy condition. They are now at their winter height of cut at 4.5mm and will remain at this height until growth rate improves in the spring.

We will look to verti-drain the greens this month using a 12mm tine to a depth of 200mm. This will de-compact the soil profile and increase percolation rates through the greens. Also it is vital for the soils gas exchange. We will do this process again just before our spring maintenance. Tees will also be vertidrained and tined after completing the greens.

Playing surfaces are longer than normal for this time of year, as we have had trouble getting the mowers out the previous three weeks. With the ground conditions being so wet, we have aired on the side of caution not to take our heavy machines out until conditions are ideal. If too wet, we would damage turf, which would then need repairing. Therefore, tees and fairways will be cut as soon as we can get on them.

We have started to top a lot of the natural rough areas and will cut and collect any of the thicker areas using a bigger tractor. The rough was fairly sparse last year, so no chemical treatment will be needed to thin out the sward this year.

Bunkers have been an issue this month, with the amount of wash down from the rainfall, they have now all been contaminated. The aim before the upcoming playing season is to add sand to the bunkers to increase sand depth for playability and freshen up the look aesthetically.

The bees have now been winterised and when last checked there was a good size colony to get them through the winter.

A big thank you to everyone who is using the strike mats on fairways 2 to 8. This really does help with wear and tear on the course. Please replace divots on the other fairways to aid recovery and keep the playing surfaces from getting to a poor state. Thank you in advance.

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Working in the dark to get the course set up for the morning
Natural rough being cut

Looking forward to seeing you on the course.

Rob Dyer, Head Greenkeeper, The Downs Course

The Park Course 

The Course

We start the year once again fighting against the elements. Unfortunately, November’s rainfall of 318mm and December’s rain fall of 115mm means we start the year on the back foot with the course at its limit, and it continued in January. 50mm in the first week which has forced our hand in what we can achieve on the course.

Greens

The greens cutting heights are raised to 4.5 and we are cutting them twice a week with pedestrian hand mowers. They are in good health. We have aerated the greens using a 10mm tine going to the depth of 100mm and we have put a verti-Drain across them which is a slightly bigger tine going to the depth of 200mm to help break up compaction and promote root and plant health. The most pleasing thing is that even due to higher-than-normal temperatures and very moist conditions, the greens are disease free! This is due to regular aeration and thatch reduction work and our disease preventative programme.

Tees

The tees have also received extensive aeration work with a 10mm tine across the surface. They have all been devoted with a soil and seed mix on any imperfections. The tees also have been fertilised with a granular to help with recovery, enhance sward density and promote growth and root development,

Woodland Work

When the weather hasn’t allowed us to be on the course our attention has been to continue with our woodland maintenance. As part of our ecology programme, we have thinning out some of the wooded areas on the course. Raising canopy’s, removing ivy and clearing all brambles. This has made a real difference and has created quite a feature. With more light getting to the woodland floor, we hope to see the bluebells flourish. As part of our ecology plan, we will continue to plant more trees around the course in rough areas, the species consist of beach, oak, hazel and maple.

Pathways

We have continued with our stone pathway programme. Putting down pathways for easier access around the course. We have added some steps to the 9th tee for easy excess.

A job that is vital every year is an irrigation drain down. The irrigation system is drained down so work can be completed on any leaks. If water is left in the system, we run the risk of water freezing, cracking pipes and connections.

 

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Sefton clearing all the woodland floors with the flail.
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Scott is the man for irrigation and here he is investigating a leak identified in the summer.

Look forwrad to seeing you on the course.

Simon Berry, Head Greenkeeper, The Park Course

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