Tee to Green June

23rd June 2023

The latest from the Head Greenkeepers of both courses.

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The Downs Course

As always, I will start with the greens. We have finally had some rain. Albeit not a lot at 15mm in the last four weeks. The greens have suffered with dry patch and areas burning out including the greens, tees and aprons month. We have struggled the past six weeks with strong north easterly wind, which was consistent at around 17 knots most days and night, add hot temperatures to that and 5mm of rain in six weeks, makes applying irrigation efficiency to the target area (greens, aprons, tees) very difficult. The sprinklers are unable to reach certain areas they would normally hit; therefore, we have been constantly hand watering greens in the mornings and tees in the afternoon to try and keep areas alive. One of the worst areas is the 1st & 17th tees, this is mainly due to a pipeline failure under the tunnel which is losing a large amount of water on an hourly basis, (which we only turn on in the day) therefore holes 1,17,18 can only run two sprinkler heads efficiency at one time. Unfortunately, the 1st and 17th have four heads per side which are not activating correctly. Now we have the greens coming back to good health, we will allocate more time on tee recovery, with the aid of granulated wetting agent and wetting pellets. The forecast for next week is for the winds to drop in speed and change direction back to our normal south east winds we normally have in the spring / summer. Thank you for your patience with the matter.

We have had some summer diseases and disorders come in during the dry spell, mainly with a patch and superficial fair rings. We have treated this with a fungicide and these will disappear in time. The greens on a whole have been consistent and true, however we have kept the moisture 7% above our KPI. Just as a contingency in case we lose our water resource.

Bunkers have been smooth raked most of the month due to the dryness of the sand. We have been trying to move sand as much as we can, however, this has been testing at times due to the wind blowing it in the corners.

The long natural rough has come up very quickly and is rather thick in places. This was due to the wet conditions in the spring, increasing the coarser grasses rather than the fine grass we want in these areas. Although it is aesthetically pleasing and has an array of wild flowers in them, we will look to trim down some of the high-volume landing zones to help playability. We also will be trimming the pathway edges to stop the grass flipping over and restricting path width.

The bees continue to thrive and these are a massive aid to us in helping with the pollination of all our flowers on the golf course and surrounding areas.

Looking forward we will continue with hand watering playing areas, adjusting bunker levels, raising sprinkler heads for water efficiency, light aeration on the greens and regular sand dustings to keep the greens trueness at the desired level.

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Look forward to seeing you on the course!

Rob Dyer, Head Greenkeeper, The Downs Course

The Park Course

As June progressed it was all hands on irrigation for both The Academy and the course. All round monitoring of the irrigation system and hand watering was a must! No rain for five weeks had the course suffering in areas. During the hottest period typically, our irrigation computer went offline for several days to add to our stress. The use of wetting agents to help break up surface tension and seaweed to help with the plant stress were used on greens, tees and aprons.

We were still able to keep our regular maintenance going on the greens to help promote firmer, truer playing surfaces with a sand dressing of eight tonnes and aeration work.

General surfaces are good with fairways being brushed to stand the plant up for a cleaner cut.

I do hear people’s concerns over the long rough areas. After years of shaping, we feel that we have got the balance right with the width of the typical landing areas and think these are more than wide enough. All the parks long rough are cut and removed every year in September to not disturb the nesting wildlife but due to a very wet spring these areas are thicker than usual. We can’t bring the cutting forward due to wild flowers and nesting animals.

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Brushing, rotary cutting and blowing the fairways to stand the plant up and to give them a nice clean even finish
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Using a 10mm pencil tine to break up compaction and give roots air channels to develop and grow. The greens were rolled and cut to keep the trueness.
Hand watering dry spots on the greens and collars to keep moisture even and consistent.
Irrigation repairs and maintaining is a continuous job for Scott. Good job he’s good at it!
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The new Academy path has been installed and looking great. A little dusty at first, but all it needs is some rain to settle it down. The new greens are coming on well, regular cutting and feeding has seen them transform.
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Look forward to seeing you on the course!

Simon Berry, Head Greenkeeper, The Park Course

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