Tee to Green March

01st April 2024

The latest from our Head Greenkeepers of both courses...

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The Downs Course

Well, another record month with regards to rainfall. I read a post on X last week which said it's been the wettest month, the wettest three months, the wettest year and the wettest 18 months since records began. Therefore, you can understand why the course has been closed so many times over the winter. The weather patterns are certainly changing and it is becoming extremely difficult to predict what type of weather we are going to get in the future. Which, in turn, makes our job a lot harder when it comes to spray windows and trying to get foliar feeds down with no rainfall afterwards.

However, with all that said, the course has performed extremely well over the winter and we are starting to see recovery from the harsh winter. The walk offs on 5 and 18 have rooted in well and will be in play very soon. The strike mat zones have been a good success and has really improved the customer journey too. These will also be removed in the upcoming weeks.

Course maintenance was completed this month. There was a bit of uncertainty on doing the two processes of GKB (Scarification and sand slits to a depth of 35mm ) and hollow coring (10mm hollow core to a depth of 60mm at 50mm square spacings). This was the first time we have done these processes together. The cores were then cleaned up by core collector and greens blown as best as we could. There are still some cores present on some of the surrounding areas off the collars and aprons, but these will reduce in time. Surprisingly it was raining on the first day and we struggled with the clean-up of the greens, and whilst removing the cores, we have a bit of smearing over the holes. After all the greens were cleared, we sprayed a dew dispersant product which kept the greens drier for top dressing on the Thursday. This application really did help us, and we managed to get about 35 tons of sand back into the greens. However, we still have holes which need filling up. We would have liked to have added more sand, but it was not drying quick enough to get into the profile. With rain present on the Friday and forecast throughout the weekend, we took the decision to apply a granular fertiliser to the green and aprons to aid recovery. Then catch up with sand dressings in the upcoming weeks.

The greens will be bumpy and slow for a while until we get good recovery. I know this can be frustrating, especially when the greens have been performing so well, but looking forward the greens should perform better than last year and will only improve in the upcoming years, as we complete more cultural practices, which they desperately need.

The rumble strips around the pathway edges were also meant to be painted whilst the course was shut, however the weather put a halt to that, as the paint wouldn't dry. These will now be done at the end of April / early May time.

We have lost a rather significant tree on the 1st hole, as most of you would have seen. Luckily the course was closed when this came down at around Midday of the closure. This was dealt with by Goodwood's forestry team, due to the vast size of it, we need to reinstate the playing surface. However, this is proving difficult with rather large roots being present at the surface. It does open up the hole a lot more now and will also give us extra space on the walk on / off area.

The badgers have been very active this month. Mainly on fairways 11,14,15 and 16. We have repaired these areas as best we can with seed and divot mix.

Around some of the poorer bunker edges we have added cores from the greens to fill in any scruffy areas, to bring grass back to these areas. We will also be adding cores to some pathway edges and bare areas across the course. These will also have seed and fertiliser applied to them to increase germination.

Greens Maintenance. GKB machine and hollow coring greens.
Thatch Removal from one green.
Cores used to patch up the worst bunker faces.
Some fairways received a rake and brush during course maintenance.
Green surface before applying sand top dressing.
Bunker contamination after more heavy rain.
Fallen tree on the 1st hole.
Some of the worst flooding we have seen so far.

Look forward to seeing you on the course!

Rob Dyer, Head Greenkeeper, The Downs Course

The Park Course

Rain was an all too familiar look to March with over 100mm (four inches) fell during the month, but despite the poor conditions the course is presenting very well.

We undertook monthly aeration work with a 10mm tine and also a larger verti- drain to break up compaction and aid drainage. The greens are in a very good place with regular brushing and rolling which has kept them healthy and the speeds consistent. We have continued with our foliar feeds to improve grass density and soil feeds to help enhance root development. The fairways are in excellent condition and regular brushing helps the plant stand up for a cleaner cut.

The Tees and Aprons have received some aeration work with a small tine to relieve compaction. We have applied a granular fertiliser to aid strength and colour and to help kick start the recovery after a heavy winter use.

The Academy greens are in an excellent healthy condition. We continue to feed, brush and aerate in preperation for use.

Rain on The Park Course
10mm tine aerating to the depth of 75mm
2nd Fairway is presenting well
Aerating all green surrounds and approaches to enhance root development.
It sounds crazy with the amount of rain we are experiencing but with this British weather you never know! So, a full audit on the irrigation was completed to ensure we are ready when it’s called upon.
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Repair work on the 1st tee valve and box.
Repair work to some of the paths around the course, this one on the 9th was flooding. The team constructed a drain, re-laid a base and put fresh material on top.
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Let's hope the sun stays out!

Look forward to seeing you on the course!

Simon Berry, Head Greenkeeper, The Park Course

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