Tee to Green May

19th May 2023

The latest from our Head Greenkeepers of The Downs and Park courses.


The Downs Course

From the start of the year, we have only used the watering system once until the middle of May. This is extremely rare and not something I thought I’d write in a blog, as we normally start watering in the first week of March. This will explain why the course is so green at present.

We continued our scheduled work on the greens to prepare for the season. This included regular sand dustings and brushing of the putting green surfaces. We also looked at tournament preparation for The Brabazon Trophy, however, this did not change a lot from our regular routine. Green speeds for the tournament day were at 9.7 on the stimp. To put that in perspective, during the summer for the Club Championships they normally stimp at 10.4. The reason they were slower was down to the moisture holding in the greens, which was averaging at 38% on the valley holes and 30% on the top Downland holes. This was again due to the amount of rain we had in the previous weeks. However the greens were 100% true from our KPI (Key Performance Indicators) readings, which was extremely pleasing to see.

Within the last month, Tees have been granular fertilised to aid recovery, then applied with a growth regulator to control the growth, as this was extremely high in the beginning of May. We also sprayed the apron complexes and fairways with a liquid foliar feed, with a growth regulator mixed in.

The bunkers which were low on sand were topped up to the desirable level this month, with the faces and edges also being trimmed too. This will now be part of our summer routine. We have also destoned a few of the worse bunkers and will continue to do this throughout the year.

The long natural rough has started to increase in length, and more importantly, the wild flowers have now started to flower, which will increase insect and bird activity in these areas. We also saw the first butterflies appear this month. The bio-diversity in these areas are extremely beneficial and important to the site, so please do not take any buggies or trollies into these areas when looking for balls.

In the upcoming months we will look to keep the presentation up on the course, and micro manage some of the problem areas we have, the 2nd and 3rd fairway for example, which will involve extra feeds and wetting agent to increase sward density. Hand watering will be essential this year to keeping playing surfaces consistent, so please be patient if we are hand watering in the mornings and afternoons.

On Sunday 25 June, you can join me on a Nature Walk to see the Goodwood Bees on The Downs course. This is a Kennels event so if you would like to come along or interested in finding out more, please click here. I hope to see you there!


Look forward to seeing you on the course!

Rob Dyer, Head Greenkeeper, The Downs Course

The Park Course

The course is presenting well and greens are recovering from the hollow core maintenance. We have sprayed our soil and foliar feeds throughout the month which resulted in the greens having a more uniform growth and consistent conditions. Foliar feeds are absorbed rapidly by the plant so the turf gets the nutrients it needs quickly and efficiently. We also applied a light sand top dressing of eight tonnes which was brushed into the sward. Benefits of this include the sand diluting the thatch layer which helps aid trueness and speeds. We will continue to sand dress every two weeks with the aim to have applied a minimum of 150 tonnes throughout the year. The mowing heights on the greens will be reduced to 3.5mm and with regular brushing and rolling, we are confident the speeds will stay consistent.

The fairways, tees and aprons have both received a fertiliser to help encourage a more consistent growth, thick coverage and improved colour.

In recent weeks it has been noticeable that unrepaired pitch marks have got a lot worse. When your ball kicks off line or jumps in the air it’s not always the greenkeeper’s fault so please repair your pitch marks.

The 6-hole par 3 course and short game area at The Academy is really gathering pace now. Seed has started to germinate and with around the clock watering, we have what is starting to look like greens. We have already been rolling with a hand mower and the first cut took place on the 18 May. We will continue with cutting and rolling the greens by hand and reduce the heights gradually. If you’re going to The Academy, please can we ask that you use the pathway and keep off newly seeded areas.

Another string to The Park teams bow is the ability to help out other departments and put our skills to good use. Scott has used his expertise to help with Goodwoof and you can see some of his great work below!


Look forward to seeing you on the course!

Simon Berry, Head Greenkeeper, The Park Course

  • gettyimages-2695588.jpg

    Stories from the Estate

    Welcome to the future

  • sir-stirling-moss-fos-1995-james-bareham-mail-on-sunday.jpg

    Stories from the Estate

    Greatest Racing Driver of All Time

  • palace-gardens-tile.jpg

    Stories from the Estate

    Natural Selection