Tee to Green: November

28th November 2023

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


The Downs Course

With the weather finally turning cold, hopefully it brings an end to the monsoon weather we have experienced. Unfortunately, we were unable to complete our Greens maintenance using the Dryject sand injection machine, because of the extreme weather we had that week. Heavy down pours would have made it difficult to complete the process and with the risk of storms and lighting in the area, we decided to postpone this until next year. We did, however, manage to pull out a 8mm hollow core during the days we were shut, which removed some thatch/ organic matter from the putting greens. Unfortunately, it was too wet to fill these with sand, but we will continue to sand dust greens throughout the winter months to continue to dilute the thatch and increase greens firmness and trueness. We have also completed a deep tine verti-drain using 10mm tines to a depth of 200mm to relieve any deeper compaction. This will be done another three times before the playing season starts again.

Leaf litter has been continuously falling now for a few months and we have certain areas which really suffer from heavy falls (1,17,18&PG). These areas take a lot of our resources up to clear the playing areas, but we are starting to get near the end of this, as we can now see lots of empty branches on the trees, which is very pleasing to see.

Most of the playing surfaces are in good condition, greens are currently disease free, aprons, surrounds and fairways have strong grass coverage, however, some of the tees are wearing faster than normal. Therefore, we are currently using the mats on the 5th and 12th tees to allow us to recover the tee boxes and have them in good condition for next year. Some tees in the future may have grow mats on them to promote new growth in the colder temperatures, but we will monitor this, as it will be the first time we are trailing this. Fairway mats will also be in use when we deem it necessary to protect their current condition throughout the winter.

With the amount of rain we have had in the past six weeks, the bunkers have become considerably compacted and contaminated. This is mainly due to the heavy down pours eroding away the bunker turf liners on the faces and washing chalk substrate into the bunkers. We have been trying to fluff up the bunkers as best we can, however, we are still struggling to get them back to the standard required. Therefore, throughout the winter we will be adding just over a tonne of sand per bunker to increase the sand depth levels and give them a fresh look again. We will also need to re-line some of the bases on a few bunkers, as they have now become non-existent. Please be aware that this is not a quick job and will take us throughout the winter to complete this task, as we still have other winter jobs to complete too.

Other winter jobs include reconstruction of the 5th and 18th walk off areas, which are extremely worn and are problem areas around the greens. We will also be undertaking woodland management, raising canopies and clearing undergrowth. The areas we will look to complete in regards to the trees is around the 12th tee, 2nd walk way, left of 3rd tees, right side of 13th and 14th copse. We will also look to do some selected areas to expose some really nice mature trees we have on the course.

The long natural rough has nearly all been cut, with only some small areas left and some tee banks which will need to be cut down and removed by hand. The main landing zones will be raked over the winter and a second cut completed on it to remove any excess grass clippings, to promote the finer grasses next year.

Internal relationships may have broken down after we dug up the farmers field trying to find the end of the rainbow behind the 17th!
Lots of flooding in the last month
Eroded bunker edges from extreme heavy rain
Natural long tough being cut down
Aprons and surrounds in strong condition going into the winter
Greens after a 8mm hollow core
3rd woodland clearance

We look forward to seeing you on the course!

Rob Dyer, Head Greenkeeper, The Downs Course

The Park Course

The course

A challenging but very productive couple of months. This time of year, does pose a lot of issues for us to deal with, weather, badger damage, worm damage, deer damage, disease pressure and of course lots and lots of leaves.

Let’s start with the weather, a very wet and warm October with 265mm of rain fell in the last two weeks of the month and a further 195mm fell in the first two weeks of November with just over 18 inches in old money, which is why the course has been closed. But fear not, the team have been busy working hard to ensure the future is bright on The Park course.


We have done all sorts of aeration work on all areas of the course, to ensure better playability all year round.

Verti-draining fairways

The first time this job has been achieved on The Park course and Scott took the task of the fairways with a 1-inch-thick tine going to depths of 10 inches, to break up compaction which will help with drainage and improve root depth. Even though this job took two hours per fairway to complete we will see an improvement in the performance and playability through the year.


The greens are in fantastic condition and are completely disease free, our preventative and nutrition programmes are certainly doing the trick. We have taken the opportunity to deep tine the greens with a verti-drain to relieve compaction and aid drainage. Any aeration through these disease pressure months is key. As the temperatures get cooler, we have raised our height of cut and reduced our mowing so not to add unnecessary stress.


A large apple tree holds 50,000 to 100,000 leaves. A normal birch averages around 200,000 leaves. An old oak, for which we have several, have 700,000 leaves. So, bear this in mind when you see them on the ground and spare a thought for us. We have billions to pick up.

For us to mow on we spent some valuable time raising canopy’s clearing around the woodland floor to help our bluebells and wild flowers thrive.



We look forward to seeing you on the course!

Simon Berry, Head Greenkeeper, The Park Course

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