The Greenkeepers report back from the courses....
JAN 02nd 2017
From Tee to Green ‑ December
The Downs Course
The weather continued to behave itself through the month of December with only 32mm (average 82mm) of rain falling through the month. This has allowed us to continue with our light maintenance programmes on the greens. Sorrel rolling, slitting and Verti-draining throughout the month to improve oxygen availability on the surface and as deep as 8”.
We have had a handful of frosty mornings through the month but temperatures have still regularly hit double figures and with heavy dews most mornings we have had to be aware of risk of disease. We are trying to avoid spraying fungicides on the Downs but we had to bite the bullet this month and sprayed in the middle of the month. We already have scars on some of the greens so we can’t afford anymore. We have continued spraying Iron when possible to help keep the plant strong whilst also using our foliar and soil feeds to keep the plant healthy during the winter months.
The tees and fairways have also been sprayed with Iron during December to help resist disease and strengthen the plant. Iron also helps give the surface a darker green colour which helps absorb more heat which is important during these cooler, darker days.
You will have noticed that over the past 4-6 weeks we have smooth raked the bunkers. This is a trail idea as we need the ball to roll into the flattest parts of the bunkers and not plug on the faces. We will be looking at new ways in which to rake the bunkers over the coming weeks and months so please bear with us until we reach the best way. It should be added that bunkers are a hazard and a player shouldn’t always get the best lie or stanch.
We have continued strimming and clearing natural areas. We are now 80% complete with just a few remaining areas. Major areas like the escarpment on the 2nd hole will be carried out in January.
Turfing some worn areas on the course has continued. The approach to the 11th tees has been completed. Path edges such as the 8th will be carried out in January although this is weather dependant.
The path curbing by the 9th tees has been dug up and concreted again using a different mixture. The paint on the curbing was chipping away very quickly and looked poor so we have used a stronger mix and it will be painted in the next few weeks when weather conditions are correct.
The course has started to become wet in places with the early rainfall in January but on the whole the course is still playing well. Please follow any traffic management signs. Your assistance at this time of the year is greatly appreciated. Some of the tees are becoming worn so we have been and will continue to move the markers onto different teeing grounds to protect them. We are still cutting greens at least twice a week and rolling once or twice depending on weather conditions.
It was great to see so many of you at the Christmas roll up. A great day was had by all and it was a great way to end the year.
See you on the course.
Andy Brown, The Downs Course Head Greenkeeper.
The Park Course
Work has continued with folia feeds to help with grass health and to improve turf density. Sorrel rolling the greens to improve aeration by putting 1” spikes into the surface to help with air flow in the top layer of the profile. Of course, disease is always threatening at this difficult time of year, spraying ferrous Sulphate of iron helps deter fusarium (it acts as an anti-septic tonic). Unfortunately, we were forced to spray a fungicide when the disease was at its most aggressive early in the month. Hand mowing twice a week has kept the greens well-presented and has kept them performing well with good smooth surfaces and modest speeds.
Considering the amount of play the tees have remained in good condition. Spraying Ferrous Sulphate of iron has deterred the worms from casting and has kept the plant strong with good colour. We continue to divot while the conditions allow.
Spraying a worm deterrent was needed on the fairways and surrounds to keep the surface free from worm casts.
We are working through our winter projects which includes- a woodland clearance programme, raising tree canopies for better playability which also produces better air flow and light to the surface, wild flower habitat management enabling them to flourish in the spring. All the course furniture has been re painted and damaged bunker edges have been re turfed.
See you on the course.
Simon Berry, The Park Course Head Greenkeeper.