The latest from our Head Greenkeepers from The Park and Downs Courses
The Downs Course
August has been a good recovery month with a good amount of rainfall (75mm). The greens have been a bit of a roller-coaster ride this month. We got hit with a fungal disease called take-all patch, and we also had a lot of fairy rings starting to appear on the greens. This was sprayed with a fungicide to check the disease and decrease the size. We then applied a high rate of carbohydrates spray to increase plant health and the micro-biology in the soil. We then applied a half-rate granular feed to aid in recovery. The greens have recovered well and there is little scaring on the greens which is pleasing to see.
The weather caused our maintenance day to be problematic and unfortunately, we were not able to apply the 15 tonnes of sand planned, however, the following day we applied 10 tonnes of sand, followed by another 8 tonnes a week later.
Our liquid soil feed and foliar feeds continue, however after the attack of disease, the growth regulator was removed from mixture to increase growth slightly to aid recovery of the scaring. Therefore green speed is a bit slower than normal at the end of the month, however, speeds have increased with additional rolling during the week.
The tees and aprons have had a -5mm vert cut, solid tine, plus both had a granular feed this month to help the recovery of some of the bare areas. Also, the bare areas have been overseeded using a seed drill to promote new growth. Fairways 11, 15 and the first half of 16 have also been overseeded to try and recover some of the areas which have not recovered from last year’s drought. These areas are now being watered every night to chit the seed and promote the new growth.
We are taking out the ash trees on the 13th as part of our forestry's team commitment to removing the infected ash trees from across the estate. The disease, Ash Die-Back is a fungal infection that defoliates the trees and works its way into the stems and finally kills the trees. Infected trees will eventually fall apart or fall over. This can take several years which is why they have prioritised certain areas over others. The thinning work on the 4th, 5th and 6th was also part of this project and there will be further works across both golf courses in the next few years. Removing the ash is the first part of the plan which will be followed by replanting of the woodland edges as they are covered by the woodland management plan which is agreed with the Forestry Commission. This agreement ensures that woodland is protected and commits us to preserve this environment. To that end, the Forestry Department will be working with the golf team to replant broadleaf species to recreate the woodland edge for both habitat and aesthetic appeal.
The courses natural rough areas have been extremely impressive this month, with an array of colour and bio-diversity being found in them. Even though we call it natural rough, the area is a well-managed area of the course which use cultural and chemical practices to thin out the coarser grasses and allow the finer leaf grasses to spread. It has taken years of work to get it to how it is now. The natural rough on holes 2-16 are now thinner, whisperer and have a huge variety of wildflowers in them. We have pesticide restrictions on holes 1, 17 & 18 due to the Estate borehole, therefore if you look at the rough on the left side of the 18th you will see how it used to be as we can only cut and collect this area.
The wildflowers have been improving each year, and we have seen a massive improvement since we have put a beehive on the course. The honey bees, amongst other bees and pollinators, have really helped to produce these beautiful flowers. Our honey bees, unfortunately, died over the winter months, as mice managed to get into the hive and eat away the winter honey supply. We added a small swarm (or cast swarm) earlier on in the year, these bees have done extremely well and the colony has grown well. On the last inspection, we managed to see the queen and colony are very healthy. As they were such a small colony we have decided not to remove any honey this year, as we would like them to have a good honey supply for the winter months and extract next year when they are producing a good amount. I would like to thank Rosie Wheeler from the Gardens Department for helping with catching the swarm from the estate and helping with the inspections.
Look forward to seeing you on the course!
Rob Dyer, Head Greenkeeper, The Downs Course
The Park Course
Its been business as usual on the course,74mm of rain throughout the month and the recent high temperatures has given us a nice growth boost, which has helped our re-seeding programme on some of the damaged areas throughout the course.
The greens have received a verti-cut, slicing the surface of the green with blades close together to thin the surface and remove any lateral growth standing the plant up for a cleaner cut.
We have top dressed seven tonnes of sand over the greens and this was brushed into the surface and then rolled. Our goal is to top-dress a total of 100 tonnes of sand on the greens over a year which we are on track to do. Another 20-30 tonnes will be applied early next month on our maintenance days. Soil and foliar feeds continue on the greens through the month.
The tees have been fertilised with a slow-release granular to keep the sward thick with a good colour regular divoting and overseeding.
Our cutting programme continues to be three times a week with regular maintenance including brushing to help produce carpet-like surfaces. Another treatment of selective weed kill was carried out to eliminate small patches of clover.
The bunkers have been edged back and trimmed and sand depths regularly monitored to ensure good playability. In the coming weeks and months, we will be pushing forward with our aeration programme on greens and tees. Regular pencil tinning, sorrel rolling and slitting through the playing surface to ensure as much air gets into the profile as possible.
Continue to repair your pitch marks!
See you on the course!
Simon Berry, Head Greenkeeper, The Park Course
Meet the team...
Get to know the Greenkeepers who took tirelessly to get you out onto the golf course, this month, meet Rob Dyer, Head Greenkeeper of The Downs Course
What is your role at Golf At Goodwood
"I am the Head Greenkeeper of The Downs course."
What do you most enjoy about your role?
"Working with nature is fantastic, albeit frustrating at times. I really do enjoy the member walks around the course and giving them an insight into what we do and why we do it. I enjoy seeing the surprise on people’s faces when they realise how scientific the job actually is and the in-depth planning which goes into course set-up and maintenance. It’s not just cutting grass!"
"It would have to be Justin Rose, Jack Nicklaus and Miguel Angel Jimenez."
Best golfing achievement?
"I haven't played serious competitive golf since I was a junior, however on my honeymoon I came second out of 50 in a pool pitching contest under the influence of tequila!"
Something that our Members wouldn’t know about you...
"As a Crystal Palace fan, I have played on the pitch at Selhurst Park (my home of dreams, or nightmares…… I’m still trying to decide)."
What’s your favourite thing about working at Goodwood?
"The people, I can honestly say I have laughed every day in the 14 and a half years I have been working here."
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
"A commercial pilot. Unfortunately, I was told I was colour blind when I left school. In later years whilst doing my private pilot’s licence, improved testing diagnosed I wasn’t. However, looking back at my life experiences and greenkeeping career I would not have changed a thing. I feel extremely privileged to be in the position I am and being given the challenge of improving the course every year."