The latest from our Head Greenkeepers from both courses.
The Park Course
It is lovely to finally have golf back enjoying all our hard work but I must say it was nice for the course to have a break after the hectic summer months. It was an ideal time to concentrate on some project work around the course. The greens and tees enjoyed the rest and some well needed deep aeration work, 13mm tines going 250mm in depth certainly broke up some compaction in the soil profile allowing them to breathe a little. We applied our organic granular fertiliser on the greens which will keep up their health through this next period.
Scroll through the gallery below to see what we've been up to.
Look forward to seeing you on the course!
Simon Berry, Head Greenkeeper, The Park Course
The Downs Course
I think we can all agree it’s been a strange and tough year for everyone. As I write this blog, the course overall, is in good condition. The greens are fairly healthy for the time of year, albeit with a few disease scars due to the extremely high disease pressure in the last 10 weeks. Warm, moist weather (warmest November on record) has spread the turf grass disease Microdochium nivae or Fusarium, even though preventive fungicides have been applied. Currently in the sports turf industry we are no longer able to use a number of chemicals we used to use to control turf diseases, the chemicals now available to us are now weaker and do not last as long as previous fungicides, due to regulations which are trying to lower soil contamination. The valley holes, 1st and putting green have been hit the worst, due to high humidity on these holes, as they have a different climate to the rest of the course. During the winter months we concentrate more on plant health, having a thicker sward in the green to help with wear and tear and to keep the green from becoming thin and weak, which will lead to decreased disease attacks.
Whilst on chemical restrictions, there are no longer any products available on the market to deal with worm castings. Currently we are having issues with the amount of worm castings on the 18th fairway and had some compaction issues before the 2nd Lockdown. We were struggling to get machinery onto the 18th fairway and tried to aerate the area using both our verti-drainer and hollow corer. Unfortunately, these were un-successful, as the large stones in the soil profile damaged our machinery within a few meters of operation. However, we did manage to de-compact the fairway using a shockwave machine, which put cracks in the profile and aided water movement through the soil. This worked very well on the fairway, we decided to do the whole 18th hole and it has really firmed up the whole area. We also applied 20 tonne of sand to the fairway to deter worm activity and help dry out castings, making them easier to brush off.
We have completed some of the bunker renovation project on holes 5,6,7 and 8. This consisted of removing existing sand, changing the bases so we can provide more consistent sand levels, lining the bunker bases with turf to act as a barrier for any chalk contaminating the bunker, then changing the sand over to the new china clay sand. We will look to renovate the 16th and 17th bunkers in the new year.
Fairway surfaces in general have come back extremely well after a tera rake, which scratched the surface and removed some of the dead matter in the upper profile. Followed by a good germination rate from the fescue seed, which was over seeded in October, has brought back nearly all the areas which were struggling.
Looking forward into the new year, we will continue with our organic fertiliser program to change the characteristics of the soil profile, creating a beneficial microbe soil which will help in the future against turf diseases and increase nutrient availability in the soil. Also, with increased cultural practices, such as verti-cutting, scarifying and topdressing, the greens performance will gradually improve, becoming firmer and faster, as well as becoming more consistent. You may start to notice a few changes on the course, as we progress with our ecology plan, this will include raising canopies of woodland areas, planting trees and hedges, creating wildlife habitats and increasing wild flower areas.