I’d like to start this month’s blog with a huge thank you to members Andrew Kershaw, Simon Watson, John Dane, Barry Holford and Barry Cannon for giving up their time to assist the greenkeeping staff in the greens maintenance we carried out at the beginning of the month. Without them the process would have been very time consuming and all of my team really did appreciate the effort they put into the day.
The maintenance on the greens using the dryject machine to inject sand into the soil profile has worked well and with it being the first time we completed this operation, the results have been pleasing to see. The greens have become more receptive to approach shots, as well as percolation rates increasing. The greens are currently running at 90% true and with a few more light dustings, plus scarifying in early October, it will create a purer surface to putt on.
In the upcoming months we will start to prepare for the winter months, therefore we will be increasing our aeration programme and focusing on hollow coring tees and aprons which are in desperate need of some aeration work with the high volume of golf which is played on the course. We will also be fertilising more areas to aid in plant health and recovery as they begin to get worn. Please follow any traffic management signs in the upcoming months to protect areas in need of a rest.
The natural long rough has started to be cut down, with a few areas left as I write this. This has taken longer than expected, due to this year’s thickness of rough, which has been caused by the amount of rainfall this year which has promoted the coarser grasses, rather than the prepared finer species.
With regards to the ecology of the course this month, we have checked the trees from last year’s planting and they have had a 90% success rate, which is rather high for first year establishment. This again was due to the amount of rainfall we had during July and August.
Look forward to seeing you on the course!
Rob Dyer, Head Greenkeeper, The Downs Course
The Park Course
It has been greens maintenance time! Why do we do greens maintenance again?
The reason maintenance is carried out is to aerate the soil profile and thatch reduction.
What is thatch?
Thatch is a layer of grass roots, stems and debris that accumulate over a period of time. A thin layer is acceptable but too much thatch will hold water like a sponge.
Here are the tasks that are undertaken during maintenance and what they involve:
Scarifying – Slicing the surface in two directions on the green to the depth of 10mm. This operation removes thatch and creates a seed bed for our bent seed.
Overseeding – Broadcasting 4kg per green of bent seed into the channels created by the scarifying.
Solid Tines – Aerating the surface using 13mm tines going to the depth of 75mm. With the volume of golf that is played on our greens, the ground becomes compacted meaning drainage is less efficient and the root system becomes a lot shallower due to being starved of enough oxygen. Creating the holes allows air, moisture and nutrients to be absorbed more easily. This task also helps the reduction of thatch.
Top dressing - Sand will be brushed into the holes to replace the removed material and dilute thatch and restore levels and firmness which will improve drainage and the overall quality and health of the greens profile. We have reached our target of applying over 150 tonnes of sand on the greens this year.
Why do we cut and collect our natural areas?
Thins out and removes unwanted weeds/coarse grasses
Allows natural fescue grasses a chance to grow by not being over powered by the coarser grasses
Allows wild flowers to flourish
Gives the courses definition whilst still maintaining its playability
Carried out this time of year so it doesn't impact on nesting birds or wildlife
We look forward to seeing you on the course!
Simon Berry, Head Greenkeeper, The Downs Course
The Park Course
The Park Course winds effortlessly around the beautiful 18th Century parkland surrounding Goodwood House.