After a wet winter, we are now heading into spring, but April certainly hasn’t seen a let up, with all kinds of weather being thrown at us. More heavy rain, mist and fog, hail, sleet, frost and even snow affecting us throughout the month with sometimes all of the above on the same day! We have seen some sun too though and despite the adverse weather the course is good.
The challenge at the beginning of the month was trying to carry out mowing on the course. Many areas were in need of cutting, but due to ground conditions being so wet with the seemingly endless rainfall, getting machines onto the course had proved difficult. One big plus though regarding the course here at Hunley, is once the rain stops things do improve rapidly and within a couple of days we were able to get out and begin to catch up with the mowing. All key areas have now seen a mower with greens, tees, fairways, semi rough and intermediate rough all being mown a few times now and definition is good.
One area that we haven’t really had much time on is cutting and collecting areas of long rough. Since purchasing the Weidennamn Super 500 back in February, we have had very little opportunity to use it. However, we did get a few days with it towards the end of the month and it is clear to see how big an impact this machine will have in the years to come. Being able to thin out the rough and reduce it’s growing vigour, will not only help to promote the finer grasses more akin to a natural looking golf course, but also will improve the environment for more diverse wildlife. In the long term this will give the golf course much greater definition whilst also reducing the regular mowing required on the course which will significantly lower our carbon footprint.
Greens have received some attention through the month with the deep spiker in use, this time though with 8 mm tines at a depth of around 150 mm. We have also verti-cut the greens, which is a bit like scarifying, the difference being that the verti-cut mower has more blades but the blades don’t go as deep into the turf. Next was to apply some nutrition to the turf and this was done through a liquid application of nitrogen and seaweed put onto the greens with our boom sprayer. Also using the sprayer, with the final work of note on the greens, we applied for the first time the wetting agent known as revolution. This helps water distribution throughout the soil profile preventing dry patch forming whilst helping with water percolation. The key with all of these operations is while we are carrying out essential maintenance, there is minimal disruption caused to the surface which in turn reduces the detrimental impact the work has on the enjoyment of golf.
All recently refurbished bunkers are now in play with a total of 9 bunkers altered this last winter. Some of the bunkers have been relocated, some filled in, some new ones added and some simply rebuilt, but all of the work on the bunkers will improve the enjoyment of playing the course. Everything has been considered, from a strategic point, relating to how the holes are affected by the bunkers, to the condition that they will be found in on a day to day basis.
Other tasks to have been carried out through April have been top dressing newly turfed areas, divoting tees, painting new hazard marker posts, replenishing pathways with aggregate and the new front lawn has been getting cut and is now back in use.
Greens are going to be top dressed this month and we will be treating some parts of the course with selective herbicide to reduce turf weeds and in particular clover. Most of our work now though will consist of routine maintenance.
We can only hope for an improvement to the weather in May, but one thing that is for sure is that when the sun is out, there aren’t many better places to be golfing than here at Hunley!