Last week was the first in sometime without excessive amounts of rainfall. As a result mowing has been much easier and firm, fast running conditions have returned.
Maintenance of the course has been very much routine, with mowing the main task carried out. Raking bunkers, moving holes, collecting range balls and keeping the areas around the buildings tidy are done as and when required and everything is looking pretty good.
Some of you have asked again recently about the greens and why we don’t water them more often. Just as a recap, we only water to maintain the health of the turf and we recently purchased a moisture meter to help us do this even more accurately. The meter measures the percentage of water within the soil giving us an exact answer to how wet or dry the soil is at any one time. Although automatic irrigation systems are fantastic tools they are far from full proof, with environmental factors influencing the accuracy of the sprinklers. Wind is the biggest factor and at times using the automatic system isn’t possible but there are also other factors such as sand interfering with the rotation of a sprinkler, causing it to stick and unable to water evenly.
Using the moisture meter we can take readings on several points on each green and then add water with a hosepipe exactly where it is required, saving time and also wastage of a valuable resource.
The volumetric water content that we are aiming for is around 20%. If the reading is 20% or more then no water is required but if it drops below 20% then we would look to irrigate to correct this. A reading between 15-20% would be acceptable, but our aim is to keep the soil moisture as consistent as possible. The picture here shows the moisture meter and also the reading on the top right of the display.
Keeping consistent soil moisture levels helps prevent turf disorders such as fairy ring at bay, with extreme wet and then dry cycles bringing on their development.
From a playing point of view, firm greens require a good shot to be played from the fairway in order to control the ball accurately. The greens at Hunley are as good as any in terms of firmness, rewarding good play as a result. A good shot from the fairway will stop on the green after 1 or 2 bounces, whereas a poorly struck shot, or a shot from the rough will roll on more without the spin placed on the ball required to control it.
Heavily watered greens will hold any shot, regardless of the quality of the strike. The R & A actively discourage this type of course set up and if you’re interested to find out more at this point, there is plenty of reading on their website under the Golf Course Management section should you wish to visit it and take a look.
On that note we had some visitors to Hunley from the R & A as we hosted the first ever R & A Scholars Championship. The golf was also accompanied by some education delivered by one of golfs leading ecologists, James Hitchinson and we were able to learn plenty more about the wonderful site here at Hunley. James will be returning in due course to carry out an audit on the ecology at Hunley along with a plan for management of it.
All of the Scholars thoroughly enjoyed the course too and were very complimentary of the course and of the friendliness of everyone that they met.
We truly are very lucky aren’t we?
Finally, I was approached by one of our members with an excellent suggestion last week. Some of the ponds have began to build up algae over recent weeks and it was suggested that a small work party could soon clear the algae with a concerted effort. If anyone would like to help out for a day then please get in touch with me either on the course or via email at [email protected] We can easily arrange this so do shout out!
Thanks for reading and see you out on the course!