So far this spring we have experienced some pretty decent weather. However at the end of April temperatures took a dip, bringing back more winter like conditions.
The condition of the course is really pleasing for the time of year, with improvements made during the winter showing significant benefits to both course maintenance and playability.
More specifically our work has focused on the following areas.
With the different species of grass growing at different rates and winter damage not quite fully recovered, the greens are still not quite perfect yet. They are still performing well though and are almost where we would want them to be for the season ahead. Below are some of the processes carried out on the greens:
- Regular mowing to refine the turf and provide good surfaces for putting.
- The application of wetting agent to help maintain a uniform level of moisture in the soil and reduce irrigation needs. This is used as part of a program with one application per month through the growing season.
- Applications of soluble fertiliser have been made to encourage growth. Seaweed mixed with ammonium sulphate are ideal products and very effective when looking to stimulate growth during colder periods.
- Top dressing is applied to maintain firm surfaces and also repair any blemishes in the surface.
Every year the fairways have shown improvement as the turf matures. This success is down to a number of factors.
- The reduction of coarse ryegrass through the use of ’Rescue’ has allowed the finer grasses to increase and slowly begin to dominate.
- Regular aeration has improved the soil structure and allowed the turf to develop better root systems.
- Regular mowing and a lower height of cut has encouraged the turf to tiller (create new shoots), which has resulted in a denser turf. We recently dropped the height to 12 mm, this has also improved presentation and the lie of the ball when on the fairway.
Since the end of last season we have been thinning all areas of long rough. This will improve the quality of the roughs by:
- Creating a thinner sward, aiding ball retrieval.
- Allowing finer species of grass to begin to dominate the rough.
- Create better definition to the holes.
- Increase wildlife inhabiting the course
- Allowing the greens team to focus more time on other maintenance.
With many of the bunkers having been renovated or reconstructed in recent years, we now have more time to spend on keeping them in good condition for play. Each member of the greenkeeping team are now responsible for roughly 10 bunkers each which allows:
- All bunkers to be raked daily.
- Sand to be checked and bunkers topped up with new sand when needed.
- Weeding, strimming and edging kept on top of regularly.
- Problems to be seen and rectified quickly.
All members of the team have now been trained on sharpening and setting up the mowers. We are fortunate enough to have our own grinding equipment at Hunley and at the beginning of the month we had onsite training in the use of it. Now everyone is able to set up the mowers themselves and regrind the blades when needed.
All cylinder mowers were sharpened in April with new blades fitted and the quality of cut has significantly improved as a result.
Education & Inspiration!
Finally towards the end of the month I went away for a couple of days to the north of Scotland and visited Royal Dornoch, Castle Stuart (pictured) and Nairn Golf Clubs.
These clubs are rated as some of the best in the UK and the opportunity to visit these places helps us to learn and develop inspiration to bring back to Hunley. All three were suitably impressive and there were several things that we can take the trip.
One thing that did stand out though that we don’t want to lose sight of, is that Hunley is also a very special place and a venue we can all be very proud to be a part of!