Finally April saw a change in the weather, although the first two weeks still carried on wet and cold with nearly 4 inches of rain falling. The second part of the month was much improved with dry and warm weather dominating. We are not the only ones grateful for the improved weather either, with all the many species of wildlife at Hunley much happier and more active.
Since then it has been a case of trying to catch up on all of the many tasks that need completing to get the course into the kind of condition that we have come to expect here at Hunley.
Under normal circumstances we begin mowing all areas at the beginning of March and we had planned to get all the long rough mown down for the second time since autumn too.
As the thinning of the rough is very much a process, ending the season with a full cut followed by another full cut in early spring, helps to keep the thickness at the base of the rough to a minimum as we slowly reduce the vigour of its growth.
Although the warm dry weather was most welcome, the downside to this spell following such a long period of wet weather, has been that growth has been extremely strong.
As we are at least a month behind with our cutting regime, getting the grass down to the required heights of cut has been a challenge. On the flip side, many areas of the course such as the fairways, approaches and tees are looking very healthy, which bodes well for the season ahead.
At the beginning of the month we carried on with a couple of winter projects while it was still too wet to get on the course with the mowers. This involved replacing turf on a couple of areas by the sides of greens, where coarse ryegrass species were not only unsightly, but also not in keeping with the type of course that we are trying to promote. We replaced the rye grass with fescue turf and will now be mowing these as part of the approach.
Once the weather turned the course dried up quickly and it was only then that the real extent of the winter damage was revealed.
We have 3 areas on the golf course where old land drains, that have probably not carried so much water in years, have burst out at the surface and created small fords running across the fairways. This is on the holes Morgan’s Mound, Rawcliffe and Trillo’s Torment and although these did begin to dry up after a week or so, we will definitely have to investigate further in due course. It is most likely that the old clay tiles have broken and such has been the volume of water travelling underground, the old clay tile drains have been unable to cope with the flow of water.
This will be no easy task and first we will have to find where the problem is. At that point we will be able to plot a course of action to remedy the issue.
We have also had a major job reinstating all the bunkers, with even two of the revetted bunkers that were in the path of water flowing downhill, collapsing and now requiring rebuilding from scratch before they can be returned to play.
However, despite these problems, the priority has been to carry out mowing to all areas of the course and once we are on top of the cutting, we can then return to fix both the drainage issues and damage to the two bunkers.
Below is a quick rundown of where we are:
- Greens are in good condition with a good body of grass across all of them. Mowing and rolling has been carried out regularly.
- Aprons & collars have only been cut a few times but are looking great and certainly the best they have ever been.
- Fairways have had a few cuts now although are still at 18 mm in height and not yet down to the regular height of 13 mm for the golfing season.
- Tees have had a number of cuts too and are looking good.
- Bunkers have all been tidied up with strimmers and hand mowers and just a small number are now GUR still.
- Semi rough has all been mown and although there is a little loose grass lying about, we are about back on top of it. Some areas though had to be cut by hand due to its location and also the length of the grass.
- Long rough is about 60% complete and we will continue with this in May.
We can now at least look forward to the season ahead and hopefully put this awful spell of weather behind us. We are under no illusions though and will continue to work tirelessly to give you the best possible conditions to play golf in!