Greg’s Greenkeeping Blog April 2020

Greg’s Greenkeeping Blog April 2020

With coronavirus dominating every day life, whatever your situation, it is impossible for me to veer too far from its relevance in this update.

Many challenges have presented themselves throughout April, although there is plenty to be positive about also.  Firstly I’d like to update you on recent course maintenance, but then also inform you of perhaps what to expect should golf resume in the not too distant future.

Essential Maintenance 

My last monthly update highlighted essential maintenance guidance set out by golfs governing bodies and we have been continuing to follow this during the lockdown. 

I’m pleased to say the course is in good condition, but it is important to understand that essential work is only minimal compared to what would normally be expected at this time of year.  

Greens are in good order

What we have been doing include:

  • Mowing Greens, Tees, Fairways, Aprons & Semi Rough 
  • Watering Greens 
  • Wetting agent has been applied to maintain good turf health and reduce water requirements
  • Maintaining equipment in use, such as grinding mower blades 
Definition is excellent and the place has been looking a real picture in the spring sunshine. 

What we haven’t been doing, but would have been under normal circumstances, are:

Clover and Daisies will have to wait to be treated
  • Maintaining bunkers
  • Treating weeds such as Daisies and Clover 
  • Maintaining course furniture and other features
  • Completing winter projects or non essential repairs
  • Ecology work
Where invasive Poplar were removed, regrowth needs attention once guidance allows

Therefore many areas are not as we would like them to be and when golf does return, it will be important for everyone to lower their expectations of course conditioning.

It’s not just current restrictions though, as typical challenges are still there and other less typical difficulties are also affecting course conditions.

Further Challenges 

There are always challenges and dealing with them is just part of the job. 

During April a lack of rain has had a large influence on our efforts to maintain the course.

It’s incredible to think that a month typical for rainfall and we haven’t had a single drop in the whole month. Even when systems did arrive at the end of the month, we didn’t catch anything meaningful and in fact the last time we had anything register in the gauge was on the 8th March!

The effect of Mother Nature is understandable and we can accept that for what it is, unfortunately though, I’m sorry to say that we have suffered further serious vandalism to the irrigation system and on more than one occasion. 

It’s difficult to know what possesses these people and what is missing from their lives to want to do these things, but for us it merely adds another layer of difficulty to our daily lives.

Currently, using the automatic irrigation isn’t possible and some of the greens cant even be watered with the sprinklers, meaning many hours have been spent with the hose pipes.

On the plus side we have still managed to get sufficient water onto the greens, but this has come at the cost of lost time that could have been used elsewhere. 

In some ways a lack of rain has helped as growth has been manageable. That said, a lack of growth has hindered recovery from winter wear and tear and we desperately do need some rain to help improve general turf density across the course.

Winter damage hasn’t recovered with the soil becoming incredibly dry

May

It’s not out of the question to think we may see some golf being played again in May, provided we see a consistent reduction in the number of new Covid-19 cases. In order for this to happen, it’s important that we continue to follow government guidance until we are told otherwise.

When we do return though it will certainly be heavily restricted. The following link gives the most up to date infromation from the R&A and what to expect when you can again head for the course. We are currently working on an adapted version suitable for Hunley which will be released in due course.

https://www.randa.org/News/2020/04/Golf-in-the-UK-under-COVID-19-restrictions

Many thanks for reading and I hope everyone is keeping safe at this very difficult time.

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