April showers, without the showers. Dry and cold is becoming the norm in spring, with low temperatures and north and easterly winds a regular theme.
After a milder March, we have gone backwards a bit, however the dry weather has at least been good for getting out golfing and taking advantage.
Leatherjacket Problem continues
Aside from the constantly challenging weather patterns, our main struggle is still coming from Leatherjacket activity on the greens. In response our best defense against the problem has been with laying visqueen sheets on the greens over night after giving the green a good soaking. When removing the sheets the following morning, the grubs that have come to the surface are collected and we’ve been feeding them to the birds.
We are very grateful to the members who volunteered their time to come and help with the clear up on several occasions at the end of the month. With a lot to get through, the extra help allowed us to get caught up on many areas of cutting, most notably on a few areas of fringing rough that was beginning to thicken up.
We have now sheeted and cleared 12 greens, removing many thousands so far.
We will continue with this approach in May until we are satisfied that any damage has receded enough for the turf to recover.
Despite the obvious diffciulties, there are two positive points to finish on.
Firstly, some of the greens sheeted so far are showing excellent signs of recovery with damaged areas filling in nicely.
Secondly, we are going to be trialling some products that appear to be having some success against the pests over the next year. We obviously hope this trial proves successful and will provide updates as and when we have any news.
Despite the imperfections, we feel we are coping well with everything currently being thrown at us, certainly at least as well as can be expected.
The course is very dry, with fast running conditions already prominent.
Definition is good and preferred lies have now been removed.
Peripheral areas of the site still aren’t where we would like them to be, such as the practice short game area and the grounds surrounding the buildings and car parks. Please bare with us as we endeavour to get to these parts of the facilities attended to more effectively.
Unfortunately we still haven’t taken delivery of the new tractor as hoped. Although we were told March, this had to be put back to April. With April having now passed us by, it is clear that we could be in for a long wait as the dealer is reluctant to now give any timescale.
Supply issues are across all different sectors and is a global problem. As such we have to remain patient and hope for good news soon.
Contingency plans have been made to lessen the impact, but it is another real blow.
We are looking to contract out more work should there be a need, as we are still a little below the ideal numbers of staffing as well as being a tractor down.
The dry conditions look set to continue in May so irrigation is going to be key.
Again we have issues with our system due to it’s age, however with a new pump installed last year we do at least have the ability to get water to all greens.
Most of the issues are linked to the automated system, so night time irrigating is currently off limits for us.
We hope to get a contractor on site to assist with repairs so we can focus on key maintenance, but watering is going to have to be carried out manually for now.
Greens will be top dressed as conditions have become more suitable and I expect this to be completed without any impact on play.
Although we have been spot treating weeds on fairways, a couple are quite bad for both clover and daisies. We may have to blanket spray these in the next few weeks, but other than that the turf is clean and in good condition across the course.
As the fringing rough continues to thicken, you will see us out selectively cutting and collecting areas as and when required.
For now though that’s all this month in the blogs, but please feedback any thoughts or questions to [email protected]