August has been an eventful month at Hunley, which I guess you would expect, but there are a few things for me to report back on in this months blog.
- Annual summer visit and report from the STRI (Sports Turf Research Institute)
- Our hosting of the first R & A Greenkeeping Scholars Championship
- Course condition and procedures through August
- Winter Program being compiled
At the beginning of the month, our Agronomist Adam Newton visited to carry out performance testing on the greens and to make recommendations for us to focus on over the coming months.
Soil moisture, firmness, smoothness and trueness measurements are taken giving us good objective information on which to assess the quality of the playing surface.
As always there is room for improvement, however the progress being made is very encouraging. Below are the main headlines from Adam’s report:
- The course coped very well with 35 mm of rain prior to the visit. The greens in particular were retaining good firmness and not overly softening.
- Ball roll quality is currently being held back by a thin sward and procumbent growth.
- Grass species composition continues to transition superbly towards fine grass dominance.
- Organic matter reduction remains a key goal.
- Rooting is superb.
- Controlling clover populations in the semi-rough has been challenging and the method/timing of selective herbicide application was discussed.
- Rough grassland work is proving fruitful, with the playability and appearance of fringing roughs improving. This work is ongoing but some excellent progress is being made.
The full report is now available and anyone interested in reading it can email me on [email protected] and I’ll forward on a copy.
R&A Scholars Championship
On the 17th August we were host to the first inaugural R&A Scholar Golf Championships. R&A Scholars are Greenkeepers that have been recognised for their ambition and attitude towards golf and it’s future, click here – click this link to watch a short film explaining a little more about the program.
As for the day itself, there was an opportunity for some learning, firstly with myself giving a presentation on Hunley and how the course has been developed in recent years. Secondly, with both an excellent presentation and course walk, James Hutchinson, the Sustainability Executive from BIGGA (British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association), gave an education on ecology on a golf course and how to develop it, along with ways to manage the environment in a more sustainable way.
Wendy Cole (Manager of Sustainability) and Steve Isaac (Director of Golf Course Management) from the R&A also attended the event and it was a real honor to half them present.
The golf finished off the event with 18 holes around the challenging Morgan’s course, with everyone thoroughly enjoying the experience. We were very proud at Hunley to be the first to host the event and we all look forward to visiting another Scholars venue at next years event.
- The course remains in prime condition with Clover populations being the main drawback within the turf.
- Greens have been well managed through the month with a recent application of organic fertiliser helping to thicken the sward.
- Rough continues to improve with the more lush areas cut and collected once ball retrieval becomes an issue.
We are in the process of putting together a schedule for improvement work to be carried out during the off season. This will be released in due course once completed but here are the key areas that are to be developed this winter.
- Hollow coring and overseeding of the greens to be carried out in October
- Vertical draining of the fairways to be carried out in November by contractors
- The 1st tee areas are to be developed. Tees are to be levelled and the surrounding areas landscaped to improve aesthetics
- Metcalfe’s Ace to be shortened with new tees installed.
- Bunker revetting will continue with all green side bunkers to be refurbished
- Gorse and woodland management to be carried out to improve ecological value