The first week in February was in stark contrast to the rest of the month. All 27 holes were in play and buggies were permitted as the course became very dry. We were able to cut faiways, tees and approaches as well as greens. New bunkers were filled with sand and the season seemed in touching distance.
Once storm Ciara hit though things changed rapidly and by the time storm Dennis came the course really suffered from a level of flooding that we hadn’t seen for a couple of years. Every day there after saw more rainfall and over a weeks golf was lost due to saturated ground conditions.
Fortunately our plans as a Greenkeeping team weren’t unduly affected as much of our work involved maintenance of machinery and course furniture. The team also begun to alter the layout in the workshop to try to maximise space and improve operational effectiveness.
Turf condition is excellent, particularly the greens and this bodes well heading into spring. All previously undertaken construction work is bedding in nicely and new turf has had it’s first cut.
With the flooding being so severe, we did take the opportunity to rectify a few problem areas that became more of a priority as a result of the excessive rain fall.
Drains have been added in front of Warsett green and on the right of Reddings fairway. Also a blocked drain on the right of Morgan’s Mound was excavated and in the end, an open ditch replaced the run of pipe that had become blocked by tree roots.
The new hole layout on Rawcliffe will be introduced next month and in February the last bunker has been added just short of the green to tighten up the approach. It’s been 20 months since construction of the green began, with 5 new bunkers added and the previous 5 filled in. The hole will now play as a Par 4 measuring 426 yards from the back tees and will take the Morgan’s course from a Par of 73 down to 72.
Obvious benefits of the changes are that the green is now visible for approach shots, has a much fairer putting surface with less severe undulations and offers a much better mix of holes on the front 9.
Overall despite some very challenging weather, we have the course exactly where we want it and once the season starts there will be no pressure on us to get things up to speed.
Work in March will be very routine, with mowing, top dressing, aeration, pitch mark and divot repair all on the agenda.
All new or refurbished furniture will be put out and as already mentioned, the opening of the new layout on Rawcliffe will be introduced for all to enjoy. Exciting times are ahead for Hunley and it’s great to be part of things here, even despite the shocking recent weather!