It’s been a miserable winter in every way, with the obvious hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic but also from some consistently wet weather.
February started in the same fashion with first lots of rain, which then turned to snow and a lengthy spell with sub zero temperatures.
However, the end of the month saw hope return with some improvements in the weather and also with a date announced for golf to reopen in a months time.
Despite everything, as a Greenkeeping team our preparations have been similar to any other year, with the exception of being able to concentrate soley on preparations without any daily maintenance, due to noone being able to use the facilities.
When the snow was with us we were able to complete the remaining maintenance of the equipment, with all mowers now ready to go.
It was also an opportunity to use up some holidays that we had accrued over the last year.
With very little in the way of cold and settled weather, we haven’t undertaken much woodland management this winter.
But to the left of Fox Covert green there has been a dense area of Poplar trees slowly increasing in size. These are non native and a very invasive species and we have been slowly removing them around the course through the years.
When clearing the area some of the wood and branches have been left to provide habitat for various wildlife species. The area is now more in keeping with the landscape and will also benefit the nearby green, which will receive more daily sunlight.
All of the drainage work carried out recently is complete and having only had a few drier days recently, it demonstrated the success of the work.
All water quickly drained from the surfaces and we were very soon able to get out cutting, tees, fairways, approaches and semi rough, which certainly wouldn’t have been possible even last year.
We had been focused on being ready for opening earlier in March, just to ensure of being prepared, in the unlikely event of this happening. But since March 29th has been announced it has given us a bit of time to take on some extra preparation and project work.
There are still a handful of bunkers in the old style on the holes below the railway line and Dickens Dilemma is one of the more troublesome.
We have redeveloped the area where that bunker resided, with two revetted bunkers being constructed and the area surrounding them made more undulating to provide a more varied and interesting challenge to the golfer.
The area will also make for more straightforward maintenance, which will result in and overall higher quality feature.
I hope you agree that it is also a huge improvement visually as well, even before turf is relaid.
The month ahead will see greens being top dressed, bunkers cleaned out and topped up with fresh sand and all areas of turf refined with regular mowing regimes beginning.
We will also be aiming to cut and collect all the areas of golfing rough on the perimeter of each hole. But apart from that, we’re just hoping that all being well we can reopen on the 29th and welcome you all back to enjoy the fruits of our labour!
Thanks for reading