After having had a long dry spell, wet weather did return during February, although the strong winds have continued throughout. Despite this, we have coped well and have had very little disruption on the course compared to many others.
For a good portion of the month we concentrated almost solely on the greens.
It’s hard to believe but the month started with the irrigation system being fired up, as many areas required water, esecially newly laid turf.
With rain finally in the forecast though, we took the opportunity to get a granular fertiliser onto all greens. A combination of Nitrogen, Potassium, along with some micronutrients, the product used will help strengthen the turf and instigate some leaf and root growth.
This is in response to weakening in the turf being caused by leatherjackets feeding, but isn’t common practice for us to use fertiliser in this form or at this time of year.
Birds are continuing to peck at the surface, causing quite a bit of mess, but nothing too lasting. Unfortunately we have been unable to sheet anymore greens overnight due to the persistently strong winds, but we hope to have more success in March.
Aeration was carried out using narrow 8 mm tines. This will help water percolation, relieve compaction and create space for new root development, but caused minimal disruption to the playing surface.
Overall the condition of the greens is pleasing despite the ongoing challenges, with the fine grass dominanted surfaces consistently perfoming well.
In continuing to become more and more sustainable, we are to begin composting all green waste produced by our facility, including waste from the kitchen. In preparation we have been clearing an area to efficiently turn the waste into good quality compost that can be reused.
Gavin will explain more in his blog, which is available by clicking the link at the bottom of this update.
Access has been created to the site using stone from the removing the old buggy paths under the bridge. Starting on Hummersea, stone has been used to create a hard standing track to the composting site to enable efficient maintenance.
After removing the stone the path has been back filled with soil and returfed. It’s going to be a long process removing all the pathways and we aim to do so bit by bit, when we have spare time and/or when we can make use of the stone elsewhere.
Back on the course we have done some work to further improve green surrounds.
The low area left of Jaws green has always been difficult to mow due to the sharp undulations and it often sat wet after rain, with the heavy nature of the soil. The turf was also dominated by coarse Ryegrass and combination of these factors led to very unsatisfactory playing conditions.
After removing the turf we filled the area with sandy rootzone, recontouring to soften the undulations and then returfed with quality fine fescue turf.
Also we have completed recent changes to the green surrounds on Toon’s Tier.
Mounding had been created on the right of the Par 3 green to prevent water flowing onto the green during heavy rainfall. More mounding has been added at the back of the green to connect the new mounds with the existing mounds, which will now push water around the green and away.
The heavy soil in the same area has also been removed and replaced with sandy rootzone before being returfed.
Most of the green surrounds have now been either sand capped, drained or mounded up and will drastically improve the playing conditions all year round.
The mounding has also added more character to the hole and it is likely more work will be carried out of this nature in the future to the area short of the green, which also suffers during the winter months.
Most of the servicing has been completed, with blades sharpened as well. This winters schedule has been made easier though by some very welcome investment.
Two reconditioned fairway mowers have come in to replace the single machine previously used. This will make a huge difference to our ability to maintain high standards to both the fairways and green surrounds, especially with the increasing amount of golf on the course making it more difficult to keep ahead of play.
Although we continue to experience challenging times economically, whenever there has been an opportunity to invest and make progress, every effort has always been made to do so.
Whislt in the workshop, the team have also painted all tee markers ready to go out in March. New flags, pins and hole cups have also been ordered and will be put out at the same time.
With the course already in good condition, we hope to hit the ground running as we approach the start of the playing season.
We still have new sand to add to the bunkers, with all newly constructed bunkers due to be brought into play as well.
Work will ramp up on Rawcliffe green too, as turf has now fully rooted and we aim to provide a smooth surface as quickly as possible.
Overall though it will be time to focus purely on turf maintenance so that playing conditions are at their best when competetive golf returns.