You could say that July is our biggest month of the year. This is certainly the case when it comes to our membership, with both Captains day and Club Championship falling in this month.
As a rule the course is normally dry and burnt off at this time, however July has seen the most rain of any month in 2017. As a result growing conditions have been strong, meaning the bulk of our work has been mowing and the course is unusually green too.
In our job you never get the ideal weather, as there are always pros and cons, irrespective of what comes from above. Just recently, the persistent rainfall along with the warmth of summer, has kept things growing consistently which has certainly been beneficial to the condition of the short turf, with tees, fairways, aprons and greens all showing excellent turf density. They are easily in the best condition over the 5 summers I have been at Hunley.
On the downside, the increased growth has caused the golfing rough to become thicker and the problem clover causes has become more of a prominent in the turf.
Here’s a quick run through how we’ve managed the course during this time.
- We mow on average 5-6 days out of 7 every week. We select the rest days on the quietest of the week but sometimes also prior to top dressing with the extra grass helping the sand to incorporate into the sward. This increased to daily mowing towards the second part of the month.
- Verti cutting was carried out in July to help refine the sward while lifting up any lateral growth. This gets the leaf blades standing more upright, which improves the roll of the ball.
- Top dressing with sand was also carried out. This keeps the surfaces smooth with the sand filling in any imperfections on the greens, but it also helps to maintain a firm and free draining surface.
- Applications of fertiliser are used in small amounts at this time of year, mainly to replace nutrients lost from daily mowing. It is also to keep the variety of turf grass species more uniform though, which is important in order to keep the surfaces even and playing consistently from one green to the next.
- Aeration is carried out as often as possible, it is vital for the health of the turf and cannot be carried out too much. Increasing the air in the soil helps in numerous ways, from improved drainage, better rooting opportunity for the finer turf grass species, improved soil health and so on and so on. Last month we deep tined with our Procore on 2 separate occasions using 8 mm diameter tines to a depth of approximately 150 mm. We use these tines in the summer as they have little to no impact on play.
- Wetting agent is applied every month during the season as part of a program. This helps maintain the uniformity of moisture distribution in the soil, reducing required irrigation as well as deterring the development of issues such as dry patch and fairy ring.
- We mow aprons 3 times per week which as a rule is on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
- Fertiliser is applied in much the same way as it is to greens.
- Aeration is carried out whenever the opportunity arises but this is far less frequently than on the greens due to the resources available to us.
- One very important aspect with regard to the aprons is wear and tear. We try to direct the traffic of buggies and trolleys away from bottlenecks on aprons and collars, as these tend to suffer the most amount of wear in any area of the course, which results in soil compaction and turf thinning. Please help us by adhering to the directions displayed around the greens.
TEES & FAIRWAYS
- We mow on an average week each of these areas twice, although recently it has been 3 times due to the increased growth.
- Aeration is carried out on these areas in the winter months when we have the time to do so.
- Tees have divots repaired as often as possible with the par 3’s requiring more regular repair.
- Fertiliser is not required on these areas as growth is always much stronger due to the more nutrient rich soil providing enough to sustain the turf.
- The fairways are affected by the presence of clover. We will look to treat them in due course, but as it doesn’t affect play adversely, it is of a lesser priority. The tees have been treated though, as the size of them makes it much more manageable.
- Long rough is cut and collected as and when required. This has been carried out all through July as the rough bordering the fairways has been thicker due to the warm and wet weather.
- Clover is also more of a problem in these areas as it tends to hide a ball with it’s foliage as it grows taller. We have treated large areas now with selective herbicide and the clover is reducing, however there are still some areas that require our attention.
Elsewhere, we have begun tidying up areas of gorse that were cut back in the winter to regenerate, machinery has been routinely serviced, in particular mower blades sharpened and then the hotel grounds and driving range have also kept us occupied on a daily basis.
- The gorse that has most recently been cut back has been getting smothered by a mixture of grass and weeds. The team have begun strimming back to allow the bushes to continue to regenerate and regain full health and a dense thicket of foliage.
- Gorse is an integral part of our course and offers an excellent habitat for a variety of wildlife.
There is still plenty going on in August so not much will change for us and we will continue to offer you the best conditions that we can for you to enjoy your golf.