July has certainly been a great month for golf with plenty of warm sunshine to be out enjoying the course.
With both Captains Day and Club Championship in July, along with plenty of other competitions and matches, it is the most important month of the year for our membership.
The course has been playing firm and fast and in fantastic condition, certainly the best condition in my time at Hunley and it’s been great to receive so much fantastic feedback saying the same.
Preparing for the busy schedule has been our focus and the team have performed heroics, after what has so far, been the most challenging year of my 23 in this industry.
The drought has presented us with the biggest challenge this month and not for the first time this year it’s been tough going.
The irrigation system has been used more frequently than in normal years and as a result has broken down on several occasions.
Mostly we have had issues with burst pipes, but we had a larger issue with a pressure regulating valve that became faulty.
We struggled for sometime to get pressure on half of the course until finally having to replace the valve. Unfortunately there was a problem getting a replacement which resulted in no irrigation on half of the course for almost 2 weeks.
This is where our fine turf greens come into their own, as the fescue and bent grass species that dominate our turf are so much more drought tolerant. Despite browning and burning off, as soon as we were able to irrigate and then had rain, the color returned with no grass cover lost.
Another benefit of fine grass dominance in the greens, is they require much less work for them to achieve great performance.
Here’s what we’ve done through the month:
- Leading up to Captain’s day and club championship, all that was required was increased mowing frequency.
- Height of cut has remained at 4.5 mm all-season
- Rolling has rarely been necessary
- During the height of the drought mowing only took place to the greens every 2 to 3 days.
- On average the greens roll at 8 foot on the stimpmeter for normal play with speed increased towards 9 ft for club championship.
To some this may sound slow but is well within target range for Club golf. Also with the nature of our greens being so undulating, much greater speed results in very few pin positions and almost unplayable greens.
It is our job to set the course up for the enjoyment of all and we do so taking into account conditions at the time.
The ‘proof is always in the pudding’ though and opinions for Club Championship were unanimous in praising the quality of the course and greens.
At the end of the month we did finally get some rain, which enabled us to carry out top dressing applications and also begin treating weeds with selective herbicide. The course very quickly greened up and you can see in the photos here the difference a bit of rain can make very quickly!
After the main events were over we focused a little bit of time in progressing the new Green on Rawcliffe.
- The subgrade has been constructed and shaped
- Drainage installed
- Bunkers excavated
- Levels for the gravel layer and final surface marked out with stakes.
The next stages in the coming weeks will be:
- Install gravel layer
- Install rootzone and shape final levels
- Grade surrounds
- Construct revetted bunkers
- Spread cores harvested from original greens with seed to the surfaces.
- Water and wait for the grow in!