July is always the feature month at Hunley with all the biggest club events taking place. Although it’s been a tough year for us on the course, with various issues out of our control making for less than ideal playing conditions, it was pleasing to see the Morgan’s course in perfect condition for Club Championship weekend.
In this month’s update I’d like to mention the help we’ve had from several individuals through the Government Kickstart scheme. As a young person today and particularly since the current pandemic began, it is very hard to get the opportunity to gain real work experience. Equally, as you all know only too well, resources have never been plentiful for us at Hunley and more now than ever, with huge reductions in revenue over the last 18 months.
The scheme has been of benefit to both parties and it’s been a very positive scheme. It’s been very pleasing to see the individuals all developing their knowledge and skills. Kieren and Elliot have been working as Trainee Greenkeepers since the beginning of April and Lucy joined us more recently as an Environmental Steward. Whilst having started with no previous skills or experience, all have begun to develop an understanding of both their roles and of what it takes to gain employment beyond their 6 months with us.
The Greenkeepers have learnt the basics so far, raking bunkers, maintaining the driving range, repairing divots but also some mowing of playing surfaces. Lucy has taken on a completely different role and one of great relevance to current global challenges. More from her at the end of this update.
On the course it has been of huge benefit to have an operating irrigation system again and the improvement to the greens as a result cannot be underestimated.
Equally though with the time saved we have been able to catch up on cutting and collecting fringing roughs that had caused much trouble by the end of June. With those troubles mostly behind us now we should see the course going from strength to strength.
I think despite these well documented issues, it’s great to see improvement again year on year. As well as improved grass species, turf density is by far the best it’s ever been on fairways, aprons and surrounds. Despite some suffering from drought and high levels of play, the tees are also in the best condition for many years.
Although I’ve been disappointed in the greens this year, with them suffering from a combination of drought and pest damage, the consistently positive feedback on their performance is reassuring and perhaps a testimony to our high level of expectation.
With some great weather in recent weeks and the course looking amazing in the sun, we can now look forward to the rest of the year knowing we are back in control of proceedings.
With the course now in great shape we will be looking to push on with minor improvements that have taken a back seat in recent weeks.
Clover is far less of a problem than in recent years but there is still a few problem areas that need to be controlled. Some areas of semi rough and a few patches of fringing rough have large populations of Clover which can be a problem when searching for a ball after a stray shot. These will be treated when conditions allow in August.
Divoting and repair to damage ground will also be carried out and with rain coming at the end of July, will hopefully gain good recovery with further rainfall.
A few patches on the greens still remain from pest damage and drought, and whilst only small, we willuse the opportunity to introduce more fescue seed into these areas to improve the resilience of the turf on an ongoing basis.
July is also a great month for nature on the course and this year has again surpassed expectations. Barn Owls again reared young in our nest boxes and there has been new sightings of both a Little Egret and a Short Eared Owl on the course.
Lucy joined us recently on the government kickstart employment scheme, specifically to improve our sustainable management. Follow this link to hear more from Lucy https://www.hunleygolf.co.uk/sustainability-with-lucy/.