March was another decent month, plenty of sunny days and good conditions to get out playing. There was more rain than we received in the first 2 months of the year, but nothing that has caused any issues, in fact we are going into spring quite dry.
The month has been spent preparing for the season. Routine mowing has begun, projects from the winter are being phased back into play and all winter restrictions have been lifted with the exception of preferred lies.
Having top dressed in February, the only real work on the greens has been mowing. Height of cut has been reduced to 5 mm for the season and overall they are in good condition.
The unseasonably mild spell at the end of February did see some Microdochium Patch (Fusarium) develop. As we no longer use pesticides, this did develop over a number of days while conditions were ideal for the disease.
Top dressing using sand and compost is part of our approach to more biological greenkeeping, however on this occasion it is likely to have contributed to the diseases development. We obviously could not have foreseen temperatures as high as 20 degrees in February, but this will be something that we will be more mindful of in the future.
All that being the case, scarring left from the fungal disease should recover in the coming weeks and actually gives us an opportunity to increase the percentage of fescue grasses through spot seeding into the scars.
Some of the work carried out in winter is now in play, such as the shaping around the green on the 18th hole of Morgan’s and Imperial course.
Work carried out later in the winter such as rebunkering on the hole Rawcliffe, still needs a couple of weeks (and dare I say it some rain), before the turf will be suitable to play from.
All of the bunkers that have been revetted are ready and only need fresh sand adding before they will be back in play.
Pennington’s tee received alterations last year, in the most part due to the routing of the path which at times could be dangerous. However, the changes still weren’t quite right as the new path still had a short section that was too steep. Therefore we have altered it again, bringing all golfers down to the back of the white teeing area before joining the course to avoid any potential issues.
In doing so we have cut into the bank for the path extension and this gave us more room and an opportunity to create a feature by the white teeing area.
We have constructed what is known as a living wall. A combination of turf, dead wood and wildflowers will create a habitat for many creatures, as well as much needed food for our pollinating insects.
Spiders can live under bark, woodlice, centipedes, slugs, ground beetles, ants and earthworms will also live under the logs. Any fungi that emerge from the dead wood will support further species.
We have also created our very own Hedgehog house in the wall with some old bricks and a piece of drain pipe, along with nesting sites in amongst the logs that might be taken up by small birds such as Pied Wagtails.
We’re very much looking forward to seeing this develop through the summer and hopefully this will create a beautiful feature as well as bringing many benefits to the local ecology.
With the season now here, course conditioning will be where our focus lies. Mowing, grooming, small applications of fertiliser and top dressing the turf will help to refine it and provide excellent playing conditions.
The finishing touches will be applied to winter work too, with hazard markers being added or replaced where needed, distance makers being painted, signage being updated and we will also carry out further work on the new green at Rawcliffe.
With soil temperatures rising and daylight hours increasing, we can now add more seed to the green and surrounds, top dress to continue to smooth out imperfections and apply fertiliser to encourage growth and aid establishment of a dense canopy of turf. As the weeks pass we will get a better idea of when the new green will be ready, but we hope this will be the case by mid summer.
Thanks for reading the update, any questions please do get in touch via email to [email protected]