My monthly blog often starts with a summary of the recent weather conditions and despite it being a little repetitive, it’s impossible to get away from the fact that the climatic conditions are the biggest influencing factor while doing our job.
As Greenkeepers though, our job is to produce good conditions for golf to be played and enjoyed regardless of what the weather is doing. At Hunley we try to be proactive, managing the course to expect the worst, rather than hope for the best. That said, we still face various challenges every week and we just have to deal with them best we can.
So where am I going with this?
Well playing the game is no different, and like it or not, the weather impacts on how the course plays and in particularly on courses like ours.
The last month it has been very dry and the course as a result, is even firmer and bouncier than normal.
For me this is great and sets running golf apart from target golf, adding much more variety to the game, requiring real thought and skilful shot making to negotiate the challenge that the course offers.
It’s not just a question of taking your 8 iron from 150 yards, plonking it next to the flag and watching it stop. The challenge is so much more than club selection by yardage and comes from using your own skill and judgement. Running it in, using the contours of the ground to help, being in the right position to attack, taking your medicine when you’re not, judging the wind, playing from an awkward stance, avoiding the bunkers and the rough, putting from off the green and so on and so on.
We actively encourage these conditions and manage the course to allow for the natural conditions to dictate.
- We water to keep the grass alive, NEVER to soften the greens.
- We use fertiliser to keep the turf healthy, NEVER to make it artificially lush and green.
- We avoid the use of chemicals as much as we can, encouraging healthier soil and turf, whilst also protecting the environment.
- We leave out of play areas for wildlife to inhabit, improving the ecology of the site whilst adding to the golfing experience.
What we’ve been up to in May
This months challenges have been firstly contending with the drought, but when we did get some rain and it warmed up, with it came a surge of growth causing new problems.
Up until that point, the golfing rough has been perfect in the opening weeks of the season. However, the sudden growth meant some areas of the rough became thick in the space of a few days and clover, which is a notorious problem at Hunley began to swallow balls.
Despite the clear improvement in the rough there is still much work to do and in May cutting and collecting, along with treating areas of clover became our focal point. This will continue into June until we are on top of the situation, which is likely to take around a week or two.
Below are a few pictures to summarise our work in May.
Top dressing to keep the greens firm and smooth Irrigating to keep the turf alive
Sharpening blades for efficient cutting Cutting and collecting the roughs is paying off
Areas of clover are a real problem in the though Cutting and collecting rough
So often greenkeepers are pressured into the quick fix, but not here. We want the course to be around for generations to come and by managing the course in a sustainable and efficient way will ensure that this will be the case.
Materials and equipment required for the job get more expensive every year, even though playing golf has never been cheaper. The work undertaken at Hunley in recent years has stood us in good stead for the future and it’s crucial that we continue to strengthen the foundations every year in such challenging economic times.
We hope that you continue to enjoy the course, and for an opportunity for a further incite on things, why not come along to the next course walk on Tuesday 13th June at 14:00 where we shall be looking at many of these issues as well as seeing some machinery in action!