Greg’s Greenkeeping Blog May 2024

Greg’s Greenkeeping Blog May 2024

It’s hard to believe that we’ve reached the end of May. 

As a Greenkeeper we all enjoy most when you get to the main season, the grind of winter is behind you and you can begin polishing up the playing surfaces, before looking across the course with the sense of joy that comes with the job during the summer months.

However, I have still yet to sit on a mower in short sleeves, it has been jumpers, waterproofs and wellies again throughout May. Another excessive month of rainfall means for the last twelve months we have had an average of over 100 mm every month.

Even when there was finally a spell of high pressure, for the first time in many months, north winds brought thick fog across the course for 10 days. The implication being any kind of meaniningful dry period has again eluded us.

Thank you!

With this in mind I want to mention the most pleasing and incredibly positive aspects to come about during this period. 

Firstly the team of Greenkeepers. Up against it every day, down on numbers, have given all they can to achieve the best outcome possible. Many, many thanks to them. In an industry that is seeing Greenkeeping numbers dwindle across the industry, we are very lucky to have such a committed team.

Secondly, I’ve been really humbled by the support of our membership. Speaking with many of you, the level of support and understanding has been incredible. 

The hardest part of this job is at times like this, when you go home everyday knowing you have fallen short of expectations, but worse is having no power against the weight of the challenges thrown your way. 

However, the support of people leaves you with a feeling so strong, that each day you can get up, face the challenges and keep moving forward. I actually can’t stress enough how important this has been for me personally. 

So I want to say thank you for that, everyone from members, to members of staff, it’s so very much appreciated.

The Course

Despite some course closures (mostly fog related) and with areas of the course still soft and at times quite wet, we have managed to keep the course open and functioning for the most part. Growth is as you might imagine, pretty strong and despite the difficulties we have just about kept on top of things.

Of course we would love to see firm, smooth surfaces across the course by now, but the reality is that’s not been the case and we have to try to be happy with a functional course, if perhaps not one in great condition.

Fringing Rough

One area we begin to think about come June, is fringing rough aside the fairways and semi rough.

With the wet, though, we have been tackling these already and have actually managed to cut a number of holes earlier. There are still a good few areas that need attention though, with holes Snaith’s, Cottage Corner, Brownies Bough and Short’s Elbow to name a few.

In order to get an effective cut, though, it does need to be quite dry, so let’s hope we can make headway here in the next couple of weeks.


Unfortunately the bunkers have continually been washed out and I’m not sure if they’ve ever been in a condition that we would expect. On a positive we have kept them mown, strimmed and clear of weeds, so if they do get chance to dry up then it will not be too much work to reinstate them.

Driving Range

After a challenge beyond comprehension, we have been able to finally cut the driving range and return it to something closer to normal service. Balls are continuing to plug though so ball collection is still taking a lot longer than normal. This has and will likely continue to delay its opening by an hour or two in the morning.

It took some effort to finally get on top of the horrible Ryegrass that covers the range. With it being too wet to get on followed by the excessive growth of the Ryegrass, it had got to a point where we were no longer able to prevent balls being either lost in the mud, or in the grass, or both.

The following was the process we ended up having to go through to get the range back open again:

  • 2 reduced rate applications of glyphosate to knock the grass back and prevent further growth
  • 1 cut at 50mm
  • 1 cut at 40 mm
  • 1 cut at 30 mm
  • 1 pass scarify, cut and collect
  • Unplug 4000+ balls 

With balls continuing to plug, and many still buried from winter, we are still on the low side in our stock of balls. However, we can only hope for better moving forwards.


A couple of positives to finish on.

Firstly it was fantastic to see MND day go ahead and continue to be the great success it has become year on year. The biggest day of the month ended up being one of the few days that the sun came out and it was very fitting. To see a large number of people enjoying themselves, raising money for an amazing charity, in memory of a dear friend and loved one, was brilliant.

As many of you know we have an amazing course for the promotion of wildlife. May is the time of year for checking Owl boxes and the first to appear are usually the Tawnies. As luck would have it a lovely little chick was found in one of the boxes and subsoquently ringed and recorded by The Tees Valley Wildlife Trust.

Thanks for reading and for the continued support.

Greg Fitzmaurice

Course Manager

[email protected]

There is 1 comment
  1. Avatar
    Donna Oakley

    Great picture of the baby 😁. Yes, you’ve had challenges. This weather certainly has put all our patience to the test. Your blog is always worth a read so we can get an idea of what’s happening. Thank you

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