We’re finally into winter conditions on the golf course, as November ended with 3 inches of rain in a little over a week, restrictions are now in place. Work has remained productive though as we have focused on revetting more green side bunkers and softening green surrounds.
As we have progressed over the last 6 years we have been slowly improving all areas of the course in order of priority. Having started with the greens, then moving to fairways and aprons, the turf quality has continually improved.
We have also made real progress with rough management, as well as carrying out extensive work on bunkers and even reconstructing 2 greens, but our attention has now turned to the greens immediate surroundings and it is this area that I will focus discussion on in this month’s blog.
Raising The Bar
A big change has been made to the quality of the fairways, aprons and greens surrounds, where the turf had been very sparse and also dominated by coarse Ryegrass. The pictures below gives an idea of the improvement so far, although perhaps not the real severity of the clumpy Ryegrass. The first picture on the left shows Metcalfe’s Ace approach in the summer of 2013, with the other of the same approach this last summer in 2018.
Tufty, coarse Ryegrass has been replaced by smooth fine turf fairways and approaches.
We’re now looking to extend these areas all around the greens, incorporating the green side bunkering. It’s easier to demonstrate with pictures, so I have used an example from another course that adopts the style we want to emulate.
This is a green at Lytham St Annes golf course and demonstrates perfectly what we’re wanting to achieve around our greens
(Maybe a few less bunkers though!)
So far over the last year we have done this on four holes which are, Davy’s, Warsett, Toon’s Tier and Trillo’s Torment to good effect. In order to mow closely around the greens quite a few improvements need to be made before we can do this. Some of the ground around the greens it’s quite uneven and requires smoothing and there is also a lot of coarse Ryegrass in these areas which, as yet hasn’t been treated. Also the old style bunkering would not allow for close mowing which is another reason why we have chosen to build turf wall bunker faces. Again, nothing demonstrates this better than the picture above. Below are a few pictures of our recent work, with 3 green surrounds completed and 7 bunkers revetted so far.
Revetting and contour softening in progress, followed by a few completed ones.
If the wet weather continues and conditions become difficult like last winter, then this may slow progress with such construction work.
However, having made a good start to this winter’s program, only 1 hole is left to carry out bunker work on the main Morgan’s course.
Our other main area of focus this winter is ecology work. This will involve removing non-native, invasive trees such as Poplar and Willow, Gorse management, which will involve both cutting back of old stands and planting new ones, clearing pond edges that have become silted up with Iris encroaching further into the ponds and we hope to be creating new habitats around the course as well.
The ecology on the course has a huge part to play in the enjoyment of golf but even more so for the sustainability of the site. We must always be mindful of this and look to avoid negative impact upon it as well as wanting to enhance it.
A big part of that comes through education. In December we will be hosting a wildlife walk, which will be open to the general public. It is our hope to raise awareness of the importance of Hunley to the environment and local ecology.
Ian Kendal from the land Trust regularly visits Hunley as an avid wildlife lover. He has kindly offered to join us on the Walk and share his knowledge with us. What is more and more evident at Hunley is that there are many rare species and I’m sure anyone attending will find it fascinating and inspiring.
Ian has recently donated an owl box that the Greenkeepers will put up, along with several bird boxes of our own, for smaller Birds.
If anyone wants to get involved with enhancing the wildlife, then please get in touch by emailing me at [email protected] or even catch me on the course if you see me.