Greg’s Greenkeeping Blog October 2021

Greg’s Greenkeeping Blog October 2021

Over the years we have developed some excellent relationships with others within the community.

Although we seem inundated with divisive issues on a daily basis in the media, working together and finding common ground undoubtedly brings much more benefit to us all. We are making many new friends too and helping each other in the process, which has seen benefits to us that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible working on our own. 

In October we had 2 prime examples of this with separate projects undertaken. Our Sustainability Officer, Lucy, has more to add to the benefits of working with others in her update too, which you can see by clicking the link at the bottom of this update.

Environmental Grasslands 

Although we manage the long grasses that come into play on the borders of each hole, we don’t have the ability to manage the wider grasslands in the same way. 

However, we recently were able to find a situation that would help us to do so.

A local Pastoral farmer has been struggling to source winter feed for his cattle, after recently losing some land that he previously used.

After hearing about this I contacted him to see if grasslands on the course would be of use to him. Although it wasn’t ideal grassland for cattle, he was very interested in taking the grass. With him haiving bespoke equipment to cut and bale grass on a large scale, it turned out to be an ideal situation for us both. 

Ponds

Secondly, after having developed a good relationship with the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust in recent years, we were lucky enough to be offered funding to help with the creation of a new wetland area on the course.

This is located on the right hand side of the 2nd hole on the Morgan’s and Jubilee courses known as Davy’s.

3 ponds have been created with different depths, so that water levels will fluctuate throughout the seasons. This will offer the ideal habitat for Great Crested Newts, which is why the funding has been made available.

We are using indigenous turf to reinstate the surroundings of the wetland areas and will also introduce some native species to the ponds themselves as the water levels become apparent. The rest of the newly created wetland will be left to regenerate naturally over time.

The whole area has now become a penalty area and will be marked with red stakes going forward.

Digger hire 

Whilst we had the digger excavating the ponds, we were able to make use of some of the material that came out of the project. 

This has been used to create 3 new teeing areas. The pictures show the original tee in blue and the new in red.

  • The white tee on Brownies Bough has always been an issue due to its location. The line of play from the tee naturally pushes shots down the bank on the right, which has been a bone of contention for a long time. The position of the tee also doesn’t allow for good quality turf, due to the heavily shaded ground from the surrounding trees. A new tee has been created on the right, which will rectify both issues in 1.
  • Beside the new wetland, a new teeing area has been created for the yellow tees on Cottage Corner. This will help with turf quality, as the old tee is heavily shaded and also sits on wet ground. The new tee makes the hole slightly more of a dogleg, as well as bringing the new wetland into view.

  • Warsett white tee is also a problem as it is blind from the fairway. A new tee has been constructed further up the hill, which will make tee shots down the hole more visible. It also brings into view another of Hunley’s spectacular downhill holes and now gives the golfer line of sight for their tee shot.

Where the new tee looks down the fairway, there was a small area of Broom that required removal to open up the view. Rather than just removing it though we have transplanted it to surround the new tee and we hope that being able to take the bushes out with the hired excavator, that they will have a good chance of survival.

November

We intend to focus on completing work on all of the above projects before moving onto any further improvements. However, we do intend to undertake some procedures on the greens.

Having now got our managment of the greens onto an incredibly low input regime and performing well year round, we want to take their overall perfomrance up a notch.

With performance already very good, we can only make incremental improvements going forwards. That said we feel that minor improvements are still possible.

Plans are to lightly top dress with sand, to level out any little imperfections on the the surface and then to apply a slow release fertiliser to maintain improved turf desinty through the winter months.

This work will improve trueness and smoothness in the short term and will reduce any imperfections that may occur in the turf caused by wear from play and also a variety of different turf disorders.

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