September has been a very busy month for us, unfortunately it has also been the wettest. In the month we endured some torrential bursts and at one spell we had 3 ½ inches in the space of just 5 days.
This has had a knock on effect, causing issues with disease, increased wear on the course, difficulties in carrying out mowing and with an increase in worm casting on the surface.
In this month’s update I will run through what’s been happening in the greens department during September, but also thought I’d outline our winter program.
Despite the challenges, we have continued with progress in several areas and the course has still been looking good. Below is a summary of work that has been completed during September.
- ‘Rescue’ applied to Tees and Aprons to remove problematic Ryegrass.
- Golf rough cut and collected across the whole course.
- Golfing rough treated with selective herbicide to reduce Clover populations.
- ‘Rescue’ also used in areas of the Golfing rough to remove Ryegrass and Yorkshire Fog and promote finer textured, wispy rough.
- Some woodland management left of Pennington’s tee. The removal of invasive Poplar trees and suckers coming off the root systems, have opened up the natural grassland and also provided space for three native Ash to flourish. Gorse is to be planted beyond this area in future to further hide the driving range.
- Areas of managed gorse have been tidied up to prevent new growth being impeded.
- Nitrogen and Iron have been applied to the greens to strengthen the turf as we head into autumn.
GREG ON THE COURSE!
On the course, possibly our biggest challenge is to get the rough right for both golf and the environment. We’ve put together a short film here to give a little more explanation, I hope you find it interesting.
- Hollow coring is to be done to remove some excess organic material (thatch). This is essential in maintaining good playing characteristics and healthy turf.
- Overseeding will be done simultaneously to increase the fescue species within the sward. Fescue is the most desirable of turf grasses for putting greens, providing the best ball roll qualities. It is also more tolerant to stress and requires far less maintenance than other species.
1st Tee Areas
- Pennington’s yellow and red teeing areas are to be separated and levelled. This will improve their playing qualities but also will make their maintenance safer and easier.
- The surroundings of the teeing area are also to be landscaped and the pathway to the tee rerouted. The landscaping will involve some mounding being introduced, some gorse or similar indigenous species to be planted along the banking to the right of the tee and the remaining areas with slow growing fescue rough. This will form a more attractive, low maintenance area that will compliment the natural look of the golf course.
- Jaws tees will see similar changes. The yellow tee is to be enlarged and the banking on the left will be planted up with more indigenous shrubs.
- Throughout the winter months we will be looking to revett as many green side bunkers as we can. After the successful completion of several bunkers last winter, we decided that the revetted style compliments the look of the course as well as being more practical from a maintenance of the sand areas.
- There will also be some adjustments to the position of a few troublesome ones from a safety point of view as well as a strategic one. For example, the left hand bunker on Winney bank is difficult for some to safely enter and exit the trap, but it is also very difficult for the greenstaff to mow the steep banking.
- Metcalfe’s Ace is to be shortened with a new tee constructed. Distances will be approximately 215 yards for the whites and 200 for the yellows. The red tee will remain in the same place.
- Warsett white tee is to be positioned further up hill which will make the fairway visible while playing from the tee.
- There will be further work carried out on gorse with selective pruning on leggy and degenerate bushes.
- For the first time we will be making a more concerted effort on woodland management. This will involve clearing out dense thickets around the course to improve biodiversity. There are many poor quality trees as well as non native species present. These offer very little value to the ecology of the course and by doing so we will improve the quality of the trees that remain and also the variety of wildlife that will be able to make use of the new habitat that will increase.