Golf Course Report – August 2017
The weather this month has been very similar to July with 72mm of rainfall and temperatures averaging around 18 degrees. This weather pattern promotes good growing conditions but can also increase disease pressure which needs to be closely monitored. (the particular issue here is moisture sitting on/at the surface of fine turf areas such as the greens. Continual aeration work including spiking, verti-cutting and top dressing with dry sand help by encouraging surface water down into the rootzone and therefore allowing air into the surface which also helps reduce the thatch layer. This work together with a long term programme to improve the grass species in the sward through overseeding is important)
General Course Maintenance
The greens were verti-cut at the beginning of the month. This process involves the removal of lateral/weak grass and helps to promote new growth and control organic matter levels. Following on from this, the greens were over-seeded with browntop bentgrass (it is important we continue to undertake this task and so next year will be looking to increase this task to probably a monthly programme. No significant impact to the playing surfaces during the golfing season will result)
Over-seeding is an essential maintenance procedure that introduces fresh seedlings into the existing sward and helps reduce the percentage of annual meadow grass within the greens. Browntop bentgrass is less susceptible to disease, requires less nutrient input (fertiliser) and creates a better/smoother putting surface as a result. It is our intention to over-seed up to three times next year in order to introduce as much new grass as possible and continue our long term plan to have predominantly bentgrass greens. The greens were sprayed with a compost tea containing seaweed, soil conditioner and liquid nitrogen to help the establishment of the new seedlings and to maintain adequate nutrient levels.
The new greens (1st, 15th, 18th and putting green) have been given an additional granular fertiliser to help maintain nutrient requirements as they are younger and require extra input. Finally at the end of the month, we sprayed a turf hardener package containing iron, phosphate and potassium. These elements help to harden the plant against disease pressure and also wear and tear as we approach the autumn.
Tees have been sprayed with a growth regulator and liquid fertiliser. This helps to slow down the growth of the mature grass and gives the new seedlings from divoting a better chance of germination. It also improves the presentation and sharpness of the tees. Aprons have also been fertilised to help improve definition and plant health.
The fairways have performed well this season and we are now starting to see the benefits of the aeration work carried out during the winter months. Drainage has improved and there is also a more uniformed growth pattern due to the improvement in root development form the deep spiking. You will all now be aware that the club are providing “divot tubes” which can be found beside the shoe cleaner on the north side of the clubhouse. These tubes contain enough sand/seed to fill 3-4 divots per round and we are hopeful that this will also help to improve the condition of the fairways. The monthly divot squad has continued throughout the summer with a few new recruits coming forward in the last few weeks. (we hope to continue/increase this work next year to aid further improvement to the fairways of possible)
The height of cut on the rough was reduced last month and the feedback we have received has been very positive. Balls are now sitting up as apposed to lying below the height of cut and this is making rounds more enjoyable and helping to reduce slow play.
Areas of weak growth within the semi-rough and rough have been fertilised to help encourage growth and thicken up the sward as well.
Following on from a fairly successful summer season on the golf course it is important we agree to a winter course/programme which will allow the course to both be playable for winter golf whilst at the same time protecting vulnerable areas on the course. At the same time there are a number of winter tasks which the golf course staff need time and space to perform (such as verti-draining each fairway which takes significant time but is essential to the continued improvement of the fairways)
The Golf Course Committee has discussed possible ways to help improve the overwintering of the course and a separate report will be available for the board to view and make comment on. We hope the club can see the long term benefits of this plan which including protecting the wettest areas of the course, vulnerable walk ways, the fairways, tees and greens as necessary.
Richard Le Sueur (Golf Design Scotland) has been at the course as agreed and shortly will come forward with his initial finding for the club to consider. Gary McKenna and myself will meet with Richard this week ahead of him finalising his report.