It has been another variable month of weather, consisting of cold/ dry weather and laterally wet with snow during the Christmas period. In total we have received 57mm of rainfall and average temperatures have been around 4 degrees. In comparison to last year’s total of 536mm, we have received just over 100mm more rainfall. The course has been closed for a total of 15 days this year due to adverse weather.
Work on the course
The greens were solid tined using 13mm diameter tines to a depth of 75mm at the beginning of the month. This process helps to increase oxygen within the soil and helps to improve drainage capabilities and root development. A dew retardant was applied before the Christmas holidays to help prevent dew from forming on the greens and to help reduce disease activity by keeping the surfaces drier.
Mowing is now only carried out by pedestrian mowers to help reduce wear and tear and prevent tyre marks as the greens are softer at this time of year. The height of cut is 5mm and frequency is generally once per week (weather dependant)
It was planned to spray our monthly application of iron, phosphite and potassium at the end of the month but the weather has not made this possible. This will be done at the earliest opportunity, when conditions are favourable?
- Installed new pathway from the 2nd green to the 3rd tee
- General tidying/collecting of leaves and debris
- Put out new hazard posts across the course
- Roped off worn areas around the course
Winter Programme Update
Despite the generally poor weather this month, we have managed to complete a lot of work on the winter programme. A breakdown of what has been started and completed is given below:
- Turfing Work
- The area to the right hand side of the 6th green which has been a problem area for a number of years has been re-turfed. This area has been raised by around 18 inches on average to allow better moisture retention and prevent this area from drying out during periods of warm/dry weather.
- The back left hand side of the 17th green has also been re-shaped and re-turfed. This area previously had a small swale which was designed to prevent balls rolling down away from the green. This area was difficult to mow and was also having a negative impact on the sprinkler head watering the green, which led to dry patch during the summer. This change will have a positive impact on playability and green quality going forward.
If you have played the course recently you will have noticed a lot of work going on regarding new pipe work being installed. This is the pipe work that carries water throughout the course for use on our irrigation system to both greens and tees. The existing pipe work is over 40 years old and was beginning to develop leaks and faults.
Around 80% of this work has been completed so far and we are on schedule to be completed by the end of January. Please note that any ground which has been disrupted will be reinstated and rolled smooth before the contractor leaves site.
This work is on-going and is being carried out when weather allows. The greens have been solid tined this month and will be done again during January. Tees/aprons will also be completed before the new season starts and verti-draining of fairways will begin in February.
- Tree Work/Woodland Management
We have begun removing trees between the 13th green and 10th fairway. This is being done to improve air movement and sunlight into a green which is very shaded and as a result is having a negative impact on turf health. A further 5 larger trees in this area will be felled by our tree surgeon Paul Maxwell as these are too large for the green staff to tackle. The 11th tee will also have overhanging branches cut back as well.
- Bunker Work
As you will all be aware, we have begun our long term bunker redevelopment programme this winter starting at the 10th and 13th holes. This has involved the removal of two bunkers and re-shaping/positioning of the remaining three bunkers over both holes. This work has also involved installing a modern liner called “bunker blinder” which is a porous rubber material which will allow water to freely drain and will eliminate contamination from stones and silts. These changes will improve the playability and consistency of these bunkers.
We are at the stage now where we will be adding top-soil to the strip areas around the bunkers before turfing and finally adding fresh sand. This work should be completed by the middle of February (weather dependant)
Additional drainage has been installed in the area around the 2nd tees. This area gets very wet during and after periods of heavy rain. We have left the drain lines open and have backfilled with pure gravel in order for water to be drained as quickly and efficiently as possible. Longer term we hope to be able to maintain play from the main tees throughout the winter period and negate the need to use a forward tee as is the case at the moment.
- Rough Management
Due to the very wet weather we have experienced this winter so far we have not been able to carry out any cutting of long rough as yet. We plan to hire in a flail mower which will also collect the grass in order to starve the areas of nutrition and in turn help thin these areas out and reduce the weed population. This work will most likely be carried out in late winter/early spring.
- Refurbishment of Course Furniture
A start has been made to bringing in, cleaning and painting the course furniture. We have ordered new tee markers for the new season and will also be upgrading signage as well.
Plans for next month
- Complete adding top-soil and turfing new bunkers at the 10th and 13th holes
- Solid tine greens using 19mm diameter tines to a depth of 75mm
- Spray greens with iron, phosphite and potassium