The weather over the past six weeks has been very challenging. In total we had just 3.5mm of rain throughout the whole of April and this was accompanied by low night time temperatures and cold easterly winds. This has made growing conditions very difficult and we are only now beginning to see consistent growth levels across the course. So far this month we have had 10mm of rain and temperatures are more settled.
Work on the course
Work has been intensely ongoing over the past two weeks to help encourage growth and smooth/refine the surfaces. A granular fertiliser was applied at the beginning of the month to help aid growth and provide a nice colour. This was followed by a solid tine and spray application of wetting agent, seaweed and soil conditioner to help reduce the drought stress from the warm/dry weather and aid the soil in retaining moisture.
We recently purchased a grooming brush which is attached to the greens mower and brushes the grass in front of the cutting units. This helps to remove early morning due to provide a drier cut, stands the grass up for a better quality of cut and helps to produce a smoother surface.
This time of year is always difficult to produce a smooth/fast surface as factors such as weather and varying growth levels can impact heavily on our objectives. Annual meadow grass is now also seeding and members will notice this on all the greens. This makes the greens bumpy and slower until seeding is finished (usually by the end of May) We are making every effort to ensure the surfaces are as goods as possible at this time. This has involved regular brushing/light grooming to remove seed heads and also an application of growth regulator to suppress the seeding.
The greens are currently being cut every day at a height of 4mm. We hope to not have to lower the height of cut below this as it will have a detrimental effect on the health of the grass. Once the seeding of the meadow grass has concluded we are confident that with regular grooming, rolling and top-dressing, we will produce a good quality pace and smoothness.
Tees and aprons have also been fertilised to aid growth and recovery. We have purchased a brush for out tees mower as well and this will help in the quality of cut and presentation. Height of cut is now at 10mm and frequency of cut is twice per week.
The fairways are beginning to shape up nicely and definition is beginning to improve. Height of cut is 15mm and again frequency is twice per week. All fairways have been fully divoted by a small group of members and this will be carried out once per month throughout the main playing season (Tuesday mornings in conjunction with course maintenance dates)
Semi rough and Rough are being cut at 23mm and 57mm. Semi-rough is mown twice per week and rough once. Areas of unmanaged rough that were cut back in the autumn are now being maintained at rough height and we hope that this helps improve presentation and reduces slow play.
- Our irrigation system has been running most nights on greens and tees, given the dry weather. Selected hand watering has also been carried out on particular dry areas and the new trees at the 1st
- Bare/weak patches on greens have been spiked and overseeded
- All bunkers have been de-stoned and greenside bunkers have had levels checked and sand added where required (fairway bunkers will be done over the next few weeks)
- Weeds in car park have been sprayed with a total herbicide
- Greens & Tees sprinklers, drainage pots and 150 yard distance plates have all been edged
- Greens surrounds and weak areas have been fertilised
- Sprayed weaker growing fairways with liquid nitrogen
Plans for next month
- Top-dress greens
- Check sand levels on fairway bunkers
- Spray selective herbicide on weeds on fairways, rough and bunker banks