My course blogs generally begin with a review of the previous month and notably the weather, my final blog of 2021 will begin in the same vein.
November was one of the driest months of the year with just 21mm of rain. Dry but very cold, we had our first full closure day of the winter, this was due to snow that fell on the 29th.
The dry and cold conditions are very welcome from a greenkeeping point of view during the winter months, disease pressure remains low and we are able to produce reasonable course presentation.
This allowed us to focus our attention to the continued presentation of the golf course. We have maintained greens speeds of over 10 feet with a combination of hand mowing, rolling and mini spiking.
We alternate our mowing and rolling of greens to maintain speed and smoothness throughout the winter – this process is somewhat governed by weather conditions. Pitch marks continue to be an issue, please help us to look after the green surfaces.
As we continue to mow and roll there is a requirement to aerate and mini spike the greens, mini spiking punctures the green surface to approximately 1 inch in depth. This is very important this time of year as it keeps the top surface of the green open which helps with the infiltration of moisture/rain and allows air into the profile.
We hope for a kind (dry) remainder of the winter with course presentation being a priority, we will mow tees, approaches, fairways and rough when conditions allow.
December began with milder temperatures but with quite a bit of rainfall. As a result, our post and rope traffic control are now out in full.
Traffic control is an essential part of winter golf as it helps us to spread wear across the course – especially around green complexes and at the beginning and end of pathways. We move the post and rope when areas begin to show signs of wear.
A fantastic way to help reduce the wear on your course at this time of year is to carry your golf bag (if you can). By leaving your trolley in the car and using a small golf bag you can really help us to start the new season in the strongest position possible.
This year’s weather has been a talking point with almost every month not following its traditional pattern. The driest months in 2021 were April and November with the wettest months being June and July – a wet June and July meant that we had fantastic grass growing weather this summer. Our fairways were testament to that.
As a result of good grass coverage, it has certainly helped with our on-going battle against worm casts now that products to treat are no longer available – this with a combination of brushing, cultural practises and growth regulators have also helped.
Our disease prevention programme on greens has been reasonably successful, I am pleased to say that we have very limited scarring.
With changes in regulations, unfortunately disease pressure and outbreaks are inevitable (with the loss of some key products in our weaponry).
Plant health is another key to maintain greens in good condition, we do this with a balanced fertiliser programme and the addition and micronutrients.
I am pleased that the greens have remained firm and true in the first part of the winter – in the new year we will continue with our aeration programme and will top dress if conditions allow.
We have had some mechanical issues with our cut and collect machine in recent months, this has slowed our leaf collecting ability. I am pleased to report that the machine is now repaired and fully operational. We will prioritise collecting leaves around the course and continue the cut and collect process of the long fescue rough areas in the new year.
Our in-house winter projects will begin in the new year as we renovate the fairway bunkers on the 11th and 16th holes. We also plan to re-turf bunker tops on the greenside bunkers on holes 7, 14 and 16. These bunkers will be placed as GUR during and after the renovation whilst the turf takes hold.
Profusion will be on site in late winter to install 3 lifetime tees (3rd, 16th & 18th). Whilst on site they will also be adding rubber crumb bunker bases to the greenside bunkers on holes 4, 8 and 12.
We plan to transition a large number of bunkers to our new china clay sand throughout the winter.
We have recently placed an order of 3 new greenkeeping machines which are due to arrive at the start of next summer – 2 all electric greens mowing machines. These machines are at the forefront of technology, cleaner for the environment and less of a disturbance (noise) to members and residents. We have also placed an order for a new green and tee aerator.
As I continue to introduce you to the team the next member of the team is
Started – June 2021
Hobbies – My main Hobby is spending time with my 5-year-old daughter, making memories with days out and fun activities. I’m a keen gardener and like to keep active by going to the gym and trying new things such as yoga, dance, kickboxing and Jiu jitsu, which I have taken up recently.
I like to continue to learn and experience more everyday so educate myself through reading and seminars.
Favourite task – Having been a Greenkeeper for 20+ years in various roles it’s impossible to pick just one. For me, seeing the results of our hard work is what keeps me working with self-pride. My passion is in Agronomy and plant health so seeing the plant response to the procedures we do gives me a huge amount of accomplishment and to be able to showcase this with presenting the golf course beautifully gives huge job satisfaction.
Finally, as we approach 2022, we would like to say have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Here’s to a great 2022.