Greens Update
An update from out on the course
Members Only
Diary Event

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Over recent weeks there have been numerous questions asked about how we manage the course during periods of dry/warm weather, as well as both some positive and constructive comments relating to how the course is performing. Thank you for the comments, all the guys are certainly pleased that their efforts are appreciated.

What follows is a brief explanation of what we are currently working on and the plans we have for the coming weeks.

Throughout this prolonged spell of dry weather, we try and maintain a substantial focus on water management. It is imperative that whilst we don’t want to become a parkland course, this period of dry weather does require some specific efforts. The programme includes the application of wetting agents to the fairways, which results in less water being used with greater retention of that water in the soil.

What you currently see on the course are areas of green fairway where we are trying to remedy the damage caused last year by the infestation of Leatherjackets. Due to a change in legislation, we can no longer use the chemical that manages the population of Leatherjackets which has resulted in some areas of fairways showing evidence of more extensive root damage. To alleviate the onset of long term damage, and working alongside the monthly outlook which forecasts dry, settled weather, these areas have received extra applications of the wetting agent. This is to encourage a richer sward with improved recovery. As mentioned above, the noticeable difference with this specific approach, is the extended presence of greener grass, however the actual difference in water application to the affected areas is minimal. In addition to our water management programme, we have also applied a selective weed-killer now that we have a healthier sward to apply it to. Having completed both applications, water usage will now be dictated by the short and long-term forecast, with the aim of maintaining quality surfaces with a links feel.

Lastly, we will be undertaking hand watering in very localised areas to help some noticeable dry spots, which includes some of the newly re-turfed bunker tops that are experiencing drought stress.

Away from the surfaces, we have also been focusing on bunkers on the course. In recent weeks we have added and removed sand from several bunkers in order to manage the sand levels, and we have begun trimming back some of the overhanging edges created by wear on the face. This programme of work will be ongoing, but you will begin to see some new bunker edges being cut in. We have also tested two new methods of managing the faces of our bunkers, which includes killing the grass and burning the grass. Examples of these can be seen on the 9th hole with the left hand green side bunker being killed, and the right hand green side bunker being burnt. These two methods result in a cleaner looking face with much slower regrowth, so we are looking forward to deciding which one of these options to take forward next season.

Earlier this year, and as mentioned in this update, we informed you about the change in chemical usage to control Leatherjackets. One of the most impactful results of this change could be seen on the 16th green, up until as recently as April this year. The reason for that damage is that the pests live in holes, and when we have created said holes, and can no longer control the pests, we have made a perfect home for the Leatherjackets to move in to. As a result of this new challenge, we have worked with our appointed agronomist at STRI to embark on a new green’s maintenance programme with immediate effect.

You will hopefully already have seen the benefits since March this year when we removed the solid coring and verti-draining from our programme of works. This has left us with a lovely undisturbed surface since late last year, which I think something we are now benefitting from. In addition, we are now removing the autumn coring and verti-draining work from the maintenance programme, as it is this work that takes several months to fully heal and leaves us susceptible to pest damage.

The new green’s maintenance programme will now consist of using a machine called the “Air2 G2” which puts an almost unnoticeable hole in the green, and then shoots jets of air to help break up the substructure; coupled with a slitter, which helps break up compaction of the surface. These two practices will hopefully result in a well-managed substructure without the need to open holes in the green at periods of slower growth – the Spring and Autumn.
We are excited about pioneering this new maintenance regime and we believe that the results will be clear for all to see come January and February.

The last facet of our maintenance programme, which sadly can’t be avoided, is still the need to complete some hollow coring work, coupled with sand back fill and a full bent grass seeding of our greens. This is a practice that has historically taken place in the autumn, and may have added to the Leatherjacket issue, but it will now take place in the summer. The reason for the change is that with perfect growing conditions at the end of July, we can reliably predict that recovery will be at its quickest which has two positive outcomes. The first being that we will only have to play golf on recovering greens for between 2 to 3 weeks, rather than the 2 to 3 months we can encounter with slow growth and recovery in the autumn/winter; and the second, with the holes closing up more quickly, and that they will have been back filled the same day, we hope to prevent pests making a nice home for themselves.

The above coring and seeding will be completed in the week commencing July 30th. Assuming clement weather we don’t envisage any delays and every effort will be made to work early in the mornings to cause as little disruption to play as possible. This said, if you are wishing to entertain guests during this period, you might want to check with us to see how the greens are recovering if you feel this might be an issue.

The last piece of work I would like to update you on is in relation to managing our land in respect to Natural England’s ecology guidelines. In the coming days you will notice that we will be digging some test holes out on the course to ascertain both the water table level in certain parts of the course, and the volume and make up of our substructure. The areas will be away from the playing areas, but should you be a little wayward from the playing line, please avoid these areas as the holes can be up to 4 metres deep. They will be roped and signed, but vigilance is always wise.

If you have any questions about any of the items mentioned, please feel free to come and see me, drop me an email or just grab me at some point in the Clubhouse.

Philip Worthington
General Manager

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Course Status
Currently open
25.06.2018 16:40
Course Open as Normal Until Further Notice.