Spring greeted us with dry and sunny weather throughout April giving the green staff ideal conditions for course preparation with the golfing season upon us. A particular dry April with a recorded level of 7mm of rain made growth slow to begin. Pleasant temperatures during the day with longer periods of sunshine and cool conditions with the occasional frost at night. Early growth is essential for all aspects of the course particularly on greens, little or no growth early on coming into the season has an effect on ball roll and speed due a variant of grass species which have slightly different grown patterns and growth rates. Our north facing seaside location has an effect on grass growth early in the season and is slower to react. Mid May was the beginning of full growth as April's dry spell came to an end and increased soil temperatures and moisture really gave the grass everything required for full growth.
A total of 7mm of rain fall through the month of April and into May was considerably low compared to last years light snow and wet windy weather. Greens and tees had to be irrigated in the early morning and the drier greens at night time.
Bare areas around the course have healed well, areas in front of the first tee, third green, and 8th fairway, have been scarified and sown out with an application of spring start fertiliser applied. Last years drainage work from contractors has also been scarified, over-seeded and top dressed to remove the bare unsightly look from the roughs area. An area in front of the third green has been re turfed and blending in with surrounding area.
9th and 11th
Our winter clearance off the 11th hole is maturing well with 90% grass coverage over the area that was cleared. April's dry weather conditions slowed the seed germination process up slightly but has really excelled during May. An application of fertiliser has been applied and area has had its first cut.
Clearance right of the 9th green has established very well and is now being cut at rough height (50mm), green staff are now able to cut around the trees to keep the area tidy and presentable. A leaked shot to the right hand side of the 9th green can now be found as the grass is at a short manageable height.
Chemical spray treatments
Woodland areas at the 1st, 2nd,3rd and 13th have been recently sprayed to remove the long grass growing amongst the trees, this creates a neater view of the course through the tress and helps speed up play. A blue dye spray indicator within the chemical mixture greatly helps the greens staff see exactly the area that has been sprayed and reduces chemical over spray and wastage.
Lateral grass growth from the bunker faces are sprayed annually to visually improve the look and general tidiness of the bunker faces.
Bunker maintenance is part of our daily routine in the morning, inspecting and raking any feet/animal marks and topping up heavily used areas within the bunker. A monthly strim and weed keeps the 87 bunker faces and edges tidy and manicured.
Frequent mowing, rolling, verti-cutting and organic spray applications are some of the practices the green staff do to ensure the putting surfaces are kept to a high standard during the season. Light verti cutting removes lateral growth and reduces ball to grass friction which encourages ball speed and roll, we do this task fortnightly. Pace is also increased with use off the Tru turf roller.
New grass path at 1st Tee
A grass path has been cut out in front of the pro shop around to the right hand side of the first tee ending in front of the tee box. It has blended in very well with the rough giving a definite well defined pathway up to the teeing areas.
The introduction of hand mowing around the greens has greatly improved the definition between the longer grass just of the green side edge. The cut width around the surround has been narrowed in from previous years and cut at a height of 8mm
Long managed grass areas
A lot of the long grass areas around the course has been removed and is now cut to normal rough height of 50mm. This will help speed up play on the course during busy times.
Poor wet weather conditions (35mm)on the week running up to captains day has not affected course presentation with all staff carrying on with daily tasks to keep standards to a high level. Rain and poor weather is a normality for captains week preparation so nothing new to report. From everyone on the greens staff we would like to wish Mr Captain and competitors all the very best on his day.