09/02 – 13/02
On the course
The course, and more importantly the greens, thawed well during last weekend and the early part of this week, and with only light play during the interim thaw period I was happy to allow the greens to stay open for play. The night time temperatures have risen above zero throughout the week and this coupled with no rainfall has allowed the greens to dry, however the disease pressure has increased because of this. The winter scarring from an early Fusarium disease outbreak on greens are the most vulnerable areas to flair up once more, and noticeably, the scarring is almost solely restricted to the ‘poa reptans’ within the greens grass sward. Throughout this high disease pressure period an IPM (Intergrated Pest Management) programme has been adopted to stem any further spread.
It has been a productive week on the course once again, with the 16th scrub work being completed, opening up the hedge row behind and developing standalone trees which were once swallowed by the overgrown bramble bushes.
The spring bunker maintenance programme has begun. This involves strimming and cutting of a clean edge, testing and moving sand where necessary and finally a change of raking practice. The new raking practice adopted for the coming season will involve a smooth rake of the face and a tooth rake of the base. The reason for this change in raking practice being two fold, firstly, in creating a firm smooth rake of the bunker face the golf ball will hit and naturally roll back down to the centre of the bunker allowing for a fair lie, and secondly, to stem the amount of stone and soil contamination caused by tooth raking bunker faces where sand depth is thin.
Elsewhere on the course, the fairway slit aeration has been completed along with high traffic areas and worn areas throughout the course.
The clubhouse members’ divot bin has been taken away, full responsibility of tee and fairway land area divotting has been delegated to the maintenance team. Also, I am looking to de-clutter the clubhouse area to provide a uninterrupted view out onto the golf course and the wonderful view beyond to the rolling hills.
The week ahead
Weather permitting, the greens and tees platforms will receive a solid tine aeration. Daily golf course preparation has taken precedence this week with regards to course presentation using a break in the cold period, therefore the planned solid tine aeration for this week has been moved to the week ahead. The process of solid tine aeration will be specifically designed to attack the 0-60mm to improve infiltration whilst also being essential in the programme to allow thatch degradation within our 0-20mm problematic zone. The green playability will not be compromised from the solid tine aeration as the greens will be rolled using our tournament Smithco turf iron. The tee platforms solid tine aeration process will be finished with a heavy topdressing.
Scrub and tree clearance will begin around the 4th white tees to open up air movement and light infiltration, this will go along way to improving the quality of this surface throughout the bulk of the season.