Thursday, 4 February 2016

February 2016

A happy new year to you all.

We are all still waiting for the weather to break and for a few consecutive dry days.
December saw 237mm of rain, and January 352mm, this is a huge amount of rain when you consider that the monthly averages are 121mm and 112mm respectively. This has taken its toll on the course, nonetheless we try to get the course open as soon as possible after the rain ceases.
The nutrients have leached out of most of the greens, and they have been waterlogged and starved of oxygen, leaving them looking very yellow and poorly. As soon as they dry out enough to be able to withstand the weight of our sprayer and/or aerator we will be out to treat them and hopefully perk them up a bit.

The drainage on the sixth hole is getting a real test, and is standing up to it well, intercepting most water on the fairway before it reaches the temporary green.
6th Drainage working effectively

We have stayed busy despite the weather, completing a few jobs on our winter programme.

The steps on the 18th tee (men and ladies) are now finished, complete with ‘gripstrips’.

New Ladies steps
New Mens steps

We have now made a start on the steps on the 16th tee, the steps to the medal tee have been made deeper so that they are safer, ‘gripstrips’ will be installed, and the path will be tidied.

The greens team admiring their work on the 16th steps.

We have lifted the canopy on the large tree to the right of the 7th fairway, this lets light into the area, speeds up play, makes cutting operations easier and generally looks tidier.

Tree canopy lifting on 7th

 We have started clearing scrub from the woodland area behind the 4th green. This will allow fresh growth, whilst letting more light and improved airflow over the green and also the 5th tee.

We have trimmed back some of the trees to the right of the 18th ladies tee in order to open up the view of the 18th hole from the mens tee.
We have also widened the path which leads from the tenth green, toward the 11th tee, installing a drain and raising the path to stop mud washing across and causing the path to look unsightly.

Renovated path leading from 10th to 11th
Other winter jobs that we have been undertaking are clearing ditches of debris, and also renovating tee furniture.

Due to the wet conditions, we have been unable to cut areas of the course which are still (unbelievably!) growing strongly, but we were able to get out and cut the greens and also some approaches with our hand mower. 
Hand mowers are great in wet conditions because they can be used when it is too wet for a triple mower, they leave no wheel marks, they stripe the grass and leave a lovely finish, and also the large roller leaves a nice true surface.
I believe that this was well received by most members and visitors,  unfortunately it is not something that we can repeat on a regular basis as we only have one of these mowers, and it is far too labour intensive to carry out in the summer when we are stretched at the best of times.

Hand cut 15th green
In the next month, we will be carrying on our scrub clearance, replacing steps, renovating paths, and we will hopefully also be laying 2 new tee mats. These will be placed on the 6th and 10th holes. All of this work is weather dependent, and our biggest hurdle at the moment is getting materials around the course without making a mess. We try to pick the driest routes, but it is inevitable that we will sometimes leave some wheel marks on the course.