Course Report - October 2021
The greens have recovered well from the greens’ maintenance. All greens were scarified at 10mm, spiked with a 14mm solid tine, solid tined again with a 10mm tine and 70 tonnes of sand was applied. The sand applied was the same sand on which the greens were built, a medium coarse sand. Over the years, a finer sand had been applied, which means the top four or so inches do not perform as when they were built. The difference with a finer sand is that the top of the green compacts more quickly and prevents water moving down as quickly, therefore the plan is to keep applying a medium sand to get the greens back to where they should be.
A big difference also on the greens’ maintenance is that we seeded with 007 creeping bent grass. This grass gives the best ball roll, needs fewer inputs such as water and fertiliser, and is disease resistant up to 80% percent. To change the grass species will take between 3 to 4 years to develop a 70% percent creeping bent grass green. The plan is to be the first in the Northwest! This grass was made famous when Wentworth re-laid all their greens with this species.
Through the autumn and winter, we will spike the greens monthly, weather-dependent and, in between spiking, slitting will take place. All the methods will help with moving water down the profile of the greens more quickly, allow gas and air exchange and mineralization, and help with roots growing downwards for deep rooting.
Tees, Approaches and Fairways
The plan with these surfaces is to slit-tine. This will help with moving water and, when the weather is dry, help speed up the drying of the top surface. ‘Purity’ will be applied which helps with worm castings. Worm castings are a nightmare. When we mow, the smearing of the casts leaves mud on the grass plant which looks awful, and also suffocates the plant so that in the spring it takes quite some time to get full grass coverage back. Grass heights will be raised to protect the plants as much as possible, and cutting will be done when weather allows and if necessary. More mowing when wet would smear the worm casts even more and would also leave a lot of mess, so we will try to keep this to a minimum. Hopefully, then in the spring the course will be in an improved state with fewer bare and muddy areas, so it will play better at an earlier stage.
Leaf blowing and collecting have started. Leaves are blown off greens daily; this is done in the morning. Please don’t think if there are leaves on the green at 10:00am that they haven’t been done. They have - we can’t control the wind!. Blowing of the fairways and rough is done throughout the day, weather permitting. These machines are very heavy so, if the ground is too wet, they will not be going out. If we did this, we would create a muddy mess. Blowing and collecting is time-consuming; in a day, maybe only four or five holes may get done, so please bear this in mind. We cannot blow and collect the whole course in a day.
Tree and wild area clearing have started. We have started behind the 17th green; this is to allow air flow and to get sunlight on the 15th green and the 16th red tee. There are a few other areas like this which will be attended to, for example behind the 7th green.
A tree surgeon has highlighted that quite a few trees need attention for health and safety purposes. Some will be taken out and others will be pollarded. Trees highlighted were the ash and willows.
The holding area is to be made larger and we are hoping to triple the size. This will allow more drainage water to be held before it starts backing up into the ditches. Hopefully, the course will not flood so quickly and will also drain more quickly. Thank you to the 500 Club for this help.
A 5-year plan is being drawn up to upgrade the bunkers. This will entail lining, re-shaping, and applying new sand. Some bunkers will also be removed.
Meanwhile, let’s hope the winter isn’t as wet as the last couple.
Lee Purves. - Course Manager.