I would like to firstly start off this newsletter with a big thank you to the entire Greenkeeping department for their hard work carried out while I was away on paternity leave. Coming back to the course looking great and hearing positive comments about how they all got on is brilliant to hear. I always knew before I left that the team would step up to the challenge and impractically my deputy Kevin, who did a fantastic job managing the running of the course and overseeing the early stages of driving range construction work.
On the course we have had a few early season challenges on the greens. This was due to the dry April conditions, followed up with damp and milder early May temperatures. What was happening in this period was the three dominating grass species on the greens were competing against one another while waking from a winter and spring dormancy. Typically, earlier on in the season, the Poa Annua (Annual Meadow Grass) grasses will emerge first and flower, turning the greens a white/ silvery colour ,and help thicken out the sward. Then as we progress from spring to summer the Agrostis Capillaris and Agrostis Stolonifera (Browntop & Creeping Bent) become more dominant as they favour the hot and dry conditions.
What we found this year was that due to the lack of temperatures and moisture levels the Pao seed heads never really started moving until the first few weeks of May, and then at the same time the Bent grasses were waking due to the rise in temperature. So at the same time all three grass species were competing for the same space. This led to a bobble effect on the greens.
Alongside these works, we also are carrying out an Irrigation audit report and improvement plan for the next few years to help us be more cost effective with our water usage and potential storage of water from bore hole. As you may remember, back in September 2020 the site was struck with a localised lightning strike and it blew our irrigation controller and decoders around the course to pieces. We had installed a new electrical controller system and decoders across the whole site, but were advised that the extent of the damages to the underground wiring looms may not become apparent for a few years as there is no way of tracing any potential surge spikes and earths in the cable. As the time has progressed, we are seeing more and more failures in the wiring loom around the site, and have had two visits in six months to mole plough in lines of cable to get the system back operational.
Unfortunately though, as you repair when length of cable, it only sends the high amperage levels to the next weakest spot in the cable. We still await the report and finding on this and we start to plan how to address this in the near future.
Bunker works have been carrying out the last few weeks, with the reintroduction of the 7th fairways bunkers, along with new sand top up on the 5th, 12th, 13th and 15th. We still aim to carry out further works in a few bunkers as we go through the year. This is typically work that is carried out in the winter months but due to other works we simply didn’t find the time to work on them.
In May , we took further delivery of new machinery in the form of two John Deere 6×4 Gator utility vehicles to replace our very old Toro workman’s that were at the end of their days. These two brand new machines are diesel run, as opposed to petrol from their predecessors, which give them much more power and weight holding capabilities to move larger amounts of materials around the site. This will drastically improve productivity and reduce the costly downtime on repairs and parts, which were getting to non-economical stage with the Toros.