This blog's title comes from the famous 60's/70's band the Doors. I have been thinking of a way to sum up how we are feeling with the recent weather.
Two Sundays in a row have been lost due to Stormy weather. Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis have taken their toll on the Course. We lost a huge Oak tree on the right of 7 and silver birch left of 5 and a lot of wind damage to trees and debris all over the course with Ciara. Dennis was a lot wetter with less wind but we lost a big Oak to the left of the 10th pathway and a Silver Birch on the right of the 7th. So not too bad but on a closer inspection we have several trees that now have huge cracks down them. These have now been assessed and will be addressed soon, Some will be reduced and other felled for safety reasons. I feel like we have all been riding out the storms, just waiting for them to end and for spring to arrive (I can not wait!)
|Oak down on 7th|
|Following Storm Dennis, a new lake formed at the bottom of the 18th due to the 51mm of rain|
Rainfall wise, I have had enough... there I've said it. 209mm so far this year and that's in just six weeks. February is already the wettest in six years. this on top of the 486mm from September 10th until December 31st. That's almost a years rainfall in five months! I wanted the rain, and I ve got it. Mother Nature always tends to even herself out.
Maintenance Week rescheduled
Unfortunately you will have seen we have had to move this weeks Maintenance week. Although it wasn't meant to be to aggressive with regard to the works on the greens, we still would need to drive around the course and more importantly onto the greens with the tractors. This plus forty+ tons of top dressing driven out to each green would have caused so much damage. Damage that would need to be repaired.
We were due to rope drain three greens (2,14,15) again this would require diggers on the aprons and the material removed from the holes. We would then need to drive on the greens again and the use of road roller to level before we the could tine them to get the levels back for putting was to much with the recent weather. we had 51 mm of rain from Saturday night to Sunday Night... thats alot of rain on every square inch of the course.
The date has been moved to the 2nd March when we hope it's drier... This was the only date the contractors could commit to regarding the greens and the week we have already booked into hollow tine Aprons, Tees and Surrounds.
You may have noticed
We have still been busy even with all the rain and storm damage repairs. The Oak tree on the 7th took five guys two days to cut up, burn and stack. This was purely down to the size and complexities of the branches.
Our woodland management work is slowly paying off as two trees in both storms isn't perfect but is still better than it would have been before. Reducing damaged, diseased and loss of the healthy trees is always our aim. Protecting the feature trees for the future!
You will have seen a lot of worn areas have been re turfed around the course. Some of these areas will need to be done yearly due to these being high traffic areas from golfers all walking the same direction (to and from tees and greens for example). Some areas will be fine and give better lies and are either damage repairs from two years of drought or damage from the bunker project over the last three years.
One of the bonuses from the wet weather is that it highlights all the wet areas and potential drainage projects for the future along with drainage issues with our current drains. Above you will see the repair being made to the 15th fairway drainage. The old clay pipe had collapsed, the team hand dug this out and replaced with new pipe, this was then stones but we left this open with the high amount of rain forecast over the last few days. This will be topped up with rootzone and turfed as the weather improves.
This will be filled and turfed once we dry out enough to run the materials out. Our plan is to Tarmac this pathway this year and reducing the areas not used as this saves money and time.
The pathways have been getting some TLC. The sleepers from the 3rd tee have been removed as these were rotting and a slip hazard when wet. The sprinklers for the 3rd tee were on the pathway so Joe and Graham have moved these back onto the side of the tee. Weeding and topping up pathways has been on going but as you can imagine this with the current weather, this has been a never ending problem as the pathways are washing out.
Work is being carried out to plug some of the heather areas that died off during the drought. These will be monitored and watered where possible in the future.
The removal of the old clubhouse has now been done and the are has been filled with crushed concrete and road planning to give additional car parking spaces. we may add Tarmac to this area in the future but for now we need the area to settle. It is totally safe to park on. Above you can see the mounding being top soiled and turfed to give a attractive edge (and to allow for any bumps when parking) before we install the fence.
Four of the team were lucky enough to attend the Greenkeepers conference this January. We attended courses on various subjects including bio stimulants, disease control without fungicides, Environment and Ecology, Man management and performance, Water Management, The future of golf 2030 and many more. I was lucky enough to present three times at the show. One workshop working with greenkeepers from all over on career promotion. I was then asked to be on the panel at the Young Greenkeepers Conference. This talked about many things including Social media good and bad, Career development and interviewing. Following this Myself and James Edwards presented a talk at the golf Architects Forum on the Stoneham Driving Range Project. We were in good company as the talks also included the JCB club, Dunbarnie, Royal Dornoch and Royal Portrush.
As you can see all this plus the daily set ups of raking bunkers, cutting greens, dewieing greens, cutting the course (when we can), woodland work, College work for those on the team requiring training has kept us busy. The team have been fantastic this winter, especially with the weather and all the leaf clearing required. I thank them for their efforts and good humour.
As we dry out expect a lot of work on the roughs, pathways and topping up bunkers, along with maintenance week, aeration across the course and work on worn areas.
Like all of you and all of us, we just have to keep riding these Storms and being as productive as we can until the spring is upon us!
Hopefully you will get some golf and we will see you out on the course.
See you soon