Friday, 31 July 2015

The Wet-Am

Another quick update from me on what's been happening over the last couple of weeks. I think the picture above just about summed up the Pro Am or wet am as I will always remember. 

Unfortunately on the Friday of the Pro am heavy rain was predicted and this prediction was right. The course held up reasonably well considering the high rainfall until around 2pm when at this point the course couldn't cope. The greenstaff worked tirelessly to help play continue. 

One greenkeeper was assigned to two greens each (with two having three greens to watch). The PGA were in constant touch with us through the day trying to establish if relief could be taken and if okay to continue. After four hours or so of pushing water we asked the team to push water off of the putting lines (at this point I realised with the forecast we would need to stop play). Play was stopped and forecasts checked. We were due a dry spell for one hour then heavy rain again. 
20mm of rain had fallen during play until
Play was stopped around 3pm. A good decision not to go back out was made as another 13mm fell between 5-8pm. I would like to thank the greenstaff who had put in extra hours all week and started before 5am on the day for the efforts. Well done guys... Sometimes you can't beat mother nature no matter how hard you try. 

The next day (Saturday) was fantastic weather and perfect for the Invitation day. 
I took moisture readings in the morning following the day before was a deluge. The readings around 44- 45%. This is high as our target ranges are between 25-27%! 
If moisture readings go over 50% this is a sign that the greens will be lacking in oxygen. This happens as the moisture fills all the pore spaces between the soil particles (the best way to imagine this, is a bucket full of golf balls and you add flour. The flour fills all the gaps in between the balls). I hope that makes sense! 

Following the readings at the weekend we took the decision to get some air into the greens. We run the pro core with 6mm tines over the worst ones and sarel rolled the rest (before the competition went out on the Monday).

We then used the roller to smooth them down before play. This won't always be done but poor root development at the moment has meant the greens 'lift' a touch when aerated. This will improve with the more aeration we do but getting the surfaces back ASAP is ALWAYS our main aim. 

The rain has highlighted some things for me to work on with the team in the coming days, weeks and years. Most of the water issues on the greens were caused by water running onto the greens from the surrounding areas. 
The topography of the course lends itself to this and is part of the courses beauty and defence. We will look to add a few more swales and run offs to theses areas to help this situation as we implement the development plan. 

On the Sunday the rain fell again with another 14mm of rain during the Beckford Bowl semi final (well done guys I tip my hat to you winning in those conditions to make the final). That meant we had 47mm in three days compared to our 6mm in 47 previous days! 

Other works 

Top dressing greens has been carried out again. I will blog more on the benefits of this in the future. 
Followed by brushes to brush the top dressing into the grass sward. 

Hollow coring of the Aprons has started as we start to drive these on to a more greens like surface. Firstly removing the thatch is priority and then adding sand. Drying these out over time will make for better aprons in the winter.

The cores are collected and used in various areas around the course including topping up drain lines. 

Above is a picture of the cores. You can see the fibrous looking area at the top. This is thatch. This acts like a big sponge stopping water in the winter and drying out in the summer. You need a little thatch in all grass areas but management is needed continually to maintain and improve playing surfaces. 

Some areas were top dressed by hand but this along with hand clearing cores is very labour intensive. 

We have also taken expert advice on the irrigation system and an audit is being done to try and maximise the system. 

De- stoning bunkers has been started and will be on going. The stones come through the base of the bunkers through erosion from either rain or rakes. This is something we intend to sort once and for all in the new bunkers planned for the course in the coming years. More on this to come too! 

Topping up bunker sands to a correct depth has started but this again takes time to get around 58 bunkers. 20 tons has gone out so far with more to follow. I will do a blog on this soon. 
Sand being moved around the bunker to get correct depths. 

In other news, the old broken hut at the 13th was removed for safety reasons. I think removing it has improved the view on both the 12th and 13th holes. 

Okay, that's enough from me now. 
Let's hope for some better weather during the days but rain at night (see I m never happy with the weather). I am off to pack some boxes as we look forward to moving the family down. 

Happy golfing 


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