Unfortunately my wet weather curse continued following the pro am to an indoor event!! I know indoor!
As most of you will know the clubhouse had quite a big leak on the day following another 25mm of heavy rain on the flat roof with a blocked drain causing the issue.
The scene in the clubhouse for few minutes reminded me of a scene in the film Titanic, fitting really for a club based in Southampton but this story did have a happy ending with all hands on deck including members and the use of every pan, bucket and towel, tragedy was avoided. The next day the bar looked like normal and business carried on with the only casualty being the greens forum.
However the casualties on the course were high with every bunker and pathway washed out.
Everytime it rains with any force the bunker banks simply get washed away and expose the soil. Then like looking at a river bed the soils are washed away exposing just the stones, leaving them in the bunkers. This adds another job to the list as bunkers that were de stoned get contaminated again.
The other issue caused by this, is the fine soil particles that get washed off not only does turn the colour of the bunker sand to a darker/ muddy look but these fine clay particles then block up the drainage in the bunkers. This in turn not only require more work to pump them out (see below) but the flooding the removes the sand from the banks and the whole process starts again. The sand depths then need to be shovelled about the get the correct levels.
Oh the joys of bunkers!
Interestingly bunkers are our second most labour intensive area on the course just a touch behind greens but this area gets more man hours than any other playing area and it's a HAZARD!
So following the heavy rain (76mm in three days) which was like deepest winter rain we spent 30 man hours repairing the bunkers to get them back to playable. All of our plans went out the window but this is what happens when Mother Nature is against you.
What can we do about it I hear you ask?
In the future we hope to re design the bunkers so not only do the give a great visual impact and improve the course strategy but they are shaped to reduce labour costs and fitted with the correct liners that block stone contamination but drain freely and hold the sand on the banks. I trialled this at my previous club and the results were even better than I imagined.
I truly believe doing this type of work at Stoneham will not only improve the bunkers but will improve the other playing surfaces. Why? Because the wasted man hours repairing bunkers will be able to be used to enhance the other areas.
Some of the pathway washouts have been pretty bad in places with some areas being treated but others I know still needing attention. Areas that have been soiled and seeded at the ends of the pathways ahead of the winter have also taken a step back (below at the 4th). I am now starting to see some the issues we will face in the winter months and there are things we can do to help these areas. Some honey cone matting maybe required in places.
Trials of the 'Murray mounds' as know in the industry (after Murray Long. He did a lot to improve Sunningdales pathways) .
These are small sleeping policemen type mounds on the pathways made out of pathway material at the correct spacing that rise subtly but stop the water from getting any real speed and flow but simply diverts it into the roughs away from the path.
Also the new rubber crumb pathway at the 9th which is nearly finished. Giving this a trial over the next year or two will give us another option.
So how did they lay the path?
Next the drains were added across the path and pipe and stoned out into the rough areas.
Next any broken wooden edges were replaced. I got asked why the use wood as it won't last! Well the wooden edge really only acts like a shuttering for them to use to get the correct levels and while the path cures. After that it doesn't need to be in really but it does look nice with the rubber crumb and will last around 10 years plus! But like I said the path once laid doesn't need it really.
I think the path looks fantastic and is a real assets to the club. We can now trial it and hopefully expand out to more as time goes on.
Obviously course maintenance has been and gone but that is a whole new blog in itself and I wanted to talk about some of these issues at the greens forum.
We've taken full advantage of the wet week and managed to get the irrigation system drained down so irrigation repairs could take place around the golf course.
A lot of our leaks were on the 'live side' as they say, meaning these areas couldn't be shut off without draining the system down. Not often you get the opportunity to do that in August!
The fairway fertiliser and rainfall has definitely greened the fairways up but they still require a lot of work to get them to the standard I wish for but these are a work in progress.
Like they say Rome wasn't built in a day!
That's enough for me today.
Enjoy your golf
Until next time!