Saturday, 21 November 2015

Breaking eggs to move forward!

Some of you will know the saying 'You can't make an omelette with out cracking some eggs'. 
Well this week we have been cracking eggs so to speak. Sometimes what can been seen to be taking a step back is really important to move forward. 

For example this week the aprons, fairways and semi roughs were all verti drained. This is a deep tine aeration using big 1 inch tines width going 10 inches plus depth.  

This is done to improve drainage, get air to the root system, improve root mass, increase grass coverage and to aid some of our spraying techniques. 

The downside is it can mark up in some of the wetter places following the last few very wet months. It can leave wheel marks. These are superficial and will be gone once the course is cut next.  
This work is essential to help us get through the winter months and have improved fairways in the new year. 

As you can see above the tines do get worn down as the are used so these are changed during the weeks work. 

I mentioned above the fact the verti drain helps aid our spraying techniques. By this I mean at this time of year the course is sprayed for worms (and worms are a problem at Stoneham) to help us tame the beast. This is a chemical that doesn't actually kill the worms but suppresses them down and stops them casting on the surface. This inturn reduces turf diseases, weeds and muddy areas (and annoying mud stuck on your golf ball).

As mentioned in other blogs the thatch levels on these areas is something we are  tackling but are higher than I want. So by following the verti drain we can get more of the chemical we need down past the thatch layer to our target area in the soil. 

Spraying the course is a big job but made harder by leaves and the amazing growth rates going on at present (it's growing as fast as Spring but wetter). For this we used contract sprayers who came in sprayed the entire course by 10.30am meaning the were out of the way from golfers but they also competed it in this rather than our two days in house! See above the two operators. 
Again you may see some wheel marks in places but this will wash out with the next rainfall but it is essential we try to reduce the worm casting through the winter as this has a huge impact on the playing surfaced going into next year. I apologise if this weekend you do land in a wheel mark but you can claim relief and I wouldn't do the work unless it was completely necessary.

Other works this week

While we were verti draining the course we got to use the Gwazae from Bill our Verti drain guy. This is another deep aeration tool firing compressed air into the greens. 

This was carried on the 13th and Putting Green. The reason we done this to those greens was due to the high moisture content in those greens. Our moisture readings were around 47%. Now that is very wet and shows me that we need to work on these areas in the future. Soil structures that get over 50% are in real trouble of getting hypoxia this basically means they drown and it can effect grass sward and colour. This is something we will keep an eye on. 

Using the Gwazae was to good an opportunity and the work was completed in a couple of hours. The benefits from this where - 

-Greatly improved aerobic conditions
-More playable days 
-Minimal surface interruption
-Healthier turf

Also our new hand mowers and trailers arrived this week giving us better machines to maintain the course during the winter months. This reduces the amount of compaction on the greens with less wear and a better quality of cut. They even come with lighting rigs. 

To say I was very excited about these arriving was an understatement!! 

I will blog more on the new machinery and the effects these will have on the team soon. The club are investing heavily in improving your course. The works being carried out are always essential and for the benefit of the club even if first impressions don't show it. 

Anyway enough from me. Enjoy your omelette and your golf! 


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