Sunday, 29 November 2015

The Battles of Winter

The meteorological calendar says that winter begins on the1st December. I know this is true, especially this year as it only seems like yesterday we were playing golf in polo shirts and basking in the sun, well that's not far off the truth because November started off so mild (see graphs below). One thing for sure is the battles of winter have officially started! 

One of our main battles is leaves! 
Now as a golfer there is nothing more annoying than hitting a good shot, getting your line and walking up to that area to lose the ball under the leaves.
But as greenkeepers on courses with plenty of trees will tell you there is nothing more annoying than leaves!!

With the mild autumn slowly cooling down and our first few frost days appearing we are carrying on our daily battles with the leaves. 

Some of you may have noticed our presents in the mornings as the greenstaff try to clear the greens and as much of the course as we can in front of play. 

The fact that shorter day light hours, with sunrise around 7.30am, means we start on the course a lot later than in the summer even with lighting rigs. We then try to work in hole order to keep a head of the golfers off the 1st tee. 

Please bare in mind that we are also trying to get all the normal works done along with the leaf clearing during this period and we maybe seen more at this time and may require you to wait for a minute before playing your shot but this doesn't last to long. 

The winter solstice is only days away and then we will start to get more day light hours (slowly). I am definitely looking on the positive here :-) 

So what battles are we facing at the moment?

For a start finding greens covered in leaves every morning!

We then hand blow the greens off. We do this by hand to reduce the amount of compaction to the greens that the other blowing machines would cause especially over the winter. 
Once the greens are clear we then blow the green surrounds and aprons. 

Getting it far enough away for us to get the bigger blower around it to blow it into lines. 
We then use the bigger blowers to move the leaves into lines along the fairways 

These are then sucked up using our brush vacuum or Trilo. The Trilo is another new addition to our fleet and is basically a huge Dyson.  

This sucks the leaves up and shreds them as it fills the back container. It takes longer than you think to pick up all the leaves on the course and the new Trilo is amazing and will speed up
on the old process. 
This should take us between seven to ten weeks to get them all up depending on the Oaks. I believe we are over half way already. 

These are then taken to areas for us to compost them (up to 10 loads a day). This area was recently tidied up using 13 ton digger and driver to give us more space (thank you Mr Trant). 

We also use the hose attachment on the Trilo to clear the ditches. This is a two man job and can take all day. So it's about trying to find the balance and keep on top of the key playing areas. 

(Normally by this point the wind starts to blow, just like this four day weather warning and we start the whole process again) 

I hope this gives you a little insight to what we are doing to clear leaves. I have heard people say the greenkeepers just blow them and they come back. Well as you can see there is a method in our madness but sometimes we need to get round first to allow play then fall back to do the clearing up. 
Rest assured we are clearing them and a lot of man hours are going into this. With each oak tree having around 300,000 leaves falling from it, imagine how many leaves we are picking up!! 

In a few weeks they will all be down and tidied away and we can start thinking about next season. 

I will blog again soon in another prequel of the Battles of Winter but I hope this helps you to understand one of our challenges at this time of year. 

Happy golfing


No comments:

Post a Comment