Monday, 16 April 2018

Playing the waiting game!

After what feels like an eternity of rain and snow, I finally sit down to write a blog with glorious sunshine and the first real feeling that spring is coming.

One of my questions is ‘how far behind are we?’ 
Well compared to last year a lot or 28 days to be precise. Looking at the GDD (growth) magic number we hit 85 on the 9th April. Compare that to last year and we hit that figure on the 12th March! Just for your information we consider 150GDD as the magic number when grass is fully growing and the season has started.

2018 87 GDD 9th April 
2017 87 GDD 12th March

This coming week we will see a surge in growth, we will have more this week than the whole of February and March put together. This is great news for us as this will bring with it dry days. To the end of April last year we had 245mm of rain compared to this years 335mm of rain so far. The biggest issue had been rain days - March 2017 we had 13 days compared to 26 days in March 2018...

Okay Matt, what does this mean to us and our golf course as we already know the weather has been awful like you say! 

This week we will see a flush of growth, these warm days and night (nights being the key part) mean the grass will explode and the greenstaff will be out mowing and trying to keep up with it. We will also use this to our advantage by carrying out some maintenance to the tees, aprons and surrounds. We will be hollow coring these areas and getting some topdressing on plus the spring fertilisers to also aid recovery.
Micro coring 9th

Brushing Topdressing in

Today we managed to Micro core (small hollow core) some of the greens that we know require a little bit more thatch removed and All greens got a light top dressing onto them, this will help smooth them out and maintain speed as the growth flush kicks in (Note:greens get slower when grass grows quicker). 
Talking about smooth greens... I also need to remind you that in the spring when the grass is waking up from its winter, some grass species take longer than others to ‘wake up’ meaning we get differential growth if you look at the rough this is exaggerated out in these areas. This can mean greens get a bit bumpy for a short period. I have done a blog on this in the past if you wish to read this again the link is here :
But we doing all we can to minmise the impact to the golfer.

  • Cutting with brushes to help stand the grasses up before cutting so they are all cut at the same height. 
  • We are rolling to give smoother greens and help maintain green speed. 
  • We have also lowered the height of cut back to a normal height as we slowly bring the heights down for the summer months ahead. 

Getting the rough cut?
We will be attempting to get some of the rough cut in the coming weeks but some of these areas are still pretty wet and will require longer to dry up before we can cut them. 

Catching up on work!
As you can imagine we have a lot of work to catch up on as a team mainly due to us waiting for Mother Nature to play ball. Fertilisers haven’t been applied to areas yet due to the maintenance work being delayed for example. Topping up bunkers and pathways has also been set back due to the ground conditions being to wet to move anything.

Work postponed due to the wet conditions

Just take a look at the practice ground project which came to a grinding holt, as two machines got stuck in and had to rescued over a two day task. They decided it was to wet and postponed work for two weeks. Hopefully this should be up and running again soon.  
What has felt like a daily task lately 

We like all the golfers have had a hard winter. Possibly the hardest Winter I can remember. Please be patient during this period as Mother Nature and the greenstaff try to play catch up! 

So what have we been up too during the wet and snow period? 

Every weather has its down sides and upsides to it. For us as a team this is part of the challenge. Getting other things done while we play the waiting game.

Cutting as soon as possible after the thaws
The new bunkers were finally opened for play

End of pathways and high traffic areas have had honey cone mats and turf added
Out with old broken Irrgation boxes

In with the new
Lots of brush cutting old ditches has also been carried out. This will allow us to maintain them but better and to improve ashetics

Old Temp 1st tee could not cope with the weather and wear

Wacker plating the base for the teeing mat

Better looking Temp 1st Tee. The banks will also now grow in

During the snow days we had chance to catch up on furniture painting ahead of the season

Refurbished bins and boot cleaner

The team also took advantage and edged the old school way with edging irons on the old style bunker to give them a fresh look.

Old tree stumps were added to the overflow car park at the top of the carpark to make it safer for cars parking near the bank

Leveling our greenkeeper pathways has been on going during the wet period

Woodland management has been on going to with the removal of scrub and Rhodie. We have also spent many man hours lifting tree crowns up to improve tree health and improve light and air flow. This may also allow for a full swing...

The Greenstaff also got chance to attend the BIGGA South Coast Conference with talks on Weather, Practice ground design! The RAC Club and Boundary Lakes story so far. This was very educational and gave a lot to think about.

The snow also gave us chance to catch up on some Staff Meetings and college work for those guys that are doing work based learning.

Charlie (Chaz) was finally presented his gifts and caricature on his retirement after the greens forum which was well attended. Graham and Levi also spoke about the last year along with myself. A version will be added
to a blog soon. Thanks to all those the attended.

So as you can see, the weather may not have been kind but there is always work being done to the course.
One thing I have learnt about Mother Nature, is that she always like to even things up throughout the year. My money is now on a good summer that extends into October with lack of rain being my future blog moans:-) 

Enjoy the spring and remember, please be patient we are doing everything we can for your golf course! 


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