There were two inches of rain in the early part of last week, yet we managed to keep to 18 main greens right through from Thursday to Saturday. We've been cutting the tees and greens and some rough, but a lot of the rough remains too wet to be cut. The new fairway markers are out, freshly painted, making the course look even more special.
The first photo is quite interesting, it shows just how effective the verti-drain work has been. That's a playable green despite having suffered an enormous amount of rainfall, as you can tell from the puddle.
Below are a few interesting photos from Shaun, the first of which shows the hazard posts and distance markers having been painted for the new season. That alone is a pretty big job. Then we have a couple of photos showing a puddle which formed underneath the 17th fairway. The water built up with nowhere to go in the clay so Roger had to dig away some turf to relieve the pressure.
The photos of two ditches on the 2nd show just how well they deal with water. Some members have asked us if they work because they're often empty, but they most certainly do work, shifting water off of the course very quickly.
Then there's a couple of pictures of a sprinkler, which has had grass and soil gradually accumulate around it. Eventually this stops them raising from the ground and they break, so we have a special tool to cut the ground accordingly.
There's also a photo of the bunker on 18 being pumped out and whilst the pump is on the course we've also used it to empty the soakaways on the 10th and 12th holes which always need attention after so much rain. We dig soakaways at various locations around the course, fill them with stones and sink a pipe to the bottom of them. They're essentially just big buckets to take water from around the greens, but the clay soil out there means they need to be emptied as they won't drain on their own, other than in summer when cracks below ground can assist with the process.
Roger is on holiday so thanks to Shaun for taking photos. A bit of decent weather has helped us crack on with some work on the bunkers and with the mowers out with vengeance the course is becoming all lovely and stripey. There's a report from Jeff Mills out soon, it will be published with the next club newsletter and it contains a good amount of information about course conditions in March and plans for the coming months.
The sun rose over the distant hills and Roger could barely contain his excitement. It was "Verti-Drain" day and his Instagram feed mentioned "#emotional" and "#whenyouwishuponastar". Anyway, the team got to work and despite a bit of inconvenience to the members, things are progressing very well on making our greens all kinds of lovely for the coming months.
Update from 2nd April. The combination of "proper" deep aeration and thatch removal has certainly sped up the draining process. A LOT of rain has fallen lately but we're still on main greens. The last picture shows installation of a drain on the 13th fairway two years ago.
It's been another busy few days. The main job we completed was the work on the beech treese between the 4th and 5th fairways. That area is looking really tidy now. We've been power brushing the winter tees to, as well as putting out the new flags in readiness for the Captains' Drive-In. Clearing dew from the greens remains a daily task.
Our blog isn't just about what we've done, it'a also about what we're going to do. So for 28th, 29th and 30th March we're going to be doing some aeration works on the course, which means the following:
- Quadra Hollow tine all greens with 8mm tines
- Top dress all greens with a sand/soil mix
- Brush in the top dressing on all greens
- Roll all greens
Golfers should be prepared for:
- Slight disruption depending on when they play as a couple of greens may have to be on winter greens as staff work.
- More dressing on greens than normal
Benefits of aeration/ tining are:
- Removal of thatch build up
- More air to the roots of the plant
- Reduce compaction
So, apologies for any disruption caused, the work is very necessary and the greens will certainly benefit from what we'll be doing.
Just when we thought spring was on the way we got hit with another dump of snow. This did provide a chance for some sledging though and today, as we write the blog, the snow has nearly gone.
Before "Beast Two" hit us we'd done some good working clearing the scrub from the corner of 17 and we reckon that with all of the recent work the course is going to look great and play beautifully during the spring and summer. Bring it on!
Mixed weather recently, with 37mm or rain coming down over the weekend. We've been clearing/spiking drains, pushing off puddles and pumping out the sumps around the course. Then with some good sunshine on Tuesday we hand-cut nine of our main greens and added some lovely stripes to the ground between the 4th and 17th fairways.
Update - We've now completed the hand-mowing of all 18 greens and top-dressing is well underway.
We've got 18 holes open on main greens, just a week after the heaviest snowfall for years. Pictures here are some efforts to clear the road and paths, a rather nice pic of the 15th, setting up for solid tining the tees and the thaw happening on the Blackdown Hills. The green with frozen snow is 14, which was one of the last to clear.
Well it snowed and snowed and snowed. The club was closed for a few days and at the time of writing we're waiting for a final thaw so that the course can re-open.
Once we could get to the club the work began though, clearing roofs and gutters, unblocking course drains and pumping out bunkers and sumps.
We've painted a few more benches too and the ball washers are now all "good to go" for the coming season.
First job though was to cleat the road and car park, so that our members and visitors can get here, because all though they can't play golf until the snow is all gone, we wanted to get the clubhouse and pro-shop open as soon as possible.
Lots of snow in the photos, and a little graphic showing how a sudden thaw in the ground can damage grass roots.
With some snow forecast for later in the week we've made sure that our snow plough is ready to be called to action. It will be used to clear the road to the clubhouse and the car park if required.
Another job taking place is setting up smaller tines for aerating the greens, we'll be getting that done soon enough. Also, the benches have all been re-stained and are now ready to go out onto the course, and the litter bins have had their annual refurbish.
We've been hand-rolling and brushing some greens too, leaving a rather attractive striped finish.
For the coming week we have some tree work planned if the weather is kind enough, if not it will be time to attach that snow plough!
We're currently in the process of top-dressing the greens. This process starts with a 17mm solid tine and then a heavy tdressing of 70/30 sand/soil mix to help aerate them. This keeps the structure nice and open and in great condition. The process also helps dilute organic matter, another essential process in the upkeep of our greens.
It's been a very busy few days, and at the time of writing we've just moved on to 17 main greens (with the 5th still out of action due to ongoing drainage work). We're down to three greenkeepers on the course right now, with Kevin working on machinery maintenance and Jeff currently acting as General Manager.
Here's a list of some of the jobs that have been going on, and there are a few more that we can't remember right now...
- Drained bunkers
- Moved hole positions
- Stirred drains
- Trimmed conifers on 7th fairway
- Repaired and stained benches
- Pumped out sumps
- Brushed water from greens
- Daily setup of the course
We've also been spending a lot of time putting hoops and ropes back into place, and again we ask golfers to replace these when they've moved them to play a shot.
That's all for now, more on Monday or Tuesday next week.
Just a short blog entry on a chilly but gorgeous Monday morning. It's a bit of a refurbishment job on the ball washers and benches. The weather takes its toll on everything throughout the year as you might expect.
Also, a little note about water in the ball washers. During the very cold weather we don't fill them as if the water freezes the cast iron can crack, meaning expensive repairs.
We've been hard at work thinning out the Leylandii tress between the 4th and 5th fairways. This will let a lot more light onto the course in that area and no doubt assist golfers who hit a bit of a wayward drive.
Work on the sump in front of the 5th green is progressing well and that job will really reap some rewards over the coming years.
Here's a list of a few jobs we've been undertaking over the last few days:
- 15 greens pencil tined and hand mowed afterwards
- Bunkers raked
- Water pushed off greens
- Markers moved
- Walkways sanded
We've made start on a 5th hole drainage sump and Kevin continued with mechanics.
On 2nd February we changed hole location, added bunker markers and did some dew removal. We finished the 5th sump and also made one in front of the 10th green. Finally we pencil tined and hand mowed the remaining greens.