December 2022 (Click to Expand)
With the heavy rain and the snow that we have encountered over the last couple of weeks it has given us a bit of time to catch up tidying the main shed and to start cleaning the machinery down in preparation for their winter servicing.
While we were burning the rubbish we also noticed the “ boiler room “ at the clubhouse was in a disgusting state and was like a dumping ground and posed quite a few issues regarding health and safety. There were tins of paint, thinners, wood stain and multiple flammables, not only that but with Joanne having to pressurise the boiler on a daily basis she was having to clamber over a jet washer, hoses and garden tools. It has now been completely emptied and access is easy with no hazards.
The pitfalls on 12th and 13th have now been completed and the Coal Board have been sent all the relevant information regarding the repairs for them to then release the funds upon completion.
We have brought in all the course furniture and washed it all down in preparation for staining and repairs. We have also had a delivery from Harelaw sawmill with the 6ft x 3in round posts to make 108 new tee markers for the start of the new season. These posts are drying out and will be completed over the next few weeks.
After digging the 1st and 18th path out in preparation for the laying of the new path it was discovered that we needed to do a few more alterations. These alterations were discovered after the digger we hired had gone back. I contacted Paddy ( ACE Engineering ) and we managed to borrow their digger for 2 days, free of charge to allow work to commence on time. All the gravel and hardcore that was removed was spread out on the road behind the clubhouse that connects the main car park to the overflow car park. Once it was levelled we used our “ wacker plate “to consolidate the surface and it has proved to be a great quick fix at minimal cost.
After storm Arwen last year we managed the best we could to tidy up the devastation that was caused. All the loose and dangerous trees were removed and fallen limbs chopped up. Some of the trees that had snapped in half were left standing as they posed no safety issues until we could get them removed. Over the last 2 weeks we have completely tidied the rear of the 4th tee that was badly damaged, all the snapped trees in question have been removed ( tree No.30-44 )
We have also started part of our forestry plan and thinning of health wood between 7th and 9th fairway. Due to our quoter we can take an average of 13 trees a quarter and with the work we have done we have 9 more trees to fell before end of January and then “phase two” will take us to April.
Finally I’d like to thank the Directors for their continued support. As we all know at times it can be a thankless task and you all give your personal time to the well-being of the Golf Club and to support myself and the staff which is much appreciated. Can I take this opportunity to wish you all and the members a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy New Year
October 2022 (Click to Expand)
Last month hasn’t really seen much change from the previous months regarding different work, the priority has been to keep the course tidy as we come to the end of competition golf. We have started to raise the height of cut ever so slightly on the greens and will continue to do so over the coming 4- 6 weeks depending on the weather, until we get to our desired winter height of 5mm. The reason is to get as much healthy grass coverage on the greens to help protect them over the coming colder months where we get no recovery due to shorter, colder and frosty days.
Following our ‘ hollow coring ‘ the results have been great with very little disruption. We have continued to sarel roll the greens on a monthly basis and this will continue throughout the winter months when weather allows.
I have applied another application of wetting agent and seaweed, again this will continue throughout the winter months on a monthly basis when weather allows.
Following the application of ‘wetter’ I applied a winter stress buster liquid which has had a great effect and result on the green. Our autumn/winter granular fertiliser was delivered last week and will be applied next week.
I hope that over the next 10 days we will get all the semi rough and fairways cut which will probably be the last full cut of the year, areas will be monitored and cut accordingly if and when needed.
Since the last meeting I have identified and done a full report for our tree felling programme, I have number tagged the trees and logged them in species and approximate cubic meter for Phase 1 of our plan. If anyone wishes to see this report please just ask.
Turfcare had borrowed our hollow corer and in return I borrowed their Harvey Auto rake. As we all know our 15th tee is pretty poor regards grass coverage and ground levels. Before Turfcare borrowed our hollow corer I double passed the 15th and removed the cores. With Turfcare’s machine I have ripped the top surface off and used it to grade the tee level as best we could, we will add some divot mix and rake it level as best as we can as a quick fix and over seed it. It will be interesting to see the results as we have nothing to lose!
The wet area at the first fairway next to the 150yd marker has now been fixed. We were not sure of the source of water as that area has been a problem area ever since I joined as a junior member in 1987. All we think it can be is a natural spring. Anyway we have unearthed an existing drainage network that was installed in 1998 and uncovered the pipe. We cleaned off the plastic pipe and put 50 litres of water in to ensure the system was working correctly. Within minutes the water was flowing into the drainage ditch at the ‘holly bush’ 3rd open ditch. So we have dug out by hand across the 1st fairway and tapped into the existing system and connected with a Y-joint. We have piped, backfilled with gravel and topped the drain line up with hollow cores and over seeded. I’m quietly confident that this will rectify the issue for good.
As I’m sure you’re all aware we sustained a couple of acts of vandalism recently. First incident they attacked the 7th green badly, gouging out several old hole change cores, smashed bunker rake teeth into the putting surface until they broke, then with the hollow handle proceeded to use the hollow handle to stab 100+ holes. They destroyed the flag pole, pinched all the markers from 8th tee, 9th tee and 13th tee. They also removed and threw down the back of the tee the nice anodised tee marker with the hole lay out on. It was repaired as best I could on the Saturday and we rectified it properly on the Monday. Then sadly the following Tuesday/Wednesday they did the same to the 11th but not quite on the same scale. Again we repaired that immediately and put the ‘ thatch-away ‘ units over the greens to assist in recovery of the damage. With doing this and then the liquid fertiliser I mentioned earlier the damage is hard to see. For the last couple of weeks I have drove down on a night. The Police were informed but were not sure to what extent they can do. For the last couple of weeks on a Friday and Saturday night I have sat down the 8th hoping to deter or catch them, luckily nothing has occurred.
I have also phoned A.V Irrigation to get a system close down for the winter. They have given us a provisional date of Thursday 27th October, I also mentioned to them that we had reported the 18th valve assembly has a leak on ever since they replaced it in 2020. We will dig that out for them to inspect while here.
Finally we had a demo of the new Kubota RTV at the start of the month, we had it for 2 days and it was a great success. This wasn’t a surprise as we have had 2 previous RTV machines. Our current machine is 10 years old and was in need of replacing. Luckily we managed to secure the machine and took delivery of it on Thursday evening. I would like to thank the Directors for the investment into the course and machines, it is much appreciated and needed to continue moving forward.
September 2022 (Click to Expand)
September has been another extremely busy month. We have continued to try and keep on top of cutting and to keep the course as well presented as possible.
We have continued to keep up with our monthly feed, pencil tining and wetting agent programme on the greens in-line with our annual maintenance plan. I plan for 5 applications which started in May with the first application and ending in September.
While some areas of the course have been burnt off due to the months of drought conditions, this has saved us some time on cutting and more so saved us diesel. We have taken this opportunity to catch up on some pruning and tidying up jobs. On the left side of 7th fairway there was a hawthorn choked up with ivy and leaning at a dangerous angle, for safety reason we removed it as well as some low limbs up 10th avenue that were damaging the machines.
Our Kubota RTV is on its last legs. Although it’s been a work horse, it is now past due replacement! We have had a demo machine and are looking to test others before making a final decision on the best way forward.
Hollow coring and our annual Maintenance Aeration programme was scheduled for the week beginning 5th Sept. Without being picky this was really a week that we could have done with being “bone” dry…….. it wasnt, but we had some much needed rain, 84mm actually over 3 days !!! All 19 greens were hollow cored at 5-1/2 inches deep with ¾ inch tines and cleared off by 2.00pm. This was a great achievement by the green staff. We got the attachments swapped over and top dressed the 5th to make sure everything was in place to continue first thing Tuesday morning. We were pleased to be able to have use of some equipment from Turfcare to assist the work, which saved a huge amount of time.
Good time was being made before then the rain hit. The sand was laid and after a few weeks the greens are showing great signs of recovery. In total we have approximately applied 42 tonnes of top dressing and over seeded with approximately 100kg of fescue seed.
The winter work programme has been agreed with the Greens Director, which the team will begin following the end of the competitive playing season.
As the season comes to a close, grass is starting to slow down, hopefully the weather will be kind over the autumn to assist us with some of the jobs we have left remaining and allow some germination of seed as the days get shorter and cooler.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the members that help out as volunteers, especially the divot fillers, as well as to Paul Charlton of Turfcare, but mainly to “ the lads “ for what has been a really physically demanding 7 to 10 days. Finally thank you to the Directors for their continued support.
August 2022 (Click to Expand)
The end of July leading into August has had its challenges, mainly the lack of rain! This prolonged dry period has all over the country had or is having an effect on most. To try and save or reduce the stress to the grass mowing of fairways, semi rough and tees has been monitored and kept to a minimum. The greens have still been continued to be cut daily, but are monitored every day and are assessed accordingly.
Leading up to Tully cup we eventually got some well needed natural rain which perked the course up outstandingly well. During this damp period we sarrel rolled the greens and applied our monthly programme of seaweed, wetting agent and foliar feed, the timing was perfect and also were the results.
While grass cutting has been slow, it has allowed us to drop onto some jobs that normally we would struggle to do in the playing months. We have divotted all the fairways ( along with the help of the volunteers ), we have also been tidying low branches in the copses and the main impact area of the beech trees to the rear of the 6th green have been pruned and tidied. The whole surrounding area of the 5th medal tee has been brashed back and pruned along with the lane along to the cottages to allow deliveries.
It also allowed us time to spend some much needed time on maintenance of machines, from mid season oil changes, power washing down and re-greasing them all.
The irrigation system on the greens have been working overtime and has proved that investing money into the system has paid huge dividends to us as a club.
Some adjustments have been required on the greens side of the system where old heads have been replaced and some of the older heads had the wrong nozzles in, so after a day of investigation the heads were removed, stripped down and larger nozzles were fitted, this came at no cost other than time as I did the repairs in-house. The results have been promising.
I have just ordered the top dressing in preparation for our “maintenance week” at the start of September and I have also just ordered some new hollow tines, let’s keep our fingers crossed for some decent weather to allow a quick recovery.
Finally we have had a few incidents recently on the course from the local children, one such ongoing area of vandalism was the 7th green and 8th tee area but after catching them and having a chat with them it seems to have done the trick.
The other problem area was the 15th tee 14th green where the kids from the farm complex have caused damage and theft of markers etc and stabbing the pin into the greens. After a call last week from several members I chanced my luck and went door knocking and found the culprits, whose parents were only happy to help and have been brilliant in their approach to help stop such incidents. The father was happy enough to give me his number and if ever we have bother to phone him, this was greatly appreciated.
One more thing, I would like to thank “ the lads “ for all there help over such a tough time to be working outside, in such heat, they do it without complaint and I feel that they need a mention on my behalf as I’m only as good as the workers that support me….. and its cost me a fortune in ice lollies !!!
July 2022 (Click to Expand)
The month is mainly focussed on course maintenance as we are in the height of the season, preparing for monthly medals, mid-week medals, weekend competitions and club team games and of course general day to day play.
We are now into our 3rd application of our annual 4-6 wk liquid fertiliser and seaweed programme which has been in place for the last 4 years. The programme is providing fantastic results. We have a rooting system which has never been healthier, and in addition we are re-introducing a hollow coring programme.
We in the past have suffered massively from localised dry patch, compounded by the poor state of our irrigation system resulting us not being able to irrigate the greens when needed. Over the past few years our intention has been to increase the sward on the greens. Unfortunately, as the greens were so weak, moss started to invade these areas. Applications usually used worked against us due to the stress within the greens, therefore the addition of iron has been postponed temporarily. Further to the addition of iron, we would generally verti-cut ( remove lateral growth and unwanted top surface organic matter ). After issues with the machinery used to do this were resolved, verti-cutting began in the early part of the month, the first time in four months, with fantastic results. We aim to verti-cut several times each season. Watering routines are now in place regularly towards the end of the day and are producing superb results.
With the greens health and sward improving greatly, a working irrigation system and now these units functioning correctly I’m hopeful the moss will reduce and the finer grasses will flourish.
Jack Shotton who was with us throughout the winter months has been employed over the summer job and is currently taking courses in pesticide and fungicide spraying funded through the Government Kickstart scheme. Our cutting cylinders are in the process of being sharpened over the next few weeks, allowing a better quality of cut and stronger, healthier grass.
We have also taken delivery of our new Green-keeping Welfare units to replace the old Green-keeping Accommodation damaged by the winter storms. These are absolutely fantastic and will last the club for many years to come.
We would also like to thank John Davidson and Matty Searle for helping out with the divotting and also to Gary Kennedy for his work on the decking at the 10th tee where the halfway house once stood.