Hello to the members of Alnwick Castle GC, my name is Jack Hetherington and having completed 10 years of service at Ponteland GC I have just completed my first day at Alnwick. The few members that I have met so far have been extremely welcoming and as positive as the course management team I am now working with.
Firstly I must say how excited I am to be working on such a beautiful course, I was very surprised at the hidden gem we have when I first walked the course leading up to my application for the role. I relish the opportunity to have an impact here as we work together towards a better course. I am extremely indebted to Stuart Tait who has set excellent standards of presentation as well as laying fantastic foundations for us to build and improve on. He has left me some mighty shoes to which I will endeavour to fill and I wish him and his new family all the best for the future.
Im sure all of you that played over the weekend will have been cursing the rain we have had and the soggy course it has left us with. From my point of view it couldn’t have came at a better time, it has further highlighted to me areas that need addressing before the season gets fully underway. It has also demonstrated the course’s bounce back capability once that rain does stop. I was dubious about being able to get out and cut the greens but they have recovered enough and took a cut well.
If you have been out playing today you may have notice that we have been out with the Verti-Drainer, I appreciate that its a sight not many like to see but the recent rain has highlighted that greens 2, 3 & 4 are struggling to keep pace with the rest of the course in terms of drainage performance. These 3 greens will be receiving a little extra treatment before we build towards the season ahead. We have aerated them using our biggest tines at maximum depth, we will now apply as much sand as possible working it down the holes to create drainage channels that will continue working well into the season.
Again thanks to Stuart’s care for the course these greens are in great health which will speed up recovery of the surfaces and reduce disturbance to play. To further help reinstate playing surfaces, this week will see the arrival of a demonstration greens turf iron. This is an essential piece of machinery in the maintenance of sports turf surfaces and hopefully we will all see a difference in the greens following its use. An approach I have had success with in the past with regards to turf irons is to move away from buying a heavy roller in the search of increased greens speed but actually opting for a light weight roller that can be used throughout Autumn, Winter and Spring as opposed to the heavier rollers that certainly on our course would only come out during the Summer. The turf iron we will be using this week is lightweight, nimble and quick meaning in Summer we can double roll to push on for speed but also use during the wetter seasons for a bigger impact on performance for more of the year.
Hopefully I will be seeing you out on the course soon and if not happy golfing.