Over the last 2 weeks the weather has been fantastic and the course is starting to take shape nicely. Last week saw the team carrying out several operations, to continue building towards quality putting surfaces. We were able to verti-cut, cut, top dress, brush and roll.
The application of small amounts of sand, at more regular intervals, during the season will play a big part in better greens performance throughout the year. The more sand we integrate into the surfaces, the better the greens will receive a ball being pitched in. Integrated sand also helps to breakdown organic matter which will further improve greens performance.
At the beginning of last week we also changed the way that we cut the semi rough, previously both the fairways and semi were striped, which reduces definition between the two heights. When standing on the tee box it should be clear what is the intended target and what is semi rough. With the new 9 holes still relatively young and generally lacking defining features such as established gorse bushes or mature trees like the old 9, cutting the semi half and half will frame the striped fairways, creating more definition. The photos on the website show that during the summer the fairways are a real feature of the course and using the semi to frame them will further enhance this. It may take a little time to really pop but the picture below is what we are aiming for.
Moor Allerton Golf Club’s 23rd hole.
One of the perks of getting up early and working out on the course is seeing all the wildlife that make our course their home. It is something that I will continually look to increase over the years and any sightings of wildlife, I am always happy to hear about.
A friend of mine Chris Espiner from Ponteland GC donated 6 bird boxes which last week I installed out on the course. To help create awareness of the boxes and any activity, I thought we could have a little competition.
The first member that personally tells me the location of all 6 bird boxes on the course I will put £20 behind the bar for them to enjoy a few drinks.
Good Luck and hopefully we will see them being used shortly.
This week has seen the fabulous weather with little to no rain continue, meaning that the greens have been placed under heat stress. The lack of cloud cover has meant the sun was out in full force evaporating moisture from the ground. This weather has highlighted that we lack of a fully functional irrigation system. This has meant that this week we have been maintaining the greens for health instead of performance. We have reduced the use of the greens iron, sarel spiked and applied a spray consisting of wetting agent and seaweed.
In spite of our efforts greens 16 and 18 have been overly dry resulting in a drop in performance, however on Friday I managed to get a system in place that allows us to hand water the greens. Since hand watering on Friday, Saturday and Sunday the greens health has bounced back. With the weather set to continue, drought and heat stress management will be paramount but a very welcome challenge.
The recent weather has allowed an insight as to how firm the greens will become during the summer, making them difficult to stop a ball on. Actions we will be taking to help alleviate this problem are to firstly start a wetting agent program on the greens. This means applying wetting agent on a monthly basis, so that it is continually working towards maintaining a consistent moisture level within the upper subsurface. When moisture is in short supply the wetting agent retains it, and when moisture is in abundance it aids in the movement down through the subsurface. A more consistent moisture level means more consistent performance and a more consistent bounce.
Secondly we will continue to apply small amounts of sand topdressing during the season and then a larger amount down aeration holes at the seasons close. We use a United States Golf Association (USGA) approved topdressing that has been tested for infiltration rates, particle size and compaction so that it performs perfectly for the use in golf greens. Having this top dressing integrated into our greens will further improve the performance.
Lastly the control of organic matter is very important, as during the summer it drys out becoming hydrophobic, repelling water and creating a firm layer that decreases chances of stopping the ball on the green. We will continue to manage organic matter by monitoring the amounts of fertiliser we apply, top dressing, verti-cutting and aerating during the season and hollow coring in the Autumn.