30/04/18 – 08/06/18
On the course
Well time really has flown by this past month, it doesn’t feel 6 weeks since my last post. A lot has happened in 6 weeks, the weather has decided to skip Spring and move directly into Summer, experiencing 25 degrees or more for a over two weeks, so much so the course started to dry. During these times of drought, my priority is always the playing surfaces, namely the Greens and certain Tees which have a poor coverage of irrigation, all others areas especially bunker edges take a lower priority so naturally start to dry because of this. The reason I have to prioritise Greens and Tees above hand water bunker edges and green banks is simply the finite amount of man hours I have available, I have to prioritise those man hours to the surfaces which need them the most and that are the most important surfaces to the playability of the course.
Having now spoken about drought conditions, I will now discuss the storms we have just experiences, we have seen one extreme to another. Two inches of rain fell in one week from two separate storms, the course flooded! Greens and bunkers needed pumping, however all newly constructed bunkers over the past 3 years performed perfectly and required simply to be raked to put them back in play, this proves that all the work we are putting into reconstructing bunkers is paying dividends with respect to maintenance and playability throughout inclement weather. Along with the storms came once more a flush of growth, the cut roughs started to jump out the ground and it felt we were cutting daily and losing ground, but alas we have now been able to control the growth meaning the course is back to its perfect self.
One area we have noticed a significant difference this year is the meadow rough, the wet and warm end to winter has produce some of the thickest meadow roughs I have experienced here, so we are working now towards cutting back areas which are heavily visited to improve playability and speed of play, we are also looking into mechanically scarifying a 6m band of meadow rough around each hole to allow the first 6m of meadow rough to be thinned so a ball has a far higher chance of being found and played.
The greens up until the storms of two weeks ago were performing perfectly, we were seeing ‘tournament’ target results in firmness, and speed but with the onset of rain the firmness reduced, the moisture levels increased and sward density increased so naturally the speed decreased, we are now seeing the surfaces drying and firmness back up to tournament targets so the green speed is creeping back into target range and will be back into tournament target for the weekend.
All surfaces are performing extremely well especially with the inclement weather experienced since February on wards and the course itself is looking fantastic.
The fortnight ahead
All course detailing will be complete bring the standards of the course up to tournament spec. The bunkers at the 5th and 7th will be topped up with sand, we see that these bunkers lose sand quicker than others because they are heavily visited and the sand is physically ‘played’ out of the bunker and then naturally raked backwards to the back of the bunker so over time thin areas started to show in certain places, we will top these areas up to make sure that there is an even depth throughout. Generally all course set up will continue on a daily bases looking to set the course up perfectly for each day’s play.