Course Update - August 2019

20 Aug 2019

Posted by: Sarah Cross

Subjects: Course updates

Greens:

The greens have been renovated for the second time this season and are recovering well.

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In May the process of renovation consisted of hollow coring to 1 ½ inches, grooming, applying bent grass seed and approximately 18 tons of sand which was power brushed in. We then applied Activate R (Humic acid) and an organic granular fertiliser to encourage recovery and aid establishment of the seeding. Last week a similar process was followed but we applied Activate XL liquid, for thatch reduction with increased microbial activity and a liquid fertiliser. I’d like to pass my thanks to the volunteers who assisted, as with their help we have now twice managed to get all 19 greens done in one day, albeit long ones! In addition, we have been applying sea weed/chelated iron treatments and wetting agents to assist with maintaining moisture in the root zone. The greens, due to the weather, until recently have been seeding at a higher growth rate than normal and this has had an effect on green speeds. During this period, daily brushing has taken place to remove lateral growth and seed heads. The ATT greens rollers are being used frequently to increase green speeds. Feedback from the members has been very encouraging. Going forward we will continue to apply sand dressings on a little and often basis to keep the surfaces true, which should cause minimal disruption to play. This will be supplemented with aeration being done using 8mm tines to encourage root development and maintain a healthy plant/soil and liquid fertilisers being applied on an ‘as and when’ required basis.

 

Tee Boxes:

The tee boxes have been treated with a slow release fertiliser. There is currently a good coverage of grass and we will continue to apply sand dressings and spot treating the low points to keep improving these areas. Bio stimulants and wetting agents will also continue to be applied to maintain good health and sward density.

 

Fairways:

The fairways and semi rough have recovered well from the damage caused by last summers’ prolonged dry spell. IMG_4909.jpg

The earlier treatments of verti-draining, scarifying, raking and overseeding have encouraged recovery. Iron treatments for moss invasion together with applications of 26-0-0 liquid fertilisers has seen the sward return to good health. We will continue with the application of wetting agents and selective herbicide will be applied where necessary. This weed removal will continue to help the grass to flourish in the weaker areas and some granular feeds are being applied to 1st, 8th & 10th fairways to encourage further thickening of those surfaces. While they were seeding, the fairways have been cut to 24mm with our rough cutter to remove stalks that grow up very quickly when they are seeding and look untidy, prior to the fairway mower, (19mm height of cut) removing the remaining growth. This 19mm height of cut will continue throughout the summer.

All tree bases have been sprayed, as have the bunker faces, and the bunker edges/banks have been strimmed and tidied. The pathways and steps have also been treated with a total herbicide and blown weekly to keep them clean. Bunker sand replacement is ongoing.

All of our ecology rough areas have been flailed and treated with a selective herbicide, and some, as you will hopefully have noticed, have been sown with wild flower mixes. These areas will be flailed through the season when the wild flowers are not growing to reduce the fertility of the soil. The long-term plan is to reduce the more courser grasses and create a thinner, wispy, fescue dominated surface.

 

Tree Works:

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The 2nd year of our tree works maintenance programme that was completed by Ben and James in the winter has really come to fruition now the trees are in leaf.

There were some unexpected removals, but these cannot be ignored when safety is paramount. The work that has been done has been of fantastic quality and standard that has lifted the aesthetics of the course to another level. My favorite area of the course is from behind the 16th green looking up the tree line. Stunning! The work and effort put in by the team this winter to complete this work on top of maintaining the rest of the course has been exceptional. The stumps have been ground and the cores removed from the green’s renovation being used to back fill.  This tree works maintenance programme will continue this coming winter and if you would like details of what is being planned, the provisional 2019/20 winter works programme is detailed in the recently published greens committee meeting minutes. A survey by an external tree surgeon of some of our selected oak trees has been completed with a report being produced on their findings.

 

Putting Green:

The two undersized holes that we have included on the putting green are becoming increasingly popular as putting aids and we’ve also placed an instruction guide nearby showing how these should be used to help members improve their putting.

 

Sprinkler System:

Earlier in the year, the sprinkler system required further investment to help improve the coverage of certain areas.  The cff28efb-d9be-43e7-9c19-91ea439157d6.jpg pipe work around the 6th green has now been split into two, which has increased the pressure through the sprinklers enabling sufficient coverage to the green. Unfortunately, more recently the main sprinkler control unit failed and due to its age, was deemed to be beyond economical repair. Pending the delivery, installation and commissioning of a replacement unit, it was necessary for the green staff to attend site very early in the morning and operate the system manually. Fortunately, the control unit and peripheral equipment have now been replaced and the system is currently fully operational.

 

The team continues to put a lot of work into improving the green fringes and aprons, and unfortunately some members and visitors seem to deem it appropriate to take their trollies over these areas. While we are adding more singage to discourage this activity, your co-operation would be appreciated.

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Rob Ransome

Course Manager

Eaton Golf Club