Course Update - February 2020

04 Mar 2020

Posted by: Sarah Cross

Subjects: Course updates

Generally, considering the weather over the last few months the course has held up remarkably well. Excluding the course closures arising from the damage after Storm Ciara, the course has only been closed one day followed by a trolley ban the following day. I’d like to pass my thanks on to all the volunteers that offered their time to help clear the course from the branches and debris after the storm. They did a fantastic job and without their help it would have taken the greens staff weeks to complete. 

Volunteers.jpg

Many areas around the course (i.e. bunker banks, surrounds and high wear areas) have been seeded and top dressed and these areas are coming out of winter in good condition. We’ve had a number of boundary issues this winter, including, trees effecting street lighting, Russian vine control, and trees being blown (Storm Ciara) over our boundaries into our neighbour’s gardens. The green staff have worked exceptionally hard to keep on top of the challenges we’ve faced this winter with keeping the course in a good playable condition, as well as continuing with our winter programme.  


The improved drainage and plant health have resulted from an increase in aeration in all areas. The Air2g2 being incorporated in the greens aeration programme has given us some really encouraging results in areas that used to suffer with prolonged standing water.

 

Fin and aeriator.jpg

Regular use of our new sports metal brushes on fairways, tee boxes, surrounds and greens have kept these areas clean of worm casts and has helped keep vertical growth to a minimum. The new addition of heather planted to the left-hand side of the 2nd green should help reduce the number of stray shots that used to deflect off the bank and across the 3rd tee. We’ve also planted more heather around the 3rd tee and the bunkers on the 13th to make these areas more visually pleasing. The tree work on the 3rd hole has been completed with fantastic results. This work was carried out to improve a player’s view from the summer tee, and with the addition of the heather has now made this a great looking golf hole. 


The Greens have been maintained at 6mm height of cut with pace and trueness created with, as and when required, by passes with our vibrating rollers. Monthly aeration is being carried out on the greens to keep these as firm and free draining as possible and every effort continues to be made by the greens team to work as efficiently as possible to minimise disruption and return them to favourable putting standards as soon as we can. 

 

Tractor.jpg
 

The Tee Boxes and Surrounds remain in good health and I have recently seen some signs of divot recovery, so with that, I’d really welcome more effort being made by members to use the divot-mix available in these areas when damage occurs. 

 

Divots.jpg
While some over-seeding will be required to support some weaker and high wear areas, the Fairways have wintered very well with very few thin areas and no real signs of problem moss invasion. Two verti-drain passes, a slit-tine aeration treatment and the application of a slow-release fertiliser has assisted their recovery. Again, some signs of divot recovery have been evident so please use the divot bags supplied on the 1st and 10th teeing areas and the divot frame that we move around the course in case players forget to take one out. Please remember that you can refill the bags from any of the divot boxes on the course if you run out. Our two fairway mowers are now fitted with sports metal brushes which have been used to remove worm casts when conditions favour the best results. 


The Semi-Rough will receive some spring tine-harrowing to remove any dead / decaying grasses to encourage new growth and thickening for the coming season. The carries will require some over-seeding and the thinner areas leading off to the pathways will be roped off to encourage a quicker establishment.


Pitch Marks continue to be a real problem on the greens with anything from 20-40 being repaired by the green staff on most greens each morning. 


The Sprinkler set-up for the putting green, an area that suffers heavily from wear, is being changed. The current sprinkler in the middle of the green is being replaced with two low pressure sprinklers on the outside of the green to provide better coverage. 


The Winter Works programme is generally going well, although recent progress has been stalled by the remedial works necessary following Storm Ciara. The details of our Winter Works Programme are displayed on the TV screen in the Clubhouse.

 

3rd tee.jpg
 

The Bunkers will continue to be replaced/topped up with sand when conditions allow as we have been restricted with this winter work due to ground conditions not being ideal for trailering materials over the course. 


From an Ecology perspective we’ve had a most successful year with our bird boxes and we now plan to have an additional 10 sited over the course. I’d like to offer my thanks to the two members for the time and effort they put into making this a success.

 

Bird box.jpg

The wild flower areas sown last year have been alive with bees, moths and butterflies and we now plan to increase the number of areas for wild flowers given last year’s success and positive comments. We have and will be continuing to use some of the wood removed from our trees to build log piles around the course. These will support a range of flora and wild-life such as moss, fungi, insects and other invertebrates, and they will also attract small mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds that feed on the insects. In addition, they are a great habitat for hibernating hedgehogs.

Wild flowers.jpg

Our ecology rough areas around the course will continue to be cut and grasses collected to help reduce fertility and encourage finer grasses.


For information: A more comprehensive report is contained in the Greens Committee Minutes folder on the shelf next to the bar in the clubhouse.  

Rob Ransome

Course Manager - Eaton Golf Club