Course Update - January 2019

31 Jan 2019

Posted by: Sarah Cross

Subjects: Course updates

Generally, the course is holding up well, especially when you consider what we were left with at the end of last summer. The mild winter has aided recovery, although more work and a good spring is required to get it back to the standard we would expect to have. The dedication and commitment that the whole team has shown throughout the recent re-structuring exercise and the following two months when we were two members of staff below establishment, has been highly commendable.

Greens:

 The mild winter to date has produced favourable disease conditions. Three preventative applications of fungicide have already been applied with another application scheduled. A winter turf hardener package has also been incorporated into the winter programme, which as well as helping keep fungicide applications to a minimum, aids colour retention and plant health. The package contains 6% chelated iron and seaweed giving good winter colour, turf hardening with calcium and magnesium nitrate, and Turfite which is a phosphite and ammonium nitrogen based plant elicitor. The phosphite triggers the natural defence mechanisms of the plant by thickening the cell walls thereby improving resistance to disease attacks.

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Monthly aeration of the greens, with 12mm tines at various depths to 250mm, is being carried out to keep these as firm and free draining as possible. Every effort is being made by the greens team to work as efficiently as possible to minimise disruption and return them to favourable putting standards as soon as possible.

Two penetrant applications have been applied to pull moisture through the profile and assist with dew removal. Penetrants work by reducing the surface tension of water droplets allowing these to move more freely through the soil.  I can’t emphasise enough how important it has been to keep the putting surfaces dry through the high-pressure disease periods we are experiencing this winter.

Tee boxes:

Due to the extended growth period most of the surfaces have remained in good condition. The autumn slow release fertiliser has now tailed off, and an application of a 6-0-18 granular fertiliser has been applied. This will help assist with recovery and the 18% potassium content increases photosynthesis to make the most of the limited hours of sunshine. Aeration will be continuing throughout the winter when the weather permits.

Aprons/surrounds:

Most of the aprons have recovered well. The removal of the nap created by same directional cutting has assisted greatly with their appearance. There are some areas that will require seeding, but I am confident that with a good nutritional programme these will be back to their best. Some bunker surrounds will also require seeding, although preparation will start earlier, weather permitting, with cold seeding in March. As per the tee boxes, aeration will continue when the weather permits.

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Fairways:

Recovery, due to the mild winter, is much better than expected. The first pass of aeration is now complete and we will be repeating the exercise commencing with walkways, carrys and areas of semi-rough to encourage deeper rooting and improve drainage. Some fairways, for example the 1st, 8th, 10th and 16th, will require more over-seeding which will be carried out at the appropriate time, and more work with respect to iron treatment applications, raking and scarifying will be necessary to remove moss and encourage new growth.

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Winter works:

The tree work is carrying on from where we left off last year. The plan being to complete holes 12th to 16th and from there, the r/h/s of the 5th hole and thinning of the beech trees between the 3rd and 4th hole.

Some pruning and tree removal is required on the 6th and 11th holes that will require a cherry picker to complete. Whilst the machinery is onsite, the current plan is to reduce the tree overhang on the 14th tee and remove any dead wood from the large oak tree on the car park and the oak adjacent to the Ladies 3rd tee.

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Thanks to the generosity of a member (Lewis Jarrett) new bins and ball washers have been purchased and these will be introduced on to the course, with some of the existing ball washers being relocated to more suitable areas.

A 3rd practice bay will be added this winter to the existing bays and thanks for this goes to our last year's Captain and Ladies' Captain. 

We will also continue with tidying pathway edges and another 29 tonnes of buckbricks bunkers sand will be introduced to the bunkers.

New Machinery:

Three new items of machinery have been purchased to support the on-going improvements to the course. A new greens mower which has the addition of a brush/grooming attachment to reduce lateral growth and give a much truer height and quality of cut; a tees and surrounds mower set up to achieve a higher quality finish with improved aesthetics; and, a Pro Force blower to work alongside our leaf collector. We have already received some good feed back from the use of these machines and the new mowers will continue to help raise our standards through the growing season. 

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Rob Ransome

Course Manager

Eaton Golf Club

31.1.2019.