At last, soil temperatures have risen, thus resulting in growth. The golf course looks all the better for it. What a pleasant change to be in a position to pass on compliments after compliments to Chris Hulme and his team instead of the moans and groans we had thirteen months ago.
During June last year we undertook a programme, along with some technical input from STRI, to increase the quality of our greens. We stated at the time that the programme was not an overnight fix but could take up to three or four years. Note for the new members to the club, who are extremely welcome, we are dealing with a variety of green constructions and age, varying from ninety six years to five years old and anything in between.
The treatment programme was spelled out in the previous course update report and we have been blessed with good weather conditions recently allowing us to follow the programme to the letter. Even though I say it myself what a transformation in just one year. Only another two to three years to go to meet the target.
Over and above the laid down programme, we are cutting the greens daily. The holes are only being moved twice per week at present, to reduce the number of hole cores. We are also star slitting weekly. The tees are cut twice per week, with the grass cuttings being blown off the tees. They also receive a spray application of wetting agent and fertiliser.
As per the CPD the fairways are cut twice weekly. The greenside banks, tee banks, bunker banks, semi rough, rough and in the spinneys are cut once per week along with the winter greens. The fast growing areas of rough are sprayed regularly with a growth retardant.
All the path edges have been strimmed has have the bunker edges, around tree bases, ditch banks, tee marker and fairway yardage plates. The paths have also been sprayed with selective weed killer along with the winter greens, all tees and around the club house putting greens. The grass around the green keepers facility and the verges on the approach road to the club car parks have all been cut and strimmed.
A major leak in the irrigation system was located and repaired at the ditch crossing on the third hole. Two faulty greenside sprinkler heads were replaced.
The fence at the rear of the twelfth green required major repairs to prevent cattle entering on to the course. A smaller repair was carried out to the top wire on the fence along the river bank on the fifth hole.
Remedial work was carried out to the bank at the side of the steps leading down to the putting green from the club house. The newly constructed mound at the rear of the twelfth green has been seeded. It is our wish to plant some flowering shrubs in the future.
The bunkers have been weeded, and are raked at least twice per week by the green staff. I know sometimes it looks as if they have not seen a rake for ages. This is down to either lazy or inconsiderate golfers. A rake is provided in every bunker. Please use them as you would not be happy to land in a foot print or fromwhere a previous shot had been played.
General maintenance in and around the green keepers compound has been carried out, i.e. checking both the fire and burglar alarms, cleaning the machinery wash plant, replenishing the bacteria and cleaning the sheds and the surrounds. These are weekly tasks. We have experienced two machinery break downs which affected our cutting programme but, thanks to Roy our deputy course manager, once the spares arrived he carried out the repairs in our workshop, thus saving contract labour costs. All the mower blades are flash ground weekly, and checked for damage and alignment.
First thing every morning, 5:30 am - 6:00 am., two of the staff inspect the course for vandal damage, missing flag pins and tee markers, replacing where necessary. On their round they empty the waste bins and top up the divot mix boxes on the tees.
Testimony to the efforts of the green staff, is the overall tidiness and condition of the course, attracting above numbers of visitors, who, it would appear, are carrying out some free advertising for us, by spreading the word to go and play Sale Golf Course.
Finally, in the next few days, the green committee will be meeting to prepare the schedule of works to be carried out this Autumn and Winter weather and budget allowing.
Once approved by Council the schedule will be published.
J. Barry Weston,
28th June 2009