The new full playing season is upon us once again. For the fine weather golfers and the unobservant here is a resumé of the work carried out by the Green Staff during the late Autumn and through the Winter months.
Much of their time in the Autumn was taken up with clearing leaves and in January and February clearing snow from access roads, car parks and the course. Fortunately we had periods of reasonable weather when it was possible to get machines onto the course. During these periods we were able to:-
Verti drain all the greens and tees, twice infact.
Scarify all greens and tees to remove thatch.
Slit tine the greens every two weeks, or as often as ground conditions would allow.
The greens were sprayed regularly with a fungicide application, to keep fusarium patches in control.
The Tenth and Eleventh greens were sand banded. This completed the drainage system we started in 2008. We took some stick for carrying out this work early, but it has to be done whilst there is still warmth in the ground to assist growth recovery, moreover, it makes the job so much quicker and less messy. With hindsight it was the correct decision considering the weather we experienced, yet another year would have past with these two greens being soggy.
Some drainage work was carried out on the right hand side of the fifth green. A blocked drain under the cross bunker on the second was dug out and a new section installed. A short survey of the drains under the twelfth fairway was carried out by Chris and his team which indicated that many are broken as a result of previous work. We really do need to start spending money on the course, apart from the usual daily, weekly and monthly maintenance, which is a budgeted cost. We have been fortunate for the last ten or so years, not having spent major money. It is evident from this winter, if we want to maintain and possibly increase our green fee income, which assists in our subscription charges, a major overhaul is required to the drainage system and the bunkers.
Ten large trees have been felled, as part of the STRI Ecology report. There are still a few more to fell, but we have now been caught by the nesting season. Hopefully we will have time in early May to complete the STRI programme. For health and safety reasons, low slung branches were pruned and chipped around the course, to aid safe and fast cutting in copse areas. Gorse and small trees were planted adjacent to the rear car park and on the third hole. To speed up the process of cutting back hedges and ditch banks we hired in a flail mower, which we attach to our digger.
The ditches at the seventh, tenth, thirteenth and fifteenth holes were cleaned out, and with man hour availability will be cleaned again.
It was noted that the timber sleepers at the side of paths and steps were becoming very dangerous, caused by slime. It was decided to fix chicken wire to the top surface, to prevent slipping. Sounds a simple task. It fact it was quite time consuming, every strip had to be cut by hand from standard width (one metre) mesh. The paths were cleared of mud and weeds, also the bridges. The dilapidated path around the fifteenth tee has been widened a resurfaced, to accommodate two man buggies.
Just going back to the subject of the bad weather, during these periods, all the machines were fully serviced. Some minor repairs were carried out, for example, the straightening and welding of brackets etc. The cutting blades were removed from the machines, inspected, and flash ground.
Fortunately only one set required replacing. All the wooden benches were brought in, cleaned, sanded and oiled. All the hazard marker posts along with the tee markers were painted in their appropriate colours.
The construction work carried out was the building of new access steps from the path to the front of the third tee. A bunker at the old third green was dug out and filled with sand, for a practise area.
In the last few days all the greens have been top dressed, including the practise putting greens, for interest sake, just in excess of thirty tons was used.
I wish John Dixon, our new Green Chairman, all the very best for the next three years. I know he and Chris will continue with the programme of treatment on the greens and the rest of the course.
Finally, I would ask those members responsible not to practise from the fairway yardage markers to the greens. The second green on the morning of Friday 19th March, was a thundering disgrace and in excess of thirty pitch marks were repaired by the green staff. Those of you who are practising in this manner know who you are and are probably amongst the first to complain about the state of the greens and divot holes in the middle of the fairways. Please desist from this method of practise and use the facilities provided. Try the old third green, but do remember to repair your pitch marks.
That is the end of the update, for me it is the one the Cobbler threw at his wife.
J. Barry (Bazza!) Weston.
Past Green Chairman.
21st March 2010