Coinciding with the of STRI visit, Chris Hulme had arranged for a survey of the irrigation system. Both took place on Monday 30th June. The findings confirmed what the majority of us already knew, the irrigation system in its then current state was virtually useless. We asked for an indication of the most cost effective way forward to eliminate the labour intensive method of watering by manually held hosepipe.
We took on board their report and its immediate recommendations and authorised the first stage, which included repairing numerous leaks in the pipe work, replacing a number of triple swing joints in the hydrant box chambers adjacent to the greens and the replacement of pop up spinklers. We are now in the position of being able to water by greenside sprinkler without the necessity for a man to stand holding a hosepipe, thus freeing him to get on with other work.
The cost of the above was c £7K. These repairs and renewals will not require any further attention as and when further monies become available to bring the system up to full working order i.e. Computer controlled for overnight watering. The above expenditure came out of the agreed green budget and by some reallocation within the budget at the year end we should not show an overspend.
Having at least a part functioning irrigation system we were in a position to carry out some of the recommendations in the STRI report, (which has been posted on the Green Notice Board and circulated to all who receive the electronic Newsletter ). With the exception of 2 days, when it was too wet, all the greens were cut every morning; the 4th green by hand mower until Thursday 30th, when the Toro was used for the first time since returfing. All greens, including the 2 putting greens adjacent to the club house, have been verticut, top dressed and brushed twice. In between they have been sprayed twice using both a Nitrogen compound and separately with a wetting agent. In the main, during July, it was too wet to use the Iron (side mounted roller) but as and when ground conditions and staffing levels permit this will be carried out.
There has been a marked improvement in the appearance of the greens. We are now embarking on getting them up to an acceptable average stimpmeter reading of around 8. The last readings taken on 30thJuly averaged 6.51. We must however not forget that the rest of the course has to be maintained whilst the work on the greens is executed. Fairways to be cut twice per week, subject to the volume of golfers on the course; Semi rough and rough once per week when it is not too wet; Bunkers raked at least twice per week. Then there is the long list of non cutting jobs to be carried out which brings me to staffing levels. We have managed to carry out some of STRIs recommendations but not all. Not all partly due to staffing levels during July; 21 days with 4 men and 10 days with 3 men ( due to sickness absence). I know it appears I mention this frequently but this year we have been particularly badly hit with staff absences for many and varied reasons. In addition the staff level was cut in 2008 budget which has increased the workload but not diminished our expectations.
We are compiling a list of member volunteers to assist the greenstaff with some routine tasks; to work in teams either A.M., P.M. or Evenings. Mike Heapy (tel 0161 718 0398, mobile 07954369773), a new member of the Green Committee, has agreed to co-ordinate the teams. The tasks include white lining G.U.R. areas, filling ball washers, emptying waste baskets, divoting par 3 tees, trimming grass around yardage markers, weeding flower beds, clearing the area around the compressor shoe cleaner - the list goes on.
If anybody wishes to contribute a little of their time to assist in maintaining the environs of Sale Golf Club please contact Mike, stating when you are available and for how long.
At present we have 13 names. Equipment and materials will be provided. Just a note, we have contacted our Insurers, who have informed us that everybody working within this scheme will be adequately covered.
AUGUST WORK PROGRAMME
Apart from the usual mowing programme we will be preparing the course for the re-arranged Captains Final weekend, as we did towards the end of July, for the Scratch and Peace weekend. Every member benefits from the extra effort and overtime worked leading up to these weekends and immediately thereafter. Following the Captains Final weekend, we have one of our priority weeks, when the majority of green staff resources will concentrate on the greens.
Apart from the STRI programme, which is weekly, it is our intention to vertidrain, overseed, roll and top dress all the greens including the 2 putting greens adjacent to the club house. We will however be down to 3 men that week. Kevin, the new member of the green staff, who started with us on Monday 21st. June, has a prearranged holiday, so a few bodies may be required that week to assist Chris, Roy and Tom. Please let Mike Heapy know if you are at all available.
I hope the above puts you in the picture as to where we are now and where we are striving to be. A further update will be published at the end of August
J. Barry ( Bazza! ) Weston.