Welcome to the Capel Golf Club's Course Maintenance Dept. We hope to give an insight into maintenance activities, share up to date course news and course care tips for members, guests and visitors.
The fairway renovations were completed last Wednesday. They were verti cut in 2 directions, scroll cut twice and a huge amount of thatch removed. Over 150 cubic meters of material was removed, the fairways may look ordinary at the moment as warned, however a necessary job as explained previously. We expect a recovery time of 4 to 6 weeks.
Fertilising was carried out today, sprinkler trimming and leveling irrigation line furrows will be undertaken during the remainder of this week.
With the fairway in great shape, I keep asking myself why oh why are you still planning on ripping them up and then having a long recovery period before they are back in the same condition ? The answer is the same, if it isn't done, I know through the remainder of summer it will be next to impossible to keep the fairways in the condition they are in now.
Why is it that you ask ? The thatch layer I have referred to when talking of the greens renovations is the main culprit and target for the Fairway renovations. Wintergreen Couch is a phenomenal grower and thatches up naturally very quickly, under high maintenance regimes this is more so. Generally at around 15mm to even 20mm is acceptable, any higher and if nothing is done, trouble is just around the corner. Thatch as I have said before is the layer of dead and growing matter between the green leaf and soil, at 15mm or below in depth it is beneficial as it helps out compete weeds and helps retain soil moisture through warmer months. Over 20mm and this layer starts to restrict air movement into the soil and also acts like a sponge holding the moisture within the thatch layer and not infiltrating to the soil below. This leads to active roots remaining in this thatch layer, through hot weather the layer heats up and cooks the roots, with no or minimal active roots in the soil, or moisture, turf health suffers and large brown areas develop as a result. Excess Thatch also is a perfect place for Diseases and insect pest to populate rapidly. At present soil plugs show we have in places 50mm of thatch tho 40mm in the most part and enough to believe that renovations are required to prevent a downward spiral of the fairway conditions through summer.
This plug is a perfect sample of thatch. The lighter colour on top (60mm) is the thatch and the darker colour the soil.
Ideally I would love to Aerate and verti cut the fairways, however we must live within our means and so with the course we must maintain within a budget. The verti cutting will reduce thatch, and we plan to scroll cut at a lower height than normal fairway heights to reduce it more so. The front 9 fairways will be severely disrupted and recovery may take some 4 to 6 weeks. During the process on non competition days individual holes maybe closed and some disruption on comp days should be expected. The process may take 3 to 4 days to complete and I have been informed the contractor cannot make a start till the afternoon on Monday, due to circumstances beyond their control. Please check the notice board before play, as the match committee may decide to invoke Preferred lies on affected fairways.
The green staff apologies for the disruption to play, but appreciate your understanding of the importance of this work. Thank you.
Finally some decent falls, some good soaking rain 53mm in total fell on the course over 2 days alleviating some pressure with water use. The rain will save us some 6Mg of water possibly 10 if the cool weather persists.
Something we haven't seen for a while..........Water views from the shed!!!!!!
The rain didn't stop us working, we took the opportunity to carry machine maintenance and sharpening of all cylinder mowers to keep the cut at the highest quality.
As well as the machine maintenance and sharpening we also took the opportunity the finish fertilising all areas not already done so, from Green and Tees surrounds and Roughs to some Fairways.
All part of the maintenance to get the course looking like this.
The course is in great shape at the moment, I would go so far to say it is peaking in condition and will do so for the next few weeks before we start the Front 9 Fairway renovations which will be disruptive to playing surfaces. I will in the next Post, next week, describe the process the reasons why we need to do so, specially when the Fairways look great at the moment.
Enjoy playing the course, it really is in top condition.
In greenkeeping it can at times be difficult when dealing with factors outside your control, and there are many, so you concentrate on the factors that are. Its good for you, and good for staff moral when they can see the end result of all the hard work put in. That's the beauty of this trade, for all the work you put in and comes undone through outside influences, there are plenty more instances where you can see why you love the job.
The greens have come back very quickly from Reno's, they are in healthy condition and looking great. They are being cut at 3mm with double cutting this week. They may still be a little off pace as strong growth continues from the fert applied over the reno period, this will subside as we lay off the Nitrogen component and return to our normal nutrient maintenance practices.
The tees are also in great condition after renovations, plenty of growth recovering wear areas. Anthony taking great pride in his stripes as he sees the fruits of his labour over the reno period.
The heavily shaded tees are naturally taking a little longer.
The hydrophobic soil conditions in the fairways were treated last week, it will not be the only occasion it is required this season however for the moment we are relieved to see some moisture in the profile. The plug is the same plug shown last post as dusty and dry.
And another Pest!
Black beetle adults brought to the surface in a section of the 18th suspected of activity.
All greens and some sections of fairways were sprayed for Black beetle larvae, adults and Stem weevil larvae and adults. Both pests can cause serious damage and of particular concern are Stem weevils in greens which can "eat out" a bent grass green in little time. Adult monitoring gives a good indication for spray timing to prevent larvae damage to turf before it is to late. Cost prohibit the fairways being sprayed completely and other cultural practices take precedence.
Also this week we are spraying out early post emergent / pre emergent control for crab grass and some late Bindi control which germinated after our timed broadleaf weed control in September. All tees, Fairways and Tee to Fairway roughs will be sprayed. For this reason the Tees and Fairways may look a bit tacky as we lay off the cutting till the end of the week to give the herbicide time to work before mowing takes place.
Its never ending but well worth the results when achieved.