Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pro-Am & Capel Cup

First of all Good luck to all players in today's Jetline Pro -Am and for those playing in the 2 day Capel Cup this weekend, The course is in fantastic condition, the greens running quick and smooth.

Well after nearly 2 weeks of perfect weather, for course conditioning and for playing, (we are so use to strong winds in the lead up to any major event, almost like a curse), the wind picked up this morning with gusts up to 39km/hr, not the strongest we have had to deal with but enough to make presenting the course frustrating with leaves blowing everywhere, you can't control mother nature and I am proud of the staff, more so because it was only three of us this time around being 1 down, to present the course as we have, allot of out of normal hrs work went into it without complaint from Dean or Anthony and my thanks to them for their hard work and dedication.

For the next 2 days after the Pro Am it will be just a continuation of course preparations for the weekends event and getting some of the smaller 2% jobs complete to once again have the course in great nick for the Capel Cup, ordinarily a simple task after already peaking the course but with the wind and forecasts of Thunderstorms and heavy rain tonight I doubt we will be arriving to the same course conditions as we left it, there will no doubt be allot of cleaning up work to get through.



Friday, May 25, 2012

Winter's Coming, where's the Rain gone.

A promising start to the month with 60mm rain recorded has tapered out and now we are back to dryish conditions for the past 2 weeks, the dry conditions are forecast to continue for another week at least.
A sign that winter is upon us with much colder morning weather resulting in a patchy frost areas on the course, these areas are mainly in the longer cut roughs, we rarely have blanket frosts but with the weather over the past few years being anything but normal who's to say we won't.

10th rough frost
 We ask any early morning players to be aware of frost areas, and more so AVOID them, travelling over frost covered turf can damage the plant and leave unsightly brown marks. More info on this will be posted as the need arises.
Other than the staff teeth chattering first thing in the morning, the weather for golf has been fantastic by midday, clear skies and warm weather perfect for the afternoon comp players.

This week the staff have been busy with preparations for the Pro Am and Capel Cup, with a very disruptive working week next week, (competitions everyday), we are trying to get all the time consuming work out of the way this week, to allow us to concentrate on course presentation next week.
Bunker edging, back facing, grooming (light verti cutting) greens, trimming the permanent plates, cleaning up and a few measures taken to quicken the greens a little more were all completed in addition to our daily course set up and weekly mowing.
With the staff reduced to 3 I think we all did great to get where we are this afternoon.

The course is again in great nick, the greens are rolling very good so make the most of the conditions and get yourself out there for a game while the rain has taken a sabbatical.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

They're Baa...aack

The blue lines on the approach to the greens are back for Winter 

For those of you who do not know what they mean or why we put the lines out here's why.......
The blue lines indicate to cart uses NOT to cross or go past the line towards the green and to follow directional arrows when approaching the greens. They also indicate to players with push buggies they are in a high wear area and to avoid if possible or at least take care when they pass the blue line.
Pretty simple hey, if your in a cart DON'T cross the blue line.

We do this as one measure through the non growth and wet months when the turf wears down easily in high traffic areas to protect the surface and continue to give you a decent lie for your short approach shots. These areas extend to the outside of the greenside bunkers, again where high traffic forces the grass to lay over or at worst wear out, remember the grass isn't growing so no recovery = poor lies for you. 
It is better the blue lines than unsightly ropes or barricades in front of the greens as a physical measure, so the more co operation in adhering to the blue line rule the less unsightly ropes we have to put out.
We will be installing rope barriers in the most susceptible area after the Pro am, however these areas are generally out of the line of play.

In other news, the course is in fantastic condition this weekend as we increase the input for the Pro-Am and Capel Cup. We have had some great compliments on the course and I hope you are all out playing this weekend to make the most of it.
We are right where we want to be in preparations for these major events, the staff even tho 1 down are readying for a huge week this week the last full week of preparations, bunker maintenance and a few tweaks to the greens before lowering the heights by the weekend and increasing the cuts are high on the agenda.

Finally some members under the watchful eye of our Chairman, Tony, are undertaking a busy bee today (Sunday) trimming some bushy trees and low lying dangerous branches, the first of the winter clean up works. The staff appreciate dedicated members like these as with only 4 (3 at present) staff, we simply can't do everything and it is these such works that get left. So a huge thank you to those out there today. 

Fingers crossed the weather stays kind and the wind doesn't blow, like it always does in the lead up to a Major event.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Summer Green Speed Trial PT4 (reco)

The following are the reccomendations to be given to the greens committee for assement

When assessing the methods used to make recommendations I have to consider 2 main issues with the trial
1) We are only concerned with mid-summer green speeds
2) the short length of the trial meant the cumulative effect of methods used could not be assessed, as such  my recommendations are not only based on this trial, they are also influenced by previous research carried out in relation to green speeds in general and accepted greenkeeping practices implemented to achieve speed outcomes.

1)      Not to proceed with grooming or dust in methods during summer.
2)      Conduct more frequent grooming in spring and early summer.
3)      Introducing a light sanding at the time of our present grooming practices in spring as part of  maintenance practices.
4)      Continue the practice of grooming greens prior to major events only, in summer.
5)      Consideration of purchasing and using a Golf green roller.
6)      H.O.C  to remain at 3mm for summer.
7)      Continue the protection of the greens during the height of summer though minimal mechanical stress.

Grooming / Dust In / Grooming and Dust In
All 3 of these methods did not result in any real increase in speed during the trial however the impact on turf health was severe.
Recommendation to not to proceed with these methods during summer to increase green speed.

Considering the benefits of grooming in spring, ( our present spring grooming results in much greater green speeds than indicated here) and of regular dust ins ( to help smooth irregularities, give a tighter knit etc), consideration to be given to adding regular Dust Ins after our present grooming practices in Spring early summer.
Cost to be assessed -
Equipment Hire - $1,200 per year
Or purchase - $ 13,000
Rolling resulted in the greatest speed increase with the least impact on turf health, it is also the most expensive to implement. It  must be highlighted the impact on turf and soil conditions could not be assessed in the trial time frame, for this reason if consideration is given to implementing rolling I have included mini tinning to counter the potential impact, this is one method where implementation requires the added intervention to preserve turf health and should not be implemented if we are not prepared to meet the cost of intervention.
Potential outcomes from purchasing a roller include, comparable green speeds in summer to existing speeds at other times. Potential greater speed increases during other times, Rolling to assist in renovation recovery.

Reccomendation to consider implementing rolling as a means of increasing speed.
Cost to be assessed –
Purchase - $8000
Maintenance - $500 per year
Labour – 3hrs ( arrange duties to fit)
Intervention – Mini tinning x 2 per year - $3000 per year
Purchase renovation equipment to mini tine and cover our main renovation period

Height of Cut
While having the greatest influence on green speed, the potential impact on turf health is severe.
Recommended to maintain the present H.O.C range and frequency.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Summer Green Speed Trial Pt 3 (Results)

Results are expressed in cm difference between the readings taken prior to the method being implemented and after.
Height of Cut and Rolling readings are expressed in cm difference at each point compared to the H.O.C. when at 3mm under present practices.

H.O.C /Roll







Rolling 3mm

Rolling 2.8mm

2.5mm H

2.5mm HD

2.8mm H


Impact on Turf Health
Grooming – The impact on turf health from mechanical injury was evident almost immediately (within 24hrs) stress signs of discolouration, thin weak areas developed which required extra maintenance intervention to sustain the greens in healthy condition. Plant protectants were required as increased disease activity was observed in the thin weak areas.
Based on results grooming would need to be carried out 3 weekly for consistency. The extra cost involved and risk to turf health during summer does not compare favourably to the minimal increase in speed.
Grooming during growing season results in greater increases in speed due to more green leaf material being removed.
Associated Costs / Risk level
2 x 2.5hrs Labour for operation
3hrs Labour for extra intervention per 3 week period
Intervention product  - $1100 plus per 3 week period during summer.
Risk to turf health - Severe

Dust In – Turf health impact was minimal, bruising occurred as a result of brushing the sand in, this didn’t pose any serious problems, the main issue with this method was applying the sand light enough, the hired sander was not uniform and the top dress was heavier than we anticipated, this meant it was longer time frame before mowers stopped picking up sand creating excess wear on cutting units.
In the most part there was a smoother ball roll and tighter knit of the surface 10 days after application.
Based on results fortnightly sanding would need to be carried out for consistency. Extra costs associated with this method included extra sharpening (x2) of cutting units compared unfavourably with the actual gain in speed and length of time of increased pace.
Associated Costs / Risk level
2 x 3hr Labour
Hire Dust In - $300 per 2 to 3 week period
Sharpening / Blades - $75 per Dust In
Intervention – $300 per 3 week period during summer.
Risk to turf health – Low to Moderate

Grooming and Dust In – Turf health impacts were similar to the individual methods but not to the same extent. In many ways both methods combined acted to counter act to some degree the issues raised individually. Sand pickup was less.
Based on results the process would need to be complete at least 4 weekly. The cost associated with the combination of both methods was more favourable in speed increase v’s turf health and cost impact.
Associated Costs / Risk level
2 x 2.5 Labour
2 x 3hr labour
Hire Dust In - $300 per 4 week period
Sharpening / Blades - $75 per 4 weeks.
Intervention - $800 per 3 week period summer
Risk to Turf Health – moderate to severe

Crab Grass Germination
It was noted 21 days after the trial using the above three methods, a large percentage of germinating crab grass was observed, prior to this crab grass control was satisfactory with minimal amounts. It cannot be confirmed or dismissed whether the grooming and dust in methods were the main cause of this. The theory is by thinning the greens allowing extra light and moisture into the surface and also providing a seed bed through grooming and sanding created conditions favourable to crab grass germination.

Rolling – Rolling showed the greatest increase of speed of all methods used, as rolling is less invasive than the other methods trialled, no immediate turf impacts were observed, however it must be noted the impacts from rolling are long term and could not be assessed during this trial, potential issues which are commonly experienced from rolling are – compaction, sealing of the surface reducing air and water flow into the profile, this could be alleviated with the extra cost of needle tinning x 2 over the course of the year. There is a greater cost involved with requirement of purchasing a golf green roller which needs to be compared to that of the greater increase in speed.
Associated Costs / Risk level
1 x 3hr Labour
Purchase of Roller - $8000
Needle Tine x 2 - $2000 each time  .
Risk to Turf Health - Undefined

Height of Cut – Tho not part of the trial, the opportunity arose to highlight the influence the height of cut has on green speed due to the timing of the ladies Summer Cup. Results show the height of cut as having the greatest influence on green speed under our existing practices with in our budget.
The clubs own experience over the years show summer cutting heights of under 3mm are unsustainable and has lead to disastrous outcomes under very high temperatures with loss of areas and in some cases total loss of green being experienced over the history of the club. Even through this trial the impact over the short period of time we lowered the H.O.C, visible stress signs were observed and extra intervention (tho planned as part of the preps for the Cup) were required

In an upcoming post I will discuss some recomendations based on the trial.