Friday, March 29, 2013

Course staff have been busy preparing the course for this weekends Easter Medley, difficult task this week due to the Good Friday public holiday effectively having a 4 day week to prepare the course. I think we achieved what we set out to and the course is in great shape heading into the weekend.

The greens maybe a little slower than previous major events but you have to keep in mind the greens were only renovated 3 weeks ago, looking at them you wouldn't know it has only been 3 weeks, I m very pleased with the way the greens have come back, we knew it was always going to be a race against time to have them remotely close to condition for this weekend, while another week would have been nice, I think we won the race in the end. The greens are only 1/2mm off our usual major event height of cut being cut at 3mm, a fantastic response only 3 weeks out from renovations, we are only single cutting and this will contribute to slightly slower greens than normal major events.
Obviously those areas we were more vigorous with couch encroachment control will be a slower to recover than the rest of the green.  

We have had a positive response in the most part to the new fairway definition and style, they are growing in and will improve in time, I have had some members raise concerns and my suggestion to anyone who has concerns regarding the new Fairway definition is to approach the Course Director or Course Committee members with those concerns.

Upcoming with another 4 day week next week, routine course maintenance will be the focus, after which removal of the sandy mounds to the left of the 3rd is on the cards, these mounds were not designed to remain GUR for any length of time, as it has been required to make these GUR consistently the decision has been made to remove them altogether and return the area to a flat sandy zone as was previously but wasn't GUR.
Other work which will be undertaken over the next few weeks include commencing stage 2 of the 16th mounding work, raising the right side sunken area of 17th Bunker lip / green edge, and finally re starting the Chipping green grow in now that favourable weather conditions have returned.

Talking of which, hasn't the weather turned quite suddenly this year, it was only a few weeks ago minimum temps were still around the 20 degree mark, this past week it has dropped to 7 degrees, but the 27 degree afternoons has made conditions ideal for a round of Golf, we have some 35mm rain this month and  I hope this is an encouraging sign for winter rain.

Finally other work which will be attended shortly includes the final dry fertilising of all warm season turf areas before growth slows too much, by fertilising with a little Nitrogen (not a allot), more Potassium and some Iron, a little in advance of the much colder temperatures of winter we can encourage the turf to maintain a decent colour ( instead of the brown dormant colour), have a stronger plant heading into winter more resistant to winter wear and tear. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Fairway Definitions and Green Update

Under instruction from the Course Director the fairway definitions will be changing slightly, in most cases the fairway will now stop short of the green, some fairways will be re shaped and others narrowed to get a definitive edge between the fairway area and rough. In some cases the fairway definition is difficult to obtain due to a number of reasons, the main being, the rough area not receiving adequate irrigation, shade and  tree roots, by narrowing some of the generous fairways we hope to have a better fairway definition.
The other reason for this work is to make subtle changes to increase the challenging nature of the course without adding labour intensive bunkers etc.

You will notice blue lines around the new fairway cut area, this is to assist the fairway mower operator hit the line, until the distinction has grown in. Some scalping of areas will occur where the cut has been taken outside the existing line, these areas Will recover quickly with a little assistance from the crew.

The greens are coming back from Renovations well, all core holes filled and the sand is settling nicely, areas where we were aggressively controlling Couch / Saltene patches will be slower to recover than the rest of the green. We will start afternoon mowing next Monday at a higher height of cut and gradually lower the heights till we reach our normal autumn heights of 2.5mm, over a couple of weeks.
The reason we initially mow greens in the afternoon rather than morning straight after renovations, is simply because the greens and sand is dry, if we mowed the greens early morning the rollers would pick up the wet sand and bring it to the surface, the mower blades would also dull very quickly hence the "afternoon cut". This generally is for the first week of mowing resuming after which the sand has all but disappeared.

On a side note I would like to thank everyone for all the get well wishes received for my wife, thank you.

Monday, March 11, 2013

I apologise for limited blog updates lately, as many know my wife has recently had back surgery and during her time in hospital when not staying in Perth, I was making the 4 hour round trip, as you can imagine, organising course work, family at home and taking care of the wife has kept me busy and will do so for some time yet so bare with me until some form of normality returns.

Over the past few weeks we have successfully held the Capel Classic with the increased maintenance and grooming that entails, and of course our Greens renovations this past weekend.

Renovations went very well, all greens solid tinned (this was due to the close proximity of the Easter event and needing to get the greens back quicker than we would if pulling the cores out). Fertilised and all the goodies applied, prior to this, the greens were verti cut and the couch areas heavily scarified and also undertook crab grass, Saltene and Couch chemical control.

The race will now be on to get the greens back to normal by Easter and our next major event, I think we will make it but it will be close.

The greens now will be rested for a week...( I hear the players groans already) no mowing meaning very bumpy and slow putting, before we start bringing them into play with regular high cut and gradually lower that cut over a 3 week period.

Tho the temperatures at times are remaining high, with summer over I am very pleased to report we have experienced no major loss of turf areas in a repeat of last summer, with back to back years like this considering the clubs history of summer turf loss, it is very pleasing from my perspective as it shows our turf management programs are working very well.  
As we head into the cooler months, winter grass and winter weed control will be the foremost on our minds, and for me organising our winter works programs which will include bunker face works to firm loose areas and reshape the slope to original shape amongst many other items I Will highlight when things settle down at home.

The 16th mound area is now fully open and the 2nd mound will be started after the Easter Medley.
The practice Chipper will be seeded soon after we receive results from soil testing.

In a nut shell that's the basic news from the course, once again I apologise for the lack of news and pictures.