Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Fairways, Saltine and Merry...Xmas

The front 9  fairway renovation went well with strong growth occurring, alleviating some compaction and more importantly allowing the gases exchange from the root-zone,  this should hold them in good position for summer.

You would have noticed the yellowing saltine in the greens I have taken advantage of the mild weather conditions being more aggressive with measures for Saltine and Crab grass in the greens than previous years.The Saltine will stand out more so than normal as it discolours with the herbicide effect, as a result it may appear there is more than usual in the greens, there isn't it just seems that way with the discolouration making it stand out more.

Unfortunately due to the vigorous nature of the grass, control measures are more for  suppression and long term control than immediate eradication. Further due to the high risks of photo-toxicity to the bent grass in warmer weather, product applications are ceased during summer. The initial treatment at this stage are focused on weakening the Saltine growth leading into its peak growth cycle with follow up treatment prior to our Autumn Greens renovations.    

We will be using the Xmas period, a time we are not manually irrigating, to spray out weeds in the roughs where we do not use the more expensive pre emergent herbicides. All areas blanket sprayed will turn a white / tan colour, the effect on the couch grass will only be temporary.
Selected Tees will also be sprayed for Saltine with similar temporary discolouration.
Finally on behalf of the staff I wish all our Members, Management and Directors and Very Merry, Joyous Xmas and Peace and Happiness in the New Year This fella Looks awfully like Mal Mcauley.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Fairway renovations were completed successfully today in time for the competition, my thanks to the contractors Sussex Turf Control and our own staff for for the long hours put in yesterday to ensure we were completed by hit off today. Only some product application is left to complete tomorrow.

 Renovations went as smooth as they could go, I am expecting a very good result which will be almost immediate but will take a few weeks for the full benefits to kick in and stand the fairways in good shape for summer.

As part of the renovation process  we did apply some post emergent herbicide to the short roughs on the front 9  for various weed control, this will cause the turf to discolour (brown off), this is only a temporary side effect and will soon be back to normal conditions.
Further spraying to the back 9 short roughs will take place in December with more or less the same effects.  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Front 9 Fairway Renovations

A notice to all players to advise The front 9 Fairways will be Cored commencing next Monday the 23rd November.
Surface disruption will result during the process and for few weeks after till the core holes completely heal. 

It is not expected to impact on competition fields as we hope to be well advanced by Tuesday afternoon and other than the initial coring and cleaning off minimal interference with play should be encountered. However unforeseen circumstances may arise that delay or slow down the work which are out of our control,  should you come to a fairway with workers carrying out their duties, please DO NOT HIT, if playing socially miss the hole and continue on the next, if in Competition wait to be called.
Your cooperation in this matter is important for the safety of contractors and staff. 
Thank you.

This maintenance work is vitally important for the continued high standard our fairways are in and expect the success of last years renovations on the back 9 to be repeated with the fairways being in exceptional condition for the remainder of the season and beyond.

Your understanding is appreciated.  It wont be long before they are back in great condition

 Thank you 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Greens Update and Other News

The greens continue their strong recovery from renovations, we have been cutting at 3mm for the last week with double cuts commencing this week . 

The greens may still be slightly slower specially for afternoon players as we continue to have very strong growth rates due to the remaining active fertiliser applied for recovery and the optimal cooler temperatures with some humidity also increasing growth rates. At this stage we are not applying any growth regulators to control growth as we still need some recovery occurring but should tamper off over the coming weeks with subsequent improvement in pace.

The 9th tee extension will be open soon, a decrease in height of cut and a 3rd sanding to smooth any irregularities will be carried out prior to markers being placed in the area.

The 2nd tee is taking longer to attend as it is a low priority task with us only working on the tee when time permits. 

Many members would not realise we have been operating at only 75% capacity for the past 30 weeks through TAFE commitments and Staff leave and with small staff numbers as it is, work is prioritised accordingly.
With that said my thanks to the staff for overcoming the staff shortage over the past 7 months and digging in when needed to ensure the course remained in a high state of presentation and members were none the wiser to the staff shortage. Also my appreciation to the Volunteers who have helped or offered to help during this time. 
We will return to full staff in a few weeks time at which point the 2nd tee area will be attended.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Greens Renovations

My apologies to the members for it being a while since I updated the blog site, some issues with the site has prevented me from posting any new content. Hopefully the issues have now been rectified and I can resume regular updates.

 The greens are coming back well from renovations 19 days ago

I thank the members for their patience over the past few weeks,  while it is a necessary practice for the long term health and quality of the greens surface and one we must continue crryingout, I do understand it can be very disruptive to your game so thank you for your patience and care repairing your pitch marks during the recovery period.

We have commenced morning cuts and are down to 4mm Heights, it is anticipated we will lower the heights further next week at which point the greens will have a much better ball roll and be slightly up on pace than they have been during the past few weeks.

It must be remembered we are still only 19 days out from renovations where a standard full recovery period of 4 to 5 weeks is normal, so for the greens to be at the stage they are at is a very good result. They remain soft and easily damaged by player traffic so please take care on the greens and repair your pitch marks. 

I have fielded some questions regarding a number of small patches on some greens which are very noticeable at present. Certainly some blemishes remain, these areas are a number of small patches on some greens where winter grass control was taken prior to renovations, the patches affected will be much slower to recover and with the higher height of cut stand out more than usual. As we lower the heights these patches will be less noticeable whilst they fill in.

The blackish colour is simply organic fertiliser applied at renovations which was crushed by renovation equipment and is sitting on the surface, it is only visible where control of the winter grass has occurred, this will also disappear through time and cultural practices which are routinely carried out. 

Remember the greens are still recovering and remain softer than other times, the more care you take during your round the better the end result and faster the recovery time, so please I urge all players to repair their pitch marks and take care when on the greens. 
Thank you 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Thank You

On behalf of the greens staff I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members for the very generous dinner voucher and drink money raised by the members for the green staff, special thanks to Ray Rendell for organising this very thoughtful gift. Please know the staff truly appreciate your gift  and are humbled by such a wonderful gesture and it will certainly be put to good use down at the Prince of Wales once leave and TAFE commitments allow all of us to be on hand .

We always strive to achieve a very high standard of course for our members  (some could argue we punch well above our weight)and take great pride in presenting the Golf Course in a manner that befits not just the members of  Capel Golf Club but the staff as well  through commitment and passion to the task at hand, for that to be recognised by the membership in this manner is very appreciated. 

 Thank you again for your very thoughtful and generous gift.

 Sincerely on behalf of the Green Staff 
Max Suckling
Course Superintendent

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Changing Colours

With yet another successful course preparation and presentation for the Pro Am and Capel Cup under our belt, members will see a few minor works commence around the course, a few of the task include raising the ground area around the 5th Gum tree where tree roots are surfacing and posing a risk to players playing the shots from the immediate vicinity, the area will be filled to 12inch depth covering the tree roots and surrounding area, and will be more of a raised area than a mound. This should prevent broken wrist from players yet still keep the tree and roots healthy.

Other similar type works will be attended to the right of the 1st green, more for maintenance issues than the errant shots of players, maintenance vehicle tracks around the course and cart path entrance and exit points. The cart path exit and entrance points will then be turfed in spring. Some “housekeeping” around maintenance facility will also keep us busy when not on the course either through member events or inclement weather. 

We won’t be taking our eye off course presentation to much, with the Ladies Open Day and Holden Scramble coming up, the staff have a full schedule on their hands for the next 3 to 4 week period.

Moving on from the general work schedules I have been asked lately why the some greens are showing purple areas of discolouration, these areas are not  disease patches or some serious infection or cause for major concern, they are a natural reaction of the bentgrass during winter and the colder months, much like the changes of colour to plant leaves in Autumn.

 Expanding on that specifically, during late autumn, winter and early spring,  periods of warm days encourage bentgrass to produce sugars by  photosynthesis in leaves which are normally translocated to the roots and crowns of the plant, during cold nights the translocation of these sugars is slowed / stopped with the sugars remaining in the leaves for longer,  these sugars are commonly bound with anthocyanins, pigments that are responsible for the red, purple and blue in flowers and the changing colour of leaves in trees and plants through the seasons with the same effect on bentgrass leaves.  These colours may intensify as night temperatures become colder. 
To further explain the patchiness of the colours within a green, penncross bentgrass, (the bentgrass we have in our greens), is what is termed a hybrid bentgrass consisting of 3 parent materials, each parent has its own characteristics, sometimes clones of the parent material can colonise small areas which exhibit some qualities / characteristics of one of the parent plants, these areas then display those characteristics in this case colour responses to the above processes, at least 3 different colour responses can occur and a mix of shades between them. 

Poa annua (winter grass) can also display different shades of green and purple, with the use of plant growth regulators to suppress winter grass growth to give a competitive advantage back to the slow growing penncross bentgrass in the colder months can also increase and intensify the varying colour changes of the bentgrass and wintergrass. The shades of purple and blue can become shades of orange particularly through windy, cold and dry conditions as we continue to suppress winter grass and increase rates as winter progresses. 

Lastly, during the late Autumn and Winter months we do not irrigate greens, with less evapotranspiration occurring we rely on rainfall only, during long periods between rain events, greens dry out, we use these periods as a means to stress out the winter grass though we may handwater dry patches, all of which also encourage varying colour changes and intensities within the bentgrass leaves.

Certain patch diseases can exhibit similar responses and we do have some instances in greens at present which are under treatment although the symptoms are not as pronounced and in the main, the patches which are most visible are the result of the winter colour responses.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

This Weeks update and Pitch Marks

A busy week both on and off the course with preparations for the Pro Am and Capel Cup in full swing, besides the increased grooming and conditioning of the golf course we also spent some time refurbishing our cups, flag sticks and practice green cups and sticks, members will see the finished products over the coming days.

 Last weekend’s rain (close to 80mm) has all but ensured the irrigation pumps are now off for the season with only minor use required if no follow up falls occur which would be unlikely.

As we head into winter and the wetter period of the year, last weekend’s rain event is a timely reminder for the importance of pitch mark repair, after rain events like last weekend the greens can remain soft for a few days specially with less evaporation until the natural drainage can remove excess water in the profile, all players need to be extra vigilant in repairing their pitch marks.

It was disappointing to see several large gaping pitch marks on several greens along with numerous smaller ones on Monday morning when mowing greens    

 As the pictures indicate they are not very hard to miss at this size. 
Not only do unrepaired pitch marks such as these take much longer to heal if not repaired correctly, they interfere with ball roll and are entry points for disease, They also slow down the course set up and increase labour time as the greens mower operator must repair these marks prior to mowing to avoid scalping and further injury to turf.

Please repair you pitch mark and any others you may come across.