Sunday, March 29, 2015

With one staff down due to leave we capped off a very busy week by completing the fertiliser application to all fairways, some minor repair work to the12th and Chipping greens and the removal of a dangerous tree on number 7 thanks to the diligence of our Intermediates Captain Dal for spotting the huge crack at the base of the tree and dangerous lean.

 I am expecting some leaf burn in the fairways caused by carts / traffic over the fertilised areas;
Mainly the back 9 with the manual irrigation system even under best case scenarios still takes up to 10 hrs to wash in, (irrigate), the fairways only, with constant sprinkler shifts using the bikes which increases the risk of burn tracks and some areas where irrigation coverage is less than desirable requiring water with hoses after the initial irrigation has completed its cycle. The tracks will only be temporary growing out in a week or two. The front 9 fairways are not likely to have any major burn tracks due to the superior automated irrigation system and flexibility it offers.  

The greens continue to improve from renovations 3 weeks ago and  are now being cut at 3.5mm daily, there will remain some slower areas to recover areas as previously addressed. They will likely be lowered to 3mm by the end of next week for the Easter Medley and will have an improved ball but being only 4 weeks out from renovations it would be unrealistic to believe they will have a slick pace, products applied to promote recovery growth are still active and likewise no growth regulators are being applied until full recovery is achieved.
This week the dead Red Gum to the left of 10 green will be removed for safety reasons after it was assessed as dangerous, Bunker maintenance will be high on the agenda with edging carried out, preparations for the Eater Medley will be prioritised and with a 4 day week it will certainly be another busy one.  

Dangerous tree on 7th

Meanwhile all work was supervised by our resident Bobtail

Saturday, March 21, 2015

 The greens continue their strong recovery from renovations, earlier this week we commenced morning cuts and as of today the heights lowered to 4mm, despite these significant benchmarks on the road to recovery being met, greens will remain on the slow side for a few weeks yet, it can be very easy to forget with the greens recovering so well from renovations that it has only been 12 days meaning they are well ahead of expected recovery rates.

 On a less than positive note, obviously one player wasn’t as impressed with the renovation recovery as the rest of us.....

 I don’t believe for a minute it could possibly be a playing member, likely a Green fee player, I certainly hope so, either way
 Enough said 

The treated Couch and Saltine encroached areas are slowly filling in and like the renovation response, I am very pleased with the treatment result at this stage. In these areas it will take longer to recover and be less appealing to look at, 

 it does mean the Couch and Saltine has taken a huge hit in our efforts to suppress, slow down and gradually recover the encroached areas. We haven’t completely controlled these grass weeds, they will still remain in these areas and be visible next summer due to the strong rhizome growth extending well below the surface, however with continued control measures undertaken, each year we should see a reduction as we have over the past few years of the total area effected with less matting of the couch and more bent grass poking its head through.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The greens have made fantastic progress since renovation. 

Though it has only been 5 days, we gave them their first cut this afternoon.

Whilst the height is 5mm, allot higher than our standard cut, it is a significant point in the renovation recovery process,  as from here they only improve with each cut with the initial vertical recovery growth clipped which encourages lateral growth also encouraging the turf surface to form a tighter knit that only comes with regular mowing.

The greens will still remain slow for a few weeks yet and the treated couch saltine and crab grass areas will be slower to recover than other areas which can be seen in the picture and will give some of the greens a patchy appearance depending on the amount of these weeds controlled until full recovery is achieved. 

                                       Treated Couch Encroachment

All in all I am very pleased with the recovery from the renovations and really can’t ask for a better response with the first cut only 5 days out.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Well, Autumn renovations are over for another 12 months and despite being very aggressive with the scarifying / verti cutting more so in the couch encroached areas
 the greens have came out of renovations very clean leading me to consider the possibility we may be cutting by the end of the week.

That said Players should still expect the greens to be slow and Bumpy for the next 3 weeks as the greens are rested for recovery with higher cutting heights, this also protects the cutting equipment from abrasive sand wear.

The Couch and Saltine areas have been treated, these areas will be slower to recover than other areas within the greens, and we may need to apply a follow application for saltine patches in a few weeks once the greens have recovered sufficiently to tolerate control measures.

The New section of the practice putting green will be closed for a few weeks, the area of this green is still immature being only 18 months old and needs that little bit extra TLC. The back putting green will be renovated next week, being a very small enclosed green we need to renovate this green with smaller manual equipment than the other greens as such we tend to leave it until the main putting green has recovered so at least one of the greens is in play.

Directly after renovations the greens are very soft and easily damaged, it is very important for fast healthy recovery that all players repair their pitch marks and take care when walking on greens placing the flagstick etc. It is requested all members playing practice rounds use only two balls as per conditions of general play, though all players are encourage to use only one until the greens firm up and recovery is complete.

And finally a tip for those who like many, groan at the thought of playing on renovated greens, slow greens can be used to build confidence in your putting stroke, a firm hand and movement can often improve your stroke particularly when having putting troubles. If your putting is fine, then I apologise for the inconvenience but appreciate your understanding as the greens recover from the important renovations. 
Putting on renovated greens can be a frustrating time, but please DO NOT take your frustrations out on the greens, it will simply delay the recovery process, if you have to vent then......... 
Though I am sure you will not be popular either way and may even have to front the committee!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Its hard to believe our Autumn Greens renovations are a little over a week away although we are not expecting a sudden drop to Autumn like temperatures we do hope temperatures moderate to at least below 30 unlike the past week with temperatures of 30+ up to 35.

We can’t control the weather and we are locked in to carry out renovations the first weekend after the Labour Day long weekend due to play commitments, it maybe slightly earlier than desired as the heat does bring challenges for renovations but it also has its benefits in that the greens are normally fully recovered with full cover of turf prior to the cooler weather germination of Poa annua (Winter Grass). To leave the greens later than desired would be more of a concern as it leaves the greens susceptible to Poa invasion through a thinner turf canopy during favourable germination times for this weed, restricts both pre and post emergent control measures and less likely the greens may only partially recover enough in time for the slower growing colder months leaving them susceptible to wear and thinning of the turf further encouraging winter grass infestation more so than the incidence we presently experience.

That said it still feels very strange talking of greens renovations when experiencing 30+ degree odd days and certainly has me thinking how this summer’s hectic rush has made time seemingly flyby arriving in Autumn it what appears a few weeks to soon, or I am simply getting old, I will need to see Mick about that to see if there’s some truth in it.

Coming out of summer (and I use that term loosely) I am happy with the greens performance, moving forward there remain a few challenges we need to address, but certainly we can see slight improvements in a few key areas namely, Crab grass incidence, Saltene and Couch grass encroachment and summer green speeds. The three weed grasses, are notoriously difficult to control in bent grass with limited options for control however there is a downward trend in overall percentages which is encouraging. Looking ahead we plan to be more aggressive in the lead up to next summer with control measures, something we were restricted with this past season due to the National Vets in November and in a longer term strategy hope to construct a nursery area over this winter period to allow us to commence removal of severely contaminated areas in the near future.

Green speeds are always an issue through summer, this summer was no different though it must be pointed out a few changes to maintenance practices and few ‘new’ measures implemented, one was the extended application of growth regulators to greens which resulted in a slight increase in pace compared to past years, I will continue to trial rates best suited for our environment in view of narrowing the bridge between Player wants and Turf health needs with the later taking precedence over all else.

Back to renovations and excessive heat in the lead up to renovations is our main concern, after renovations the heat may impede recovery to some extent but with much cooler night time temperatures and products applied to stimulate growth for recovery the turf is growing well enough for this not to be an issue as long as correct moisture content is maintained.   

In the lead up week it does pose a few challenges, in this period we like to verti cut greens, apply post emergent control measures for Couch, Saltene and Crab grass, these practices do come with a certain risk of injury to the turf and under normal conditions with favourable weather the risk is very minor and the greens recover quickly from any potential injury through the renovation process however when temperatures rise above 30 degrees generally it is an accepted practice to stop all herbicide treatments on Bent grass due to the increased and unacceptable risk of injury to the turf which would slow down the recovery process and in some cases require further intervention. In many cases the products are less effective particularly in the case of Couch grass control in Bent grass with just the one registered product which acts more as a suppressant with control negligible under hotter conditions.

Should temperatures remain high we may decide to postpone the control measures to ensure the greens recover from renovations in a speedy manner and apply the products under favourable weather conditions after renovations to ensure the products adequate efficacy, this may mean the 3 main weed grasses linger on for longer after renovations than normal.

Now that this post has turned into an epic novel I’ll get back to work and leave you with some reading time between rounds.