Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Best wishes for Happy Festive Season

On behalf of the Course Staff I would like to thank all our dedicated volunteers, our valued members  Board of Directors and Management for your Support again this year.
Best wishes to all for a Joyful  Xmas and Happy 2017. 

Happy Hooking

Sunday, December 4, 2016


During the week I had the pleasure of attending the 2016 Turf Industry Awards,
I would like to congratulate Ben as a graduate of the 2016 Apprentice Class of 2016 and for being awarded the 2016 Lecturers Choice Award selected from all sports turf apprentices, Golf, Bowls and Sports turf. 
This is a massive achievement for Ben, recognising his dedication and commitment to his academic study to become a future Turf Manager over the past 4 years. 

 Well done Ben ! We are very proud of you .

I would also like to take this opportunity to announce Ben, in recognition of his hard work and dedication to both his studies and work on course has recently been promoted to Assistant Superintendent. I am sure he will continue to be an asset to the maintenance team and Capel Golf Club as he adjust to his new role while still providing the same exemplary service he has become known for.  

Thank you and Happy Hooking.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The fairway renovations went well, recovery is already well underway with all outcomes achieved. We are finishing off fertilising the fairways balancing the manual irrigation system with demand and once complete will have the fairways in good condition leading into the summer months.  

One issue I need to address is the appearance of dry areas (dry patch ) on the back 9 fairways, this is not due to the coring but as a result of the manual irrigation system and set speed pumps with antiquated piping leading to inefficient irrigation. 

While coring does drop the moisture levels temporarily,  it is the less than efficient irrigation system on the back 9 which can not quickly replace that moisture loss that results in these dry areas whenever we carry out works such as renovations, large scale spraying or any maintenance requiring follow up irrigation. 
The combination of the manual system, set speed pumps and small old weak pipping in places mean we need to shut off the entire system until all fairways are complete rather than irrigating each fairway or sections individually and when we do irrigate it takes some 16 hours to cover the large area.  This often means some areas of the fairways are not irrigated for up to a week leading to these dry areas, compounded more so where coverage is insufficient requiring hoses to water the "gaps" of coverage missed areas.
The set speed pumps output a given volume regardless of demand, the smaller older pipes in sections across the course are week points that if we continue to use the system when a section of the course cannot be irrigated for any reason  we risk a pressure build in these areas with the likely outcome of breaks and further down time. 

Good news is this is only temporary, it may take a few weeks but once the irrigation cycles are being routinely completed with a huge draw on labor, recovery will be swift and we can reap the positive longer term benefits from these very important works. 

Thank you and Happy  Hooking     

Monday, November 21, 2016

Back 9 Fairway Renovations

A great start to the working week with the start of coring the back 9 fairways, after 12 hours we have completed the coring brushing and clearing of 5 fairways and cored 6. 

Tomorrow we hope to have the coring complete prior to the competition players catching up, leaving the brushing and clearing to do. Scroll cutting cleared fairways will also be attended. 
Just a reminder, please do not hit up on staff unless called or out of the way during this important work. We do apologise for any inconvenience caused by disruption and we hope you understand, the aeration of the fairways has many advantages, allowing air and water into the profile, alleviating compaction, encouraging micro organism to breakdown organic matter, release of nutrients are just some of the major benefits. This provides us with a base to have healthy strong turf surfaces for you enjoyment. 

Thank you  and Happy Hooking 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Novemebr 13

Hopefully the glitches which have prevented me posting have been sorted, thank you for your patience over that extended time. 

Greens have recovered from the October renovations very quickly and were being cut back at normal height of 2.8mm just a few weeks after. One issue we are having with the greens at the moment is a flush of Poa annua seed head, generally we manage to control 40 to 60 % of seed head formation through the peak time limiting its impact, normally just prior to our renovations through certain product applications. Unfortunately as a result of the unusual cooler wetter weather which extended through September / October this delayed the trigger of the timing of the peak seed formation into the recovery period for the greens at a point where we need to cease product application for the poa in order for the Bent Grass to recover sufficiently from renovations as the product does regulate Bent grass growth as well. We are taking measures to reduce its impact through brooming greens prior to mowing to remove extra seed head and grooming greens to thin them out a little, product application will resume shortly which will improve the present situation. That said the greens are healthy and we are happy with where they are at present. 

We are dealing with a few other issues due to the extended cooler whether we experienced through Sept / Oct, one of which is the Bush growth is continuing further into the season than normal, usually ceased mid Oct, this places extra demand on staff time due to the extra cutting, I would like to thank Ken Lowth for giving up his time Mondays to slash areas around the course, his efforts are much appreciated and help the staff immensely, thank you Ken . 
Bush growth and moisture levels also effects the numbers of mosquitoes on course as the longer grass and moisture encourages them to hang around longer than usual. This resulted in an extra peak in numbers on course and through the general area, by the end of October November which required added spraying which was carried to control them to reduce numbers to nuisance levels only. Numbers should now be dropping significantly though we will continue to monitor numbers to asses if further spraying is required. 
Together lets Fight the Bite

With the extra work created and still short staffed due to TAFE and Leave commitments some construction works have put put on hold are progressing at a much slower rate the 6th tee right side extension is one such example that has been put on hold for a month. This work is of low priority out of play. The entrance side has been completed thanks to Jetline (wall) Monday volunteers (path) and staff for the tee top  repair and leveling. It shows what can be accomplished by various groups of people who share a common goal. 

Finally, next week we will commence Back 9 Fairway renovations, we will be hallow coring as we have had a great deal of success over the past few years using this method of renovations. Major surface disruption will result which may require preferred lies( match decision) and works will continue through the competition days, though we will endeavor to limit disruption to play, please do not hit up on contractors or staff unless they are well out of the way or you are called, this is very important for safety. 

Thank you and happy hooking 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Greens are Back !

As of last Friday the greens are back to pre reno heights. 
Only 4 weeks after major core aeration and the greens have recovered phenomenally, greens will remain at this height with increased cutting.  Thanks again to the staff and volunteers for helping us achieve the success from renovations that we have.

Some sanding of perimeters will be completed this week, no disruption to play will result, the sanded areas will not effect ball roll.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Thank you to all the volunteers who turned our for the coring, it was very appreciated. 

The greens are making a very strong recovery, we commenced morning cuts late this week at 4mm, and with all things going well will be reducing the heights early this week and possibly again by the weekend t be very close to normal cutting heights. Some areas where we controlled Saltene and Couch grass will be a great deal slower to recover, these areas, mainly encroaching from the perimeter will require seeding and a further sanding in the coming weeks, Generally though the greens are ahead of normal recovery times and members will benefit from that. 

Looking ahead, along with the final touches for the greens we will be seeding and sanding high wear areas on some green surrounds for winter cover over the next week or so. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

The course tolerated the extreme heat last week very well with only a few minor issues with the greens, most problems were on the back 9 fairways and roughs mainly from cart tracks and wilted areas due to the inadequate manual irrigation system on the back 9. Most of the Back 9 Fairways could not be irrigated since the Friday before and then when they were in the heat, taking 14 hours to complete one cycle, despite all our efforts most of the irrigation applied was ineffective with the result easy to see.
The areas affected will recover in time.
This week is also set to be a difficult one with the heat, although temperatures are expected to be slightly lower wind is expected to be strong and gusty, this will have more of an adverse impact than last week with the wind contributing to drying out the surface areas but more importantly also impacting on Irrigation Uniformity. Some dry patch areas are to be expected under these conditions, though we will endeavor to limit any issues within the available resources at our disposal.    

The 2nd Men's black tee is growing in nicely and is looking fantastic at this early stage. With the majority of the work complete we are commencing focus on Bunker Bases, at this stage we are only aiming for 1, possibly 2 bunkers per week to be complete until we are well outside our peak maintenance period  and irrigation season at which point more bunkers will be attended.

With fresh sand being used the bunkers completed will be soft and loose, there is a risk of plugged lies till the sand is consolidated. For this reason any bunker that has work carried out will be G.U.R for a few days. A reminder the G.U.R is optional unless otherwise stated. 

Thank you and look forward to seeing you on the course. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

A very busy week this one was, Starting with the preparations and set up for a full field in the  SW Vets on Monday, Bunker Edging to all green side bunkers on top of the Daily and weekly course Maintenance  including the manual irrigation of the back 9 along with edging paths and tidying up tee box walls and edges then rounding it off with laying the turf for the 2nd Black tee box today.

I am relieved to finally have this project drawing to completion as it has been a thorn in my side for the past few months with limited time to attend the construction work, doing it in bits and pieces where we could fit it in. 
We still have a few minor works on the tee and surrounds to do, including relocating the tee box sign and trimming a few branches for line of sight just to name a few. We will be using portable hoses to irrigate the area till Winter when we will extend the pipe lines and add permanent sprinkler coverage for the area.  
But the turf is down and can start growing in, while I sigh and finally have few beers watching it do just that !!!!!!
All things going to plan we hope to have it play Mid March, with what will be a fantastic upgrade to the existing tee Box with a much better alignment to the hole. For those lefties who like the draw, or even the righties who (shock horror like to fade or worse...slice) the old tee will still get some use!!!!! 

After yet another welcomed slight break in weather last weekend with cool temperatures and a shower or two (5mm) the next week is set to be a scorcher, some adjustments may be made to normal course set up with extra precautions taken with the greens to manage heat and moisture stress which may result in a slight decrease in pace. Depending on conditions, postponing our grooming (light verti cutting) practices, reducing our Cut frequency with  possibly a slight increase in height for a few days and  increasing hand watering are just some measures we may take. 
While the greens can tolerate very high maximum temperatures with careful management, when overnight lows are above 20 degrees as is forecast, it significantly reduces the plants ability to recover hence why extra intervention measures may be implemented.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

It was nice to have some rain last week, in all 45mm fell in 24hrs,  it freshened the course up nicely allowing us to turn the irrigation pumps off for the rest of the week giving the staff a break from constant manual water shifts including having to return in the afternoon and evenings  for irrigation on the back 9. Without the need for manual water shifts we were able to spend  a little time progressing the 2nd Men's Black Tee construction work which is now very close to having turf laid once some more consolidation of the banks are complete.

It seems like this project is taking forever, we constantly have to remind ourselves we only have 4 staff and with the manual irrigation sucking up huge chunks of time along with the extra mowing requirements of the course through summer with all essential course maintenance taking priority does not leave a great deal left for extra projects such as this one.

The recovery of the rough areas from herbicide treatments over the Xmas period are complete with the Fairway definitions returning, the herbicide treatment for various weeds was successful.

 Historically the course has always had issues with Fairy Rings more precisely the Basidiomycetes family of fungi, with some years being worse than others, this summer has been a particularly active one,  which increases the risks of indirect damage to the greens, from  severe Hydrophobic soil conditions through to infection of secondary diseases, increasing the risk of wear and significant damage during periods of stress for the plants such as hot weather etc, intervention measures to date have so far been successful. We still have a long way to go till the end of the plant stress period of Summer and with other stresses placed on the greens from low cutting heights etc, particularly with the desire to push the greens further for pace there remains a real risk of injury. The staff remain vigilant with intervention measures continuing. 

Looking ahead and with the ladies Summer Cup just 3 weeks away we will be focusing on all the 5% jobs, Bunker edging, tidying up around tee boxes , paths and the like, bringing all the various areas of the course together for this event. We have started to bring the greens up to speed for the event as well with some tweaking to the green speeds required for the Summer Cup.

That's all from the desk this month Happy Hooking.