Monday, February 27, 2017

Bens Lake Karrinyup Experience

We have a guest blogger for this weeks Course Update, Ben reporting on his experience at Lake Karrinyup Country Club for the World Super 6"s.  Pour a cuppa, pull up a chair and enjoy the read ....

First of all, I would like to thank Superintendent Max Suckling and The Capel Golf Club for allowing me the opportunity to volunteer as part of the Course Maintenance Crew for the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 tournament at Lake Karrinyup Country Club. I would also like to thank Fraser Brown, Superintendent of Lake Karrinyup, for taking me on board and giving me the opportunity to work alongside his staff for the week. This was a great experience from day one all the way through to day 8, and I would definitely do this over again if the opportunity arises.
Volunteering at Lake Karrinyup for such a major tournament was an experience to remember, and will be a memory that sticks with me for a long time.

Arriving to work at Lake Karrinyup, Sunday 12th Feb, I had no idea at all what to expect or what I was going to see, Max hold told me some things but it didn’t sink in till I arrived at the entrance to the private maintenance gate, where there was an electronic Pin coded gate to access the maintenance only area. By this moment I am thinking, JESUS, what have I got myself into here.

Once through the electric gate I went on my way, driving down the long sealed maintenance only driveway, which had immaculate carpet looking Fairways running alongside it as it weaved its way down to the shed. Or should I say WAREHOUSE !!!!!!!! This maintenance shed had to be 4 to 5 times the size of our shed at Capel, my god it was huge !!.

I parked, and walked down to the work shed where I met the Super, Fraser, and 5 other greens staff who were also Volunteering, we all had a short chat of who we are and where we were from. This was a great welcoming where we then met all the other staff. All together, there were a total of 27 on the course crew including 6 of us volunteering, not to mention they had their own admin staff and 2 mechanics!!!!!!
We had a quick induction of the shed, which had numerous Toro machines - I’ve never seen so many red machines fit in one shed. I definitely wouldn’t have minded taking some of them back to Capel with me! The amount of machinery and their value in this shed would be jaw dropping, I knew they were spoilt and had a lot, but not this much, for example 18 Toro Workman vehicles, nearly one for each staff member, and 7 yes 7 Fairway mowers just to name two pieces of equipment. I was like a kid in a lolly shop.

Anyhow, after having a tour of the shed, we then took it out to the course.

WOW. Absolutely spectacular, the course was in tip top shape and the lay out was magnificent. The features of the course, the slopes, the lakes and each holes characteristic definitely justify its reputation. The course is well maintained and the fairways were looking particularly awesome with them being mowed with a time consuming cross cut technique Morning and Afternoon at 12mm. Some other maintenance specs for the tournament were  -
Tees were cut  6mm morning and afternoon, same as the collars and the Greens walk behind  by 6 staff at 2.7mm  morning and afternoon double cut sometimes and were rolled daily depending on desired speed.
Throughout the week we would basically follow the same routine and hours depending on tee times for the day, starting very early 4.30 through to 9 before play and then returning at 3.30pm to work through till 8 or when we finished in the evening.  We would have a daily briefing before each shift to ensure everyone knew what was expected and their roles for the shift. At the end of each shift we were provided with Breakfast and Dinner and a brief of forward planning for the next shift. The logistics of running the maintenance for the event was incredible and very professional, we do similar things at Capel but on a much much smaller scale nowhere near the magnitude of this and certainly not with free breakfast and dinner!!

I was involved in many tasks during the week which included Mowing Fairways, (what a dream machine) Bunker faces and edging (familiar with that), Walk Behind Mowing Greens (not the ideal start to a morning- too much walking for me that early!), divoting fairways (because the Pros aren’t like our members and repair their divots !!) And the good old turf leaf vacuum and various other jobs all to have the course in peak condition for each days play. . At one stage one morning there was 20 staff all working on bunkers, now I would love that at Capel.
Lake Karrinyup is definitely a place you would love to wake up and start the day, picturesque hills and slopes and just driving past the lake on 8 as the sunrise reflected on the still water with just an occasional ripple was an absolute perfect way to start the day as you went about your tasks and I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the event. 

Once our morning shifts were complete we were free to watch the golf and follow the players, I’ve never really been the one to walk and watch the golf, nor have I really had the opportunity to either however, on the Tuesday morning’s practice rounds , I was finishing off bunker faces as part of my morning duties along with two other staff members on the Par 3 5th hole when we noticed  2 players  waiting to tee off, we decided to call them up and let them tee off, we watched the pair take multiple practice swings, (thinking this was a mistake how long are they going to take),  anyhow they finally  hit, and we watched the ball fly over, land on the green 3 meters passed the pin, then back spin rolling back towards the pin, looking at the hole and the ball was it .....YES went into the hole!!!!!!.
The first hole in one I’ve ever seen specially that close and something to remember, it was great to see in the first days of working there. This sparked my desire to watch as much golf as I could between shifts which I did including the play off holes on the Saturday and knock out matchplay on the Sunday and the shoot out with some awesome shots played.  Never did I think I would watch World class Golfers live, let alone work on a prestigious course to assist in preparing it for these players and even had the chance to meet and chat for a short while with Alex Noren the World number 10. The whole experience being involved and watching this event was such a privilege and awesome experience that I will never forget. 

In closing, again I would like to thank Max Suckling, Superintendent, Capel Golf Club and Fraser Brown & Staff, for providing me with the opportunity to not only Volunteer for this major tournament, but for allowing me to further my knowledge and experience in the turf industry working on such a magnificent golf course which is ranked in the top 20 courses in Australia, even watching the 2 IC carryout his duties  gave me much greater insight to my own position here at Capel and confidence to fulfill my duties to a high standard with numerous experiences which can only help me moving forward.
 I am most definitely appreciative of the experience I have been given, and would definitely do this over again.
 Thank you

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Greens Renovations are less than 2 weeks away and I would like to take this opportunity to inform members of some important pre renovation practices and the temporary impact these practices will have on the greens appearance.

 Twice yearly in Spring and Autumn prior to greens renovations we commence product applications for the suppression / control of certain grass weeds in the greens, namely Saltene and Couch encroachment, both grasses being extremely difficult to control in Bent grass greens and we do historically have a large amount. Unfortunately one product does not control / suppress both weed grasses so there is a need to apply different products multiple times during the control periods prior to renovations.

 The application of these products will lead to a sharp down turn in the appearance of the greens. Discolouration and some thin weak areas will result in the lead up to renovations.   The degree and type of discolouration will vary green to green depending on the main target weed, main product used and, as some greens only require spot treatment while others require a full spray, the overall area sprayed.

The discolouration will vary, however, mainly be a slight chlorosis of leaves, Saltene areas will gradually turn various shade of green to yellow before browning off, these areas will stand out significantly giving the impression we suddenly have more than previously, this is not the case it is simply more visible after product application for its control / suppression. Impact on Bent grass will be a slight browning almost dry dull appearance.   Couch areas after verti-cutting will also stand out more and turn a whitish colour through the recovery period. These impacts will also be observed on some green collars and aprons.

 These impacts and appearances are only temporary and will recover during the renovation recovery period. The Recovery period may be slightly longer than we have become accustomed to over recent years and will likely take the standard 5 weeks to fully recover.

Please note this is not a one spray wonder and is part of a long term strategy to suppress and gradually reduce the degree of weed encroachment till such time we are in position to excavate and resurface contaminated areas, without the application of these products the areas contaminated would spread exponentially.

 On the topic of Renovations (insert a smiley face with a big grin,  for those use to emoticons ) we also require volunteers to help clean up cores on Sunday the 5th March starting at 7am, many hands make light work and will make the process faster to complete, your help will be greatly appreciated as always.


Thank you for your time and understanding and look forward to seeing you on Sunday 5th.



Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Capel Touch

With what is a fantastic opportunity for Ben to gain invaluable experience working on a "top 20" Golf Course helping prepare for a World Class major event, Ben will, from Sunday spend 8 days as part of the Lake Karrinyup Course Maintenance team preparing the course for the new World Super 6 Tournament to be held from next Thursday.
 I put forth Ben's name in recognition for his outstanding contribution and achievements this year both on course and in his studies, and I am sure he will make the most of this exciting opportunity which will only benefit his professional progression and in turn also benefit Capel Golf Club through the knowledge and experience he will gain.

Ben will also have the opportunity to follow the field during his time off between course maintenance hours, I look forward to sharing with you his experiences on his return. 

In other course news we have been busy preparing the course for our own Ladies Major event of the year the 2017 Summer Cup. We are confident we have produced quality turf surfaces for this event with the majority of the preparations complete.
As we head into the final days we have one eye on the developing weather, with forecast of heavy rain and strong winds, again we are confident in the plans and preparations we have in place, but mother nature may have plans of her own which may impact on course conditions and debris over the course making our job a little more difficult. Should be an interesting few days.

Good luck to this years entrants, hopefully we miss the worst of it and the event runs smoothly. For the male members deciding to play other courses this weekend Happy Hooking.