Course Manager’s Report – February 2020 – Chris Lewis
It has certainly been a different winter weather pattern this year and seems more like the autumn from 2019 has replaced the winter season completely. With temperatures being higher than average this winter there has been some sporadic growth on areas around the course. The relatively mild temperature and extreme amounts of rainfall have also contributed to higher levels of turf disease activity which we have so far managed to keep under control.
The rain through the last few months has been relentless and with the lack of dry days and low light levels it has meant that the ground hasn’t had time to drain and has stayed saturated.
Greens :- Because of the weather conditions previously stated the low light levels and high moisture content to the greens has provided an ideal environment for moss to grow. These areas will be treated once the weather eventually starts to settle and we are able to carry out the routine early spring maintenance to the greens.
Tees: - The tees surfaces particularly the par 3’s where we have introduced tee mats to play from has made a massive improvement to their surface condition.
Fairways: - The Fairways this last couple of years have suffered due to the very dry hot summers. One of which was the hottest since 1947. Ridge and furrow fairways in particular were badly affected with the tops of the ridges drying out and grass die back building a hydrophobic dead layer in the tops of the ridges. A maintenance plan has been put in place to improve these areas and as soon as the weather allows will continue in early spring.
Bunkers: - Again due to the amounts of rainfall we have been experiencing the bunkers at times have been unplayable and taken out of play occasionally. Over the last few weeks the Greens staff have been renovating the drainage system issues within the bunkers caused by soil being washed in and silting up the sand over the drainage sumps. Topping up of sand in the bunkers will be carried out as soon as ground conditions are suitable in readiness for the playing season ahead.
Trees: - The strong winds from Storms Ciara and Dennis caused some damage to trees around the course and a lot of brash across fairways etc. Luckily due to the tree management programme that was put in place a few years ago the damage was isolated to a handful of decaying specimens. Piles of gathered wood around the course will be cleared away as soon as machinery is able to travel around the course.
Crown lifting of low hanging branches from trees around the course has also been carried out by the green staff this winter.
Damaged trees will be sawn up and tidied away again when ground conditions are suitable.
Drainage: - Drainage in certain areas around the course including the practice ground has shown inefficiencies in coping with the amount of rainfall we have been experiencing. A drainage plan will be put together to improve these areas in particular the practice ground where it has become obvious that tree roots from the dividing line of trees between the 1st hole and practice ground have blocked the drains.
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