Thursday 29 October 2015

Golf Course Renovations

Along with our drainage project this autumn the Greenstaff have been busy with end of season renovations this October. All the main playing areas have been renovated, with fairways the last to be finished today. It's certainly been a busy month!
A2G2 in action
We decided to tweak our greens programme this year. Instead of going with the usual deep tine and heavy sand dressing in the autumn, we pushed that forward to mid-summer and this autumn went less aggressive. We tried a new machine called the A2G2 which puts compressed air down to a depth of around 300mm and then followed that up with an 8mm micro tine on the top. 

No sand was applied as over 150tonnes had already been applied by the end of the summer. The theory is to work on both shallow and deep aeration at certain stages throughout the year setting them up for the winter ahead.

8mm Micro tine following behind

The work went well and greens have recovered very well. We will use our comprehensive data programme to analyse results to see if this is a new path for us to take.

Along with the greens the tees were deep aerated, sanded, seeded and then fertilised. The approaches have been deep aerated and fairways scarified and deep aerated. Walkways and stress areas too have been worked on. Combined with our drainage improvements, the aim is to provide top quality golf in the off season to go along with the already excellent playing surfaces in the main season. 

Fairways getting deep aerated

Monday 5 October 2015

Drainage Project Recommences - Year 4

Last week the greenstaff got back to the drainage project that was started in 2012. Over the last few years we have concentrated on holes 1,2,3,4,8,11,12,13 and 15. This has made a huge difference to the playability of the course during extreme wet weather. Combined with good cultural practises such as fairway scarifying and hollow coring, the difference in performance has been great to date.

This year we are concentrating on the 6th and 7th fairways, whilst linking in to the area to the right of the 12th green. Over 2000 metres of pipework was installed. The 6th fairway in particular proved very challenging. Unfortunately the ditch (which is the outlet) sits slightly higher than the fairway.

The weather was superb during this works and even though the hours were long and hard, the procedures went very smooth. This week we are now concentrating on 'snag jobs' with lots of gullies and headwalls with tidal flaps being installed.

From next week we will start to link up the primary drainage with secondary by means of our 'gravel bander'. This has proved very successful on our clay based golf course and helps to move the water sideways in to the pipes. We set the bands at 0.8metres, with the main drains sitting in general at 10 metre centres.

We are really pleased with the work so far and will continue over the whole of October.

Pipe in stock

All loaded up!

Irrigation pipework getting marked out

Drain lines turf cut off

Straight sand to backfill

Crossing irrigation lines is always a pain!

6th Fairway, solid clay

View looking up the 6th fairway

View looking up the 7th fairway

Gravel Banding to the 6th fairway

Monday 21 September 2015

2015 Groundstaff Trophy

Last Saturday was our annual Groundstaff Trophy and a great day it was too! The weather was kind, the course busy and the scoring good. Ready Golf had mixed reviews but the fact that it took four and half hours instead of the usual five for a shotgun proved its merit. On the day the winner was Drew Nugent who scored an excellent 50 points off a 5 handicap, followed by Des Crizzle in second and Paul Groarke in third.

The music evening was another great night down at EGC and almost all of the singers remembered their lines! We would like to thank Mike Shilling and all of those that put so much work into the evening. There was even a rumour that the Course Manager Greg Evans ventured up onto the stage but thanks to a small amount of C2H5OH he has no memory of it!

There was only one raffle prize collected and it wasn’t the top prize of a Ping driver. The numbers will go up onto the notice board but top prize ticket was Green 81-85. If you are the lucky winner, please email us at The bag of grass seed is still to be claimed!

‘Beat the Greenkeeper’ went well and although our Head Greenkeeper Wes Lenihan put up a good fight, we feel the members’ generosity was evident here! Vicky Stiff won the ‘Guess The Number of Balls’ competition with 510. The actual number was 515 with Marg Abbott just over at 518. Bad luck Marg, there’s always cricket!

We would sincerely like to thank all the members who have supported this event over the years and two sponsors, Countrywide and Godfreys. It was a great day as usual!

Friday 28 August 2015

The River Brent.......Wow!

On Wednesday the river burst its banks and it was some sight. The club estimates that 50% (yes 50%) was under water on Wednesday afternoon as a thunderstorm hit West London. This could not have happened at a worse time as it was halfway through Golf Week, with the am-am and scratch open this coming weekend. Not to worry though as the greenstaff went straight to work and by Saturday morning everything will be back to normal with just a few spots treated as G.U.R. Who said it was all about cutting grass!

6th Fairway

4th Fairway

7th Fairway

3rd Hole

11th Fairway

Thursday 13 August 2015

Summer Renovations

Last week was the major renovations week at Ealing Golf Club. Greens were deep spiked and heavily sanded. Fairways were scarified and tees overseeded. It was a big week and long hours completed to get the work done but turn around has been quick. One week and the surfaces are back to normal!
One of the great benefits of doing these heavy works during the early August period is that the weather is good so recovery quick. If you also take in to consideration that majority of members are away on holiday, it starts to make a lot of sense. 

During the week all greens were given a 20mm tine and 80 tonnes of sand applied. They were then tinned twice again but with a smaller 8mm tine to help close the 20mm's up and 'shake' the sand in to the holes. It worked well and here is a picture of the 11th green 6 days later!
All in all a good week and any short term pain is far outweighed by the long term benefits in the continued performance of these areas!

Little bit too much sand on this one!

Fairways getting scarified

Thursday 25 June 2015

Tournament Set Up!

This morning we had one of our full on mornings where all major playing surfaces get cut. The greenstaff were in at 5am preparing the course for the London Irish Charity day. This work mostly goes unseen but anyone who witnesses it will see some sight. Greens were cut and rolled, with fairways,tees and collars all cut. It is an intense 4 hour period as by 9am the staff were all off the golf course. Quite some buzz we can assure you!

Saturday 21 March 2015

Spring Renovations at EGC - Part 2: Fairway Hollow Coring!

The second part of the spring operations was hollow coring the fairways. It was an intense operation and the greenkeeping team were on 12hour days to allow us to achieve our aim. The reason for this was to physically remove high organic content (thatch) from our fairways.

With minimal work done to the fairways in 120 years, as you can image thatch will build up and in big numbers! For the last 3 years we have been adding drainage to our fairways and now halfway through the plan. This consists of installing pipe in the ground and then connecting the system with secondary drainage. The next stage is to improve the top soil and reduce the carpet which sits on top. The program consisted of the following:

  • Hollow cored at 50mm spacings with a 12mm tine going 75mm deep
  • All cores then collected with our Wessex scarifier set at ground level (to reduce scalping)
  • In the afternoons the team would drag mat the debris and blow any remaining to the side
  • Once finished any damaged areas would be repaired and GUR added
The fairways are 10 hectares in total and by our estimations we removed 40million cores. The next stage will be to scarify three times per year and finish with a verti-drain in the autumn. We have taken some organic matter cores and have had them tested. It will be interesting to see how these numbers fair over the next few years!

Below is a slideshow of the operation: