Thursday, 24 January 2013

Well it arrived!

As you can see from the picture below the snow certainly came and unfortunately is still hanging around! The good news is however that it is melting fast and the course should be playable by the weekend. So we hope to see many of you out there enjoying your golf at EGC once again!

18th Green this morning!

During these conditions our attention turns to tree work and the 7th hole has been worked on this week. Trees left to their own devices soon become overcrowded and unsightly, so maintenance of them is cruical to protect their lifespan. When playing this weekend (fingers crossed) you will see down the left of the 7th fairway that certain canopies have been lifted and unsighly ones cleared. It will allow the good trees to continue to flourish. We are also in the process of replacing unsuitable species such as conifers and poplars, with more indigenous trees such as oaks and beech. It is a process that has been on going for many a year with members donating a tree. The only negative to this is that certain areas will look sparse for a few years until the decent trees mature. However we must remember that us golfers/greenkeepers are only here for a short period of time, therefore it is our duty to look after the land and allow it to flourish for generations to come.

Friday, 18 January 2013

The snow is a-coming!

Looking out across the golf course this morning, it's quite a bleak picture. Snow is expected to land on the golf course by noon and temperatures are sub-zero at present. It's been a very cold week but this hasn't stopped the Greenstaff carrying out vital drain works and path renovations!

As the ground has been solid all week it has been perfect for moving heavy material around the golf course. A job planned for some time now has been to install a storm drain taking water from the 15th fairway, under the 11th tee and in to the river. This is vital to drain that fairway when the river bursts its banks. To coincide with this the path from the 11th tee to the bridge has been in urgent need of repair for some years. The issue with these two jobs has always been how to get material to these areas, as they are located in the far side of the course and the route is very wet. This week provided the perfect opportunity and we took it!

Boards across 15th approach
Warren digging the trench
225mm pipe used
Pipe backfilled
Outlet to the river


The work has been lead superbly by our deputy Warren Clements (pictured in the digger) and consisted of trenching about 75cm deep, laying a 225mm twin walled land drain with a 1:100 fall, backfilling with stone/sand, and finally installing a headwall complete with tidal flap in the river bank. Whilst Warren and Mitchel were working on the drainage, Stan and Miro renovated the path. Soil was dug up at 100mm deep, plainnings (big stone) was laid as the base and the whole area will be topped off with a finer stone. A busy but very productive week and once the weather improves you will be able to enjoy your golf in these areas again!
Path cut out at 100mm deep
Road plainnings laid as the base

Friday, 11 January 2013

Poa Turf Nursery - 1 year old

Last year we implemented a greens turf nursery at EGC. It has been urgently needed over the years as repairs has had to be taken from the putting green in the past, which doesn't look good visually. However, the way we constructed it was unconventional (which is par for the course here:) The traditional method of constructing a green in the UK has been to turf with a fescue/bent sod. The problem here is two fold. Firstly this type of sod can reject the soil and the grasses that you put down don't always match up with what's out on the golf course. Which for the vast majority of courses in the UK is Poa Annua Reptans. However, here lies the problem. Currently you cannot buy Poa Anuua Reptans in seed form or turf here in England. So what do we do? Do we just go with the conventional method and turf or seed with fescue or bent and hope for the best? Or do we think outside the box and try something different? You know us. The latter won!

So last year we made the decision to hollow core the greens in the autumn, but instead of throwing the cores away, we would use them as a seedbed for our new green. Perfect for us as our main greens are Poa Annua Reptans and it is a method that has been used in the states for years, but not so common over here. Below is a slideshow of the process which we followed. Basically we cored the greens and collected, spread these cores over our new area, rolled them out level and waited for germination. At first nothing happened, but very quickly after some feed and sand, new seeds came to life. We then put this green in with the collar programme as the height of cut here is 6mm for last years playing season. It came along very well and coverage was good from April onwards. During this autumn we then started cutting it in with the greens programme and now looks great!

From next season onwards all repairs needed to be made to the main greens will be taken from this nursery. An investment definitely worth doing.

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Friday, 4 January 2013

Winter Servicing

Now that we are in the middle of winter, one of the critcial jobs that is carried out at EGC is not on the golf course, but down at the maintenance complex. Winter servicing is completed in house by our Mechanic, Dominic Weglarz (pictured below). However, this was not always the case. Prior to 2006 all servicing at EGC was sourced externally by machinery dealers. It was acceptable at the time as there were no workshop facilities. The big (and I mean big) downside to this was cost. The machinery repair/service bill in 2006 was £32k. This year it is forecast to be £13k!

The Dominator at work

The reduction in costs hasn't happened by chance. Careful investment in machinery and staff has taken place over the years. Today if you look at our facilities you will find a modern workshop complete with grinders and hydraulic lifts. Dominic is now our mechanic but started life as a greenkeeper here in 2005. However very quickly we could see that he's skills were more suited to the machinery side of turf. So Dom started to take a different route to the other greenkeepers and went to college to learn about sportsturf mechanics. The end product of that is that we have a highly skilled mechanic who does all the machinery maintenance himself. That was just as well, as cutting grass wasn't his greatest quality:)

Over the next 3 months Dom will be busy grinding, servicing and repairing all of our fleet. We have around £250k worth of equipment here at Ealing with over 35 cutting units that will need sharpening. The aim is when the season kicks in, our equipment is ready to deliver a course in tip-top condition. So over the next few months when you are playing on nice sunny days, spare a thought for Dom grinding away inside.

The Workshop