Monday, 27 January 2014

Hand Cutting Greens

After every blog that we seem to write lately it is with the anticipation of better weather. The last time that our weather station recorded no rain in a single day was the 10th December. Since then we have over 220mm of rain and the forecast is for more to come.

During intense periods such as this course maintenance as you will guess becomes an issue. We have many construction projects on the go but for actually cutting playing surfaces it becomes a problem. The only area that can be maintained and kept to a good standard are the greens. Over the years we have worked on their drainage capabilities. Not through the traditional method of land drainage but more on the rootzone side. We have done this by having a good deep aeration and sanding programme in place for the last 8 years. This allows the water to 'float' in the rootzone away from the top surface. It is paying dividends as during this intense wet spell we have not closed or gone on temporary greens.

The video above shows Mitchel cutting our 13th green with a hand mower. For the vast majority of time we use ride-on mowers to cut the greens but when ground conditions become soft we switch to hand mowers. These keep the greens in tip top condition even during the winter months. Our smoothness readings for the last two weeks have been 9.5 out of 10. Not bad considering it's January the weather we are having!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Root Pruning

Roots going on to the 13th Green
Over the last 5 years we have implemented a root pruning programme around the golf course. Being on a tight (88acres) parkland setting trees play a major part in the set up of our golf course. They add strategy and give the golf course its identity. However on the flip side they block out sunlight and restrict air flow. All needed to create a healthy plant. One other thing that they have which are not very welcome are their roots. The root of a tree extends at least double the size of its canopy. So next time you walk past a tree think about that. If it stands 30metres high, its roots will be around 60metres wide. Probably going on to a green and tee:(

Our root pruning programme has been predominately based around greens and tees. Last year we did the Oaks behind the 5th green. We were starting to notice in the summer months that this green was drying out a lot quicker than the others and was susceptible to disease far quicker. Since we cut the roots back last May this has been reversed. This week we carried on with the programme and the Ash tree by the 13th green had its roots cut back. This tree is only 5metres away from the green which is way too close. Ideally the Ash wouldn't be here but it plays an important part in the defence of the 13th hole. Trimming the roots back is a happy compromise:)

Friday, 3 January 2014

Happy New Year 2014!

It was a wet end to 2013 and the new year brings further wet conditions. Golf courses across the country are under extreme pressure and at EGC we are no different. The good news is the drainage that we have installed over the past two years is working well and these areas are handling the conditions. The bad news is getting to these areas in the first place becomes a bit of an issue!

Above left is a picture of a rather wet 15th fairway taken this morning. On the right is the outlet for this fairway which goes under the footpath, through the 11th tee and in to the river by the 10th bridge. As you can see, plenty of water is coming out of the outlet. So why you may think is the 15th fairway saturated? The answer is pipework or rather a lack of it. The outlet takes the water from the ditch to the left of the 15th fairway. However to move the water in to that ditch, pipework is needed. As we head in to the new year this will be one of our priority jobs. The plans have been laid, materials are in, so all we need now is some dry weather and we will be down there in a flash.