Rain, rain, rain, and.... more..... rain.
It goes without saying that we have had one of the wettest autumn-winter periods since we opened in 2004. Just to put it in perspective, our friend Martin Hayward (Head Greenkeeper at Hessle Golf Club) put an interesting tweet out the other day that said we'd had nearly double the amount of rain between June-December than the previous two years (887mm vs less than 500mm in 2015/2016).
It really is unprecedented for us to have been closed as much as we have been this winter, the only time I can remember that came close to this was 2010 when we had six weeks of snow on the ground.
Needless to say we've been hard at work doing whatever we can to maintain the golf course and get ready for the summer season, but it hasn't been easy as there have been many days when we couldn't take machinery onto the course.
One of the major aspects of maintenance on the golf course we have been doing is maintaining the underground drainage by checking manholes, clearing throughways and exit points. This enables the excess water from all the course get away as quick as possible.
Over the last few months our greenkeepers have been hard at work prepping bunkers ready for new sand coming in the next few weeks. As with last year, we are bringing in 90 tonnes of bunker sand which will help us renovate around 13-15 large bunkers and top-up another 10.
Each year when we do bunker renovation we target the worst bunkers on the golf course, and begin digging the old sand out. From there we pull out the existing drainage and install new pipe to ensure good water flow, back fill the drainage channel with gravel and cover with a permeable membrane.
Once we have all the bunker ready for sanding we’ll bring in the first load and begin distributing among the bunkers at a depth of around four inches, then we compact to ‘bed in’ the sand. Over the first few weeks of use the sand will settle and you’ll have a great playing surface for bunker shots!
It's been a couple of years since we've had chance to do some good tree maintenance, so recently on wet days we've been beavering away (excuse the pun), pruning trees around the course.
The aim is to remove the bottom portion of branches from the tree for a few reasons: 1) the golfers can navigate through the trees more easily, and 2) less energy is used by the tree in growing the bottom branches, so that energy can be used to grow taller and stronger.
As many of you will have seen, there is a poster on the notice board about worm cast suppressant chemical being banned from the market, and that it is illegal for golf courses to use.
Not every golf course in the area used this chemical but we used it religiously every November, to keep the worm casts down to a minimum on fairways, tees and greens through the winter months. The knock on affect of this was that fairways would be less muddy and could be mown more frequently and at a lower height. Due to the ban we weren't able to spray the chemical this winter, and subsequently weren't able to mow as much. This has definitely had an effect on the overall presentation of the course but it is a problem every golf course faces and we think you'll agree that these playing surfaces (despite being very wet) have been in more than acceptable condition.
As discussed in the previous greenkeeper's report, we are on a mission in 2018 to demolish the clover issues that we experienced last year. We will more than double the budget for herbicides this year in determination to get rid of nearly all the clover. Members will most definitely see a big improvement in this regard in 2018.
Course Furniture Am-Am
At the latest committee meeting we have discussed what to spend money on when we receive a donation from the Spring Am-Am in March. Last year we bought five bins to place around the course, the year before we bought four new benches. We discussed having more bins, new plastic 150 marker posts, material for the bridge to make it less slippy, and also new range mats (including looking at the Truestrike mat).
If you have any ideas on what you'd like to see the money spent on, please email Alan and let him know.