We have now completed the winter tree work on the course with the removal of the large Pine at the 4th tee.
The light levels on the 4th tee have now increased dramatically and this will help lead to stronger turf. The Pine also cast a large volume of needles onto the tee each time we experienced strong winds.
As seen in the above photo the shadow cast by the Pine covered the entire 3rd green throughout the morning. In winter this has meant the 3rd takes far longer for frost to clear than other greens.
There has also been some work completed at the rear of 10 and 17 greens. We had a tree surgeon in to lift the canopy of the Pine trees here and remove any damaged or dead limbs at the same time.
This has had the added benefit of allowing more light and air through to the green surface at each hole which will benefit the turf.
As the surface frost and ice has melted it has been unable to penetrate the frozen ground and we have more puddles than ever seen before.
Each thaw brought more water onto the surface which promotly refroze overnight.
The temperatures have finally increased now however and some cloud cover has meant the end of the frost. The puddles have soaked away into the rootzone however all that moisture is sitting in the top 3″ on top of a layer which is still frozen. This has led to very soft playing surfaces with high moisture content.
We hope to be back on full greens soon given the rate of thaw at the moment.
We currently have a large amount of ice present on the course and it will remain closed until this has gone.
The pictures here show the extent of the ice coverage with the 10th green being 100% covered.
The vandalism on our greens has now arrived at the point where we have to take more action.
A number of cameras have been positioned around the course in an attempt to catch those responsible.
With an effective range of 50m and set to take bursts of images at high resolution they are more than capable of providing evidence of those guilty.
The greenstaff will regularly reposition the cameras around the course over the coming weeks and months.
Following the closure of the holes left by the aeration work in October we have given the 4th green another pass.
Using the same 1/2″ solid tines we are aerating to a depth of 10″. This will relieve any compaction as well as create more channels allowing deeper root development.
The indigenous soil on the course is of a fine nature and the rootzones of greens can become compacted quite quickly so deep aeration is important especially on newer greens. Until roots can penetrate the soil to a sufficient depth we will need to keep providing them with channels to do so.
The area to the rear of 7 green has been raised slightly and the contours softened using material won from lowering the 8th winter tee.
This will enable better machinery access as well as removing the coarse Ryegrass turf which could have presented an impossible lie only a few feet from the green.
By lowering the old winter tee on 8 we have been able to create wider and flatter walkways from the 7th green which will enable us to spread wear better in this area.
An added bonus was the chance to create more teeing area around the 8th yellow tee to further spread wear.
Ultimately the project was to lower as much ground as possible allowing increased visibility from the 5th tee through to the 7th green from a saftey point of view. This has been completed and all the extra material won has been transferred to the tuf nursery ready for replenishing the areas where turf has been lifted. This will be resown with Fescue next season.
A recent spell of frosty weather has allowed us to start tackling overgrown areas of gorse.
The first of the areas was perhaps one of the most dense having been cleared a number of years ago but sadly allowed to regenerate through seed.
Very few of the gorse plants measured much more than 1″ in diameter despite being around 15′ tall which made the work very time consuming.
An area measuring around 750 square metres has been cut to ground level and will be allowed to regenerate. This will be monitored and controlled by chemical applications in the future with the aim of restablishing dune grasses and heather.
The winter project work is well underway and the digger will be leaving us soon.
We have cleared the ditch down the left side of 14 fairway and removed some of the weed in the pond at the bottom to allow a better flow of water.
The largest project for the year was at the rear of the 7th green leading up onto the 8th tee.
The remainder of the old tee has been stripped of turf and lowered to the height of the current 8th tee. This level was continued across to and around the 7th greenside bunker.
In doing so we have created a larger area with shallower contouring which enable us to spread wear in this area better.
At the same time we’ve taken the opportunity to strip the hollow behind 7 green and remove the heavily Ryegrass polluted turf.
Material from behind the bunker was pulled round and used to soften the contouring which will allow us better access with our machinery as well as create room for more surround cut.
The 8th tee has had a bay extension added to give more space for yellow tee positions and the whole area has been shaped and is ready for turf.
At the same time as lowering behind the bunker we lowered the mound between 5 and 8 tees to allow better visibility between the 5th tee and the 7th green.
All of the removed material has been divided up between other projects, some used in the new championship tee constructions on 17 and 18, some used to replenish the rootzone on the turf nursery and the remainder has been put in the bay to be used as divot mix next season.