The course irrigation is up and running for the season without any issues.
All the greens have now been aerated with a 10mm solid tine to a depth of around 3.5″.
The surfaces were rolled immediately after spiking to smooth them out and there has been minimal disruption to play. The 10mm tine works well as it leaves a hole large enough for air and moisture to get into the rootzone but small enough to not affect ball roll.
Topdressing will be applied again soon once the surfaces are firm enough for the machinery to go on without leaving wheel marks. We will then be applying the spring base feed at the first opportunity.
We’re currently utilising the bad weather days to create the new tee markers and tee yardage posts.
They will all be made in-house along with the other items of course furniture. This allows us to control the theme making sure everything has a similar look as well as keeping costs as low as possible.
Two new pieces of equipment have arrived with us ahead of the new season.
The new vehicle can carry out a variety of tasks including spraying, topdressing or simply being used with a cargo box as a run around.
The pallet forks attach on our front loaders and are useful for a multitude of tasks. Their first job pictured here was to stack the IBC containers neatly in the shed allowing us to reorganise and create more room for the new equipment.
We’ve got off to an early start with the topdressing this season which helps us out as opportunities may be limited in such a busy year.
These machines take a while to configure to get the best spread of material but we had a head start given that we already have one properly set up. A bit of a tweak to the paddles and it was spreading perfectly evenly.
We will have much more time to allow the sand to dry before brushing in with our homemade Brush/Sorrel roller combination.
The brushing works best for us when the sand is still quite damp. It works the sand into the sward more effectively than a dragmat allowing it to ameliorate more quickly. The dragmat tends to smear the sand over the surface when damp so we always brush first then finish off with the mat when dry.
The sorrel roller adds thousands of small holes across the surfaces which are around 10mm deep. They cause minimal disruption to play but allow air and moisture penetration into the surface.
Our course manager Chris has recently returned from a few days in Germany visiting one of the John Deere factories.
Although the majority of the equipment we use on the golf course is manufactured in the USA the principles and processes are the same at this agricultural tractor factory.
The factory visit was nothing short of staggering, a real insight into how these machines are put together. From start to finish it takes just 12 hours to build one and, if required, the factory workers can produce 240 in a single day which gives some idea of the demand for tractors worldwide.
The scale of the operation is hard to describe but you can see the attention to detail at every step.
In addition to seeing the machines being built there was also a visit to the European parts distribution centre. Here we were introduced to the procedures involved in guaranteeing that we the golf course receive any spare part we require by 9am the day after ordering. The centre is vast and stocks almost every conceivable part, the level of organisation is beyond belief but then it has to be with literally tens of thousands of different items stacked on shelves up to 17m tall.
There were also short seminars on John Deere as a company detailing how it began and how it grew into one of the largest brands in the world today.
We were also shown some of the new turf equipment both golf related and some for more commercial purposes.
The stars of the show though were the enormous agricultural machines.
Here Chris is standing next to a 900hp forage harvester which could make a useful rough mower in the future at Scotscraig. At a cost of around €640,000 however it might prove tricky to justify to Council…
A short video clip showing how the vertidrain helps us relieve soil compaction.