Work is currently underway to aerate and seed the greens while we have favourable conditions.
Using 10mm solid tines on both the Aercore and the Dyna-corer units we are creating small pots into which seed can be sown.
The seed is a mixture of Fescue and Bent and is applied through the fertiliser barrow at a rate of 14.5g Fescue and 3.6g Bent per square metre.
The seed is then pulled into the holes using the metal dragmat which is the most effective method by quite a margin.
Over the course of completing the work we will be creating around 25-30 million holes in the greens and filling each with seed.
The greens are then cut and rolled behind to reinstate the playing surface and once all the greens have been seeded we will be applying a heavy topdressing and brushing.
The 17th green was seeded around 2 weeks ago to test out our method for the work and the results have been excellent with a huge amount of seed germinating.
Last week saw 2 of our greenstaff, Connel and Chris, volunteering at the Ricoh British Ladies Open at Kingsbarns golf links.
In at 4am each morning we began handmowing greens at 4.30, well before sunrise.
Each time a green was mown the speed was measured by the STRI using the stimpmeter and then the R&A would decide if it should be mown again to increase the speed.
It was not uncommon for some greens to require double or even triple mowing but the result was some of the most consistent greens speeds course wide ever recorded in this country.
The surfaces over the entire course were prepared to the highest standard and it took a team of around 40 with an even higher number of machines to achieve it.
Over the course of 7 mornings we walked a total distance of around 80km/50miles.
Tournaments are always a great place to meet old friends and make new ones. It was a long and tiring week but hugely enjoyable and a great opportunity for us to share views and ideas with others in the industry.
We are fortunate to have a good working relationship with Kingsbarns and be able to borrow equipment occasionally so this was an ideal opportunity to give a little back.
Another spell of dry weather with relatively high winds has led to surfaces rapidly drying out. This has highlighted a couple of irrigation faults.
Using the Pogo over all the greens has given us the data required to target just the hotspots with hoses and therefore use our time and our water more efficiently.
The data for the 2nd green is shown above. These are two datasets taken on the same day. The first is in the morning and shows the driest parts of the green with their relative moisture contents. The second shows the green following manual watering to correct the deficit.
The above picture shows the datasets for the 18th green. This time the Pogo has highlighted an alarmingly low moisture level which in turn led us to discover that the front two sprinklers are not performing. The second picture again shows the improvement in moisture content following manual watering although still a little dry at the rear of the green.
With a bit of trial and error we will find out exactly how much water we need to apply to get the rootzone into the target range of around 18% moisture.
We will soon be mapping out all the greenside sprinkler heads with the gps function then applying their performance figures to give a visual representation of irrigation coverage at each green. Following on from this we can eradicate overlaps and/or missed areas by changing arcs and nozzle sizes to give the most uniform application possible.
Monday saw the greenstaff having a playing visit at Trump International Golf Links north of Aberdeen.
The spectacular Dr Martin Hawtree design laid out among the natural sand dunes is breathtaking and a serious golfing challenge.
The playing surfaces are fantastic with fine grasses in abundance. With firm fairways leading to smooth and undulating greens the course was a great experience.
The visit was also an opportunity for our greenstaff to see what is achievable in our industry and it has given them something to aim for.
We must of course remember that there are a few significant differences, the main ones being the course budget of a top tier golfing facility, the staff numbers and the volume of golf traffic.
For example, in the summer months Stevie the Course Superintendent has at his disposal around 3 times the number of staff we have. Couple that with the course experiencing roughly one third of the golf that we have at Scotscraig it's easy to see what sets us apart!
Work is underway to thin out the more productive areas of native rough.
We are fortunate that most areas already have an abundance of good grass species’ present. Through regular maintenance of this sort we can ensure their presence and eventually have wispy roughs which are both playable and attractive.
We are cutting and collecting all of the top vegetation before removing it to the compost heap. This will take nutrient away before it can make its way back into the soil and stimulate further growth.
Some of these areas are also being set aside for wildflower cultivation in order to attract more species’ to the course. The cutting and collecting of rough is part of the first stage in preparing the ground for the wildflowers.
Greens are being slit today after a busy few weeks of golf.
A higher than average volume of traffic coupled with extra handmowing and rolling has meant the surfaces could have sealed off.
The slitter is by far our quickest and most efficient way of relieving compaction and introducing air back into the rootzone.
We are double rolling after the slitter to reinstate the playing surface and disruption is virtually nil.
The roller itself has the added bonus of a smaller scale slitter and this is being used to further introduce surface perforations although to a lesser degree, 1/2″ as opposed to the 5″ depth gained by the larger machine.
Installation of the 150yd markers on fairways is being completed today.
We have repurposed the old stones which used to house the yardage plates on tees, another cost saving for the club.
The markers are positioned 150yds from the CENTRES of the greens.