Following our soil analysis in spring this season we have been able to tailor our nutrient needs more precisely.
These two charts are for one green (2nd hole) and we had 4 tested in total to give a better picture over the entire site. Armed with these figures we were able to decide on a feeding programme using both granular and foliar feeds.
Nutrients move through the plant in different ways which further complicates product selection.
For example, we are low in Calcium which is an essential part of cell wall structure. Calcium moves quickly upwards in the plant but very slowly downwards so there is little gain from a foliar application. Calcium needs to applied in a way that makes it present in the soil so we look for granular fertilisers containing Calcium.
The aim is to create and maintain a healthy, nutrient rich yet balanced rootzone. Over time this will help us reduce maintenance costs and provide strong, healthy turf with a vigourous root system.
The greens are heading into winter in very good health.
There is a good level of colour at the moment without it being artificially green in appearance. It should also be noted that the greens have received virtually no Nitrogen since late July. The use of Iron has also been limited with only a light foliar application in September, the first since January.
Our soil analysis in spring has enabled us to select and apply only the fertilisers which the turf required. We have been feeding with just enough to keep the turf healthy yet not actually force anything to grow.
The greens have been heavily overseeded this season and it has proven to be very successful. It is now getting a little on the cold side for decent germination so seeding is suspended until next season.
The dry spring actually worked in our favour in some respects. It made life very difficult for the shallow rooted Annual Meadowgrass and in several areas it weakened it so much that the finer grasses were able to get a foothold and start to out compete it.
We have just taken delivery of a few products to maintain the current level of turf health throughout winter and we hope to get off to a good start in spring for what will be a huge year at the Club.
The photos above show the difference in the tees over the last 18 months.
It is just possible to see the lines of new seedlings in the lower photo from the first introduction of dwarf Rye. The second photo shows how rapidly it has filled in any gaps in the sward over the space of a full growing season.
Increased feed as well as the use of wetting agents and regular aeration has also gone a long way to improving the surfaces.
The dwarf Rye has such good wear tolerance and rapid recovery that even with our small tees it should be possible to keep a good cover of grass year round.
With the turf quality improved we find ourselves in the position of being able to lift the turf, level the tees and relay the same turf over the next few years vastly reducing the cost of the tee renovations.
We’ve had a great strike from the autumn overseeding with every line in all 3 passes now showing new seedlings.
The seeding work has been timed perfectly and all of the new Fescue and Bent seedlings should be well established before any significant frost. This will get us off to a great start next season.
The first of the fairway bunkers has been renovated and topped up with sand.
All of the old revetting has been removed and the bunker base shaped to give steep sides. This will encourage balls to find the flat centre of the bunker allowing easier shots to be played out.
The bunkers will also have Marram grass and Heather planted in small areas to promote the Links/Heath look.
So far only the first bunker on the right of 9 has been done but to put things in perspective this took 1 man 90 minutes to complete as opposed to 2 men 2 days to revett the same bunker.
Work is underway to prepare the used parts of the turf nursery for seeding.
The areas where turf has been lifted in the past has largely been abandoned in recent years.
We have sprayed out all weed content and coarse grass species this season before rotavating to create a good soil to seed into.
The soil will be tracked in when dry and chain-harrowed to help level the surface as well as remove any loose stones/debris.
We will then triple pass with the seeder and sow Fairway seed before conditions become too cold.
All greens have now been topdressed to fill in depressions left at the points where the seeder lines intersect.
The sand will also act as a protective coating on top of the seedlings which will be starting to germinate in around a week.
Following the dressing the greens were rolled to help reinstate the surfaces.
Brushing will be undertaken if we get a dry spell to further work the sand into the sward.