The tees were fed this morning with some of the fairway fertiliser left over from last season.
This fertiliser is a slow release product and will gradually feed the tees over the next few weeks as temperatures increase. The release of nutrients is controlled by temperature so we will avoid a flush of growth immediately after the application.
Spring is traditionally dry at Scotscraig and this presents us an ideal opportunity to apply topdressing.
Starting at 5am means the sand has a minimum of two hours to dry before we work it into the sward. If the sand is damp it tends to smear across the surface rather than ameliorate with the grass.
We set the machine to apply a full hopper to a green, this works out at a total of 10 tons per hectare.
By using the cruise control function on the new tractor and setting the engine revs we can apply a uniform and consistent amount of sand across the playing surface. The only variations the operator has to deal with are surface undulations and monitoring the spread for overlap.
Temperatures are finally on the increase and as a result growth is improving over the course.
We applied the spring starter fertiliser earlier in the week and it has now been broken down and uptake by the turf is underway.
The fertiliser was selected to address some of nutrient deficiencies highlighted by the soil sampling work. A balanced nutrient programme will enable us to continue promoting the fine grasses while making life more difficult for the coarse species through cultural and chemical controls.
There has been a dramatic increase in the population of Browntop Bent over the last year along with an encouraging increase in Fescue. As difficult a time as it was, last springs dry conditions have gone a long way to helping push out the Annual Meadowgrass.
Sward refinement on the playing surfaces will now start to increase in frequency with more grooming and brushing prior to mowing.
It is also now warm enough for the Fescue and dwarf Ryegrass seed to germinate and we should observe an increase in the sward density on surrounds over the coming weeks. Temperatures are still required to increase a few degrees for Bent seeding work on the greens.
We have recently completed the renovation work on the 12th and 15th tees along with the construction of a new medal tee at the 2nd.
We used a bought in turf for the surfaces rather than our own to get them in play sooner.
The turf is grown from exactly the same seed mix as we use to overseed with so it will be a perfect match to the other tees on the course.
Temperatures are on the up and the turf will start to root very quickly, all we have to do for the moment is keep the turf damp as it would shrink and create gaps if it dried out.
Once rooted firmly we can begin rolling and topdressing to even out the surface for play. The height of cut will gradually be taken down until it comes in-line with the other tees at 8mm for the season.
With growth starting to pick up as temperatures increase we have started our programme of sward refinement.
Limited to less aggressive treatment until growth is stronger we are using the brushes to lift growth prior to mowing.
This procedure is best carried out in dry conditions so it is currently reserved for quiet afternoons.
The course irrigation is up and running for the season without any issues.
The pumps were manually filled with water before starting them up to begin pressurising the course pipework.
The new control panel is quite simple to use having been properly set up last season during installation.
We have a few issues on the course which is to be expected for a system of this age but they are only minor and work is underway to eradicate any problems.
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.