Pedestrian mowers

We now have brushes fitted to the front of the pedestrian mowers to stand the grass up prior to mowing.

The brushes help to control any lateral growth by lifting it immediately ahead of the cutting unit.

These bristles are quite aggressive so use will be limited to once or twice per week and ideally we will follow behind with a light sand dressing.

Our aim this season is to use the pedestrian mowers as much as possible. We have developed sectional routes around the course allowing us to complete work well in advance of the first tee time.

One of the routes is shown here along with some statistics.

We’ll aim to handmow 4 times through the week leaving one rest day where we will just roll.

We will still be mowing by triplex at weekends as there are too few members of staff to cover pedestrian mowing and the other tasks on those days.

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Winter tree work

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.

The big thaw

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.

Vandalism on greens

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.

Further aeration on 4th green

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.

Winter work continues

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.