As I write this report at the end of August there is currently 4mm in the rain gauge and the temperatures have fluctuated between 17 – 25 degrees. This has been very much the theme of the month and, to a greater extent, the year so far. 117mm of rainfall has been recorded this month alone, bringing the recorded total to 372.5mm this year. The wet weather and mild temperatures have provided excellent growing conditions, but have caused disruption and inconsistency to bunker maintenance, and needless to say the now fully functioning irrigation system has had to work sparingly as of late.
A fairly extensive programme of works has been carried out to the greens surfaces this month, starting with the regular use of the sarel roller at the beginning of the month as a form of light aeration, and to aid with the excessive rainfall during this period. Followed up with a nutrient and soil surfactant applications to promote turf health and to assist recovery following scarification, solid tining, and applications of top dressing as part of the scheduled maintenance programme. The processes were completed efficiently despite disruption due to weather, and we are very pleased with the rate of recovery and the overall performance of the surfaces following maintenance. This has been aided with the increased use of the turf iron recently.
The approaches are in reasonable condition on the whole and have benefitted from the increased moisture levels and general conditions this year. Grass coverage is at a good level, but I am wary of the organic matter, and thatch levels and will be looking towards maintenance procedures long term that mirror our greens practices. The increased rainfall this month has also caused a slight leaching of nutrient on many surfaces and the approaches will benefit from some additional nutrition in the near future.
The tee surfaces are showing evidence of wear and tear largely due to the level of use, and the limitations of tee positioning we are able to utilise. In general, the plant health is good and we have achieved good recovery following the stressed condition they began the season in. We plan to increase maintenance operations in the coming weeks including terra -raking, applications of nutrition, top dressing, and overseeding.
As with most of the surfaces, the conditions have led to sustained rates of growth that are not typical for the time of year and have resulted in increased mowing frequency and dedication to time, energy and resources maintaining sprinkler heads and yardage markers.
Bunker maintenance will continue to be one of the priority areas of attention on the course, particularly given the potential issues and inconsistencies that arise due to their construction and environmental factors. This has been a particularly challenging month trying to achieve consistent sand levels, general presentation, and playability owing to the excessive levels of rainfall and increased growth rates that we have experienced. Sand levels are being monitored and addressed as frequently as possible, and an increase in bunker edging, weeding and stone reduction will improve presentation and playability going forward.
The rough again is an area that has seen sustained and excessive growth in areas and has required higher levels of maintenance than usual. This has been compounded by an ongoing electrical fault on the rough mower that has taken it out of action periodically while we attempt to resolve the issue. The areas of unmanaged rough have established well this year, and arrangements have been made to hire the necessary equipment to cut and collect the grass in early October so that we can re-establish these areas next season and improve upon the wispy characteristics that we aim to achieve.
We have a busy schedule coming up where we be looking to maximise the current growing conditions and schedule some renovation maintenance on the tees surfaces as previously explained. In addition, we will be focusing heavily on bunker maintenance, and preparations for the upcoming sand filling maintenance scheduled for the greens in September. More information will be circulated next week.
Please enjoy your golf