This month we have pretty much seen it all in terms of conditions. We started the season off well with a bit of rain, slowly rising temperatures & plenty of sunshine. Good ground conditions and improving surface conditions – smiles all round. Great, a month of that would have seen us well on our way. 3 weeks later we have gone from sub zero temperatures to mid 20s in the space of 4 days followed by a 26 day drought. In desperate need of rain we breathed a sigh of relief with a little rain falling and more on the radar. 24 Hours later storm Hannah had delivered 32mm of rain and gale force winds causing havoc and flooding across the course.
The conditions looking ahead to the coming weeks look a little better, with pockets of rain broken up by days of warming sunshine (hopefully). This mixed bag is just what the course needs to allow for the growth to really kick in and get us to where we need to be. Although everything is growing it isn’t consistent, strong growth. The greens at present are producing around 3-5 boxes of clippings daily. This is 3-5 boxes for all 19 greens. When they start to really push on during the Spring rush, which hasn’t hit yet, we can take 3+ boxes of every green daily. It is then that we can fine tweak dressings and reduce heights of cut to produce real quality summer greens. We have once again micro-tined the greens, followed by a strong granular fertiliser. You may notice some footprints and still see the granules for a few days as the fertiliser breaks down. This is normal and will disappear quite quickly.
Throughout the rest of the course we continue to see most areas well presented for the time of year. As all areas grow more consistently in the coming weeks, the frequency of cut will increase which in turn will further improve appearance and playability.
We have been able to finally deliver the first 20 tons of new bunker sand out on the course along with the new rakes. Going forward we will continue this process in order to bring a level of consistency to the bunker sand. The bunkers which have had sand so far were seen as the most needed, therefore quite large quantities were required. Although this sand is too soft/fluffy at the moment it will settle with weathering and foot traffic and become a lot more desirable from a playing perspective.
100 yard markers have been placed in the fairways recently to aid those who play without digital assistance or those unfamiliar with the course. As with the 150 markers, this measurement is to the centre of the green. The new tee blocks are out and will be followed next week by the new flags, pins and cups. As with last year, the 3 coloured system will be used, red front, yellow middle and white at the back. As I have mentioned in the past, this system is a guide and the colour of flag will be a judgement call made by the greenkeeper at the time of changing holes. For those who may want to dispute a controversial flag colour, I’m sure it will make an excellent conversion topic in the soon to be newly refurbished members bar.
And finally, some news of our ongoing conservation project. David Tolliday and his colleagues have now put up 50 bird boxes around the course. These boxes have already seen success, below an image can be seen of the contents of one of the first to be put up, now playing host to some small eggs, from probably Blue Tit, possibly Great Tit. I’m informed that the number of eggs will probably increase to as many as 7-10. David’s impressive bird list from this Spring can also be seen. David identifies these birds through calls and song and assures me he is impressively accurate. David we will take your word for it.
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