Thursday, 12 November 2015

Well that's summer over with for another year!!

We have had a successful year with the course performing well in all areas, some better than other I must add but on the whole I am happy with what we produced.
The weather was a mixed bag but in terms of growing it was ok, sometimes too good and keeping on top of grass growth was a real headache at times. Grass growth on the greens still remained an issue, I will be tweaking the nutrient inputs again next season, the main aim is to slow the growth rate down enough so the greens stay a constant speed for as long as possible throughout the day.

NEATH GOLF CLUB
MONTHLY GOLF COURSE REPORT
SEPTEMBER 2015
GREENS
  • I am very pleased with the greens at present, the overall health and appearance is extremely pleasing for this time of year and we are going into winter with greens in stunning condition
  • Although there were no signs of disease a preventive fungicide has been applied, this is to ensure against any attack in the future, it’s inevitable we would get an attack so as last year proved prevention is much more effective than cure.
  • The dry spell has been welcome but with that we lost the temperatures so growth has slowed, In light of this I decided not to top dress as with the lack of growth it makes it very hard to brush the sand in completely, I am expecting another little flush of growth, if this happens I would like to squeeze 1 more dressing in.
  • HOC has been raised to 4.75mm on the greens mower
  • All greens have been hand weeded
  • Sprinkler heads have been trimmed
 
PLAN OF ACTION
  • Top dress if weather allows
  • Micro tine
  • Commence slit tining
  • Hand mow when growth slows (HOC 5mm)
TEES
  • Tees received a liquid feed with iron to harden for winter
  • They have been divoted and worn areas top dressed
PLAN OF ACTION 
  • Hollow core weaker tees and solid tine the rest
  • Apply granular fertilizer to weaker tees
  • Move to mats ready for weekend of 10/11 Oct
  • Re position 16th mat and install astro turf path
APRONS 
  • Aprons received a liquid feed with iron to harden for winter
  • Traffic management is now in place on most hole to direct golfers away from wear areas.
PLAN OF ACTION
  • Start solid tining ASAP
  • Verti cut LEVEL
  • Brush     
FAIRWAYS
  • All fairways and 1st cut have been sprayed with Porthcawl and ferrous sulphate to harden for winter, there will be some blackening by this especially wheel marks but this will soon fade.
PLAN OF ACTION 
  • Brush before mowing when required
  • Start solid tining ASAP
  • Raise HOC to 15mm
WINTER WORK
  • The 12th bunker re build has been complete, it will be kept out of play until the new year
  • Aeration work is needed so that is going to slow winter projects up for a while as the tractor is needed for this.
  • Mounds have been sprayed off ready for removal to use as banking around greens starting on 15
  • Work will start on the 3 new fairway bunkers on the 4th and re building the existing 1 (making smaller and lower front edge). I want to remove trees first to double check visibility from tee, this will be done when the leaves have dropped as it’s much easier and more importantly safer after this has happened
  • Continue with astro paths
  • As discussed before, it’s been agreed to thin the trees from the irrigation tank/pump house to the 14th green to allow much needed light and air flow across the green, I also think the trees on the mountainside on the right as you play 15 are getting far big and need thinning and trimming to bring the hole back to its original state.
 PREFERRED LIES 
  • Preferred lies will come into force ready for the weekend of 10th October. Along with this I feel it’s a good time to bring the in the request that members refrain from wearing Adizero golf shoes. This request was made last winter and was very well adhered to as the majority of members agreed the damaged caused was unacceptable. Below is the notice I published last year.
 
Adizero golf shoes
 
These golf shoes, especially the Adizero tour 2013 shoe are causing disruption to the playing surface of our greens.
 
The picture below is highlighting the significant damage these shoes are causing.
 
 

 
The issue is more problematic in the winter months (October to March) where the greens are softer and the green recovery rate (GRR) is reduced due to the grass growth slowing down.
 
So during this period where GRR is accentuated, could I kindly ask members who own a pair of these shoes to wear another brand of shoe that is more forgiving to the putting surface.
 
Many golf clubs have put a blanket ban on wearing Adizero in winter months; I am reluctant to do this as I feel it unfair but your cooperation on this matter would be greatly appreciated


NEATH GOLF CLUB


MONTHLY GOLF COURSE REPORT


OCTOBER 2015


GREENS


  • Hand mowing is now being carried out (5mm) weekly and currently we are rolling twice a week. The dew has been extremely heavy of late and rolling is a much more effective way of removing this unwanted moisture, it is more time consuming than using the dewy brush but we will reap the benefits in the long term. This time of year it is so important to remove dew as all pathogenic fungi can facilitate themselves very well in moist conditions. Anytime there’s free moisture on the leaves infections can take place as soon as there in an opportunity for that infection to get into the plant.
  • The picture below was taken 30 minutes after dewing had been carried out, the tiny droplets are dew reforming but the big droplets are a solution and not water. This is called guttation fluid formation. Notice I used the term ‘solution’ and not ‘water’ for guttation fluid and that’s because this guttation droplet is full of nutrients and sugars, whereas dew is just water.
 
 
 

Guttation fluid occurs when there is sudden increases in air temperature (coming into work last Sunday the temperature was 2 degrees at 05.15, the same time 24 hours later it was 16 degrees) , heavy dews and of course along heavy rain has increased the moisture content in the ground.

The disease population is growing at a very fast rate because of sudden increases in air temperature and long periods of leaf wetness that facilitate the formation and movement of fungal mycelium across the plant leaf.

So in summary disease pressure is very high at present.



  • Slitting has been carried out twice
  • Kerry has made a sarel roller; a new one to purchase is around £4,000. We reclaimed a scrap drum from Clyne GC FOC and Kerry made the frame that attaches it to our Cushman with off cuts off steel. Some new things had to be purchased but the cost was around £200 for an attachment that is going to have great benefit to the greens. Weekly slit tining and sarel rolling throughout the winter months is great aeration of the soil profile allowing it to breath, combined a cut or roll after I would challenge you to see we have even been there. The roller will also help in the summer months IF we have a prolonged dry spell, a light roll will open the surface allowing the penetration of water
Kerrys sarel roller in the development stage
 




 
  • The 2nd application of the disease management plan has been applied
  • The 14th has had 2 applications of the trial product Rocostem with 2 more scheduled
  • I had a few moans about the hole stabilisation rings being to high and affecting balls entering the hole. They were set at the correct depth but what was happening was the flags were rattling around in the wind causing the cup to rise up slightly. This is due to insufficient funds this year for the purchase of a new set of pins and cups so there is wear in the socket and ferrule which causes this to happen. We are now setting the cup deeper to counteract this.     
PLAN OF ACTION

  • Micro tine
  • Slit tine
  • Sarel roll
  • Roll  
  • Hand mow (HOC 5mm)


TEES

  • Tees 1,2,3 13,14,15,16,17 and 18 have been hollow cored
  • All other tees have been solid tined
  • All tees received a slow release granular fertiliser

PLAN OF ACTION

  • Possible mow (see fairways on soft growth)

 APRONS

  • All aprons have been solid tined
  • All aprons received a slow release granular fertiliser
  • Winter holes have been trimmed

PLAN OF ACTION

  • Continue with traffic management
  • Possible mow (see fairways on soft growth)


FAIRWAYS

  • I’m very pleased with the fairways; they had a cut on the 15th. The sward quality and composition along with uniform colour is exceptional.
  • They may need a tidy cut up before the season really ends but I am going to prolong this as long as possible as I want them with length going into winter. It’s a fine line in this unseasonable weather as the plant wants to grow, producing “soft” growth. This time of year you want the plant putting its energy into root production, sometimes it can be very beneficial to mow off the soft growth so the plant can revert its energy back to its roots  

PLAN OF ACTION

  • Mow if required
  • Start solid tining ASAP

 
WINTER WORK

  • New paths to mats 11 and 17 have been installed to combat wear.
  • 16th mat re positioned
  • Work on the 3rd path has started, this is progressing well and should be complete this week (6/11)
  • New mats on 2, 5,10,14,15 and 17.
  • It will be weather dependant where we go next, if its relatively settled work will start on the 15th run off, if not we will continue with paths.


The winter projects are now in full swing, we started by re siting the 16th winter tee, this was to move the wear area away from the 15th green as we intend to redevelop this area.
 
The 12th fairway bunker has been rebuilt
 

 


 
 
 


 
 


We have improved the access to the 11th, 15th and 16th winter tees, this is also to help wear as these areas were prone to getting very wet.
 
A path is to be installed on the 3rd carry as this also becomes very wet in winter. This path will be raised up to create a causeway with pipes allowing water to flow underneath. It is hoped by doing this we can prolong the use of buggy's.
 



I've stopped the astroturf there as I think to go any further up it will come into play an will be in the eye line from off tee. Turf will be laid with a grass mat placed on top so grass will grow though to strengthen allowing for the volume of traffic


Continue the Astroturf from the 7th tee to fairway.
Astroturf path from 10th tee to fairway.
Link up Astroturf from 17th green to ladies 18th tee.
This then only really leaves the 5th path to be done but the drainage needs to be corrected first. I'm in talks with the council regarding the road along the 4th with the view of running drains across into the farmers field. Until we rectify this we have no way of exiting the water off the course in this area.
The horseshoe mounds around the course are to be removed ( 11,14,15,16,17 and 18 ) the soil gained from these areas will be used to soften banks around greens creating runoff areas, this has been a big success on the 7th and 16th. We will be starting on the 15th green.
3 bunkers are to be installed to the left of the 4th fairway sited at 270, 280 and 290 yards off the tee. Some tree removal in needed as I'm against placing a hazard on a fairway that is not visible from the tee.
The original bunker on the 4th is going to have the face lowered and made smaller into a more circular shape.

The Laylandii next to the ladies 1st tee are to be removed, they are coming to the end of their lifespan, anytime we have strong winds part of these trees will come down so its inevitable they will be blown down in the near future which causes a big safety risk. The 2 smaller Laylandii opposite will also be removed. If we have time while the chipper is on site the remaining Laylandii to the rear of the 12th green going to the 9th fairway will also be removed exposing the pines
Trees around the 14th are to be removed (leaving the pines) for air flow and increased the light across green.

Now winter is upon us I shall endeavour to update this blog monthly.

Mark Tucker             
 
    

Monday, 18 May 2015

Greenkeeper news April

 
 
April was a dry month with little rainfall, we had more rain over the May bank holiday weekend than we did for the entire month of April!
 
Grass growth is still slow in picking up but hopefully its not far away.
 
Kerry has finished all winter servicing and all 1st choice mowers are now being used. I have a good relationship with the Course Manager at Royal Porthcawl and he is allowing us to use their grinders to sharpen the cutting units on our mowers.
When Kerry services our fleet of machinery they are all jet washed and any rust treated. This saves the club a colossal amount of money, where other golf clubs machines are looking tired and performing poorly after 5 years, ours are still going strong after 10. Obviously keeping a mower for this period of time puts strain on the engine but with regular servicing we keep them functional way past their intended lifespan.
 

 

 
The machine above is our deep rough mower and was purchased in May 2005, so is 10 years old. It has 2200 hours on the clock, that equated into mile's is 200000!! 
I think its a credit to Kerry and my team that the clubs investments are so well cared for. You may think its an obvious thing to do but I've been to golf clubs worldwide where this isn't the case.
 
You can also see from in the back ground of the picture a spare tyre rack, the biggest thing about breakdowns is minimising the down time of the machine. In the last few years I have been trying to gain an inventory of stock on the shelf so Kerry is able to repair machines in the shortest amount of time. There's a saying that's stuck with me in greenkeeping that is "if its not moving its not earning"
 
The herbicide applied to the heather regeneration areas has taken well, this will kill off the grass around the heather allowing it to flourish.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Weather recordings
Rainfall-16mm
Average low-6.75(c)
Average high-15.63(c)
  
 
 
 
 
NEATH GOLF CLUB
 
MONTHLY GOLF COURSE REPORT
 
APRIL 2014
 
 
GREENS
  • Growth still remains very sporadic with no real positive or consistent growth which is proving difficult to produce a true surface.
  • Historically the poa seed heads are flourishing at this time of year but because of the poor temperatures they are yet to get going. Unfortunately I predict they will come right on the bell, but with the intensive over seeding programme and maintenance practices in last two years the percentage of poa is being reduced.
  • With the recent wet weather I expect some disease activity, I will be keeping a close eye on the indicator greens but as they are healthy I’m confident if an outbreak occurs we can let it go without the need of a fungicide application
  • I will be introducing the PGR on the 8th May to help in keeping the seed heads tighter to the surface
  • Another 13 ton of dressing was applied on the 13th taking the yearly amount to 50 ton, the target remains at 130 ton.
  • Fortnightly applications has now started and the greens are responding very well to this.
  • Irrigation was required in the recent dry spell, this was kept to a minimum so not to reduce soil temperatures further.
  • All greens hand weeded    
 
PLAN OF ACTION
 
  • Fortnightly spoon feed with wetting agent(introduce PGR)
  • Verti cut -1mm
  • Micro tine
  • light top dressing
  • Hand weed
  • Hole change twice a week
 
TEES
  • Tees are in good shape and recovered very quickly after the dry spell
  • 15th back tee is improving and I’m confident full coverage will be achieved in the next few weeks.
  • All have been sprayed with-Porthcawl, premium N and Ferrosol with an herbicide to combat weed invasion.
  • All tee surrounds and signs have been weeded.
PLAN OF ACTION
  • Fill divots weekly
  • Introduce PGR when growth dictates
  • Verti cut
  • Brush
  • Spray total herbicide to blue slate.
 
APRONS
 
  • All have been sprayed with-Porthcawl, premium N and Ferrosol with an herbicide to combat weed invasion.
  • Reshaping has taken place around some bunkers to reduce fly mowing and create more run off areas into bunkers 
 
PLAN OF ACTION
 
  • Introduce PGR when growth dictates
  • Verti cut
  • Brush
FAIRWAYS
 
  • All have been sprayed with-Porthcawl, premium N and Ferrosol with an herbicide to combat weed invasion.
  • Leatherjacket activity was noted on the 7th, 12th and 13. The stress on the turf was easy to mistake for drought stress but crows pecking was a clear indication that the pests were present, an inspection of the sward confirmed this and an application of Chlorpyrifos has been applied.
PLAN OF ACTION
 
  • Introduce PGR when growth dictates
  • Brush before mowing when required
 
BUNKERS
 
  • All bunker surrounds have been sprayed with Porthcawl, Ferrosol, herbicide and a PGR. It is hoped that by spraying the PGR mowing will be reduced freeing up valuable labour
  • The 12th fairway bunker has been taken out of play until a complete rebuild can take place.
 
PLAN OF ACTION
 
  • Rake often as possible
  • Keep an even distribution of sand
  • Stone pick weekly
 
ROUGH AND OUT OF PLAY AREAS
 
  • Definition is good between the roughs
  • 1st cut on the 18th has been extended on the left by the Richards old teaching area to speed up play. This is a notorious spot for losing balls and can be quite dangerous as the area is blind off the 18th tee
  • 1st cut sprayed with-Porthcawl, premium N and Ferrosol with an herbicide to combat weed invasion.
  • The herbicide on the heather regeneration areas has taken well and the grass is dying back, all areas will be sprayed again when weather conditions are suitable to stem the regrowth of trees and gorse.
  • All ditches and tree bases will be sprayed with a total herbicide to kill off grass. This will speed up rough mowing and define ditches.
       
  • Practice bunker tidied with fresh sand


FAQs - Spraying Terminology

PGR

 

PGR's or Plant Growth Regulators are used on many turf areas of the golf course. The primary reason for using PGR's is to regulate the vertical growth of the turf. Besides the benefits of having the turf grow slower the PGR's allow the turf grow more horizontally with increased rhizome's and stolons creating a more dense playing surface on greens. Some of the other benefits of applying PGR's;

- A more vigorous turf plant

- Suppresses undesirable grasses so a more desirable grass has a competitive edge

-Turf recovers from stress more quickly

- Reduced seed head production of Poa annua

- Reduced labour costs because of less mowing

- Faster and smoother greens

- Reduced usage of water and fertilizer

- Tighter and denser greens

FUNCICIDE

A chemical applied to turf to control disease

HERBICIDE

A chemical applied to turf to control weeds

INSECTICIDE

A chemical applied to turf to control pests i.e. worms/leatherjackets etc.

PORTHCAWL

A formulation of organic liquid, iron and seaweed

FARMSEA 10

A formulation of organic liquid and seaweed

FERROSOL

Liquid iron

PREMIUM N

Nitrogen


Just a quick reminder of golf etiquette, please repair pitchmarks and replace divots also use the divot boards and boxes provided.
Bunkers are not being raked, if you go in a bunker leave it as you would expect to find it.




My team and I would like to thank members for their continued support and positive comments.

Happy golfing

Mark Tucker
Head Greenkeeper










 



 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Friday, 17 April 2015

Greenkeeper news (March)

Firstly apologies for the incorrect header on the blog, its been locked and I cannot change it!!

Spring maintenance was carried out W/C Sunday 15th March, the weather really helped us to get this time consuming procedure complete in just 3 days with very little disruption to play.
I was asked the question many times why I solid tined and then hollow cored the day after. The two procedures carry different benefits with solid tining going much deeper targeting compaction and aiding root development, hollow coring removes organic matter accumulation (thatch). Both these operations were required in the spring renovations so the thought process was why solid tine, let the greens recover then hollow core and then more recovery time. That procedure would have meant disruption to play for around 4 weeks. With the greens coming out of winter so healthy they could take the stress of tining on consecutive days meaning the recovery time was 7 days.

DAY 1 
Solid tine. 12mm tines, depth 200mm  
 
 
 
 
 
 
DAY 2
Hollow core. 7mm tine, depth 100mm
 
DAY 3
27 ton of sand dressing applied to 20 greens
 
DAY 3
Brushing in the sand
 
DAY 3
Tine holes filled to the surface
 
DAY 4
Fertiliser applied
 
DAY 7
 
Recovery was very pleasing as soil temperatures are around 3 weeks behind on last year and we are still experiencing cool night time temps
 
This illustration shows the peaks and troughs in temperatures
 
Weather recordings
Rainfall-100mm
Average low-3.5(c)
Average high-11.5(c)
 
 
NEATH GOLF CLUB
 
MONTHLY GOLF COURSE REPORT
 
MARCH 2014
 
 
GREENS
 
  • Greens renovations went very well, the weather gods were on our side for a change. Procedure was as reported last month with 27 ton of top dressing applied.
  • As weather conditions were perfect for a good uptake on a foliar feed they were sprayed to speed up recovery, this worked well with the greens healing up and back to pretty much normal speed and roll quality within 7 days.
  • Although the soil temperatures have picked up slightly they are still way down on last year. This time of year in my opinion is the worst to try a provide a surface, when soil temperatures are slow to kick off, the different species of grass in the greens grow at different speeds which make the greens prone to bobbling and snaking, this is combated by regular brushing before mowing but until soil temps pick up and the other grasses catch up it will always be an issue this time of year.
  •  If you've played golf in the last month, I'm sure you've noticed the purple blotches all over the greens. Whenever strange patterns and patches occur on a green, disease is the first suspect to blame. In this instance, the mottled appearance is just part of the spring season and will fade back to green when temperatures begin to climb.
    The poa/fescue on our greens and like many older varieties, turns purple quite easily, just like the leaves of trees changes colour when mild days are mixed with cold nights. Basically, the sugar produced during photosynthesis is trapped in the leaf and expresses itself with a different colour. As temperatures rise, the sugars can be moved more effectively into the roots and the chlorophyll can make the plant green around the clock.
 
PLAN OF ACTION
 
  • Fortnightly spoon feed with wetting agent(introduce PGR when growth dictates)
  • Medium/light top dressing
  • Hand weed
  • Hole change twice a week
TEES
 
  • The germination sheet on the weaker areas has worked well, the 15th is still struggling. Soon as we get grass seed to germinate the rabbits come and dig it up!! The area to the back of the 15th tee has been cleared of all the spoils dumped there over the years this was to tidy up the area but also to take away the safe haven that the rabbits were using, I have also asked the rabbit shooters to concentrate in this part of the course.
  • All tees received a slow release fertiliser to ease them into spring
  • White tees will go out in time for the medal on the 12th April
  • I’m going to introduce where possible on larger tees a more systematic approach to moving tees, we will use 1 side of the tee, front middle and back to give the other side a rest and alternate between the 2 giving as much recovery time as possible
 
PLAN OF ACTION
  • Fill divots weekly
  • Introduce PGR when growth dictates

 
APRONS
 
  • It’s pleasing to report the aprons responded well to the more intensive renovations, all were aggressively brushed to remove moss and double cut.
  • A slow release fertiliser applied.
 
PLAN OF ACTION
 
  • Monthly application of liquid feed
  • Introduce PGR when growth dictates
 
FAIRWAYS
 
  • All fairways have been brushed and cut to tidy them up, the clip rate was low but a cut was required as the rye grass will soon kick off and its important  not allow this to flourish because the cylinder mowers cannot cope with the course rye grass. If it get too established you will end up with lots of stalks on the fairways looking unsightly and effecting playability
PLAN OF ACTION
 
  • Spray liquid feed (3 weeks before the bell)
  • Introduce PGR when growth dictates
  • Brush before mowing when required
 
 BUNKERS
 
  • Bunker renovation is complete, they are as tidy as they can look without a rebuild (planned for winters 16/17). Sand levels are good and a more methodical approach to raking should keep the rock areas covered and out of play
 
 PLAN OF ACTION
 
  • Rake often as possible
  • Introduce PGR when growth dictates
  • Keep an even distribution of sand
  • Stone pick weekly
 
WINTER PROJECTS
 
  • All planed winter work has been completed on schedule. With the slow uptake in growth a couple smaller jobs were carried out. This included the installation of an AstroTurf path leading off the ladies 15th tee and the thinning of the copse of trees to the right of the 3rd, all non-native trees were removed and the lower branches of the pines trimmed. This has improved the aesthetics of the hole but also improved visibility so the 7th green can be seen and the 3rd fairway bunker is no longer hidden
Heather planting on the second has been carried out to improve the aesthetics of the hole, all heather plants and materials were purchased with donations from; Mr Huw Morgan, Mr Rhidan Lewis, Mr Gareth Powell, Mr Robert Arbourne and Mr Captain.
 
  300 heather plants
Area to be planted
Weed sheet
Planting on bank
Planting on carry

 

FAQs - Greens

Q. How often are the greens cut and at what height and why do we cut the greens by hand sometimes and not others?

A. In the main growing season from mid May until the end of September they are cut every day unless weather conditions dictate otherwise. For the rest of the year, as necessary. In summertime the height of cut will go down to 4 millimetres rising to 5 millimetres during the winter.

During the winter and early spring the greens are cut by hand to save the big machines driving around the green surrounds and to keep the weight off the surfaces. Aesthetically they may look better but the quality of cut is identical. The hand machines have the same cutters as the large machines.

It takes three members of staff with hand mowers two and a half hours to cut 20 greens. With the ride-on mowers it takes one member of staff  three hours to cut all the greens, and move all the tee markers. The ride on machines work faster than golfers can play so can easily stay ahead of early-morning play as well as with multi-start points.

Q: Why is it that when the greens start to grow, for a time, they become very uneven and bumpy?

A: This is because there is more than one species of grass within them; different species grow at different rates. Some start growing at slightly lower temperatures than others. Some species have deeper roots than others, so they are in soil that has not warmed yet and therefore do not start to grow until warmth gets down to that depth.

The greens are predominately a mixture of agrostis, fescue and poa. Poa being the weed species that no one wants but a lot of courses end up with! This is the species that produces all the little seed heads in the spring which also causes unevenness.

Q: Why is it that after the winter the course takes so long for the greens to fill and the grass to grow whereas other courses seem to come on much quicker?

A: For grass to grow actively there are a number of requirements. Moisture, daylight, nutrients and temperature. Without all four, grass will not respond. Adding more of any one of the elements without all four being present will make no difference. By mid-March there is enough daylight. Nutrient and moisture could be applied but for one factor, the soil temperature is too low. It does not matter how warm the air is during the day. What counts is the temperature of the medium in which the roots of the plant sit.

A warm afternoon is easily outweighed by an overnight frost. Ten degrees Celsius is normally seen as the minimum for a few days to start growth. But we now have a further problem in the fact that the wetter the soil, the slower it is to warm up. This is one of the reasons that irrigation is never used until the soil warms up as it would work against us. All courses are on different types of soil. A sandy soil warms up much faster than a clay soil, because it contains less moisture, the height of the course is also a big factor. Conversely, when the greens on other courses are past their best, our greens can still be putting beautifully late into the autumn.

Q: Why is it not possible to lower the height of cut on the greens to increase the speed?

A: It is, but it doesn't last very long. Too much leaf is removed and the plant can no longer produce enough food to live. Mowing at a height of 3mm for any length of time measured in days rather than weeks creates excessive stress and the grass dies. Thus the age-old term the quick and the dead. The recognised way to increase green speed is to increase the height of cut to encourage the finer species of grasses and to regularly roll the greens. This comes at a cost in terms of equipment and particularly labour.

Q: Why is it some greens are wetter than others?

A: As with most things there are a number of reasons for this, soil type, topography, shade and foot traffic. The greens on our course are what is known as push-up greens. This means they were made by pushing up together whatever soil was on the site of the green. Thus the soil type will vary from green to green with a differing infiltration rate. There is no topsoil as such, just a sandy/silty subsoil with about 25mm of accumulated top dressing on top.. Any drainage is only as fast as the water can penetrate the underlying soil.

You could put as many pipes as you like underneath but it would still drain at the same rate. A modern green would be constructed using a purpose-made rootzone designed to drain easily. Where there is heavy cover from trees, sunlight is prevented from getting to the green surface and also impedes air movement. Where a green has bumps and hollows this again allows a build-up of standing water. Foot traffic in the walk-off areas causes compaction when wet which leads to surface puddling.

Q. At certain times of the year, particularly in the spring, the holes become crowned. What causes this?

A. Frankly, it is your feet! When the ground is soft which it is in the spring with virtually no growth and having had the winter rain and frost to contend with. The most used area of the green is obviously the hole with all feet headed in that direction. The bit that makes it worse is the leading foot 6 inches from the hole with all your body weight resting on it, pushing the surface down, as you retrieve your ball, causing the last 6 inches to be higher than the piece your foot is on.


That's it for this month, lets hope this good weather continues.

Mark Tucker
Head Greenkeeper