Friday, 26 August 2016


NEATH GOLF CLUB
MONTHLY GOLF COURSE REPORT
JULY 2016
 
GREENS
  • The greens have had a tough month, the weather could not have been much worse. As its been reported many times the greens become very vulnerable in the climate we experienced, foggy, damp and dull days combined with very humid air temperatures make the perfect combination for disease to strike. We suffered a small outbreak at the beginning of July, the greens were strong enough to fend the attack off other than the 5th and 17th (These two greens have been treated with a fungicide). Sunlight and UV are a great cure for fusarium but with the tree coverage around these 2 greens not enough sun was penetrating, although it pleasing to report the 14th stayed clean. When we had the 5 days of blanket fog it’s not surprising it flared up again and being so close to the club championship I decided to blanket spray all greens with a preventive and curative fungicide.
  • The recent weather has been a carbon copy of 2014 and in this year we had a bad outbreak of anthracnose in the middle of August so I’m expecting the same. Unfortunately, when you see the disease it too late to spray and we do not have the funds to apply a preventive fungicide (£1000). It tends to attack greens that are lean i.e. low on nitrogen so a granular fertiliser is to be applied to pick N levels up.
  • The weather leading up to the club champs was difficult but with lots of extra hours from the boys and I, we managed produce excellent surfaces for the day that was enjoyed by all
  • Maintenance week has been hampered by the weather, full report next month   
PLAN OF ACTION
  • Maintenance week
  • Granular feed
  • Apply liquid turf conditioners and wetting agent
  • Hand weed
TEES
  • The bare areas on the 15th and 16th tees have been seeded and top dressed, the germination has been excellent and we now have full coverage 
PLAN OF ACTION
  • Apply liquid feed, seaweed and iron
  • Move tees daily
  • Divot weekly
APRONS
  • Growth is consistent and all have full coverage 
PLAN OF ACTION
  • Continue with traffic management in vulnerable areas
  • Verti cut
 
FAIRWAYS
 
  • The PGR that was applied is wearing off  and growth is strong again, it needs to be applied every 3 weeks to keep growth to a manageable rate but we do not have the funds or resources to do this
PLAN OF ACTION
  • Mow and brush when required.
WINTER PROJECTS
  • We have sourced some astro turf from Banwen RFC; there are around 60 rolls available. I have agreed with them that as payment they can bring up to 20 golfers for a team bonding outing, this will be on a Saturday afternoon and they intend to use the bar afterwards.
  • It’s been rolled up for a year and some seem to be quite brittle so before I instruct delivery I shall go up and un-roll 1 to check it’s just the flap that’s been in the sun that is affected.
  • The chair of Banwen needs to take our offer to committee but he cannot see a problem so the only physical cost to the club will be the transport.
 
 
 
NEATH GOLF CLUB
 
MONTHLY GOLF COURSE REPORT
JUNE 2016
GREENS
  • Greens are performing extremely well. The new nutrient input I have implemented this season is making a huge difference; the N input is down by 20% compared to this time last year. Grass growth is under control and the clip rate has dramatically reduced. By reducing the clip rate, the greens perform better for longer during the day. If this trend continues I will soon be able to skip a cut for roll, this will obviously help with the trueness and smoothness but more importantly reduce the stress levels placed on the grass plant.
  •  In the planned maintenance week starting on the 1st of August I’ve decided not to hollow core again, there’s no benefit ripping cores out when it’s not needed. I will be focusing on deep aeration and thatch removal. The deep aeration will be carried out using the air2g2 machine. The machine will be delivered onsite Sunday 31st July so it is likely I shall start in the evening behind the last group in the club champs. It is a very slow process with an average size green taking approx. an hour. I will be doing the historically wetter greens twice.
  • For the thatch removal I will be light verti cutting the greens on the 18th   of July and applying a product called T-Thatch, a decomposing enzyme solution that cleans up thatch and invigorates the grass sward without disruption or loss of playing surface. It’s applied two weeks before the main maintenance so the thatch is already breaking down making it easier to remove. On the 1st of August, greens will be double verti cut at +3mm, brushed and cut. This will also help to “fine down” the courser grasses
  • Sarrel roll
  • Granular fertiliser applied to aid recovery
  • Top dressing to be applied, this will be as heavy as conditions allow.
  • If time allows tees and approaches will be verti cut, brushed and cut, fairways brushed and cut.
  • Over seeding will be carried out twice in September along with a micro hollow core if needed and top dressing
 
PLAN OF ACTION
  • Maintenance week
  • Apply liquid turf conditioners and wetting agent
  • Hand weed
TEES
  • Tees coverage is excellent, the 15th and 16th struggled in the recent dry spell but are recovering slowly
  • All have been sprayed with a PGR, liquid feed and iron
PLAN OF ACTION
 
  • Apply liquid feed, seaweed and iron
  • Move tees daily
  • Divot weekly
APRONS
  • I am very pleased with the approaches.
  • All have been sprayed with a PGR, liquid feed and iron
 
PLAN OF ACTION
 
  • Continue with traffic management in vulnerable areas
  • Verti cut
FAIRWAYS
 
  • Fairways are exceptional and with the resources available we can’t get them much better than they currently are.
  • All have been sprayed with a PGR, liquid feed and iron
PLAN OF ACTION
 
  • Mow and brush when required.
 
 
ROUGH
  • Lots of time has been spent on the 1st cut and the results are superb.
  • I was not happy with the quality or appearance so I lowered the HOC on the new rough mower to 25mm, being a rotary mower it is able to cut the coarser grass the cylinder can’t, now we have a uniform 1st cut that looks and performs outstanding.
  • The 1st cut has been sprayed a PGR, liquid feed and iron.
  • Now the grass is at a uniform 25mm the 1st cut mower can keep it that way but if we miss a cut through weather etc then I will have no hesitation in doing it again with the new John Deere
  • The 2nd cut rough is being cut at least once a week at 65mm. 10mm shorter than last year.
 
 
 
    NEATH GOLF CLUB
     
    MONTHLY GOLF COURSE REPORT
     
    MAY 2016
     
    GREENS
     
    • Bell preparations went well and the course was in great condition. Members and guests were all full of praise, which is always good for the boys and I to hear.
    • The weather leading up to the bell was changeable to say the least. Monday and Tuesday was very humid with torrential rain, this triggered off the fusarium. It was not a particularly severe outbreak but frustrating none the less. Its pleasing to report that no fungicide has been applied, the strength of the greens combined with drier and more importantly sunny (the disease cannot tolerate UV light) weather was enough to fend it off
    • We suffered a relatively severe hydraulic oil leak on the 13th green. This was on the old Ransomes GT, this machine has suffered two leaks the last twice it gone out so because of that I will not be using it again, we have two of these and a scrap one for spares, when Kerry has chance he is going to clean them up to put on eBay.
    • The old Cushman has been out of action for 3 weeks, as reported many times this machine is very old and new parts are no longer available, I am using all my contacts to attempt to find a scrap one we can pinch parts from.
    • All greens solid tined
    • 12 ton of topdressing applied
    • Liquid feed, seaweed and wetting agent applied
     
    PLAN OF ACTION
     
    • Brush
    • Apply liquid turf conditioners and wetting agent
    • Hand weed
    • Top dress
 
    TEES
     
    • Tees coverage is excellent, a close eye will be kept if this dry weather continues for drought stress
     
    PLAN OF ACTION
     
    • Apply liquid feed, seaweed and iron
    • Hand water if needed
    • Move tees daily
    • Divot weekly
     
     
    APRONS
     
    • I am very pleased with the approaches after the deep verti cut and brush.
    • Brushing has continued weekly around the green to further fine down the course grasses.
    • All received a selective herbicide, iron and turf conditioners
    • The back of 15 is now being cut at 1st cut height is will stay this way until rain is forecast
     
    PLAN OF ACTION
     
    • Continue with traffic management in vulnerable areas
    • Verti cut
    • Apply liquid feed, seaweed and iron
     
     
    FAIRWAYS
     
     
     
    • Fairways are looking and performing very well. The divot night was well attended and a good job was carried out, thank you to all that attended
     
     
PLAN OF ACTION
  • Mow and brush when required
    • Plan another divot night
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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