Since my last report I am very happy to say that all the leaves have fallen and the majority have been picked up and cleared away. We have currently started raising the canopy around the course, this will take quite a bit of time but we aim to get round as much of the course as possible this winter. The reason we are doing this is to improve the playability and allow better access for our mowers to cut in around the trees.
At the end of December we spiked the 2nd and 3rd Greens with 20mm wide tines to a depth of 4inches. We then brushed in by hand a porous ceramic soil amendment which reduces compaction and improves soil aeration and drainage. It does this by adding water, nutrient and air holding capacity to the soil structure. We have seen very encouraging results due to its water retention capabilities, the idea being that it draws water away from the soil in to each particle which has made the greens firmer and also reducing the time taken for the standing water to percolate through the playing surface especially after heavy rainfall. There is still more work to be done but I’m happy with how they have performed and confident they should see us through this winter.
Once we had finished the above work we then went on to spike all of the greens with 20mm tines at the closest possible patterns, this was done to allow for a maximum amount of holes per green, and sprayed a mix of bio stimulants and a couple other products to help with the reduction of black layer we had which was slowing the root growth down and will also affect the drainage of the greens. After taking soil samples of each green before and after, the results have been very positive. Root density has increased and the black layer has been significantly reduced to a point where we should see little too no affect. We have this planned to do again in the coming weeks which will hopefully see us take control of the situation and really encourage the roots going in to spring.
Over the last few weeks we have built some new areas for the tee mats. We started on the ladies 13th as the tee can get very wet. We built it in front of the ladies tee next to the path for better access. The 15th was done due to the sitting water left on the previous mat after rain, this one is also next to the path for easy access and it will allow us to make the tee on the 15th bigger by removing the hard core left by the previous mat, turf and top dressed in early spring. The next mat to do is on the 14th we will build this to the same spec as the previous mats which will mean that it is raised and no longer suffer from the wash from the path.
I’d like to touch on Trolleys and wear areas. Rainfall has put a few areas under stress from foot traffic so I would like to mention that although there are areas already roped we cannot rope off every single area so please give some thought to where you are walking. In-between bunkers and right next to greens are sustaining some light damage from trolleys so I would respectfully ask that these areas are avoided, all paths are used where applicable and to take a reasonable width around the green when playing and when walking to the next tee. To help with this we have recently sprayed some white lines in front of some of the greens, these lines are to direct trolleys away from wear areas.
My last point is the path on the 9th tee. If we can generate enough funds we will be digging up the old boards of the original path and replacing with new thicker boards to give a better finish. We will keep the hard core base that is already there, scrape back the surface and replace with a thick layer of self binding gravel. This will give a much better finish aesthetically but also make the path flat and smooth to walk on.