Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Drainage of the 12th green and surrounding area

The 12th green has been a problem ever since I have been at the club. It suffers badly from water logging after only light rain. The main reason for this is the construction material and shape. The green is built up so theretically it should drain well. Unfortunately the subsoil used was pure clay, with a 300mm capping of what I would describe as poor topsoil. The surface of the green is then bowled which holds rather than sheds water. Before I became Head Greenkeeper the green has been drained previously, however the 'poor' topsoil was placed back on top of the gravel. Firstly the topsoil has contaminated the gravel layer and around 400mm of soil made water perculation to the drains very slow. 
So the plan, ripping up the entire green was not an option, so we plan to install new drains, fresh gravel and an approved root zone. The drains will be connected to the ditch which runs at the back of the green. From the green we are also picking up wet areas in front, to the sides and also a new bunker which we digging to the front right of the green. Following the work in future years we will have to intensively aerate and improve the top 300 mm of soil structure and drainage ability. 
First task was to mark out the 5 drainage trenches, spaced at 10 ft centres across the green so they fall in the lowest areas on the green. Once finalised turf was cut and trenching began. 
Trenches are being cut with a Toro pedestrian trencher, 100mm wide and around 500mm deep. An 80mm pipe is then installed and back filled to with 300mm of the surface with pea gravel, then upto surface with root zone. 
At the outlet of the drain work also started breaking through a stone wall to install the pipe. 
Day 2

After the first day we managed to dig and fill one trench. Frosty start to day 2 however now we got into the rhythm we were more productive and the team were giving it their all. A trench and a half completed on day 2 and good progress on the outlet pipe. 
Day 3 
A wet start today which made it a little messy but work continued. Today we again managed around 1 and a half trenches. Today showed exactly the nature of the soil used, a lot of large stones and very heavy clay removed from one of the trenches. 
Work nearly complete on the outlet wall too. 

Monday, 17 November 2014


The past 3 days have brought over 40mm of rain. The course on Friday afternoon was covered in water after a relentless day of heavy rain. Unfortunately  the only work that could be done on the course was moving holes and blowing leaves off greens. 
The weekend was drier but after the winds that came with the rain leaves covered most areas, the bunkers were very wet and full of leaves and the staff worked hard to just get the course playable. The greens were soft after the rain so we had to limit machinery traveling on them. Today we had more rain but steadier, this meant the course coped but was very sticky. The drainage working well has helped dry out areas quicker than before. 
The new ditch taking water well. This week we are continuing to turf the banks. 
Leaf blowing continues 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014


Today has been a day crammed full of turfing jobs. A delivery of 160m2 was used to turf the 10th bunker face
This is now fully turfed, just drains and sand to install. 
We also turfed the 16th white tee
This is also complete, and will be in play in the spring. 
Finally we completed clear up and restoration of the area around 20th tee. 
A great effort by the team. 
We also continued cutting hedges and collecting leaves. 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Tidy up

After the heavy rain on Friday and Saturday we were struggling to continue with the 18th new tee on Monday morning. The area was very soft and with a lot of leading of soil to do I thought the damage we would cause would be too much. This project will now be left until next year as we have incoming drainage works planned. 
All we could do is concentrate on tidying the irrigation trenches and repairing the wet areas around the ditch ready for turfing this week. 
A drain was also installed in a low area around the ditch whilst the trench was open. 
Elsewhere we have been trying to get on top of leaf litter. The recent winds have spread them across the course. The tractor mounted blower and two hand blowers have been out daily. 
We have Neville maw the hedge cutting contractor here this week to cut the hedges on the course. This takes him 3 days. Following this all remaining bits will be cut by hand. 
We have also been planting the remaining pines trees on the 10 and 18th holes. Turfing of the 10th bunker and the 16th white tee will be done over the next couple of days. 

Friday, 7 November 2014

Irrigation installation

On Thursday we had the first keen frost of the winter. A really welcome one as it helps remove leaves from trees quicker and it reduces disease incidence on the greens. As a result of the lower temperatures cutting is getting less frequent. This week only the greens have been cut. 
This allowed us to concentrate on other jobs, specifically the irrigation changes around the 18/20th tees. Full Circle Irrigation installed the pipe work which will ensure the new tees have water to them and the where the ditch compromised the pipe work, they changed the  crossing point over the new bridge.
With the bad weather today reinstating the trenches has been slow and messy. This will have to be completed next week.
We have been planting trees where the hedge has been removed. Again due to the weather a few remain to be finished on the 10th. 

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

18/20 th tee irrigation

Today we had a demonstration of a Lewis pedestrian trencher organised by Nick from Thomsons Groundcare of Driffield. We have been searching for a small trencher that has a narrow trench width and would cause minimal damage to the surrounding area. This did just the job, a 100mm width and a 650mm maximum depth is ideal for small drainage projects. We have some upcoming work on the 12th and 10th greens where something like this would be perfect. The demo showed us what the trencher can do. 
The rest of our day consisted of installing and assisting Full Circle Irrigation to alter and add to the existing pipe work around the 18/20th tees. This will ensure the new tees are watered if needed during the grow in stage.
Else where the tees are being solid tined and leaf clearance continues. 

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Start of the 18th tee

This week we have been working on the 18th tee area and the new 20th tee.
The area where the new 20th tee is been located is at the end of the driving range, an area of land that was previously unused. We are taking the opportunity to improve a number of areas around this location. The new 18th tee is being made on the existing 20 th hole and will not be used until the new 20th tee comes into play late next year. There was a hedge that was between the new 20th tee and the green, it also was in the way if the new 18th tee. This was removed first thing this week so the area could be tidied, the tee constructed and trees can be planted in the required positions. 
To replace the hedgerow we are going to plant another hedge on the boundary of the 20th hole running all the way across the boundary of the 23rd hole where the fence has rotted off. There are 20 5 foot pine trees coming this week to plant in this area also on the 10th and 18th holes. Other trees will be planted over this winter. 
The 18th tee is taking shape, the irrigation is being altered for the 20th and 18th tees and the pipe work is being taken out of the 17th/20th ditch. 
The 16th tee is starting to be turfed and the irrigation is now complete on this tee. 
The tees are being tined with 12 mm tines to decompact them after the seasons play. 

About Me

Im the Head Greenkeeper at Malton and Norton Golf Club. I began my greenkeeping career at Malton and Norton Golf Club straight from school as an Assistant Greenkeeper. Wanting to climb the greenkeeping ladder I gained my NVQ level 2 and 3 at Askham Bryan College. I continued with my education gaining a HNC in golf course management and took the position of Deputy Head Greenkeeper at Malton and Norton Golf Club in 2005.In 2008 I was promoted to the position of Head Greenkeeper, leading a team of 6 hard working and dedicated Greenkeepers. Our aim is to continue to improve the condition of the course year on year maintaining our high reputation within the area.