Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Still dry

After a nice week off I have returned to find the course in magnificent shape. The definition is coming on really well and the rough especially is growing up fast. Over the week I had off there was only 9mm of rain so the ground conditions are still fairly dry. 
Grass growth is more vigorous due to constantly higher soil temperatures as nights have been much warmer. 
The irrigation system has been used on a night to irrigate greens and tees. E. T. Rates have been high especially over the last few days so water needs to be replaced, using the irrigation computer we can control the amount of water on each green and tee. Some areas need more than others, daily checks are made and adjustments made.
In simple terms when you get heat and water at the same time that creates growth. In a more scientific view, we call the relationship between soil/ air temperature levels throughout the day and moisture 'growth potential'. 
Basically when the temperature reaches a level that a grass can grow at it's maximum, given the right supply of nutrients, water and light, this is it's maximum growth potential. We can control the amount of nutrients and water to some level, and using plant growth regulators we can regulate growth. 
During the last week growth potential has been incredibly high. The last application of growth regulator was applied around 12 days ago at a low rate as at that time growth was slow due cooler temperatures. Today we reapplied growth regulator to greens, this time the amount of growth regulator was increased due to increased temperatures, upcoming rain and an scheduled application of fertiliser. This should take the flush of growth from playing surfaces. 
Tees fairways and semi are also growing very fast however we can't spray all areas. The tees will get an application of growth regulator when time allows this week or next. Before I went on holiday the remainder of the weed areas were sprayed. These areas were sprayed with a selective weed killer to kill mostly daisies and dandilions. 

With limited staff resources this week we concentrating on mowing. Getting a dry cut is helping but with a four day week sometimes we don't have the luxury to wait everyday until the dew burns off. 
Last week all secondary jobs were completed. Divoting tees, bunker faces teesides and range work, this should save us time this week. 
On Thursday this week we have a contractor coming to spread an insecticide on holes 2-7 to treat chafer infestations which the badgers search for in winter. The 1-9 holes will be closed until dinner time. 

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Ladies week

Wednesday and Thursday this week has ladies open day and ladies at home day. These are usually very busy competitions as Malton and Norton seems to be very popular for any of the open days throughout the year. 
Before Wednesday we needed to top dress the greens and micro tine to complete our spring maintenance. Fortunately the weather was ideal with windy warm and dry conditions followed by the isolated shower. 
We used 8 mm tines down to a depth of 100 mm. This is just to open up the surface and creates better rooting. It also insures play is not disrupted as there is very little surface disruption. After a couple of days recovery is complete. With a busy calendar of fixtures this is the only time that we are able to complete the work. Followed the tining we rolled the greens and matted to ensure that the sand is worked into the surface and holes are closed up. 
Other jobs has been to get on top of cutting of semi rough intermediate rough tees surrounds approaches and fairways. As the temperature has risen grass growth is a lot stronger than it was last week. The intermediate rough especially is becoming a thicker. In preparation for the ladies days, we have cut everything and the course is looking great. 
Let's hope this weather continues. 

Friday, 8 May 2015

Tree pruning 12th tee

The 12th tee shot is always going to be a tricky one due to the narrow gap to find the fairway. However I felt it was getting a little too narrow. It is a difficult area to try and open up due to the spruce trees on either side. These trees cannot be cut back to regrow. If branches are taken off back to a point with no living growth then they will not send out shoots, the branches will remain dead. So to try and do what we can, we have remove branches selectively where we can and to a reachable height. Some other species of tree have been taken as back as possible knowing these will fill back in over time. 
Else where we have seeded the remaining area on the 20th hole where the hedge was removed, we are still waiting for the irrigation to be completed on the new 20th tee before that can be tided and then turfed. The badger damage has been slow to recover due to the cold weather and poor spring. But now warmer weather is on its way and rain is due we hope to see recovery soon.
After the rain the 10th green surround and 13 Tee area drained very well.
Now soil temperatures are improving the grass is starting to grow, The course is looking good however along the rough will start to be a test over the next couple of weeks. We plan to leave a lot of long rough similar to last year due to time constraints.

We have had a demo turf iron to test against our current vibrating rollers which need replacing. This machine is a self propelled sit on vibrating roller. Whereas our vibrating rollers are placed on a triple machine which is also used for cutting greens. We are going to try other sit on machines and a new set of vibrating rollers to compare the difference in speed of use and speed of greens. 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Boom April showers.... In May

After a dry but cool week last week we have finally had a good splash of rain. Firstly a massive pat on the back to the green staff for what was a very busy few weeks in the lead up to the pro am and club competitions held over bank holiday weekend. The course was in great condition given the dry conditions. The pros and amateurs and our members commented on how good the course was and the greens were exceptional  for the time of year.
Over the weekend we had 22mm of rain and then another 17mm today. The first batch soaked in well due to the very dry conditions previously. Today the rain fell heavy and puddled up a little. 
The 10th green with wet areas on. Thankfully the weather improved this afternoon and the water had chance to drain away. It was nice to see on Monday and this morning the newly drained 12th green was mostly dry. 
The drainage working well. Today we made an application of fertiliser to the greens. A 4-0-8 fertiliser to aid recovery and get some growth. The rain washing it in well and just before the wind arrived 

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Pro am prep

Another busy week of golf at Malton and Norton Golf Club. We have a pro am comp on Friday, the tour de yorkshire competition on sat and a busy week of members and visitors taking advantage of the great course conditions. Showers are forecast for this week so should help growth but temperatures are still cool for this time of the year. 
Bunkers were finished and then our focus was on grass cutting.
The greens were groomed on Monday to remove lateral growth and to improve speed. They are now at there lowest summer height so speed should be acceptable with smoothness not bad for the time of year.
They are fairly firm as we have had a good spell of dry weather.
Fairways have been cut and tees/ surrounds cut and brushed to improve appearance.
Also smaller jobs like bunker faces, ditch edging and tidying debris is ongoing.
Hopefully the weather will be on our side for the rest of the week. 

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Busy times

The next couple of weeks are incredibly busy. We have had a lot of play on the course with the recent good weather. We have a couple of big competitions approaching and a lot of work to do to prepare the course. Added to this the forecast is for rain over the weekend which will kick growth off adding to our cutting routine. Up to now growth has been quite poor given all the sunshine. This is due to lack of moisture and very cold nights. Over the weekend the course is steadily greening up, so this week we are concentrating our efforts on cutting some grass to ensure the course is presented nicely even though there is little growth. The semi rough is patchy as the winter wear is still evident, where golfer foot traffic is less the semi has grown a few inches. All the semi rough will be cut this week to reduce the patchy growth. We have also been cutting the driving range, tees, surrounds, copses, pathway edges, fairways and cutting and grooming all the greens. The greens at this time of the year get some lateral growth from bent grasses, this can lead to bobbly greens later in the day as the lateral growth gets spiked up by foot traffic. To control this we groom the greens with the groomers on the John Deere mowers. The groomers are set flush to the surface of the green, this ensures that lateral growth is lifted, cut and removed. The greens are then cut to take off any uneven grass and leave a smooth finish. They are being cut at 3.5mm actual height of cut, as the fertiliser we applied last week has started to take affect and growth is much dense than a couple of weeks ago. 
This week we are busy edging, checking and topping bunkers. The team are doing a great job. 
We have also been fixing an irrigation burst on the 23rd. Typically where a join is in the pipe, to fix this we had to drain the system cut out the damaged section and replace by gluing in a extendable joint.
We also have held the annal divot evening where we had over 40 attend. There help appreciated and we divoted1-18 fairways and a few tees.

Friday, 17 April 2015

National Club Golfer magazine article

In Aprils edition of National Club Golfer a article on the work we are doing at Malton and Norton Golf Club has been published. Mainly discussing drainage and the greens improvements we carried out during the first few years. If you are not able to read the article on this blog and want to copies will be availible to read in the clubhouse. 

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.