Friday, 29 April 2016


We all thought that was the end of winter after the week of sunshine but its amazing how nature can have the last laugh. We have gone right through winter with no snow and nearly into May we have nearly 2 inches in an hour. The weather this week has been really cold due to the air coming from the far north. On Wednesday we caught a very localised shower. 2 miles east and west of Malton there was virtually nothing.

Since then we have had hail and more rain and the course is once again pretty wet.

We have managed to get all the course cut again although growth is minimal. It does however tidy all the areas up. The fairways have been brushed against the grain before they were cut, this helps stand the grass up which can get laid in the direction golfers travel when they are cut infrequently. next week we are going start grooming the greens, this spring has been virtually impossible to get on to the greens to do any type of work to them, by now we would have hoped to have scarified, topdressed aerated and be grooming regularly, however we have done none of the above and the weather has been very frustrating and a limiting factor to what we have been able to achieve. Grooming at least will remove some of the lateral growth which for us can be a real problem, as we tend to have some coarse older bents in the greens. These a more of an issue in spring as they grow faster than any other grasses at low temperatures.

The greens have been sprayed with iron to increase colour as the cold winds turn the grasses paler.

The bunker faces, ditches and copses have all been cut.

We have also divoted the tees. The divot night unfortunately had to be postponed due to the poor weather and will be rearranged if a date is available between fixtures.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

A step back to february

A new week and certainly differing weather from last week, where we could have had the shorts out for the first time. This week in contrast is very cold, winds from the north bring down very cold air. We have even had flakes of snow this morning (Tuesday).

This wont help growth as soil temperatures will be knocked back down again and we need consistent soil temperatures of around 6 degrees to maintain steady growth. Overall though given the winter we experienced the course is looking good and we are happy with how its recovering going into the summer playing season.

Last week the greens were given an application of fertiliser and bio stimulants which help perk the grass up during these poor conditions, they will receive another application this week as well.
 After application its washed into the soil so its an ideal time to test the sprinkler heads and check for arc, application and coverage. Any damaged sprinklers have been replaced this week. We have reduced height of cut on tees and surrounds now growth is improving. Greens height will also be lowered slightly in the next few days.

We have started to brush greens much more to stand laid grass up before they are cut, as growth is not strong and temperatures are cool I feel it is too early to start deep scarifying or grooming heavily as this would just set them back further. Hopefully as things improve we can carry this out and get an application of sand on to them which will help smooth them out, especially the pitchmarks which seem to be evident on every green following the wet winter.

On the course we have put out new flags cups and ferrules, we have also a new hole cutter for the season.

We have done a little more tree pruning, this is not the most ideal time of the year as the trees are soon to be in leaf however we need to get some areas complete so the machines can cut the areas of grass without risk of damage. This will be continued as and when we can. All dead trees have been removed and we will be getting a stump grinder in soon to remove the remaining stumps.

The irrigation has been opened up and we have a couple of electrical issues on the system we believe there are 2 breaks in the cable that sends information around the course to turn sprinklers on and off via the computer. This needs to be fixed by our irrigation contractor. A new cable needs to be moleploughed into the ground to rectify the issue.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Bunker work

This week the weather looks a lot more settled. The weekend brought heavy rain, a total of 18 mm, this closed the course on Saturday. However with the thanks to the hard work of the green staff the course was back open on Sunday. Although a little damp in places.
Now we have a little sunshine the course should start to dry out a little. This is set to last for a least a few days but colder conditions are to return by the end of the week. We are carrying on renovating bunker edges on the welham course. With only 4 left to do. The team have made a fantastic job so far. 
We have made a list of bunkers that need sand. All the bunkers have had the sand redistributed to ensure it isn't low near the faces.
We have started to cut surrounds, approaches, tees and semi rough. Most of them are OK to do however there are still a number of wet areas we need to avoid. Other areas of the course will be cut over the next day or so. 
The greens are now being rolled as and when we can. We are due to put on a liquid feed/ seaweed to help boost health and recovery of winter wear. 
This oh is is an organic product which mostly is taken up by the roots of the grass. 

The greens on 21 and 24 are still out of play due to continuous flooding from the river. Because they have not been in play for so long crows have took to them. Pecking at the surface looking for leather jackets. Unfortunately there are no available chemicals to treat these pest any longer.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Same old weather

Every time I write one of these post it seems to revolve around the weather. Its getting a little repetitive so lets look at the positives. On the course the staff have now completed all the drainage projects for this spring, with just a little turfing to finish. The opportunity came to apply the next application of fertiliser on Friday, a still and relatively dry day helped get an application of 4-0-8 fertiliser on to 1-18 greens. This will give a burst of growth and colour, should the temperatures improve we will see growth in most places.

The rest of the course has been cut, the fairways given a full cut at 16mm. Some had more grass on than others as it has been over 3 weeks since they were last cut. The tornado leaf blower was used to remove sticks and excess grass from the playing surfaces. They are still very soft in places so preferred lies will remain on until they start to dry out.

The tees and surrounds have been cut with the designated mower for these areas. The first time we have been out with the toro 3100 as up to now the conditions haven't been suitable. They look good considering the recent conditions. They have been cut at 14mm and the stripes were cut in to each area. The greens were cut on Monday but they are very soft due to play and the wet surface conditions. Again we have not been able to get any vehicles on to the greens to aerate or relieve compaction. The pro am is fast approaching so we are limited to the disruption we can do to the greens as any damage now will take a few weeks to recover at this time of the year.

The range has been cut, although it was very wet, the growth was quite thick in places so we needed to get this done. The gang mowers have just been serviced and ready for the year.

WE now have all new cups and flags ready to go out in the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

The final drainage project

This week we have started the final drainage project of this spring. We would like to do more however the weather and time is against us. The areas we have done so far are recovering well and hopefully we will be able to roll the turf in the next couple of weeks. They are certainly being tested, since two weeks ago everyday has brought rain. This is really testing the course, a lot of areas are getting severely chewed up. The worst they have been all winter in all honesty. The problem is at this time of year is golf increases due to day length and a little sunshine brings them to the course. This takes its toll on the wet areas. Usually the recovery through growth out ways damage, however spring I feel is a season of hope and expectation which for us to delivery is in the hands of the weather. All green keepers are in the same position and all our efforts continue are put into making the course the best it can be.

The area at the rear of the 19th green was always a wet area so the drainage we have installed should help dry it up, now the new 20th tee is in play it is vital it is not a problem as it is a main route to the new tee.

Please could I ask all golfers to stay away from hooped and roped areas as these are restricted to prevent further damage of the turf.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Wet weather returns

As the course dried up nicely and we got everything cut and looking reasonable given the conditions previously we have had another spell of wet weather, with over 40mm in the space of 4 days. After the initial rain the course took it fairly well until we had 19mm in the space of a few hours. When this happens it doesn't matter how much drainage we install it will never beat the rain. This happened when we were half way through installing the drainage on the 9th. It was an ideal time to see it working!!

The day after was a very sharp frost which as you can imagine is not a great combination. Frozen and icy surfaces everywhere, surprisingly after the sun rose the course was drier than expected and we managed to get play going with the exception of a few areas closed due to standing water

We have now finished the drainage at the 9th which has been gur'd and the green is back in play.

The area where the soil was tipped from the drainage has all been levelled and tidied and will be seeded in the spring

We have now installed the junior markers, these are going to be used on the derwent course, they are to encourage younger players to get onto the course. The discs indicate where juniors can tee off from given there ability. The holes are shorter and the idea is they can reach the green in the same number of shots as any one else would with a lower handicap.

The summer tees are all back in position apart from a couple due to wet conditions around the tees which would create damage before the season gets underway.

The new tee on the 20th hole is now back in play and the bunker to the right of the green has been edged and is back in play. Please give feedback to the new angle of attack so we can make the hole better in the future if needed.

We have applied some more lawn sand to the 19-27 greens to help deter moss, the moss turns black as the iron content scorches the plant. This helps the grass dominate and outcompete the moss. We are continually trying to improve the surfaces which is reducing thatch and compaction which is one of the reasons the moss is there in the first place.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Storm Katie

The end of last week have us the chance to get all the cutting finished and we started on the 9th drainage. This area was similar to the 13th. A couple of low areas to the front right of the green always remained wet after rain. We have put an open drain into an existing drain previously however this was not directly connected to an outlet so overtime filled with silt and grass which slowed water movement. The new drain and outlets are now directly connected to the ditch to the left of the first hole. 
The route the drain took also took out a low area to the rear of the winter 1st tee. This square will be returfing with fresh turf as the turf was poor after a long time stood in water. 
The levels were checked to ensure we could get fall to the ditch. Unfortunately the existing main drains were 20 cm lower than the ditch which is at the highest point on there run. This could explain why the 9th fairway is a wet and slow to drain area. 
The drains we have installed are shallower to ensure they run to the ditch. 
Today the drains were finished with them just to pipe and fill. 
We have taken a drain across the front of the green and installed an extra open drain on the front of the green where water stands often. 
Over the bank holiday weekend storm Katie took us back to wet and wild conditions. 26mm of rain fell on Monday. 
The course was very wet and had to be closed on Monday. However with a dry afternoon and night we managed to get 18 holes open on Tuesday. There were wet areas but I was happy with how some areas had drained down. 
Today we put some lawn sand on greens 19-27 to control moss on those greens that are wetter lawn sand is basically sand used as a carrier mixed with sulphate of iron and sulphate of ammonia   The iron turns the moss and grass black. The grass will recover however the moss remains scorched. The ammonia is basically a fertiliser which helps the grass recover. 
All hedge cutting is now finished. A great job done by Will and Rich. 

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.