Monday, 31 August 2015

Welcome to the New starters

On Monday Sam Holtby started at malton and norton golf club. He joined us from ganton golf club. 
Sam here pictured on the right has slotted into the team well. Bringing loads of energy and a wealth of experience that can only enhance the maintenance on the course. Also pictured is Matthew Turnbull our apprentice greenkeeper who has a lot to learn but he is keen and gets stuck into jobs. Please if you see them on the course make them feel welcome and say hi. 
Well last week was bitter/sweet. Nice to have an abundance of staff. 8 for last week as we still have dave divoting the tees again. However with Sam starting, Matty to continually train and we started 19-27 greens maintenance it was busy to say the least. We only have dave for one more full week then we will be reduced back to 7 staff. 
The greens on 19-27 are poorer than the other greens on the course due there construction and amount of thatch accumulations making them prone to moss and disease. With this in mind we hollow cored those greens with 16mm hollow tines to remove a good amount of material before solid tining them twice over. This ensured the maintenance worked both deeper in the profile to reduce compaction and nearer the surface increasing soil exchange. 
That's maintenance over for another year. All in all it went well and the greens are fully recovered on 1-18, given a couple of weeks 19-27 will be back to normal. 
Moving the hole on Friday it's always reassuring to see this. 
Channels of sand penetrating through the upper profile. Overall the whole course is looking good. 
We have been spot treating silver thread moss on greens which is always there in the background. All areas on 19-27 have been strimmed which needed doing. Matty helping out Will and learning how to use the strimmer. 
We have a set of vibrating rollers on demo which fit on to our john Deere mower. These are similar to the ones we already have, just a newer more effective version which have adjustable vibration settings. 
Unfortunately we didn't have the chance to use them for long as unbelievably on Tuesday both greens mowers broke down in the same morning. We have the greens mowers nearly 9 years and during that time very few hydraulic breakdowns. So to have 2 hydraulic breakdowns in a morning was simply unlucky. A motor seal and a hose burst downed them for a day until we got parts. 
Hopefully we will get chance to use the rollers again. This coming week no doubt will be another busy one as it's only a four day week but the team are doing a great job. 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

This week we are trying to catch up on all those jobs which are needing doing. Firstly dave sawdon has been busy weeding and edging all the clubhouse borders, these have been neglected for a while as we have not had the time or staff  to carry out the work needed. It's nice to see them looking good again. 
Greens on 10-18 that were tined last week are slowly filling in. They are being cut at the normal height and have had there first application of growth regulator today. The cut quality isn't great at the moment as one of the mowers has been severely blunted by the abrasive sand. The other greens mower has had new blades fitted and that is cutting great. As not to blunt both mowers we do not want to take this on to the newly sanded greens. 
Once 19-27 greens have been completed then both mowers will be sharpened. 
On Tuesday we had 33mm of rain which was welcome in some ways however a little less would have been ok. The rain was heavy at times and began to stand on most places in the afternoon. Thankfully all greens work had been done   And the vertidraining had insured the water could drain more freely. On Wednesday morning the greens were dry enough to cut as normal. The work that we do to the greens will always benefit in these situations. Unfortunately worm activity has increased now soil moisture has increased. We will monitor the weather to decide wether or not to spray a worm suppressant at this time of year. 
The ditch at 17 working well. 
Matty the apprentice is getting stuck into most jobs now. Teesides his latest new job. He is already cutting greens, fairways and moving holes. 
Some of the pine trees that were planted last winter have unfortunately died so they are being replaced where possible with trees grown on site. The reason for the trees not surviving is not known for certain. As they were all planted correctly and the same, given ample water and treated in a similar manor, the roots could have been poorer on the dead trees making them weaker from the start. 

A dead tree showing no fibrous roots which are vital for water uptake. 

Monday, 17 August 2015

The 'rest' week

This week we aren't tining any greens so we call it a rest week but it is far from that.  Firstly there is a lot of recovery maintenance that had to continue on the greens that were intensively tined over the last few weeks. The initial greens are now looking good, smoothness is returning and speed is not too far behind. The greens done last week are being cut at 4 mm still due to delays last week with the rain on Monday and Friday. Hopefully tomorrow they will be cut at the normal Summer height of 3.5 mm. 
The bunkers on 10-18 have been tidied as they were on 1-9 previously. Sand pushed up faces and into low spots. Areas have been strimmed and tidied. A fungicide has been applied to greens 10-18 now the grass has grown through the sand. And today we have sprayed 19-27 greens with sulphate of iron, to reduce moss leading up to renovation on those greens. 
It's incredible to think that after 14mm of rain on Monday that when I put a winter cup into the 24th fairway this is what I found. 
No moisture at all. Admittedly this is one of our drier fairways but I was surprised to see the ground this dry. There is an amount of thatch/ matted material at the surface which does limit moisture penetrating deeper into the profile. However I would of expected the top 100 mm to be moist. This goes to show what I dry year it has been and emphasises what I was saying regarding the trees struggling. Grass also needs moisture and if it isn't deep enough can lead to shallow rooting and turf stress. This is why we apply wetting agents to greens especially. They break down the tension of water to help them move through soil. 
The rest of this week we will be catching up on all cutting jobs. Dave sawdon is still with us and has made a start on the heather borders around the clubhouse. 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Maintenance week 2

Another busy week on the course. This week we have been working on holes 10-18. 
Again these 9 were closed all week which allows us to get on with the essential aeration. Monday was a very busy day especially for my self and Adam. We were out on the course at the crack of dawn, quite literally. Our plan was to complete all tining and sanding on holes 10-18 in the day. A 10 hour and a 13 and a half hour day ensured we achieved the goal. Just to remind all that we triple passed all 9 greens , so the equivalent of 27 greens tined and a total of 50 tonne of sand spread on greens and approaches. The rest of the team have also worked tirelessly to maintain the rest of the course. 
Monday wasn't without its problems. Heavy rain storms were in the area. At 5.30 one was approaching with 5 greens remaining. 
Unfortunately with 2 greens remaining it opened up and a deluge of rain fell for around 20 mins. 
That is a green, looking through the windscreen. 
30 mins later it had stopped but left a lot of standing water and washed sand from bunkers and deposited debris everywhere. 
We were able to continue to finish the greens however it has set us back a day due to the follow on stages with brushing and rolling. At least the recent greens aeration allowed the water to drain freely and after a couple of hours the water had all gone from the course. 
The greens we worked on last week got there first cut on Thursday then a following dry cut on sat night. The sand had settled nicely and a cut at 4 mm left them looking tidy. 
This week we have dropped the height back to 3.6 mm which is our normal summer height and sprayed them with primo to regulate growth. The sand is becoming less of a problem by the day however even the slightest amount blunts the mowers which will soon require new blades. 
As the weeks roll on speed and trueness will improve until we return them to malton and nortons weekly standard. 

Thursday, 6 August 2015

1-9 greens maintenance

Firstly sorry for the delayed post this week, it's been a busy one and finding the time to get all things done had been difficult.
On Monday Matty Turnbull our new apprentice greenkeeper started at the club. I'm sure he will settle in well. He will be starting at Askham BryanCollege at the end of September to get trained and receive a qualification. His on course training started straight away putting him into the thick of the action. 
His first day was cutting tees, led by alistair he ended cutting a few on his own. Second day cutting fairways again with alistair and yesterday cutting a few greens. His attitude is good and is keen to learn. I hope he continues to develop over the next few months. If you see him on the course please stop to say hello. 

Very early on Monday morning myself and Adam started on the annual greens maintenance. 1-9 holes have been closed all week to ensure we could carry out the maintenance without delay. 9 greens have been tined with 12 mm tines in 3 seperate directions at 50mm x 75mm centers. This creates thousands of holes which create stronger, deeper rooting and the air needed for healthy growth. Around 40 tonnes of straight sand has been applied and incorporated into the surface by brushing and watering in. 
The sand put on in 3 seperate applications to ensure it dries correctly. 
Once the greens have been tined sanded and brushed the recovery stage starts. We have a turf iron on demo at the moment which is ideal to re establish levels and improve surface conditions. There is still a fair amount of sand on the surface. This will slowly disappear as the grass grows through it. 
The greens received there first cut today at 4mm which is higher than normal due to the sand so once the greens come back into play they will be slow for a period of time until the sand is not an issue. Depending on recovery which is all down to surface trueness will determine weather we apply another light dressing which would be matted in. 
This is the practice green which was cored and double tined last Wednesday. 
Still has a bit to go until full recovery is complete but has come a long way in 7 days. 
If anyone questions if it's all necessary then here is what is all about. Soil improvement= grass improvement. 
Sand channels through the natural underlying soil at 150mm - 250mm depth from the 9th green. You can just make out the rooting penetrating through the sand channel bottom left of the picture. 
10-18 starts Monday. Updates will follow next week. 

Thursday, 30 July 2015

And so it starts again

Now we near august we are gearing up for our annual greens maintenance program. To get all equipment prepared and correctly set up we first do the practice green. This is the size of around three greens and is also a good area to experiment and try new things if we so wish. 
The ends of this green are soil based however the middle is of root zone construction. So we hollow tined the whole green also we verti drained the soil based areas to relive compaction. 
Cores were then collected and the whole green sanded.

We then seeded and brushed to get the seed into the holes before rolling.

Next week we will be starting on 1-9, let's hope the weather is ok. 
We have one of the members, Dave sawdon helping us for a month whilst we are a little short staffed. After a morning of collecting cores he knows that being a greenkeeper isn't just sitting on a mower :)
Whilst I was moving holes I was checking soil profiles and thought it would be interesting to show what we face regarding drainage. On Tuesday we had a good amount of rain first thing, as many are aware some greens drain better than others. This isn't down to the top soil profile but what's deeper. Often greens that are built up are made from inferior soil that inevitably drains poorly. 
Below are 4 soil samples from 4 greens, 2 drain fantastically and 2 very poorly. Can you tell which are which?
Once the rain stopped we were open again without too much issue. The course however is now growing a lot more.
By the way the poor draining ones were 2 and 3, firstly the soil is much more heavy, indicated by it sticking to the blade as the profile is removed and the black layer that is evident shows lack of oxygen within the soil causing little rooting, which can be seen from the bottom of the good samples. 

Thursday, 23 July 2015


Well it's all hands on deck this week as we head towards our maintenance weeks. We concentrating on the lower priority jobs that don't need doing as often, the reason being these won't need to be done again until our rest week on the 17th aug. This allows us to concentrate on the maintenance that needs to be done to the greens and the high priority weekly cutting jobs on the 18 holes that will be open during maintenance. 
So this week we have been clipping sprinkler heads, boxes and drain covers, finishing edging all the bunkers , strimming bits, cutting the lane pull ins, cutting rough in tree lines and copses, cutting intermediate rough and spraying greens with fertiliser, for moss and wetting agent( seperate applications of course). We still need to fly mo bunker faces, strim more bits and cut teesides next week before we get warmed up on the putting green. 
The greens we sprayed with selective herbicide have reacted well and the pearl wort is dying back. Grass growth should come back into these patches during the rest of the year. 
Yesterday was Rob Bakers last day here before he starts his new job. We wish him all the best. He has been a great team member and has worked hard over the 9 years he has been at the club. Replacing him isn't going to be easy but we think we have found a quality greenkeeper with a wealth of experience coming from a championship course. 
Sam Holtby is joining us at the end of august from ganton golf club where he has been during some major competitions over the last 10 years. 

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.