Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Heatwave

 

Well the weather is certainly warming up, temperatures are rising and there is a little rain in the forecast. Over the last week it has been near 25° each day meaning the irrigation has been on each night. Added to the temperature has been a constant breeze which dries out the turf quickly. Sometimes extra water is needed on the turf throughout the day to keep it alive. Greens have been our main priority however when possible tees do get watered. 
Some shaded greens have had small spots of fusarium appear in the last couple of days. This is due to high humidity and prolonged wetness from over night watering. On the shaded greens the sun doesn't dry the surface as quickly as the others. This shouldn't need an application of fungicide as growth is fairly strong and with dry conditions shouldn't lead to any damage to the turf. Recovery will start within days as the poa will naturally thrive during this weather. 
The white ring is mycelium which is how the disease spreads from infected grass to uneffected grass. 

Growth still continues in the semi rough however other areas are beginning to slow due to the dry conditions. We have been out to spray Semi rough for clover and other weeds. Most areas were covered during the spring application. however small areas are spot treated. 
The entrance lane has been strimmed and blown and some of the new shrubs tidied around. 

We have topdressed greens, surrounds and approaches, straight sand was applied as usual. This reduces thatch build up keeping the surfaces firmer, drain more freely and help reduce winter wear when ground conditions deteriorate. To help more concentrated wear areas we also apply heavier sand dressings in these areas. 
Following top dressing or was matted and washed in. Leaving a smooth finish. 
Surrounds also looking great. 

Another branch has broken off the sweet chestnut tree at the 10th tee. This could be down to the age of the tree as branches break off on an annual basis. 
Now we are into June the chafer grubs that we have such a problem with in the winter months regarding badger damage are turning into beetles and flying around. These are small bronze coloured bettles around 10mm long. Infected areas of turf obviously have a greater number of grubs  however they will fly far from where they emerged from. 
We have filled in some low sections  around the 20th new tee so it can be cut more easily. This was our old turf nursery. A mobile sprinkler is being used to water the seed. 
Unfortunately etiquette of some golfers leaves a lot of improvement. It's disappointing and becoming all to common to see unraked bunkers, trolleys taken through surrounds between bunkers and greens and pulled onto tees. It is a golfers responsibility to look after the course. 
Finally we have had a demo grinder brought to the club courtesy of bernhard grinders. Scott Purdy ground all units on our 3100 using a spin grinding technique which is faster than our current method but needs doing on a more regular basis. A good machine to see and valuable information should we look at replacing our grinders at any point. 
Overall the course is looking great and credit goes to the staff at malton and norton 

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Greenkeeper vacancy

I'm sorry to be saying goodbye to a great greenkeeper and a truly nice guy Rob Baker, who after 9 years at the club is moving on to other things. He has worked his way up from a school leaver to be a fully qualified greenkeeper, mechanically competent and gained all other relevant qualifications. A strong team player who I wish the best of luck in his chosen career. Rob will be with us until the end of July when we are hoping to taken on a new member of staff.
Anyone interested in joining our team please contact myself on greenkeeper@mngc.co.uk

The position is for a full time qualified greenkeeper working on a 27hole parkland course.  
On the course the weather has been more unsettled and the rain has made growth more consistent. The cooler temperatures and high humidity have sparked small areas of disease on the greens. This should grow its self out without need for fungicide application. We do have to be careful at this time of year for a disease called anthracnose. The last couple of years has been very severe so an early application of fungicide is better as a preventative than cure. Once this disease gets hold of the turf it is difficult to get recovery. 
This morning I noticed this patch of disease on the 12th green. On closer inspection it seems to be affecting the moss in the green more than the grass. Fusarium is always an issue when looking at humidity and prolonged leaf wetness. To regulate the growth we use plant growth regulators when needed this helps slowdown shoot growth and concentrates the grasses energy into root establishment. 
We are cutting every day to keep on top of growth in all areas. During periods of wet weather it is hard to get a good quality cut, this only encourages more growth in the future. At times long grass has to be blown using a tractor mounted blower this helps leave a clean finish. 


Monday, 15 June 2015

Top dressing tees

These pictures were taken first thing on Saturday morning as the rain started falling. The forecast was for heavy rain and they were correct. Heavy showers fell all morning causing slight puddling on the worst of the greens. The green staff in on that morning and did a fantastic job to keep the course playable and to remove water off greens once there were cut.
This is the 5th green during the heaviest of the rain showers. Probably the worst green on the course. The course definitely needed some water, areas were starting to brown off. Now the course has greened up and growth is a very strong. The greens remain firm however not as fast as they once were before the rain. The forecast for this week is dry so firmness and speed should return.
One of the first jobs was to apply fertiliser to the greens before a busy period of competition golf. A granular fertiliser 4-0-8 which will last around six weeks. This will ensure dense healthy growth and take us up to our maintenance period. We will apply liquid fertiliser and wetting agents when needed and depending on the weather conditions. Growth can also be regulated by spraying PGR's. 
Adam and Rich applying fertiliser to the 3rd green.
We continue cutting in all other areas. Today we started top dressing tees. 
Applying straight sand to all tees this helps dilute thatch, level surfaces and increase playability during wet conditions. Once dry the sand was a matted in using a drag mat.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

What a fantastic week of weather, at last it feels warm. Day time temperatures have been up around 20 Celsius each day and more importantly night time temperatures have been high too. Meaning growth has been the strongest it has been all year. However turf that was dense already is growing healthier than other more paddled weaker areas. This is due to soil moisture and compaction. Firstly denser grass canopy holds moisture in the soil better as the soil isn't exposed to sun and wind and compaction restricts rooting meaning less availible moisture to the plant. To sum up we are still struggling to get recovery from winter wear and the badger damage earlier in the year.  
Most areas are in great condition, we are talking about isolated areas across the course, however I try to ensure the course is in the best condition it can be. Not easy with limited time, we try and prioritise and work through those tasks daily. 
Yesterday we held the seniors open day, always packed with over 200 playing in the competition. Greens were running well, and paced too, helped by the dry weather. 
We started to turf the 20th new tee, this needs time to root and should be in play near the end of the year. 
Strimming of tree bases are nearly complete and we have started clipping around sprinkler heads. We had another irrigation break down this morning so an application of wetting agent had to be delayed. Trees and shrubs have been watered and all usual cutting jobs are being undertaken daily. 

Monday, 8 June 2015

Vandals

Unfortunately on Sunday night we have had some vandals attack the 21st Green taking divots out of the surface. Around 30 taken which have needed plugging. 
The last few days have brought dry and warm conditions about normal for June but long overdue. The irrigation is starting to be used on the greens and tees to ensure they do not dry out. The newly planted trees are being watered and any shrubs around the new 20th hole. The 20th Tee will be turfed on the Wednesday now the irrigation is fitted we can water it daily should we need to. 
The rest of the bunker sand has been added to bunkers which were short most of the bunkers now have been topped up. Another load of sand will be purchased at the end of the year. 
We are starting to strim around tree bases to tidy up long grass. Sprinkler heads and irrigation boxes are also being trimmed. 
We have had a sample of reinforced matting sent to us which we are hoping to use across the 10th track. This should tidy the stone on this track which tends to spill onto the grassed area's. The matting is around 2 inches deep and it's filled with either soil or stone which cars can drive over but does not disrupt the infill. Once installed but should last a number of years. 

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Storm

Now into June you would expect summer conditions, sunshine warmth and lots of the growth. However this June is more like March. The temperature over the last couple of days has been very cool, windy and we have had 17 mm of rain. The rain was welcome however we would have liked it not all at once. At least it's has washed the insecticide in that was applied last Thursday. 
 This morning the team went to work to clear lots of debris from greens tees and fairways before they could be cut. Overall the drainage works well with most areas dry by the time we arrived at work. There were a few wet areas however these were isolated and the course opened without problem. Today the irrigation was connected on the new 20th tee which means we can now turf the tee tops and banks. This will be done next week. 
Fertiliser will be applied to greens on Thursday. 
This week all rough will be cut, it has been three weeks since it was last cut but growth is minimal. If temperatures increase during the latter part of this week and we expect to see denser growth. Maybe not good news for stray golf balls. 

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Chafer attack

Today we had a contractor in to spread insecticide on holes 2-7 where the worst infected areas are for chafer grubs. As members will be aware this has been an area for badger damage over the last few years. The badges search for the grubs which they feed on during the winter months. They cause lots of damage during the winter and treating the grubs with insecticide should remove the food source thus preventing damage. Chafer grubs have a life cycle of between two and four years so repeat applications and necessary. We have treated isolated areas of the last five years. However this is the first time we have done a blanket application to ensure complete control. 10 ha were completed in four hours using a tractor mounted applicator which was hired in via a contractor. It is a specialist job as the insecticide needs to be applied at 3 g/m². 
Elsewhere grass continues to be cut ready for the weekend and before the rain arrives. Weak areas that were seeded in the spring have been fertilised. And the ditch on the 10th has been tidied up.
Overall the course is in great condition let's hope we do not get too much rain over the next few days.

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.