Monday, 20 October 2014

Bad weekend

As the title suggests the weekend just past was not one of the best. Firstly the leaves are falling thick and fast from the trees with the high winds, these covered the course. On a weekend we only have time on a morning to blow off greens and some of the worst tees. Through the week we are able to spend more time and more men blowing leaves. 
The scene on the 12th this morning before blowing. This was cleared yesterday but the wind blowing leaves across the green constantly was causing problems for golfers. A tractor mounted blower and two back pack blowers went out to tackle the leaves. 
A great job done, once cleared tees and surrounds were cut. Growth is still going, especially as the air temperature was 18 degrees at the weekend. This is causing issues trying to cut grass with soft ground conditions and leaves, creates a lot of mess. 
With ground conditions softening preferred lies are now on and the grass section of the range tee is now closed until spring. 
Disappointingly the badger retuned to the course at the weekend ripping up a lot of turf at the start of the 6th fairway. This will have to be repaired in the spring. Anything repaired now will be ripped straight back up. Very frustrating to see, this may not be the end of the damage either. 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Bunker renovations

This week we have been concentrating on bunkers. All the green side bunkers have been washed down. This is simply using the irrigation hose to jet water onto the face to remove all the sand from within the turf. It is amazing how much sand builds up, in places up to 6 inches. Along with the sand it also removes moss and any other debris which is then removed the following day. The faces have also been cut. 
After a season of play they are in need of some attention. There are a few repairs needed but most are in good shape.
Although temperatures are set to rise according to the forecast, we have raised height of cut on the greens to 4.5mm. This is the bench setting measurement. This equates to around 3.5-4mm actual height of cut. To measure the height we use a prism gauge. As seen below. 
We have applied a 15-5-24 fertiliser to 10,14,15,16,18 and the 27 fairway as a trial to see wether an autumn application would boost spring growth. An application of fertiliser will be put on the greens next week and also some slow release fertiliser on the tees and approaches.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Turf down on first section.

A really quick update on the progress of the new ditch. Turf gone down on the first section, which takes us up to the front of the 20 th tee. The team have done a fantastic job, the ditch looking good and even has water in already. We will continue turfing when we get caught up on a few jobs next week. 
Leaves will be our main priority, also grass cutting will be done in certain areas. Temperatures are dropping however growth continues slowly. Some areas will get a final topdress with sand before winter arrives. Also we will continue applying worm suppressant to fairways. 

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Turf starting to go down

After 20 mm of rain Monday it was a good opportunity to see if the ditch did what it was supposed to do. This was taken Tuesday morning, a good volume of water had collected and was running away nicely into the 17th ditch. 
Tuesday also was the start of the turf laying. I decided to turf as it would have been impossible to get a steep bank to hold seed and soil. 
The team starting the long task of turfing all the banks.
Elsewhere we have been topping up some bunkers with sand. 
The greens, tees, surrounds and areas where golfers travel around greens and tees have been sprayed with carbendazim to suppress worm activity. 
Fairways are being started on today. 
Winter tees are being cut out to get them ready for when they are needed later in to the autumn. 
These are just cut out of the semi rough away from the usual summer routes.
Leaf volume is increasing, daily blowing of greens tees and fairways is needed. Collection of leaves will start next week.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Connection made

After 3 weeks of excavation and around 100 two tonne trailer loads of soil lead away we finally completed the ditch which will be tested in the next few days with a poor forecast in store.
This is the existing pipe work that leads to the 17 th ditch and then to the 14 th where it flows in to the river derwent. We will have no issues in getting water away and will open up a lot of opportunities to do further drainage around 19 and 26. 
The end of the pipe has been filled to stop soil entering the pipe, before the end of this ditch is back filled with soil and shaped ready for turfing. Turfing of the banks and crossings will begin on tues and wed. The ditch and any effected ground around the ditch is GUR until further notice. 
As mentioned the weather is expected to change over the next few days, turning wetter. Emphasising the need to get this project underway early proving it's worth. Very little mess has been created constructing the ditch. We will wait until we have got some other tasks complete before starting the bunkers and new tees on the course. 
We have levelled and compacted the soil where the new 20 th tee will be positioned ready for shaping through winter at some point. 
This week we are starting leaf collection. We are topping some bunkers up with sand, top dressing approaches, tees and walk off areas. Spraying tees, greens surrounds and approaches with carbendazim for worm casts. 
My thanks go out to colin webster our greens chairman who has helped out over the last few weeks to pick up balls and paint some hazard posts which are on the 22 nd hole. This has helped us get on with other jobs on the course. 

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Thankfully this picture is from 2012 when the course was under water. This is the driving range, this water was stood here for around 3 weeks as it had no where to go. This is one of the main reasons for  continued drainage works on the course. 
This week we have started to make the connection to the 17th ditch. To do this we have removed a section of hedge and  marked out the ditch running along the front of the current 20th tee.
We then dug out the existing pipe work. To ensure levels and direction of the ditch as it joins the existing pipe.
Elsewhere on the course we are cutting the long rough down again. This hopefully will be the final cut before the temperature drops and growth reduces. 
Strimming of tree bases continues from last week. These again will be the last time these will be done. 
We have applied some merit turf insecticide where we have found chafer grubs and badgers have been scuffling in the semi rough. This needs to be watered  in so timing is critical. 
When cleared and cut the course is still looking great. 

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Dig update

Again the weather has been on our side. A few showers but nothing notable, they brought this cracking rainbow on a beautiful morning. Work progressed nicely on the drainage ditch. 
Reaching the point in front of the 20th tee  on Friday.
The next stage of the ditch comes in front of the 20th tee and joins to the 17th ditch. This will be more disruptive to play but we will work around competitions and players on the course. The soil we remove will also be used to make a new 18th tee which will extend the hole by around 60 yards. I must remind members that this hole is SI 6 and plays down the prevailing wind so plays shorter than it's actual distance the majority of the time. When holes 18 and 20 are changed the old 20th tee will be used as the new yellow tee. This will lengthen the yellows by only 25 yards. In general play members do have the option to play off yellows or whites. Technology is making Malton and norton golf club shorter so these changes not only lengthen the course but have other benefits in that area of the course.
1- waiting on the 18th and 20th tee is reduced
2- safety and waiting from tee shots from the 17th will be improved. 
3- area around the 19th green will improved due to different traffic flow. 
4- the angle of the tee shot will be improved on the 18th, creating better safety on the 27th. Although the tee shot will be going over the back of the 17th green slightly, the sequence of play will not endanger anyone playing on the 17th green. 
5- the 20th tee is virtually unusable due to the unevenness of the surface and the size of the white tee so would need to be rebuilt anyway
6- and the initial reason for changing/ making the tees, drainage. The drainage ditch we are excavating is a massive step forward in keeping the course open, more playable and allowing future drainage work to be completed. 
Else where on the course growth has strong coupled with dewy mornings has made getting clean cuts impossible. Height of cut on the greens has been lifted slightly to improve coverage and density going into the autumn period. This will make them slower in pace but once the anthracnose has grown out should still putt smooth for the time of year. 
Leaves are starting to fall so leaf clearance is a daily task at the moment.

Other wise the course is in good shape and the team are working really hard to still produce good playing conditions whilst work loads are increasing.

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.