Monday, 15 September 2014

Start of the winter work

Yes you read the title correctly we are getting started with our winter programme. Some of the work we have to complete this winter involves movement of soil and heavy loads. I think this time of year when the ground is harder makes less mess and subsequent damage to the ground when travelling with loads of soil and other materials. It also allows us to make sure the lengthy programme gets done in time. As mentioned in the last blog drainage is our highest priority still. One of the first jobs is the ditch from the driving range to the 17th green to get rid of water in that area during wet weather. 
This involves a lot of soil removal and transportation. As mentioned this is a job for the current firm conditions. 
Before we break ground we finished a small section of ditch clearance on the 22 nd hole. 
This morning with showers forecast we took the opportunity to get an application of fertiliser on to the greens. This should help the lingering anthracnose disease effected turf grow in quicker and boost the health of greens and surrounds turf. 
Initially watered in until the rain arrived. 
We are having a little trouble with roaming badgers looking for food as they have in the past. At the moment there has been minimal damage but here's evidence they are around the course on a regular basis. 
The new approaches are looking great and the stripes are getting more defined. Regular aeration and fertiliser applications certainly are making the difference. 
The darker mornings are drawing in making the start of the day wet with dew and pretty dark. Fortunately we have ways of overcoming these problems. 
We will be applying another application of rescue herbicide on the surrounds to control any emerging ryegrass. 
And finally just to show how effective a root barrier can be. And the effect tree roots can have on turf during summer. 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Winter projects

The fantastic weather continues. Dry days are really helping us get on with the long rough. This task is going really well and should be complete by the end of this week. Most of the in play areas have been collected to thin out the rough where possible. After a week or so it will be topped off again to tidy any bits missed of flattened during the initial process. 
The tees and other selected areas have been sprayed with selective herbicide to control weeds before the weather cools. 
The bunker faces have been cut and sand redistributed. 
Strimming continues around trees
A winter program has been drawn up to address some of the problem areas around the course, drainage as seen above is of high priority, but also renovations and repairs to parts of the course.
Two big projects we will be tackling over the next 7-8 months is drainage of the 10 and 12 greens and a drainage ditch from the driving range to the 17th hole. 
Details of all the winter projects are going to be made availible in the clubhouse. However this is an overview of what the staff are doing on the course this winter. 

Drain 10th green, surrounding area and front of 13th tee. 
Install fairway bunker on 10th fairway. 
Drain 12th green and surrounding area
Install green side bunker at 12th green. 
Install new white tee on 16th
Dig drainage ditch from driving range joining on to 17th ditch. 
Install new 18th white tee
Install new 20th tee in end of driving range 
Plant trees on 10, 16, 18, 19 and 20
Drainage around 27th green

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Long rough collection

Well septembers here and the nights are drawing in but there's plenty of golf to be played. This week we have been treated to some warm weather. The warm nights and little wind have given dewy, misty mornings but bursting in to glorious sunshine. The course is still looking great and now we are over 10 days since tining greens 19-27 they are filling in well. 
However with the amount of fertiliser and the warm weather plus irrigation has given plenty of growth. The result is that they are slow and very different paced than 1-18 greens which are now fully recovered.
We have had a lot of good complements and with major renovations over for the year we hope to see good surfaces throughout autumn. The anthracnose disease is slowly growing out. Little and often applications of fertiliser have encouraged new healthy growth.
With good dry weather in the afternoons we have been cutting down the long rough. Areas that have been left throughout the year have to be cut down and collected to ensure we can maintain the course through the winter months.
Another application of compost tea has been applied to the worst greens, by that I mean wetter, higher percentage of Annual meadow grass, higher thatch levels and higher disease potential. Applying the tea is supposed to help add benifical fungi which in turn improves grass health.
Also irrigation has been applied as and when needed.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Tining complete

The last day of 19-27 closure was today, tomorrow we will try to cut or roll the recently tined greens. With starting them a day later they won't be in the best of shape come the weekend but will get back to something like for next week. It is really difficult to do anything with them on a morning as the dew makes the sand sticky and pulls up on the rollers. Whilst the holes were closed we finished edging the rest of the bunkers.
The greens have been sprayed with fertiliser and seaweed to keep growing the anthracnose out and to help fill in any sandy areas left on 10-18. 
Before the verti drain machine was taken off we tined surrounds and some compacted areas on holes 1-18. 
Next week we are on to another big job, cutting and collection of all the long rough on the course. This is done to enable us to collect leaves and for regeneration of the grass next year. 

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The final 9

Well we have started on the final 9 greens on the course, the same process as we went through on the other greens. 
We have been lucky with the weather for all 3 maintenance weeks. Today has been dry and windy, ideal for working the sand into the turf canopy and down the holes made with the verti drain. As the 19-27 greens are smaller than the others we managed to complete all 9 greens in the day. Again following sanding over the next few days we will roll fertilise and water until they are ready for play on Friday. 
The other greens are recovering well but we have had an outbreak of anthracnose.  This has been triggered by the abrasion of the sand, exposing the soil and excessive watering to help the sand bed into the green. This has been treated and will grow out over time but unfortunately doesn't look great. 
The rest of the course is still looking good thanks to the hard work of the team. We are trialling a different way of cutting the approaches, with more work going into making the quality of turf better we have cut some with the surrounds mower to give a better visual impression leading up to the green. This may take too long to do so we may have have to compromise on which approaches we do. 

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Browsing through my old blogs I came across this post which I thought I would share once more while we are carrying out renovations to the greens to remind all why we are doing the work we are doing. It also illustrates progress we are making over the years.

Looking at the greens now, it shows how critical timing of the maintenance procedure is. Again tining of the greens done in  October as we did a few years ago showed very slow recovery and poor surfaces for a longer period. We have arguably been more aggressive this year, applied much more sand but seen fast recovery and good surfaces around 10 days after initial work. Obviously soil temperatures and day length are the influencing factors. 
Following the work on 1-18 we have had to replace the blades on one of the greens mowers. The abrasive nature of the sand we put on to the surfaces wears the metals at a much higher rate. To give you an indication, before the greens were sanded the blades lasted around 5 months, since cutting with sand on the surface they have lasted just short of a month. It is impossible to avoid some wear, thankfully with the use of a spare greens mower with old units on we have saved wear on the main mowers, otherwise it could have been much less than a month. The new blades should last until mid winter when the mowers will be striped down and fully serviced. 
A little different problem we have had this week is a herd of cattle escaped from a neighbouring field on to the course causing damage to the 22nd and 23rd greens. With maintenance planned for these greens next week we should be able to repair them. 

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Rest week( from tining anyway )

With 1-18 greens done and recovering well we are concentrating on a few of the cutting jobs which we have left over the past 2 weeks. 
We have had some severe down pours over the last few days, this again highlights areas for improvement, especially drainage of some 10-18 bunkers. Over the last few years we have made massive progress with drainage and the amount of time it takes for the course to become 'dry' after prolonged rain. We have a lot more drainage planned for this coming winter, including the 10th and 12th green, 13th tee areas and a drainage ditch around the driving range. 
To make time for the drainage planned we are starting to cut down all areas of long rough ready for the start of the leaf collection season. 
This will be collected up as and when it is cut. 
With cutting of all areas underway this week the course is still in great condition. 
Definition is really good and surfaces are in superb condition. If time allows we hope to treat 'rougue' weeds on tees, surrounds and fairways before the season is over. 

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.