Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Micro tining

This week with dry conditions to start the week we are micro tining the greens. This is a process which creates minimal disturbance but greatly benefits the soil profile and in turn the health of the grass plants. The tines are 8mm diameter solid tines and go down to a depth of 125mm at 60mm x 50mm spacings. Once the greens are cut the surface is smooth as it was previously. The holes allow water and air in, harmful gases out, room for new roots to grow and should we topdress help intigrate sand into the surface. 

This process will be repeated in May.
Also we have tidied up any long areas of semi rough around the course. This is generally in areas with don't get traffic throughout winter. With not much growth else where there is little point in cutting any further areas. 
The final drainage project for this winter is underway. The area to the right of the 10th green and in front of the 13th tee has always been a wet spot so we are rectifying this with around 100m of new drainage. Should we have time another drain at the front of 15th green will be done however this isn't a priority.

Friday, 20 March 2015

First cut of spring

This week we have taken advantage of the dry conditions to get the course cut. Greens, surrounds, tees, fairways have been given a trim to tidy up any uneven growth which is typical for this time of the year. As soil temperatures rise and sunlight intensity increases growth overall will start to pick up. It also gives a little definition back after the winter months and bleached grass through cold weather. The fertiliser applications are kicking in, this week we have made the first liquid feed application to the greens. 
Spraying greens during a solar eclipse is a strange experience.
This week we have also been doing drainage work to the 14th fairway. A problematic wet spot has caused isses throughout winter so we have drained the area into an existing drain.

We have also levelled the top of the new 20th tee and brought in root zone to do the final capping layer before turfing in the next few weeks.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Hedge removal

The final stage of the 20th tee relocation is underway now. This week we have removed the final section of the thorn hedge along side the 20th tee. This is to allow machinery and golfers to access the new 20th tee once it comes into play. To compensate for the removal we are replanting a new woodland area over the next 2 years.

 Initial we are putting on some more pines and some evergreen shrubs to screen the range from the rest of the course. Then further trees are to be planted along with a new hedge row from the 19th green to the 23rd hole.
Some of our members might think this wasn't necessary however to complete the project the change was needed for maintenance of the ditch and turf, access for golfers and machinery, improving the drainage and airflow and safety of golfers. If anyone has any further questions the initial plans that were passed in 2012 and 2014 are availible to view or see me in person. 
The weather has been kind to us and enabled us to get out to cut and tidy a lot of areas. 
The new bunkers on 10 and 12 have been filled with sand but are gur until further notice. Looking well though. 

Friday, 6 March 2015

Busy week

This week we have changed our working hours to the summer routine. This means slightly longer days, earlier starts but gives us a lot more time to carry out tasks. First up was planting of a new hedgerow on the 23rd hole. The fence alongside this hole was in desperate need of repair. The cost of this would have been expensive and would have needed repair and replacement in the future, also erection would need to done from neighbouring land. The new hedgerow is thorn whips and stretching 100 meters. On the 23rd 650 thorn whips were planted, caned and guarded. A remaining 350 whips have been planted on the 25th where the perimeter fence is again deteriorating. The rest of the 25th hole will be done next winter. 
Another important task done on wed was to apply the slow release fertiliser to all fairways and some semi rough areas. This is a 6 month release product that will ensure the turf receives the nutrition it requires for the whole season. This was applied using a tractor mounted spreader and took around 6 hours. 
Copse work has continued, Adam and rob have been working over the last 2 weeks to thin out the dense copses on the course, mainly on holes 1-9. This will allow light and air into the woodland making the remaining trees healthier and allow more grass growth. It will also make maintenance quicker. 
We have cut greens and surrounds. Not a lot of grass on but tidied them up and have a little definition. 

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Ditch project coming to an end

The final 2 bridges were completed last week. Making a total of 5 bridges, all constructed 'in house' using reclaimed stone from off the course. Once built the backs were backfilled and turfed to contour into the surroundings. 
The remainder of bank sides were turfed also and root zoned where needed. Overall aesthetically the project has been a huge success. The team have worked on and off on the project since September last year and now complete is a great addition to the course set up. The other and more important advantage of the ditch is the increased drainage characteristic around the area. Noticed by a lot of members is the increased drain down time and drier surfaces. Hopefully other drainage ditches will be possible in the future.
On other areas of the course we have made a start on some tree work. Concentrating on thinning some of the over crowded copses on 3, 5/6 and 12. Some other areas may be possible depending on time.
We have also made an application of slow release soluable fertiliser to approaches, and all worn areas. This will be evident on the course when u see blue/ purple granules that will begin to smear when wet. This will release into the soil and be taken up by the grass plants when temperatures rise. 

Monday, 23 February 2015

Building bridges

Frosty days 

Last week saw the start of building the walls which make the ends of the crossing points on the new section of ditch from the range to the 17th. In total there are 5 walls to build. We are building them using washed stones from an old collapsed ditch wall behind the 12th. These are natural sandstones and will make the ditch a real natural feature in the years to come. 
3 walls down 2 more to go. Once finished turf will be used to finish the surface and continue to turf the ditch sides and then this winter project will be finished.
Other areas turfed has been the wet poor  patch on the 15th fairway that has recently been drained 
Today we have started to slit tine fairways and start clearing some small pines out from the 3rd copse. Hedge cutting continues at the 13th tee.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Soil profiles

When moving holes it is a good opportunity to look at the hole plug that is removed to visually check the thatch layer, rooting, aeration holes, affects of topdressing and colour of the soil profile(which can show any black layer or other chemical build up), other things that can be checked whilst the plug is removed is a simple smell test, this can tell you weather the soil, root zone and thatch layer is aerobic or not. If the sample smells of rotten eggs this can mean it is anaerobic, lacking in oxygen. A sweet smelling plug is aerobic and healthy. A more serious problem in the soil is black layer. Black layer appears as a black, foul-smelling continuous or discontinuous subsurface layer in turf grass root zones. Chemically, black layer is a deposit of metal sulphides, which form when hydrogen sulphide gas reacts with metal elements in the soil. For hydrogen sulphide to be released, the root zone conditions must favour the growth of sulphur reducing bacteria, which requires water and soil organic matter.
The organic matter provides the food for the microbes, and water keeps the microbes hydrated. Soils must be relatively anaerobic (low in air) since these sulphur reducing bacteria do not survive very well in well aerated soils. The anaerobic conditions can be caused by numerous factors such as compaction, excessive irrigation, organic matter accumulation, thatch build up, sulphur application or movement of colloidal particles. Coupled with this, sulphur must be available within the soil. The growth of algae is favoured by wet soils. Algae can produce substances that interfere with the movement of water in sandy mixtures, consequently reducing water movement, causing an anaerobic soil. 
After the work we have done to the greens over the previous years we have limited problems and continuous but less disruptive aeration will keep the root zone healthy. There are a few green which still require more work but the majority improving year on year.

There is no doubt we have still work to do but we are certainly taking them in the right direction.

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.