Friday, 27 November 2015

A lot to catch up on

Another busy week at the office. Lots going on around the course, finally I have chance to catch up. The weather has been up and down. Initially the week started colder with a couple of grass frosts. The frost didn't penetrate into the ground so went after around 9am each day. The picture below highlights why the front putting green is prone to disease. 
The edge nearest the clubhouse is clearly not frozen like the rest of the green. I believe this is because the clubhouse reflects any heat and light creating a slightly different microclimate in this region. As this strip is always slightly warmer and therefore more dewy and less likely to freeze disease pressure is higher. 
Other reasons we find problematic greens on the course is shade. Whilst working around the 5th green it was an ideal oppertunity to show the problems we face. At just past midday this is as much sun this green gets at it's highest point. 
The green is surrounded by trees and is on a north facing slope. The worst combination for shade and air circulation. This often leads to prolonged surface wetness and poor grass quality over the winter months. When we have snow cover these shaded greens can be covered in snow and ice weeks after the rest of the course is clear. 

On the course we have been busy tidying leaf and other debris from trees after the sting winds of last weekend. Most of the greens are remaining clear however we then work around the greens in the semi rough ensuring any remaining leaves are not left to sit in the grass which would effect long term growth. This is done with a combination of back pack blowers and the tractor mounted blower. 
We are making a start to tree pruning right across the course. This is a long process which involves assessing each tree and removing low and hanging branches. This is to ensure machinery can access all areas and golf can be played without to many restrictions. We will also remove any dead and unwanted trees once pruning is complete. 
Elsewhere we have continued with turf repair on bunker faces. Concentrating on the 3rd, 4th and 7th holes. Removing turf that is damaged or worn and replacing it with new. These bunkers will remain gur until spring.
We have been having issues with buggies creating unnesacery damage on the course along with other non golf maintenance vehicles. Please can all buggies users stay away from wet areas only use the buggy to travel to the vicinity of the ball then look on foot and start and stop the buggy carefully. 
The last 2 days have been great, let's hope for a few more of afternoons like this

Friday, 20 November 2015

Steps upgrade.

This week has seen a mixed bag of weather. Starting very wet and windy before settling towards the end of the week. The heavy rain we reviewed at the start of the week has accumulated making areas very sticky. It also has swelled the river derwent flooding holes 21-24. This is an annual problem once things get wet down there it stays wet for quite a while. When this happens we use the remainder of the holes on the derwent loop and try and make an 18 hole loop using another 9 and 3 holes on the remainder of the course. For example this week we have had holes 1-9, 19, 20, 24-27 and 16-18 open. This means we can still close some holes to work on uninterrupted.  
So this week we have fixed a drainage issue we have been having on the 10th fairway where an old drain had become blocked. Sam and rich doing a great job. 
Alistair and Matty have started work on replacing the green matting on the 2nd steps. This was becoming slippy and covered in moss. 
This is to finish next week. 
It's good to see the aeration holes on the greens full of roots when taking a core. The slit tining is also creating lots of new roots. 
Finally colin our greens chairman has been very busy putting heat shrink on the traffic management hoops to make them more visible during winter. A great job. 

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Start of winter

Well after a long run of mild weather it would seem that the normal weather for November is finally coming for the weekend. It looks like we are in for a spell  of cold windy and potentially sleety weather. This is going to slow growth right down. Not only that should reduce disease pressure and remove the last of the leaves clinging to the trees. 
Most of the leaves are now down and have been collected, the strong winds are blowing what's left around the course which then have to be blown clear of playing surfaces. The team are still out daily ensure we can keep the course in the best condition possible. 
Obviously greens, tees and fairways are the priority areas so bunkers have been raked less due to time. To rake the bunkers all debris needs to be removed first so we are currently doing the once a week. When debris and leaves reduce then we can then rake more often. 
The bridge has been installed on the 21st and looks good. Another one has been made for the 1st and will be installed soon. 
Vertidraining if fairways has started on holes 10-18 whilst they are closed this week. These are done with 12mm tines at 50mm x 100mm spacings using a lot of heave to decompact the soil from this years play and maintenance. Some wet fairways will be done on holes 1-9 next week. 
Greens and surrounds have been sprayed with seaweed, bio stimulants and iron to strengthen them going into this cold spell. 
The only cutting we have done this week is to greens and surrounds. Just to keep them tidy. 

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Crazy weather

We are now well into November and growth still continues. The mild temperatures coupled with recent heavy rainfall has created perfect growing conditions. According to mark hunts weather blog the warmest November for a number of years. 

I'm not going to repeat the same infomation in every blog, however maintenance is still made very difficult. Fortunately the course has dried out well after receiving nearly 25 mm of rain over the weekend. 
The stronger winds have also shifted a lot of the remaining leaves from the trees, now to clear up. 
This week we have cut fairways again, taking the driest days to start cutting. 
This week we have Neville Maw our regular hedge cutting contractor here to cut all hedges and ditches on the course. Following the 3 days he is here cutting we then have a number of areas that will need hand cutting. 
We have removed the bridges across ditches on 1st and 21st as they were becoming unsafe. They have been reclad and covered in matting to prevent slipping during wet conditions. Alistair and Matty gave done a fantastic job. 
Greens have been slit tined again, this helps create new stronger rooting, making healthy top growth. 

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

November trim

We are in to November but it certainly isn't November weather. The last few weeks has been very mild with the highest recorded temperature of 21 degrees recorded in Wales. The highest for a number of years. It seems like the seasons are shifting as the startif the year gave cold spring like conditions in June. Now in November grass is still growing like in September. This time of year makes it really difficult to get large areas cut. As mentioned in previous blogs leaves have to be blown clear first but also as the weather worsens the course gets softer and makes cutting messy with potential damage caused to playing surfaces. Today we have cut semi rough on 1-9 as these holes have been closed once more to carry out maintenance. Long and dry areas were only cut to prevent any damage going into winter. Also cut has been the remainder of bunker faces. Followed by a blow out and rake. 
As mentioned 1-9 is closed for the next few days as we are carrying out slit tine aeration to the greens. This process cuts through the surface with very narrow metal tines which also slices roots and creates air spaces in the root zone. Cutting the roots creates new root growth with in turn supports new healthy grass growth. It doesn't disrupt the surface making the impact on golf minimal. When holes 10-18 are closed next week they too will be slit tined. 
Continuing is leaf clearance. A round up of leaves fallen from over the weekend shows just how fast they are falling. 
Some areas are completely covered. If they are not cleared in time then grass damage could occur. Fortunately the team have been out in force over the last two days to round and pick them up. This will continue over the rest of the week. 

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Even more leaves

We had leaf issues last time I updated this blog however since then they have intensified. Stronger winds and trees that have turned autumnal are shedding leaves faster than ever. Every day we continue to battle against them. 
The problem being the winds are moving them constantly so greens and tees are being covered throughout the day. Firstly this causes issues with playability but secondly we struggle to cut grass when there is so much debris around. We have to have blowers directly infrint of any cutting machine. With milder temperatures continuing growth is still continuous. 
All areas could do with a trim to tidy them up. We have sprayed winter tees with worm suppressant and the greens have been sprayed with a preventative fungicide and a bio stimulant. All trees and rough areas have been strimmed and tidied. We have the hedge cutting contractor coming in a weeks time to trim all hedge rows and trim ditch sides. 
The rest of the worn areas have been solid tined to relieve compaction. We will be starting on the worst fairways in the next couple of weeks before starting tree pruning. 

Friday, 23 October 2015


Well we have reached the point where leaves are falling faster than we can pick them up. The cold nights couple with a couple of windy days has started the mass fall. Cold nights naturally make the trees go into storage mode, when they start keeping the energy in the tree ready for the spring where new leaves and fruits will be formed. This caused the leaves to loose there vigour and detach themselves from the tree. The colder it gets the more they turn. Some trees loose them before others. But the majority now are turning and dropping leaves daily. 
We are out with blowers daily but it's a long process when you have 10s of thousands of trees surrounding the course it's not easy. Please use the leaf rule to keep play moving smoothly. 
Grass is slowly growing still so we are out cutting. This week we have cut tees, fairways, greens, surrounds and approaches. All areas are looking good for the time of year. 
The lawn sand we applied to 19-27 greens has turned the greens darker and the iron has started acting on any moss. 
Tees have now been tined. 
And bunkers blown out, tidied and raked. 

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.