Sunday, 7 February 2016

Paths, tracks and turfing

This is where we left off from the last blog   Started the 10th track going across the fairway. Wear from vehicles accessing the fishing lake have made quite a mess of it due to the lack of maintenance. We striped the old stone out on both sides before putting new stone in. We also lifted some turf to lower an area where water was being held on the track. 
A great job done by the team. 
We also finished the 20th bunker, turfing the filled in bit. This is gur until spring. 
This should make it a lot better to land a ball short to get to a front pin. 
The mounding at the rear of the 20th new tee has also been started to be turfed. 
Water is back in the ditches on holes 21-24 we were also able access the two greens surrounded by water. 
These haven't been cut since before Christmas. You can clearly see the benefits of hollow coring and aeration. The tine holes clearly visible by the stimulated growth caused by increased air. There obviously was quite a bit of grass on them. But they look great considering they have been partially submerged for 5 weeks. 
Unfortunately we have had one buggy user not abiding to the rules when using a buggy on the course. We review the course everyday for use of buggies on each hole. There are very strict rules which state where can be accessed and which areas can not. This is what happens when buggies go where they shouldn't. 
If this continues to happen then all buggies will be restricted more and more. The member that did this will be dealt with. It's not a matter of just the mess but there could be a serious risk of injury when driving in unsafe areas due to poor ground conditions. 
Elsewhere we are having a few alterations done to the clubhouse. Installing new windows and new decoration and furniture throughout. We have also had a fence put up around our shed, this is to improve safety of golfers around our facilities and increase security. There have been a number of incidents where golfers have walked in front of machinery when we are working around the shed. It was a direct access point to the short game area so we felt it was only a matter of time before an accident happened. The fence will force golfers through the new access points we have made to the short game area. 

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Time for a trim

As we finally get a period of drier weather we got on to the course to trim a few of the longer areas. We cut the remainder of the fairways that were dry enough. There are still some that are too wet to get on without causing damage. The height was set at 20mm for this cut as they were extremely long in places and the last thing I wanted to do is scalp or make more mess. 
We also got all the tees and surrounds cut. Again some very soft from golfer damage but the continued slow growth meant we needed to keep on top of growth. 
The greens are being hand cut at 5.5mm.  Some are softer than others. The wet areas of the course have really suffered over the last few weeks. These are hooped and roped off so please avoid them at all costs.  
Due to softer ground conditions pitch marks are really bad at the moment, golfers HAVE to repair all pitch marks as they will leave long term scars on the greens and will be a detrimental factor going into spring. It's is still unbelievable how some of them can be missed. The 18th green had over 20 unrepaired pitch marks yesterday from the weekends play. 
We have 10-18 holes closed this week so we are continuing with projects. The 10th track is our next job. Replacing and tidying the stone crossing the 10th fairway. 
The area at the end of the range is being tidied and all mounded soil levelled ready to be seeded in spring before a new boundary hedge is planted. 
The flood water has finally receded into the ditches leaving a little debris to clear and a very sticky area which will need time to dry out. 

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

20th green update

Yesterday we finished relaying the turf along side the 20th green. A great effort by the team. We lifted shaped and filled the bunker within 2 days. Luckily enough all finished before the rain this morning. 
The bunker was reduced, filled in with the soil from the hump. 
This is just to turf. 
The remainder of the turf laid
The alterations make the green much more accessible from the tee. The tree in front of the green has also been reduced in height to ensure it is not an issue in future years. 
The soil at the rear of the 20th tee has been shaped and that is to turf and seed in spring. 
Some areas of the course are beginning to get very wet and chewed up. Please stay away from these if possible. 
The practice net near the 1st tee has also been tidied as there was some wear on the net. 

Monday, 25 January 2016

20th green surround alterations

Today we started on the 20th green alterations. To give you a quick recap on what we have done so far to the 20th hole to change the tee position. 

Remove the hedgerow to the right of the current 20th hole. 
Dig a drainage ditch around the 20th tee and connect to the 17th. 
Build new bridges to connect the 19th green to the new 20th tee. 
Build 2 new tees using soil from the ditch excavation. 
Plant trees and shrubs to screen the range. 
Install irrigation to new tees. 
Restore path along side 20 th tee. 
We still have to
Lower mound to right of 20th green
Reduce size of right bunker 
Plant hedgerow from range to right hand side of 20th green to create new boundary. 
Shape waste soil from ditch excavation at rear of 20th new tee

So today we began to lower the mound. First the area was marked and turf lifted. 
The soil was then removed and put in the bunker to reduce the size of it. This is to make approach shots land fairly from the new tee angle, reducing the bunker will allow a bail out area for shots to the right of the green. 

The turf was then replaced 
A good start hopefully carry on with it tomorrow. 
Today we also put some iron sulphate on the greens before the wind got up. After the weekend when we had the sdga there are a number of areas chewed up and therefore a number of winter cups have been brought back into play. 

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Floods receed

This week has brought a little drier weather. Which is good for the overall condition of the course. We slowly have brought back the full greens in to play and now most holes are open. We have a couple of issues still. Firstly the 13th tee path was flooded due to the fishing lake which is behind it overflowing after the floods and covering the path. The level of the lake has slowly dropped and now the path is beginning to dry again. We also had severe frosts not long after the floods and where the water remained,froze causing safety issues for golfers. 
One real concern is the area around the 16th green. The surround and approach is saturated and the surface is becoming increasingly unstable. We think there are fundamental drainage issues, these need addressing over the next couple of years. We can't do any immediate work as firstly the land is too soft and secondly we need a primary drainage outlet to run any secondary drainage into. It is being discussed to install a drainage ditch across the 16th and towards the 15th ladies tee this is to be confirmed and any plans will be put to members before any work commences. 
This was the scene on holes 21-24 on Monday. 
Taken from the same place today. 
We finally have some improvement after nearly 4 weeks of flooding. 
Other areas looking better on the same flood area. 
Following the cold night on Wednesday night (-3) a lot of the water froze leaving ice everywhere. 
It did however give us oppertunity to finish leading stone to the paths we scraped off. 
The range path and the 20th path completed 

 We have started shaping the ski at the rear of the 20th new tee. This soil was put here following the new ditch excavation around the current 20th tee. It is all sub soil, mainly heavy clay and shale. So we are removing the good top soil beneath shaping the subsoil before covering with the topsoil. 
Alistair making a great job. 
On Tuesday we finally had an oppertunity to trim a few of the very long fairways. 19, 10, 12 and 9 all completed. I would like to have done a few more however an dropped pitch mark repairer jammed and damaged a unit bring our only oppertunty this week to a sharp halt. 
Some were incredibly long after such a mild autumn. 
The greens after getting cut have been knocked back slightly due to the cold weather, we hope to get some iron on to them soon. 

Friday, 15 January 2016

Course work and maintenance

The weather has finally turned cold and drier for the short term leading to some great sunny days of late where we have made good progress hand cutting greens, some of the surfaces are struggling due to the continued wet conditions, the drier greens look in good shape considering.

There was quite a lot of debris on some following another couple of windy days, this all hand to be hand blown before cutting. The bunkers were also blown clean and raked to help dry them out.

This week we have eventually started on winter projects, the ground still wet but just ok to start the change around the carpark/practice ground. On my last post I put the initial stages of the alterations, this is where we are up to now.

The shrubs removed and replanted on the corner of the practice ground, the entrance way shaped and stoned and now accessible for golfers. The new security fence will hopefully be erected next week.

The 19th path has been finished, the remainder scraped off and re-stoned, we have also extended the path for access to the practice ground from around the shop. Due to snow and freezing conditions this hasnt quite been finished.

We have also started tidying the range path up, again scraping off and restoning where needed.

We have then made a start on the path leading from the 19th green to the current 20th tee. Although this path wont be used by golfers as the main access point to the new 20th tee it will still be used for our access and for use during winter to the 20th winter tee. Other paths are planned but we hope to make a start on the 20th green surround alterations next week.

The flood water is still rising on our side of the defenses, it is slowly falling on the other side which is helping our situation. Hopefully next week after a number of dry days the floodgate can be opened to let off some of the flood water on our side and we can assess the damage it has caused.

This morning we were greeted by the first snow of this winter, only a scattering but a lot of ice from snow melt and the previous days rain. These conditions are the worst for turf damage as the surface may seem dry  due to the frozen ground, however as there is slight thaw through the day there is a sheering effect which causes permanent damage to the grass. Beneath the surface and ice the ground is still very wet, but is slowly drying again. We did get 1-9 holes back open on wednesday, disappointing and frustrating to take a step back once more with the recent rainfall and snow.

Other problems the weather causes us that golfers probably wont realise is ball collection on the range can be significantly hampered by freezing and wet conditions. The range balls get collected every week, so around 8000 balls a week are picked up by machine and washed, before they are returned to the dispenser. When the range outfield is very wet mud sticks to the balls clogging the washing machine and like this morning frozen mud and water on the balls makes it impossible to put them through the machine. In these circumstances we try our best to keep the machine topped up for golfers to use, so we have to bring them back to the shed to thaw in a warm workshop before returning them to the range.

In the workshop service is going well, the surrounds mower complete, we are cracking on with the semi rough mower. On these machines all oils are changed periodically, sharpened, air cleaners cleaned/ replaced, machine thoroughly cleaned and checked for faults and damage, tyre pressure checked and fully greased. This takes time but we have well trained staff to deal with the demands of maintenance.

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.