Thursday, 30 July 2015

And so it starts again

Now we near august we are gearing up for our annual greens maintenance program. To get all equipment prepared and correctly set up we first do the practice green. This is the size of around three greens and is also a good area to experiment and try new things if we so wish. 
The ends of this green are soil based however the middle is of root zone construction. So we hollow tined the whole green also we verti drained the soil based areas to relive compaction. 
Cores were then collected and the whole green sanded. 

We then seeded and brushed to get the seed into the holes before rolling. 

Next week we will be starting on 1-9, let's hope the weather is ok. 
We have one of the members, Dave sawdon helping us for a month whilst we are a little short staffed. After a morning of collecting cores he knows that being a greenkeeper isn't just sitting on a mower :)
Whilst I was moving holes I was checking soil profiles and thought it would be interesting to show what we face regarding drainage. On Tuesday we had a good amount of rain first thing, as many are aware some greens drain better than others. This isn't down to the top soil profile but what's deeper. Often greens that are built up are made from inferior soil that inevitably drains poorly. 
Below are 4 soil samples from 4 greens, 2 drain fantastically and 2 very poorly. Can you tell which are which?
Once the rain stopped we were open again without too much issue. The course however is now growing a lot more. 
By the way the poor draining ones were 2 and 3, firstly the soil is much more heavy, indicated by it sticking to the blade as the profile is removed and the black layer that is evident shows lack of oxygen within the soil causing little rooting, which can be seen from the bottom of the good samples. 

Thursday, 23 July 2015


Well it's all hands on deck this week as we head towards our maintenance weeks. We concentrating on the lower priority jobs that don't need doing as often, the reason being these won't need to be done again until our rest week on the 17th aug. This allows us to concentrate on the maintenance that needs to be done to the greens and the high priority weekly cutting jobs on the 18 holes that will be open during maintenance. 
So this week we have been clipping sprinkler heads, boxes and drain covers, finishing edging all the bunkers , strimming bits, cutting the lane pull ins, cutting rough in tree lines and copses, cutting intermediate rough and spraying greens with fertiliser, for moss and wetting agent( seperate applications of course). We still need to fly mo bunker faces, strim more bits and cut teesides next week before we get warmed up on the putting green. 
The greens we sprayed with selective herbicide have reacted well and the pearl wort is dying back. Grass growth should come back into these patches during the rest of the year. 
Yesterday was Rob Bakers last day here before he starts his new job. We wish him all the best. He has been a great team member and has worked hard over the 9 years he has been at the club. Replacing him isn't going to be easy but we think we have found a quality greenkeeper with a wealth of experience coming from a championship course. 
Sam Holtby is joining us at the end of august from ganton golf club where he has been during some major competitions over the last 10 years. 

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Bunker edging

With a full staff room this week we have started bunker edging. This is a fairly time consuming job most days this week we have had at least 3 people on the task.  At the end of Thursday all 1-18 bunkers are complete and the practice area. A fantastic effort in the heat.
The bunker is first shimmed around to remove any weeds or in growing grass. We often find rhizomes in the sand, if these are not cut and removed will lead to grass emerging in the bunkers. So it is important that this is done thoroughly. 
Next the edge is trimmed using a strimmer set at an angle. This takes a good eye as the edge needs to be neat and tidy. 
The debris cut off is then collected, the sand checked and moved if needed. 
Raked to finish and on to the next one. 
Other routine jobs continue, general conditions continue dry due to the severe lack of rainfall this year. In total to date we have only had 161 mm of rain this YEAR at Malton and Norton Golf Club. I think a record low for over 6 calender months. Irrigation use continues regularly on greens and tees and both are looking good. 

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Moss control

This week has been a little more relaxed for us, the busiest day was Wednesday when we had a York Union seniors event. After the preparation for that event we spent a lot of time tidying areas on the course, strimming bits and having a good clear out of our buildings and organising tools and equipment. An area which often gets overlooked when the pressures on to get grass cut and keep the course in the best shape possible but simply keeping tidy and organised gives greater efficiency long term. One area on the course we are needing to work on is moss control on some greens. The worst greens are on the 19-27 course. This is probably due to the thatch buildup which is difficult to get on top of due to limited time to scarify and topdress compared to greens 1-18. We plan to hollow core the worst greens during our maintenance weeks. However time and staff shortages will determine what we can realistically achieve. 
Above is a small patch of silver thread moss which has been treated the day before. Most of the moss we have is silver thread moss, however the chemical we are using to kill the moss will kill all types. After application of a product called mogeton the moss will turn from a silver colour to grey before turning orange. This indicates it has been killed before it can be scarified out. Silver thread moss is usually found on greens where close mowing heights are used frequently and it has an advantage over grass. It usually starts it's invasion on weaker areas of turf where moisture is higher than usual. Greens 10 and 12 have been sprayed and 19-27 will be sprayed this coming week. Greens 19-27 have also been sprayed for weeds, small areas of pearl wort is the main offender.
Generally the course is still in really good condition. 
All the team deserve a lot of credit at the moment. 

Monday, 6 July 2015


Before this weekend of storms things were beginning to get a little dry. The irrigation was being pushed to it's limit which brought inevitable breakdowns. 
This time a leak in the control box behind the 10th green. The leak damaged a coil on one of the valves making the electronic control not function. The box was repositioned and the leak fixed before the electronics tested. We also took the time to drain the box into a drain we installed this winter as this is a natural low spot.
Last week we had a tree fall down on the 6th hole. A willow that had become rotten at the base. The weight eventually pulling it down.
This was cleared within a couple of hours by the team. Luckily when it fell no other trees were damaged.
With the upcoming maintenance weeks getting nearer I thought I would remind all golfers when holes are due to be closed. 
Holes 1-9 will be closed from Monday 3rd august to Thursday 6th 
Holes 10-18 will be closed Monday 10th august to Thursday 13th
And holes 19-27 will be closed Tuesday 25th august to Friday 28th. 
I will cover more details on what we do within this period nearer the time, however this is a good example of the benefits of the work. Taken when moving the hole 
Sand penetrating down to the bottom of the plug with roots using the airspace to grow deep into the soil profile. This helps growth in dry conditions as water is less likely to evaporate the deeper in the ground. It also help drain water from the surface. This is critical to improving the lower soil profile which currently is soil based.
On Friday night we had the first of a series of storms. This one brought 20mm of rain. Fortunately the lightening strikes haven't done any damage to the course. It has greened things up nicely and the course is looking great. With growth restarted we have groomed greens and sprayed with growth regulator.
We have also scarified and cut surrounds. Ryegrass is starting to creep back into surrounds, scarifying helps lift the coarse ends to be cut. We are planning to spray them with rescue which helps remove rye grass. This will be done in September.
Bunkers also have been tidied after the rain.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015


Well the weather is certainly warming up, temperatures are rising and there is a little rain in the forecast. Over the last week it has been near 25° each day meaning the irrigation has been on each night. Added to the temperature has been a constant breeze which dries out the turf quickly. Sometimes extra water is needed on the turf throughout the day to keep it alive. Greens have been our main priority however when possible tees do get watered. 
Some shaded greens have had small spots of fusarium appear in the last couple of days. This is due to high humidity and prolonged wetness from over night watering. On the shaded greens the sun doesn't dry the surface as quickly as the others. This shouldn't need an application of fungicide as growth is fairly strong and with dry conditions shouldn't lead to any damage to the turf. Recovery will start within days as the poa will naturally thrive during this weather. 
The white ring is mycelium which is how the disease spreads from infected grass to uneffected grass.

Growth still continues in the semi rough however other areas are beginning to slow due to the dry conditions. We have been out to spray Semi rough for clover and other weeds. Most areas were covered during the spring application. however small areas are spot treated.
The entrance lane has been strimmed and blown and some of the new shrubs tidied around.

We have topdressed greens, surrounds and approaches, straight sand was applied as usual. This reduces thatch build up keeping the surfaces firmer, drain more freely and help reduce winter wear when ground conditions deteriorate. To help more concentrated wear areas we also apply heavier sand dressings in these areas. 
Following top dressing or was matted and washed in. Leaving a smooth finish. 
Surrounds also looking great.

Another branch has broken off the sweet chestnut tree at the 10th tee. This could be down to the age of the tree as branches break off on an annual basis.
Now we are into June the chafer grubs that we have such a problem with in the winter months regarding badger damage are turning into beetles and flying around. These are small bronze coloured bettles around 10mm long. Infected areas of turf obviously have a greater number of grubs  however they will fly far from where they emerged from.
We have filled in some low sections  around the 20th new tee so it can be cut more easily. This was our old turf nursery. A mobile sprinkler is being used to water the seed.
Unfortunately etiquette of some golfers leaves a lot of improvement. It's disappointing and becoming all to common to see unraked bunkers, trolleys taken through surrounds between bunkers and greens and pulled onto tees. It is a golfers responsibility to look after the course.
Finally we have had a demo grinder brought to the club courtesy of bernhard grinders. Scott Purdy ground all units on our 3100 using a spin grinding technique which is faster than our current method but needs doing on a more regular basis. A good machine to see and valuable information should we look at replacing our grinders at any point.
Overall the course is looking great and credit goes to the staff at malton and norton

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Greenkeeper vacancy

I'm sorry to be saying goodbye to a great greenkeeper and a truly nice guy Rob Baker, who after 9 years at the club is moving on to other things. He has worked his way up from a school leaver to be a fully qualified greenkeeper, mechanically competent and gained all other relevant qualifications. A strong team player who I wish the best of luck in his chosen career. Rob will be with us until the end of July when we are hoping to taken on a new member of staff.
Anyone interested in joining our team please contact myself on

The position is for a full time qualified greenkeeper working on a 27hole parkland course.  
On the course the weather has been more unsettled and the rain has made growth more consistent. The cooler temperatures and high humidity have sparked small areas of disease on the greens. This should grow its self out without need for fungicide application. We do have to be careful at this time of year for a disease called anthracnose. The last couple of years has been very severe so an early application of fungicide is better as a preventative than cure. Once this disease gets hold of the turf it is difficult to get recovery. 
This morning I noticed this patch of disease on the 12th green. On closer inspection it seems to be affecting the moss in the green more than the grass. Fusarium is always an issue when looking at humidity and prolonged leaf wetness. To regulate the growth we use plant growth regulators when needed this helps slowdown shoot growth and concentrates the grasses energy into root establishment. 
We are cutting every day to keep on top of growth in all areas. During periods of wet weather it is hard to get a good quality cut, this only encourages more growth in the future. At times long grass has to be blown using a tractor mounted blower this helps leave a clean finish. 

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.