From Ross Cook, Courses Manager: I think we can throw the calendar out the window this year, April was barren and cold and May has been wet, with below-average temperatures.
I talked last month about average temperature only being at 5c, when I would expect it to around 8c for April. In May, I would expect that to increase even further to 12c but we are only sitting at 9c. This all adds up to being around six weeks behind the calendar — the conditions we are seeing in May are more like a “normal” March. Warmer weather is on the horizon, however, so it won’t be too much longer before we can all enjoy the greens at their best again.
The course has come on leaps and bounds in the last month, it is amazing what a bit of natural rain can do. The greens have had a second spray of Nematodes to help reduce the number of leatherjackets. We have also been verti-cutting at -2mm every two weeks to bring the Poa seedhead to the surface, so it can be mown off to enhance trueness. This process will also increase density, encouraging the plant to thicken out, which will then help fill in the damage left by the leatherjackets.
We applied a granular fertiliser at the beginning of May that has improved the surface a lot. We only have a few greens on each course now that are behind in their recovery but we plan to top-dress them in the first week of June to fill in the remaining areas. The tees are also benefiting from a granular feed that is making them much stronger and allowing divots to repair quicker now warmer temperatures have arrived.
All fairways, semis and approaches are being sprayed with weed, feed and growth regulator in the first week of June. This has never been done before due to its vast cost and resource requirement but with the budget Get Golfing has provided we can now fit this into our monthly plan by outsourcing the spraying. Going forward this will be a monthly feature, with the weedkiller programme replaced by wetting agent.
Some of you might have noticed a lot of spraying carried out in the long rough a few weeks ago. This was a selective weedkiller spray, again something not done before due to budgets/resources, but this will be a massive improvement of our long rough areas both visually and playability wise.
The driveway has had a lot of work done to it in May, with the woodland on the right being cleared out and levelled, lots of bramble and scrub has been taken out from around the rhododendrons to further enhance the visual enjoyment when the plant flowers. The ditch along the roadside has also been cleared out allowing water to flow away quicker.
With competitions coming up thick and fast from mid-June onwards, our plan is to get all the maintenance work on the greens done in the first week of June, so that we can concentrate on presenting the courses and getting those greens like Augusta (again). Happy golfing and I’ll see you all out on the course very soon.