Friday, September 6, 2019

September has certainly arrived with a bang with some almost summer like conditions this week.  It was a shame that we had the smoke haze to dull down the days but it was a great week.  We use a growth regulator product around the course at various times of the year and for various reasons that are not always associated with growth regulation.  Normally in late September the product is used to prevent the couchgrass in the fairways from setting a seedhead which is quite unsightly and also very difficult to mow off.  That application went out this week and is an indication of the movement in plant life with the warmer than normal winter and now start to spring.  The earliest I have been previously was September 18.

The results of the root pruning is starting to show with some quite distinct lines showing up around the courses.  One of the negatives is the amount of weed that has germinated in the sliced areas which just shows how opportunistic plants are when presented with a seedbed.  We were trying to do some more pruning this week down the side of 4W which was apparently an old tip site at one stage with all manner of car parts and even cars not that far under the surface.  Further back on 4W we earlier unearthed a starter motor of all things but where we were this week must be a car as it stalled the machine!!

A distinct root prune line on RHS 9W.
And a great photo below from a member this week who noticed a couple of Bush Stone  Curlews watching them play from 1W tee.  This from the Tweed Council webpage about them;  In NSW, the Bush Stone-curlew has been listed as an Endangered species which means that it is likely or is in immediate danger of becoming extinct. Estimations show that only 1000 breeding pairs are left in NSW (and declining) and all efforts are needed to ensure the long term survival of this wonderful bird.
Interested spectators.

Friday, August 30, 2019

And now spring is just days away although the way the weather has been I doubt you could say we have had winter.  The fairways in particular have held their color very well and although it is not warm enough for any really active growth we are just getting a little bit.  One of the good show points for this is 12R fairway where there are normally a sea of divots come the end of winter and this year there are not as many as in previous years.
A very busy week on the courses with nearly 90 tonne of sand being added to the West course bunkers this week.  This replaces the sand that is blown out by wind but moreso the sand that is displaced during play.  We do a process known as "backfacing" in the bunkers which involves manually dragging sand back down off the face of the bunker and back in to the floor of the bunker from the exit point where sand gets dragged to with the rake when it is used by players.  The sand added this week also makes access to the bunkers easier but probably won't help players get out any easier although it does make the bunkers more playable.  I have used the photo below previously to show just how much sand can be moved in the playing of a shot.  River course bunkers will be attended to later in September.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Well not much for me to report this week as I have been home convalescing and it was good to get back on the course today.  I must say I didn't mind missing Wednesday morning when the morning temperatures dropped low enough for some reasonably widespread areas of frost to form.  The gusty change that blew through on Thursday evening wasn't really what we wanted as we prepare for the final round of the Club Champs tomorrow.  Another good run at the River course this afternoon meant that it is pretty tidy all things considered and with light winds predicted tomorrow both courses will be in great condition. 
You may have noticed a small pump down on the RHS of 15R this week which is used to pump some groundwater samples up for testing as part of our monitoring operations of the use of recycled water under our agreement to pump with the Council.  We also do a number of soil tests at the same time.
Pump RHS 15R.
The mulching contractor is now on site to remove the pile of tree debris on LHS 6R.  His grinding machine is quite large and needs the ground down there to be dry so as to not get bogged.  I have had him booked to come since January and every time he was set to come it would rain again and we would have to postpone the works.
Next week will see some sand being added to bunkers around the courses.  This sand replenishes the sand that has been played or blown out of the bunkers and is only added to the base of the bunker in the playing area.  It is the same sand we have been using here at Cool Tweed for probably the past twelve years and is indeed the mix that is used on the majority of golf courses in SE Qld.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Well week one of club champs and the Pro am week are now done and dusted and club director Scott Mayo's par round last Saturday may well be as good a round as I have heard of at Cool Tweed given the wind conditions.  That certainly was a tough day at the office once the wind got up.  Another course closure after the vets on Thursday afternoon gave us the chance to get a lot of prep work done for the Pro am.  We cut and rolled the greens in front of play and only just made it as the photo shows below with all hands on deck to get the last green prepared for play with players already at 5R tee in the background.
Players already on 5R tee but we made it.
With the weather conditions we are having we are nearly in full irrigation mode although as mentioned last week the shaded areas are still soft and wet.  The turf still isn't really actively growing just yet as soil temperatures stay low.  I mention shade fairly regularly and it just isn't possible to have quality turf with the amount of shade we have.  The photo below shows 4R green with the shade persisting in the back RHS corner.  Next time you play the hole have a look at how weak the turf is in this area.  The other photo is of 18W tee where there is some blue couch down the front of the tee.  This area of the tee is heavily shaded and often stays wet with the dew on windless days.  Those round circles in the photo are disease patches which thrive in those conditions.
Rear 4R green shade.

Front 18W tee disease.
Some of the root pruned areas are looking very successful so that will be continuing next week.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Not a lot to report this week with the huge week of golf that is conducted by the Veterans completed.  Combined with member play and a busy Friday afternoon timesheet there were more than 1200 players play the West course from Monday to Friday!!  As usual all credit to the players in the Vets comp and the volunteer spotters and rakers as the courses are always left in clean and tidy condition.
The courses are drying out and some rain would be welcome any time it would like to arrive.  One of the difficulties irrigating at this time of year in lower temperatures is that too much water gets put on to the shaded side of the fairways.  A perfect example below on 5R fairway where there is a very dry area in the busy walkway next to the bunker but the left side of the fairway where it is heavily shaded is still quite wet.  There is a sprinkler in the middle of this area which if operated would make the left side of the fairway wet.  You can almost see a line down the middle of the fairway where the shade line is.  This happens on almost all east / west aligned fairways that have shade on the northern side.

5R fairway.

Friday, August 2, 2019

And just like that it was August.  July 2019 did finish up being the warmest on record although the southerly breezes this week certainly cooled things down.  A very busy week of golf on the courses meant quite a bit of shed time was spent painting, cleaning and servicing machinery.  We did start a program of tree trimming which consists of clearing low hanging branches and the removal of a lot of suckers and small trees growing in and on other trees.

We also had to replace the floodgate at RHS 1R, part of which was only replaced 6 months ago.  Unfortunately the best material to construct it from is aluminium to prevent rust and so it was stolen to obviously be cashed in.  They were certainly well prepared as the top grate was actually bolted down and the bolts sheared off to try and prevent the theft.  The replacement will need a crane to move it so hopefully it will stay in place.

Hopefully immovable?

The forecast included some rain this week which wasn't quite right although further south Byron Bay certainly got their share.  It did start to rain a little this morning and I snapped this beautiful rainbow over Banora Point from 18W green. One of the joys of having a golf course for your office.


Friday, July 26, 2019

Another week of glorious weather and I read that July 2019 is poised to be the hottest month the world has ever recorded.  The warmest July on record for Brisbane was actually last year but that also has a chance of being beaten this year.  This time last year I was in Iceland in the middle of summer and it never got above 10 degrees so at least they help keep the averages down!!

The fertiliser that was applied to the River course greens certainly got a response with quite a bit of leaf being put on them this week.  The River course was closed on Thursday afternoon to allow us unhindered access for maintenance and we took the chance to de-thatch the greens.  It is quite unusual to do this in July but we got a great result.  A lot of dead and decaying leaf matter was pulled out and the greens got a great chance to "breath".  The photo below shows some of the material removed and there is not much green coloured leaf matter in there which is just the result we were after.

Primarily dead material removed.

It is still quite cool in the shade and the northern side of any east - west running fairways are still very thin due to the shading effect of the trees.  I snapped the photo below of 11R fairway at 1.35pm on Tuesday afternoon and you can still see the wheel marks in dew even though the sun had been out all day and the temperature was in the low 20's.  Further up the fairway near the players you can see much greener fairway grass that gets much more sunlight.

Dew still on the ground @ 1.35pm.

As mentioned last week a very busy golfing schedule over the next two weeks.  The Queensland senior amateur next week for three days followed the next week by the Vets week of golf means that our access to the courses is limited and restricted primarily to course set up only on the course being used for the event.  It's all been done before though and we welcome the challenge to present the courses as good as can be to the many visiting golfers.