Friday, November 20, 2020

A windy and messy week on the courses with the Gum trees losing a lot of leaves and bark which is natural for this time of year.  At least we don't have deciduous trees like the southern States where they really do make a mess.  A friend of mine on a course with such trees commented to me once that ''people who say they love the colours of autumn have never worked on a golf course raking them up''!!

The West fairways got fertilised as planned on Tuesday and for a little while on Tuesday afternoon it looked like we were going to get an unexpected storm but it unfortunately fizzled.  So we had to rely on the irrigation system to water it in which isn't perfect but that's the way it has to be.  The motorised buggy traffic also breaks a lot of the fertiliser up which again isn't perfect but unless we close for a few days, can't be avoided.  The problem with the buggy traffic is that it breaks the coating that is on each individual granule and releases the fertiliser earlier than required. They also cause a bit of a burn as they drive over the fairway as per the picture below.


Wheel burn on 7W fairway.

Some even got picked up and tracked acoss 16W green

The recovery of the unwanted green couch in 1R green really accelerated with the warmth of last weekend to the point that we are not going to be able to control it.  As the picture of the rhizome showed last week the depth of where the shoots are coming from makes it impossible to hand weed them out.  After consultation with Golf Management Committee it has been decided to excavate the perimeter of the green out and refill with fresh material as per the operation on the West greens and then stolonise.  This will remove all the rhizomes and ensure that it is weed free.  These works are proposed to commence on Monday December 30. 

And I was reading some old golf journals during the week and came across this classic photo of a very classy follow through.  What really caught my eye though was the footwear??!!

Good follow through.

Not on my greens thanks!!



Friday, November 13, 2020

We got another uneven result from the recent application of growth regulator to the fairways which was done in the last week of October.  We had a problem with the previous application and thought it was solved but alas it wasn't.  The difficult aspect is that it takes two weeks for the result to become evident so it is hard to know what has and is happening but we think we are on to it this time.  It is frustrating as we have used the same machine / technology since 2004 and never had the problem before and have probably sprayed eight times a year since then.

18W fairway streaks.

1R green has put on some leaf at last but as mentioned last week is much slower than expected.  We did a little bit of investigation this week by removing some plugs from the green and unfortunately found some rather juicy couchgrass rhizomes 50mm under the surface.  We can only try and keep painting herbicide on to any new invasive shoots while we wait for the 328 grass to start moving and cover in.

Rhizomes next to arrows.


The weather is now warming up to the stage that we should start to get some growth in the fairways and to assist that the West course fairways will be fertilised next Tuesday weather permitting.  The extra motorised buggy traffic with the Covid rules and extra play has really put some strain on the fairways in particular with wear at an all time high in my time here.


Friday, November 6, 2020

8mm in the storm last Saturday afternoon / evening was certainly most welcome.  Despite all the predictions of a wet summer we are still pretty dry at the moment.  As mentioned previously the constant overnight wind has quite an adverse effect on the operation of the sprinklers so a couple of calm nights would be much appreciated.  Some of the roughs, particularly Kikuyu areas have started to grow, and I was asked this week why we don't apply growth regulators to the roughs.  Well on some of the shorter rough we can and do but on the longer rough there is what is known as a ''spray shielding effect'' which is when the length of the grass prevents the spray solution from being able to penetrate through the canopy and make contact with the leaves as required.

The grassing of the edges at 1R green are progressing much slower than anticipated.  There is also the problem of rhizomes of the foreign couchgrass now popping their heads up as can be seen in the photo below.  It appears that we got an excellent kill of all the surface leaf / plant matter but as the rhizomes tunnel under the surface then sprout we weren't able to make contact with them.  The one below is a good 75cm into the green.  We have been painting them to try and control them but time will tell if they get too invasive again.  The ball in the top photo is next to a shoot from a rhizome and the lower photo is a close up, which also shows how much new 328 growth there is which is hard to see from standing so that is encouraging.  It just needs to grow!!

Distance from the edge.

Close up of the new shoot.


Friday, October 30, 2020

A great week of storms and subsequent rainfall for the courses with just over 80mm of rain falling on the courses and what a difference it has made, particularly to the fairways.  Although I think we were lucky not to get the storm on Thursday afternoon which had some pretty serious hail come down.  See the radar below.  The roughs have also started to grow and we haven't really had this amount of heat, humidity and rainfall concurrently for a couple of seasons.  


An application of growth regulator went out on the fairways this week to try and slow them down.  The growth regulator not only slows the growth down it also helps the plant green up and become more resilient.  It has also been proven that it aids in divot recovery and also increases root growth which I have witnessed firsthand.  A few years ago when we had the bentgrass greens I was applying the product as a trial on the nursery.  I commented to the rep that I couldn't really see much difference on the surface so was unsure about the benefit.  We took a couple of core samples and washed away the soil to expose the root system and the result is in the photo below with the incredible difference in roots in the treated area on the left.

The River greens are now back down to normal mowing height and will receive a sanding on Monday to help level the surface out.  The greens probably won't be mown for a few days while the sand settles in next week.  The West greens renovation has been postponed due to the Club hosting the NSW Open qualifying event which is known as the Tweed Coast Open.  It also includes a Pro am on Sunday December 13 and 36 holes of qualifying on the Monday and Tuesday following.  The West course will still be closed as planned on Monday November 23 to allow us to do a light ''mini renovation'' in preparation for the event.  Given the lack of tournament play available for Pro's in the Covid world you would think it would be a pretty good field with $50,000 on offer.


Friday, October 23, 2020

We received 48mm in the downpour that accompanied the storm last Sunday night but unfortunately the bulk of the water ran off and was of little benefit to our dry soil profiles.  Our predominantly sand profile is a great advantage when you get the rains but when they don't come it is nigh on impossible to keep enough water up to the fairways in particular.  The 7mm that we received on Thursday was a very different matter though with just about every drop soaking in.  A pretty wet looking forecast for the next few days and into next week so hopefully there will be some rainfall there for us.

We took advantage of the rain and got some fertiliser out on the tees and some of the wear areas so that should hopefully see some green up.  It is still too cool, especially the soil temperatures, to really get some serious growth happening but with the humidity today it may only be just around the corner.  The River greens are recovering well and the same goes for them regarding the soil temperatures so recovery will be a little slow.

1R green surround looks good with a lot of shoots showing already.  It's only a week since planting and I would like to think by this time next week there should be a lot of leaf starting to happen.

There has been a lot of talk about bunker raking throughout the golfing world since the start of the pandemic and the age old discussion of rakes in or out of the bunker has been at the forefront.  Well a golfer in Melbourne has come up with a potential solution by developing a ''personal golf rake'' that fits neatly into a golf bag and even comes with a head cover.  The rake head folds down snug along the extendable handle and it just slides in your bag. Who knows if they will become the ''new norm''?


Friday, October 16, 2020

A highly successful River greens renovation early this week and then the unexpected rain on Wednesday morning was just what we wanted and the 10mm in a couple of heavy showers settled the greens in nicely.  It was also great for the fairways as they were starting to dry out although a lot more than 10mm is required to really get the courses going but I am certainly not complaining.  It had been twenty five days since we had any rain which is very unusual for us even though we have been dry over the last couple of years in general.  It is not as bad as August and September 2017 when we had just one fall of 4mm for the two months.

The outer edges of 1R green were over planted on Wednesday as planned and it seemed to be a very successful operation and it is now a matter of wait and see just how much comes up.  It will take up to twelve weeks to get a full cover on the area.

The last application of growth regulator to the fairways has had a very unusual response and there are some ''streaky'' lines apparent on many of the fairways.  To be honest we are not sure exactly what happened as the sprayer is one of our most reliable machines and seemed to operate as per normal.

Stripy effect on 1W fairway.


Friday, October 9, 2020

The north wind that we have had this week has really dried the courses out and we really do need some rain so hopefully one of the scattered storms in the area this afternoon makes its way to Cool Tweed..  The way the leaves are dropping off the trees is a good tell tale sign that the trees are struggling for moisture as well.

It's that time of year again with the River greens renovation scheduled for next week.  The weather forecast has no rain in it so we should get a good run at them.  The dry does mean that the sodium levels are through the roof and the greens are under some stress already.  We were in a similar dry period last year and the greens really took a hit although we are going a month earlier than last year so the weather is also somewhat cooler and that will slow recovery as well.  You really need to have good soil temperatures to aid recovery with warm season turfgrass.

The greens will be scarified in at least four directions up and back on the same line and the de-thatched up and back in up to two directions.  The photos below show the scarifier and de-thatcher heads.  The scarifiers will be set at 5mm depth and the de-thatchers at 3mm depth.  The greens will then be hollow tine aerated with 10mm tines and will only penetrate 50mm.  With the undulations in the greens this is hard to do as the machine naturally shifts up when travelling over mounds.  Following the aeration the greens will have some amendments and fertiliser added and the quantity and type will vary depending on the green and applicable soil test results.

On Wednesday next week we will be planting the edges of 1R green with some cores and stolons so the green will be out of play for four weeks while the turf establishes.  It should take about twelve weeks to attain full cover but the area will be playable whilst it is growing in after the initial four weeks.  The reason we need to close the green is it will require constant irrigation to ensure the new material survives and starts to grow and to prevent foot traffic from having a detrimental effect.

De-thatcher heads 

Scarifier heads.

Hollow tine heads.