Friday, December 7, 2018

Another windy week with much of our time spent clearing tree debris from the courses.  The forecast is for the wind to continue so our efforts at keeping the courses clean will continue.  We need to do it to allow some light to reach the plant to allow it to grow and also to protect the mowers, particularly the greens and tees mowers.  Our rotary type mowers in the roughs and intermediate cuts are fitted with mulching kits to allow the debris to literally be smashed up.

We also stared the West course greens renovations with the collars being scarified and aerated.  The two days we have next week to complete the renovation isn't enough time for us to get these done as well.  Here's hoping for some fine dry weather on Monday and Tuesday.

A quiet day on the West course on Thursday gave the opportunity to get some fertiliser out on the fairways and nearly 4 tonne of a custom blend slow release was spread.  Unfortunately no rain of any substance to follow so it will be up to the irrigation to wash it in.

And a weird finish to the week with a fox getting caught in the course boundary fence.  She wasn't very appreciative of the bolt cutters being used to cut the wire and was gnashing away at us but was eventually freed although with a nasty gash on the leg.

Looks fairly placid but looks could kill!!


And I found this classic golf photo in my readings this week.

Might be hard to see in the fog!!
 

Friday, November 30, 2018

It's starting to get very dry again and with the higher temperatures being experienced the courses are starting to show the effects with some dry areas appearing.  We have been here and worse before and it only needs some rainfall to bounce back but the forecast doesn't look good.  Two likely looking storms have brewed during the week with no result including one on Friday afternoon.

Looked good for some rain on Friday but.....


The River greens are coming back from the renovation well with mowing heights back to normal.  It is a tough time to lower the heights and restore the surface with the sand always causing the blades to lose their cut.

River greens on their way back.


The West greens have been uneven of late and that has been caused by a patchy response to fertiliser.  The greens are fed up prior to renovation to hopefully assist with recovery but they have taken the applied fertiliser in a very inconsistent manner.  TifEagle is a grass that can thatch up very quickly which is undesirable so fertiliser is applied judiciously to assist in preventing that along with cultural practices like sanding and de-thatching.  It takes about 7 - 10 days for the effect of a fertiliser application to become apparent and so it's not an easy thing to do quickly without causing a surge in growth.  Greens 9 and 13 have had a different fertiliser type applied and have responded better than the others although this type of fertiliser has been thought to be one of the causes of disease in the USA.  The greens are expected to come through the renovation with a much better even surface.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

An early post this week as I am off for a weeks R & R and some golf watching at Royal Pines thrown in so no post next week.

It seems an eternity ago that we started the River greens renovation but alas it was only last Sunday.  It still amazes me how much work gets done in the 2 days we have the greens to ourselves and is a credit to the crew.  The light showers we got on Sunday evening and again on Monday morning were quite an annoyance as although there it barely wet the ground it was enough to start the sand to start sticking which means the job takes a lot longer.  The photo shows the first pass of the scarifiers on 3R green.  Depending on the green this was done anywhere between 6 and 9 times per green up and back on the same line.  The greens then had a de-thatcher run over them which is a similar machine but with closer spacings of the blades resulting in a finer cut / slice.  The greens were then mown and cored with the cores rubbed back in to the surface and then the "chaff" blown off.  Another mow and some fertiliser then a sanding with another top up sanding put out this morning.

The reno begins...

As mentioned last week some of the foreign couchgrass in the River greens had been sprayed out and this week we took on the tedious task of plugging those areas out.  Nearly 200 x 9 inch square plugs were done and look to have come up very well.  The idea is that as the greens recover from the renovation the patches will blend in to the surface. 

Oh and if you watch some of the World Cup this week at Metropolitan GC and wonder how they get their bunker edges the way they do......look below for the staff member cutting them with a knife!!  Any runners are generally trimmed with scissors!!

Attention to detail gone wild!!
 

Friday, November 16, 2018

I mentioned a little while back that the new TifEagle on the West greens was "birdproof" from the Corella's who randomly attack 5, 6 and 7 West greens.  Unfortunately that is not the case anymore with damage to the greens this week.  Normally if the flagstick is out of the hole that's enough to keep them away as they seem to like swinging around on it.  It only seems to happen at certain times of the year so hopefully they will stop soon.  It is bad but there are other club's where an entire green can be destroyed.

6W hole on Friday morning.


An issue in the pump shed had me  spend a bit more time there than usual and I heard a splash in the pump well inside the shed.  On closer inspection I saw this monster of an eel that had got past the filter somehow and into the inlet pipe.  It wasn't too impressed about being caught either but is now somewhere in the Tweed River!!

Catch of the day.



River greens renovation will start on Sunday afternoon.  This is a major undertaking and one that we need fine weather for so here's hoping.  It's not something we like doing but is certainly something that needs doing.  We are one of the few club's in SE Qld that only do one renovation per year with most opting for another in late summer as well.  This year will see us scarify the greens up and back in at least six directions followed by a hollow aeration with 8mm tines.  Then its time for some fertiliser topped up with some sand that has been amended with some humate and gypsum.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Another big week on the courses with a huge amount of work achieved in amongst a fairly busy week of play and what seemed like deja vu with the wind making a mess of the courses.  A strong northerly was met by a stronger southerly on Thursday that is the messiest wind we can get, particularly when it is as gusty and blustery as it was.

Tree stumps around the courses have now been removed and repaired and another application of growth regulator applied to the fairways.  Some herbicide was also added to the growth regulator mix but at just low rates which has only caused a minor burn.  A higher rate was trialled on a few West course fairways as well for control of Paspalum and some Crowsfoot.  The fertiliser application to fairways mentioned last week didn't happen but the painting of the foreign Couchgrass in the River greens certainly did.  Mainly the back 9 were done this year and if it proves successful the front 9 will be included next year.  The greens on both courses were also sanded this week which includes some humate and gypsum to help bolster the greens.

Literally painting the weeds!!


The turf has been laid on the two tees mentioned last week with the Zoysia going down on 7W and the TifTuf on 18R tee.  Both have already taken very well with the Zoysia much faster than expected.  The tees will be hand mown until they are down to normal height.


18R tee freshly laid.

And in the "really??" file from this week!!!!  Maybe a lesson from new Pro Simon is in order so you can get out in one and have enough energy to pick up the rake??

First player in after raking.....

And very sad news again this week with the passing of a Superintendent colleague and friend in Florida.  Steve Wright was the Super at Pine Tree GC in Boca Raton and hosted our group that travelled there earlier this year.  He was one of the most popular and accommodating fellows in the industry which was demonstrated by no hesitation in inviting us to play the very private club.  Steve passed suddenly last Sunday and will be sorely missed by the industry and his plethora of friends and peers. 


 

Friday, November 2, 2018

Another very busy week on the courses that started with a massive clean up following the very strong winds from last week end, particularly Sunday night.  It was hard to believe it was the same golf course on Monday and Tuesday with just light breezes allowing us to get the courses spotless and playable again.  That didn't last long as the winds picked up again on Wednesday and don't look like abating anytime soon.  A couple of shots below to show off the handiwork of the staff in the clean up.  It's pretty hard to keep your spirits up when the wind just comes back and blows it all back down again although the winds of the last few days are nothing compared to last week end.

Clearing leaf debris is a seemingly never ending job most of the year at Coolie Tweed and particularly so at this time of year although it is very necessary to allow as much sunlight to get to the turf surface.  The shade of the trees themselves make it tough enough to grow grass successfully in many situations on the courses.  I came across an interesting quote during the week;  "Good grass doesn't grow in the forest and there are no trees on the prairie - the two were never meant to coexist."


2R fairway bunker before
And after
4R greenside bunker before
And after
You know it's windy when the bird nests are on the ground!!


Two of our most shaded tees have had some turf lifted in preparation for some new turf to be laid next week.  Pictured below is 18R which will have a new variety of Couchgrass called "TifTuf" which has a very high tolerance to shade whilst still being mown low enough for use on a tee and 7W will have a variety of Zoysia called "Sir Grange" planted that also grows very well in shade.  It does take a little while longer to develop but should provide a great playing surface for this notoriously difficult tee.  I first saw Zoysia's in the USA in 1988 and they were used then in shady areas with some success.  I must say I am a bit dubious as to why it has taken so long for Zoysia to catch on but from all the trial work and actual plantations I have seen they seem very good in the shade. 

18R tee ready for turf

All the tees have now been renovated with the coring completed this week.  As they recover the mowing height will also be lowered for the summer growth months.  Whilst coring the tees we ran in to another tree issue - that of roots.  We have always hit some roots with the coring machine but this year for some reason was worse than ever with dozens of tines being broken after striking the roots.  As the photo below shows the cores actually pull some of the roots out!!  The (soil) cores are rubbed back in to the surface which has the double effect of top dressing and also some fertiliser response from the soil itself.

A broken tine with a root inside and other "root cores"!!

Next week will see the stumps removed around the courses and some fertiliser applied to the fairways.  This will be done on Tuesday as player numbers are low due to the Melbourne Cup so hopefully some rain will follow.  We will also be literally painting some herbicide on some of the foreign Couchgrass patches in the River greens in readiness for it to be patched out of the greens following renovation later this month. 

And very sad news with the passing of Percy Roberts who was an obvious stalwart of the club and a lover of the courses.  As a founding father of Dad's Army he spent more than 30 years tending to the courses on a weekly basis which is an extraordinary effort in itself.  Let alone the countless hours spent in the boardroom as a club director.  Vale Percy.

Friday, October 26, 2018

A very busy week on the courses and as always the staff stepped up to complete the extra tasks with no real effect on other course duties.  The week started with the re-laying of a 2 coat seal to the pathway in front of West half way.  The path was originally installed on top of the old road base in 2003 so had stood up quite well considering it is our main access track to the courses so any manner and size of vehicle has traversed it.

New pathway.


Then came the re-routing of the irrigation pipe at 4W which as always unearthed some unknown underground services which in this case was a power line that fed the old billboard that was out side the fence near 9W tee.  Having overcome that small hiccup we were able to only go through one of the bunkers which cut the work down somewhat and the job was completed in the allotted time and more importantly successfully as far as the conduit of water is concerned!!

One big trench.

Then came the start of tee renovations and we got the West course scarified and cleaned up.  You need dry conditions for this task and Thursday finished up going cloudy with a light shower around 9am but cleared out and the job was done.  The tees will be aerated next week and we will start on and hopefully finish the River course.

An interesting sideline to this is the machine we use to "scarify" the turf.  Most golfers know it as the machine that puts in "tram lines".  The machine is made by Graden industries which is an engineering company in suburban Melbourne and when it first came on the scene it was revolutionary as the blades spin backwards whereas all other similar machines spin forwards.  The machine has been so successful, particularly in the huge USA market that most Superintendents over there now say they "Graden their greens". 

The Graden in action.

And in my readings this week I came across this gem;

Open Championship 6-7 October 1891. 
Play will commence in the First Round at 9 a.m. and in the Second Round at 12.15 p.m. Competitors will play with as little delay as possible. 
By Order of the Green Committee.

And in October 1998 - 20 years ago - work started on the re-construction of the back 9 River greens and conversion from Bentgrass to Tifgreen 328.

10R green under construction.