Well whilst just about everything went to plan, we were certainly still disrupted with the weather over the past week. A huge amount of work has been achieved although the rain has resulted in us making a mess in a few areas. All the turf on the oversown tees and other areas is now down and has taken root to make it self sufficient. Two questions that came out of the week from Members was why do we have to turf some of the tees each year and why were we watering when we have had so much rain? (We were also asked why we were grassing the 17th River bunker so obviously not everyone reads the Blog yet!)
Firstly the tees on West 7,13,18 and River 4, 6, 16 and 18 are so badly shaded and affected by the adjacent trees that we need to oversow them with a cool season and shade tolerant grass species over the winter, to allow us to maintain a cover of grass. Without the oversow, the tees would basically finish up as dirt. There is still an amount of Couchgrass present in the tees and it would recover eventually. The problem is that the oversown species will die very quickly(basically the first hot day) and the Couch would take up to 12 weeks to re-establish meaning that the teeing surface would be sub standard during this period. By re-turfing we will have the tees fully grassed with Couchgrass and playable within two weeks.
In answer to the second question, we need to continually water the turf after it is laid because until it takes root, the grass survives only on the moisture in the leaf and stems of the plant. As of today the turf is now virtually self sufficient and will be mown down next week and available for play for the November Monthly Medal.
The other major task completed this week was the installation of the power for the 17th West green fan. Trenching through a couple of the wettest areas on the course on the 13th and 17th West fairways and surrounds following significant rainfall was always going to result in a mess and we certainly achieved that! Unfortunately the contractors were only available for those days and if they hadn't finished, the installation would have been delayed until late November and I would like to have the fan fully operational by the end of the second week of November in time for the warmth.
The River greens are looking for some warmth to help them recover from their renovation and as with the West greens renovation the sand plays havoc with the mowers for the first couple of weeks. Our Head Mechanic Craig Plowman does a great job keeping the mowers cutting during this very trying time for him.
Next week sees a return to a bit of normality on the courses maintenance wise, although if the weather is suitable (read fine and dry) the tees on both courses will be scarified. As part of this operation the thatch that is removed from the tees is left on the surface to dry out to allow it to be swept up and / or blown off. We will therefore be moving some of the tee markers around or leaving just a small raked area for play to continue from. Please bear with us over the week.