Monday, November 5, 2012

A busy time with a lot achieved on the courses this past week and a number of contractors were used to achieve a variety of tasks.  The week didn't start well though when a golf cart ran over a pipe on 14 River causing an impressive water spout 15 metres in the air but that was dwarfed by the 40 metre one in Melbourne the following day.  Monday had our tree contractors onsite and trees at the rear of 13, 14 and 15 West tees were removed.  This operation will allow a lot more sunlight on to these tees and allow for more air movement resulting in improved growth conditions for the turf and therefore a much better playing surface.

Water spout on 14 River!!

Monday also saw 80 tonne of bunker sand added to selected River course bunkers to top them up.  It really is amazing just how much sand is removed from the bunkers by the constant play and wind.  Virtually every time a shot is played out of a bunker a hand full of sand is moved and with 200+ players a day and many taking 3 or 4 attempts to extract themselves you can imagine just how much is moved.  The front right bunker on 12 River is a classic example of sand removal and over the years the amount of sand thrown up on to the green has made the front portion of the green very droughty.  Add to this the tree roots, shade and traffic and it is easy to see why the grass won't grow there.  This was the next task as we removed some sand, added some blended sand and readied the area for re-turfing.

The rest of the week had the following activity;
v     Oversown tees lifted in preparation for re-turfing and the material was then spread over tree roots on the right side driving area on 2 West.
v     The drain at the front of 1 River green that is subject to tidal inundation was turfed with a salt water resistant grass.
v     Surface tree roots in fairways removed.
v     Several dead trees removed and tree stumps ground out.
v     The small rockwall at 3 West tee was removed to allow space for our machinery to turn at the rear of the tee and allow the grass to grow on the back tee.
v     A couple of buggy path entries and exits have been prepared for turfing and will also have some of the plastic grids installed that have proven quite successful recently.

Rotting tree removed from rear 3 West tee.

And all this in amongst trying to keep the courses clear in the extremely windy conditions.  The wind has also caused problems with the irrigation as the sprinklers are virtually rendered useless in these conditions.  Early morning players would have seen us putting as much water out as possible on to the fairways in the calmer morning weather to try and keep them going and most greens require supplementary hand water.  It's times like this when I wish I had more staff to try and keep up with all we have to do.  When I started here in 1999 I had 19 bodies in the lunchroom available for work in the middle of winter.  Over the coming 3 weeks I will drop as low as 9 staff on some days and a high of 13 so I trust players will realise that we can't get everything done.

The River greens have recovered very well from their renovation and are back down to their normal mowing height already which is nearly record time.  15 River green is still struggling from the effects of winter shade and as yet the temperatures haven't really got high enough for the turf to bounce back.

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