Friday, October 18, 2019

Just a measly 27mm last weekend which certainly won't be sniffed at but gee it would have been nice to get some more.  The 2mm in the front that passed through on Thursday evening was also disappointing but at least we have had some rain now.  The wind over the past weeks has played havoc with planning with the spray jobs literally banking up which is normal for this time of year but very frustrating as we keep dropping behind.  On the days we can spray greens are prioritised and then it's down the chain from there.

This is the filter that operates in the pump shed for the irrigation water and it is a crucial piece of machinery in the maintenance of the courses.  It is an automatic self cleaning unit that back flushes to clear debris when it senses that pressure starts to drop and no actual electric power is required as it operates solely on inline water pressure.  It has been in the irrigation shed since the pump station was installed in 2000 and was upgraded to some new technology in 2018.  It has barely missed a beat over the years which is of great assistance to the even application of irrigation across the courses.  We pulled it down this week for its 6 monthly service and it was back humming again within 3 hours.  It is a pretty laborious task to undertake but at least we only need to do it 6 monthly whereas I know of courses with dirty water supplies that need to do it every week in some instances. 

The filter in the pump shed.

Whilst we serviced the filter the pumps obviously have to be down so we take the opportunity to replace / service the many other smaller filters and fittings that help make the irrigation system tick over.  This includes the town water line that feeds our supply to the in field satellites that utilise water to control the sprinklers.  Below is a photo of the in line filter on this supply after 6 months in service compared to a new one.  No wonder people like to filter their water supply at home!!

Pretty easy to see the one on the left is the new one!!

On Wednesday night we had some intruders on the courses and they fortunately didn't cause too much damage.  The worst of it was at the bridge on 8W tee where they pushed the railing over and perhaps somewhat disappointingly didn't finish up on the rocks below themselves.  Just another unplanned 4 hour job for 3 men to replace the railing support amongst the other ongoing works that we undertake.

New railing support installed.


Friday, October 4, 2019

Not really much to report on the courses with a pretty much routine maintenance week.  The West course closure on Tuesday after the ladies did afford us the chance to get the West greens solid tine aerated which allowed for some much needed gas exchange after such a prolonged dry period by allowing some fresh air to enter the soil profile.  This type of aeration has little effect on the putting surface and I would like to do it more often which should be able to happen now with the extra time.

We are still very dry with just 4mm falling on Monday night when parts of Murwillumbah got 30+mm and Headland GC on the Sunshine Coast in excess of 100mm.  A lot of that would have run off and not penetrated the surface but they put in a big dam a few years ago and that was filled to capacity.  So at least someone is smiling!

I noticed this week that some of the Gum trees are starting to lose their bark so a messy time is on the way.  I have never looked into timing of this phenomenon and the reason for it other than its a pain to clean up and generally happens around greens renovation time in November. 

And in some ways its hard to believe that this week marks three years since the back 9 West greens conversion to TifEagle stared on 13W green.  In some ways it seems a lifetime ago and in others just like yesterday.

Bobcat about to start stripping 13W off.

The layered soil profile we found on 13W.

And I just noticed recently the return of the Honey bee eater birds.  They burrow into some of the bunker faces and elsewhere and are here for around three to four months.  A few years ago we had a keen photographer on the courses and he snapped these amazing shots of  them in full flight.


Dinner time.

Friday, September 27, 2019

As mentioned last week a letter was tabled at the information night and it was agreed to publish it and the responses here so here you go with my answers in red.

The Secretary/Manager

Coolangatta & Tweed Heads Golf Club Ltd.

Dear Madam,

Our questions are directed at the Greens Superintendent regarding the current condition and management of the West 18 Holes which have been re-grassed with Tifeagle and other issues.
1.    Can you explain why you do not regularly verticut and dust these greens?  Verticutting is the American term for what we in Australia call de-thatching.  The West greens have been de-thatched 33 times in the 38 weeks since January 1, 2019.  See the answer to no. 3 regarding dusting.

2.    The Greens in the opinion of many members do not meet with the desired standard expected, which is, of course, softer and more responsive greens. At present these greens are far too hard and appear unhealthy, and very patchy in colour.  Golfers are not getting the benefit of playing good shots to the greens, and good shots subsequently result in the ball going over the back and making scoring impossible.  The greens were not designed in our opinion for run up shots, that is, landing short and hoping for them to run up to the flag, so softer responsive greens would be more suitable! It is noted that on many of the new greens the holes are cut at the front of the green making target shots impossible and when you land on the green the ball is then miles away from where it should be. It would be fairer if you placed the holes mid green to alleviate this problem.  Three players the other day hit gap wedges onto the 9W green only to finish over the cart path behind the 4 R.  The 17 W is still not holding balls.  As the greens mature they will soften naturally.  The difference between 17 (4 yo) back 9 (3 yo) and front 9 (2 yo) is distinct.  TifEagle is a grass that can thatch up very quickly and this is a major consideration of the maintenance regime to prevent such build up which will lead to soft disease prone turf. 

3.    Tifeagle greens in our opinion should be managed in accordance with the Suggested Management Practices as outlined by the developers at the Coastal Plain Experiment Station in Tifton, GA. We understand you travel overseas to America and make a study of greens.  Can you explain why you do not use their guidelines for proper greens management and implement what you learn?  The suggested management practices on the web have probably not been updated since the early 2000’s by the look of them.  They make mention of methyl bromide which was phased out in the early 2000’s.  They also state that only curative fungicide applications are required whereas I have learned that every superintendent with Tif that I have met makes preventative applications as you will lose turf if you dont.  Also if you read those guidelines they indicate that using Tif will require huge inputs from staff and cultural practices.  This from the list;  Therefore, each superintendent considering TifEagle is encouraged to review these suggested management practices to determine if their personnel and budget will support the required management inputs. Of the first two clubs in Australia to plant Tif (around 2000), one removed it after just eighteen months and the other wished they hadn’t planted it as they didn’t have the resources to manage it as per the original guidelines.  I first planted Tif here in 2005 and even by then the guidelines had eased somewhat with regards to the intensive maintenance and it has certainly been found that you don’t need the high inputs originally suggested to achieve a result.  At a seminar I attended in the USA in 2015 the researcher opened with the comment “we got the maintenance practices for the ultradwarfs wrong at the start.”   Much has changed since 2000 with regards to maintenance practices as more and more courses have converted their greens to Tif and other ultradwarf couchgrasses as they are known.  I have travelled to the USA (largely at my own expense) to further study Tif maintenance and on each occasion I have gone looking for answers and come back with more questions.  What I most definitely have learned is that almost everyone maintains their Tif differently and almost all succeed with achieving a good putting surface.  Essentially there is no recipe or cookbook of maintenance practices and that is true for all turf types.  The main area of difference is in the de-thatching and dusting programs.  Essentially you are either a de-thatcher or a duster.  I have only met a very small number who do both on a regular basis and they are generally at very high end courses.  If you dust the greens with sand the de-thatcher will come through and pull a lot of the sand out as it passes over the green.  A google search for “verticutting” will show a good photo and video of how the process works and makes it obvious that any sand in the top profile will be pulled out.  So I have lent towards de-thatching for thatch control as I feel it results in the best putting surface at CTHGC.   When I have travelled to the USA I have mainly visited Florida, particularly the Naples and West Palm areas as they have very similar climatic conditions to CTHGC.  The difficulty comparing with them is that they actually mostly close for summer (yes that’s right) due to the lack of play so they can be super aggressive in their maintenance practices.  They also close for a week at a time during their playing season at least twice and almost all close every Monday for what they call “maintenance Monday” as do courses throughout SE Asia.  We don’t have that luxury so need to adjust our maintenance practices to suit our player numbers and available time.  Thus the recent policy of closing one of the courses at CTHGC on a Tuesday following the ladies has been a huge benefit for us.  There are about six courses in Australia with Tif over their entire course and we all maintain it differently and all achieve an excellent putting surface. I am in constant contact with most of these superintendents and our conversations revolve around Tif which may sound boring but it’s what we do.   Research laboratories / stations are very important in the development of new methodologies and product.  However there is a huge difference between the lab and the real world.  Take for example the bentgrass variety Penn G2.  We planted that on the nursery green as a trial grass and it was virtually bullet proof as the research and product literature stated.  We planted it on 17W two hundred metres away and it fell over under the stress of two hundred players tramping over it every day.  

4.    Can you tell the membership when you will eventually rectify the subsidence (GUR) in the front of the 8 R fairway?  This area is under discussion at the moment as it has been previously.  The subsidence has been caused by a failure in the pipe that connects 6R dam with the Tweed River.  The difficulty is that due to the high water table in the area you can only work at very low tides and it makes the job a lot longer as you really only have three to four hours a day that you can work on it at low tide.  If funds are made available we are targeting our River course renovation days to do it this year as the course is closed which is another consideration as due to operator safety, and being located right in front of a green, the hole needs to be closed to play.

5.    And further, when will the GUR area on left fairway on 1 R be fixed given it has been in this condition for some 30 years?  This is also under discussion at the moment and would be done in conjunction with proposed works on the creek rockwall and 9R tee area.  It is not simply a case of dumping a couple of loads of sand there as it is a critical drainage area on the course and again the water table is very high and ensuring we maintain drainage off the property is critical.  The area is subject to regular tidal inundation and this is a major consideration and problem and the reason it is so difficult to maintain quality turf there.  It will be an expensive job and needs to be very carefully planned and executed.

           Some years ago the Club engaged a company to conduct a Golf Course
           Management  Plan.   I am aware that this cost the Club some $34,000.00 in 
           consultative fees for a 10 year plan.  

6.    Can you explain to the members what steps you have taken to implement these plans or are they now superseded by other plans?  In 2014 a course designer was employed by the club to look at reducing the number of bunkers on the courses and to look at the tree lines with respect to playability.  For want of a better name it was called a “Course Improvement Plan”.  The plan identified thirty bunkers for removal and eleven for a significant reduction in size.  The works were implemented in 2015.  For various reasons the Golf Management Committee decided that five of the proposed bunker removals not take place and another two were added to the removal list on 7W.   Four of the other five still remain on 7W, 12W, 18W and 14R and were to be included in other proposed works that never eventuated and are not considered a priority at this stage.  The plan was only for those works and was essentially a one year plan.  There has not been a ten year plan in place at the club to my knowledge and there has never been a sum of $34K drawn from the course maintenance budget for consultative fees.  The 2014 plan cost $7,500 in consultative fees.

7.    One such implementation was to remove the walk down areas in bunkers, and on the 14th River the rear left hand bunker was to be removed completely.  Why has this not been done?  The walk down areas that remain have a bunker lining fabric underneath them and would need the bunker to be almost totally rebuilt to remove them which has not been considered due to cost as was the decision when the plan was implemented in 2015. 
8.    If substantially more bunkers were removed from both course would it decrease significantly the labour?  If so what steps have you taken to remove or consult with Course Management with a view of removing the more labour intensive bunkers? Removal would perhaps might make our games more pleasant for all members and less maintenance costs.  This has been discussed at Golf Management but no further removals have been suggested.  It seems that as many members are in favour of more bunker removal and just as many are against it as it will make the courses “too easy”.  As I mentioned at the information night I spend more money on bunker maintenance than greens maintenance.  And they are a hazard!!  Somewhere along the line golf has lost its way with the level of bunker maintenance expected by players.

9.    It has been noted that rogue grasses have been growing on the River greens for a number of years during your watch!  Do you have a plan to fix this problem?  Encroachment and its solution is a very difficult subject and at the outset it should be noted that you won’t beat it. We are not doing too badly on the West greens at the moment but rhizomes are starting to shoot on these greens now.  In the early 2000’s there was very little concern shown toward encroachment at any clubs apart from at a couple of high profile high budget resort courses.  In the mid 2000’s we started a program of poisoning the encroaching grasses and re-turfing which was done on holes 6, 7, 11, 16 and 17.  The encroaching grasses re-infested the areas within twelve months as the root zone wasn’t fully removed and the couchgrass re-shot.  To do the job properly would require a temporary green to be in play and for the rootzone to be completely removed so as to remove all the roots to prevent regrowth.    The area would need to be filled with a new growing profile and turfed or stolonised. This was the method employed on the West greens rebuild and to date no couchgrass has regrown from within the greens. It has been discussed at Golf Management but never implemented.  Significant funding would be needed outside of the course maintenance budget.  Please note that River greens 4, 7, 8 and 9 were not re-constructed and the 328 turf was just laid after the bentgrass was removed as the plan was for those greens to be completely rebuilt but that never eventuated.  This means that the couchgrass contamination on these greens is just regrowth of the grass that was there previously.  

10.  Can you tell the membership why fairways are sometimes cut from side to side rather than up and down the fairway? Surely this is a more labour intensive exercise.  It is actually the fastest most productive way to mow fairways when you are doing it in amongst play as you only have to let the group pass you once and you can continue mowing rather than driving towards them and stopping to watch them hit or following them down the fairway and stopping to wait for them to hit.  It also helps give an alternate line of mowing which produces a better cut and finished product.  When there is no play in the mornings for example cross cutting as we call it is not done.

11.  If this (Q10) is a workplace health and safety concerns, why is the staff not wearing (a) reflective clothing, (b) helmets, (c) safety glasses and (d) caged equipment?  It has nothing to do with WHS but only with productivity as mentioned in no. 10.

12.  It has been noted that you sent two workers out to blow leaves out of bunkers during high winds, surely this is not the best work practices, particularly when you sometimes infer on your blog that you do not have sufficient staff. One day a staff member of yours was seen to spend many hours weeding the nursery, perhaps his time could have been better spent weeding grasses on the River Course! Do you have a work plan for all staff performing duties on the courses?  The work plan for both courses is to produce the best playing surface across both courses given the resources available, the prevailing weather and the amount of play expected.  The mornings are very similar with normal course preparations in front of play where we are most productive.  The day’s program is then adjusted to cater for number and type of players and the weather conditions.  Re blowing; on a windy site as CTHGC it is sometimes necessary to blow during the wind as we need to get the bunkers in particular free of leaf debris in order to rake them.  The same goes with the mowers or blowers used to clear the fairways as we need them as debris free as possible to allow for mowing and we also need to allow whatever light is available to get to the surface.  Not to mention playability.  Re hand weeding the nursery green; the nursery is hand weeded so that when we do patching out of foreign couchgrass in the greens, as was done last year and will be done again this year, we are doing it with weed free turf.  The nursery is also weeded on days where there is so much play that we are better out of the way for our own safety and to give the players a free run without us.  For example days such as Vets week of golf, Vets or ladies open days, senior match or strokeplay, junior girls events etc.  One of our employees who was on quite restrictive duties under workcover was also deployed to the weeding of the nursery.

13.  With the above question in mind do you know exactly how many staff you need to perform day to day, week to week maintenance and general duties?  The formula at the club since it went to 36 holes was for eighteen permanent staff and four summer casuals and that is about right.  In March 2017 the club commissioned a “course audit” that was compiled by an independent observer and the then Secretary Manager informed me that he advised these numbers as well.  As mentioned below more staff relates to better conditioning but obviously relates directly to increased costs.

14.  Have you in the past made a request to Board Members for additional staff?  The last such report was tabled in January 2018 and contained comparisons to two other thirty six hole golf clubs who have significantly more resources available than CTHGC.  This report also gave options for various levels of staffing to produce varying levels of course quality.  As mentioned in no.13 I was informed that the course audit also recommended additional staff. 

15.  Last summer you cored the green in December, when most Queensland greens are cored in spring.  Coring in November/December during the busiest time of the year for visitors and members is costing the Club financially.  Can you rectify this issue by coring straight after the Twin Towns Open?  We do the greens renovation in November / December as that is after almost all of the major club events have finished and the Ladies and Vets have completed their AGM”s.  It is also not as busy a time as many people think compared to after Christmas.  The weather is also more conducive to recovery at that time compared to now.  Courses that renovate early normally do another renovation in February / March.  Another 36 hole course in SE Queensland renovates in December and their Tifs are done in January and only do one renovation a year for example.

16.  Since the blue line has been reduced towards the greens it has been noted that the areas are suffering as a result. The grass is flat, bare, and not conducive to playing successful chip shots.  We are not that unfit that we cannot walk a short distance to the greens.  This was a board instruction. 

17.  You mention in your blog that some areas suffer from lack of sunlight! Is it a fact that you are permitted to reduce the canopy by some 20 % and have you consider doing this to help alleviate this problem?  Just trimming trees does not help.  I have been a superintendent on heavily treed golf courses for well over thirty years and have never seen trimming improve turf health unless that trimming is done at ground level.  Turf needs direct sunlight to allow it to grow successfully.  For example on the RHS of 2R green the trees were lopped at about four metres from the ground many years ago.  They re-shot within twelve months and this process had no positive effect on turf health.  When the trees at 2R were removed completely turf health then improved.  As I have put on my blog before there is a quote from a USGA agronomist who says that ”if your turf isn’t getting eight hours sunshine a day…. Why isn’t it?”

18.   The short practise areas in front of the car park.  These greens are very poor and at some stage will require work.  In the meantime perhaps consider shutting them down to allow renovation and then recovery or make a large green in the middle of this practise area which would then reduce it to just a chipping area.  The benefit is a safer environment for all to practise.  At present the chipping areas are pitted with ball marks and useless as far as serious chipping practise is concerned.  The condition of the short range green has been discussed previously on many occasions.  The amount of play that it gets means that it will only ever be a target green.  It is impossible to maintain a quality surface on a green that is so heavily used.  Even getting to mow it is an effort for us due to the play there as players hit at it even if we are mowing with the flags out and it is in constant use throughout the day.   There was discussion about a new green in the middle of the short range area and one of the reasons that it was not proceeded with was that players want to play longer shots than just chips as evidenced by all the divots and wear occurring up against the southern fence.  Cost was also a consideration when there are many other areas requiring attention and this area is at least functional.  It is also one of the few areas that we have that will allow for marquees, scoreboards and the like to be erected for tournaments and functions. 

We look forward to your responses.  I trust the responses answer your questions?

Friday, September 20, 2019

Apologies for the lack of a post last week to my regular followers but I had a few days off to visit my twin grandsons which was a very pleasant time.  For those who care or wonder this blog averages around fifty hits a day and gets up to three hundred on a Friday / Saturday when I normally post.  In the past week the audience has included USA, India, Canada, New Zealand, Indonesia, Poland, Brazil, Australia and an "unknown region"!!

Any way back to the courses and you know it's dry when you get excited by 5mm of rain which is all we got on Tuesday evening but it was worth its weight in gold.  It certainly helped perk the fairways up in particular though won't be enough to flush any of salt build up we would have in the greens which is there as a result of using the recycled water for irrigation.

A huge day for the staff on Tuesday as well with 120 tonne of sand being added to the River course bunkers and the greens on the River being de-thatched and sanded.  The sand contains some added humate and gypsum and the 5mm of rain on top of this was just what the superintendent ordered!

Next week will see two of the fairway bunkers on 4 and 10W backfaced and drainage upgraded.  We will be trialling a product that was developed in Sydney that means that you don't need to trench throughout the bunker to facilitate the drainage and it "should" be a fast and painless operation.  The West greens will also be de-thatched and sanded on Tuesday weather permitting.

It was good to see so many members attend the club information night last night and as always the Cool Tweed members passion for their club and golf courses was out on show.   For those who didn't attend there was a letter regarding the courses tabled and a response was asked for and it was agreed that it will be answered within this blog.  There were 18 items raised so it will take some time to answer them all so hopefully a rainy day next week will allow me some more time to thoroughly answer the queries.

Bunkers are always a hot topic at any golf club all over the world and we are certainly no different here.  The subject of the actual rakes that are in the bunkers was raised and I said I would put some alternative rakes out for members to try out.  I have five different rakes that will be placed in greenside bunkers on 18R for the next two weeks and then transferred to 18W for 2 weeks.  They are labelled A, B, C, D and E so if you have a standout favourite then let us know.  We might need to have some fluro tape on the handles though so as players can see them as the one below nearly caused the player to trip on it as they walked past it in the fairway bunker on 1R this morning!!!

Potential trip hazard?

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.