Friday, April 16, 2021

Quite remarkably there is still some water lying in a few areas around the property.  We haven't recorded rain for the last seven days and the weather has been nice and sunny which is just what we want for the turf and also to dry the place out.  Just about everything got mown this week and a few areas got scalped which is understandable considering some fairways didn't get mown for three weeks.

One area that certainly got scalped was the new target green that was installed on the short range earlier in the week.  The golf management committee deemed it necessary to restrict the length of shots being played on the short range due to a few near misses when players were picking up balls on the green and they were being peppered from incoming shots.  So the sign says - ''CHIPPING PERMITTED FROM WITHIN 25 METRES ONLY, UNLESS UNDER INSTRUCTION FROM PGA COACHING PROFESSIONAL''.

New short range sign.


 

A few cooler nights this week and generally a milder end to summer with the cloud cover associated with the rain has got the Wintergrass (Poa annua) germinating a little earlier than normal.  Although as mentioned last week, some of the Wintergrass survived the summer due to the rain which is most unusual.  We generally only try to control it in the main playing areas due to cost and spraying logistics.  As I have mentioned in other years we have some varieties of Poa that are now resistant to the available herbicides so will be trying a new product for some of these areas.  

The photo below shows some Poa already germinated on 4R tee which is expected as it is a very shaded tee and the shaded areas is where we get most of the Poa growing, due to the Couchgrass being thinner in the shade.  The photo also shows just how much wear the tee gets from just one days play and is one of the reasons I keep asking players to play from the markers of the day and stay off the back tee areas to give us a chance to maintain a full cover throughout the winter.  We do have a good cover of grass on the tees now but that has to last us until November when we start to get some growth again.


Poa germination around the bottom tee marker.

And speaking of tees, below is 16 tee at Augusta during the final round of the Masters.  Notice only one line of divots which are from that days play.  The others in front have been plugged out with fresh turf.  Ahh the pursuit of perfection  -  and they do a pretty good job of it.

16 tee divots.

 

Friday, April 9, 2021

At last a fine sunny day that should help start the drying process and I have never seen the courses stay this wet for this long.  The light nature of the rain means that the water just sits in pools and with the soil profile saturated the water has literally nowhere to go.  We are blessed to just be talking about some water lying about the place in comparison to many other clubs on the eastern seaboard who have been flooded and covered with silt.  Many SE Qld and NSW central coast courses flooded again this week although nowhere near to the extent of a few weeks ago.

We haven't attempted to mow fairways this week due to the soft conditions and only a small amount of rough was able to be mown.  We are lucky that there is no more serious heat so that the grass isn't growing too strongly although on the other hand it would be nice to get some more growth to set us up for winter.

We have had a really weird reaction take place on the West greens this past week.  The greens were fertilised on March 30 in the lead up to Easter and there appears to have been some sort of reaction take place with the nutrients releasing in a haphazard way resulting in some blotchy patches appearing.  We put a soil conditioner and some more fertiliser out this week and they are returning to a consistent colour.  When the River greens were new we had similar occurrences as the high rain levels leach a lot of the nutrients out but it hasn't happened to the West greens before and we have certainly had enough rain to test them.  We have sent away some soil samples to see if that will provide an answer.  I have used the mix of fertilser for my whole career and have never seen this issue before.  Another course who used the same sand supplier has had a similar issue this week which makes it even stranger.

15W green spots.

 

And a rare double rainbow nearly formed on Thursday morning which was quite spectacular but it also meant there was some more showers hanging around.


Rainbow over 15R.

A couple of shots below from Windsor CC in Sydney in Sydney this week who bore the brunt of the floods.  As I mentioned above we only have some casual water lying about now.


Yes that's a green.

 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

78mm of rain in the 24 hours to 9am this morning came on top of the 75mm that was recorded in the 24 hours to 9am Tuesday morning on top of the 13mm that fell on Sunday.  To say the courses are wet is an understatement.  It has been the worst type of rain we can get in that it is only quite light and doesn't get the chance to run off which means it just makes the courses even wetter.  There is water standing in areas I can't recall ever being there before such as 8R tee which is the driest tee on the course.

So the 187mm so far in March takes us to just shy of 1.9 metres of rain since December 1 which is 75 inches in the old scale.  Incredible.

2W fairway Wednesday morning.


9R tee Wednesday morning on high tide.

 
8R tee Tuesday afternoon.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

We just can't seem to get a break from the rain and it has certainly been a roller coaster ride over the past couple of years.  2019 saw a very dry January / February followed by a very wet March / April then the driest ever July thru December.  Then 2020 kicks off with the wettest ever January thru March and then February and December 2020 each being the wettest on record, since 1886 for Tweed Heads.  Then 2021 brings us the deluge we have experienced in March which finished up being the second wettest March on record behind 1906 which was the wettest year on record.  So below is the story of the past four months and although not record breaking it has just been persistent with 73 / 114 days recording rain.  It's been such an unusual summer that there is some Winter Grass (Poa annua) still alive on a couple of greens surrounds which is the first time I have ever seen that at the end of summer.  Poa is a shallow rooted grass that normally can't tolerate the summer heat we have.


And it doesn't look like it's over just yet with the outlook for the next seven days.


Not the best outlook.

 

It's hard to remember that we dried out to the extent below twice in 2019.
 

4W fairway November 2019.

 

The lack of sunlight is still not helping turf growth but we are on a par with other years with April 1st seeing us drop below 20° in the compound at 5.30am for the first time since December.  April normally still sees a few days of over 30° so hopefully that will be the case.

All tees on both courses got fertilised this week and hopefully the fairways will also get some fertiliser over the next couple of weeks if they dry out enough.  We have also been able to get a lot of bunker maintenance done this past week with most of the courses being too wet to mow.

 

Friday, March 26, 2021

A really productive day today with a lot of clean up achieved across both courses.  We started on the bunkers as well but they will be a long term project, particularly the West.  Almost 100% of the River bunkers will get raked tomorrow with some work needed on some of the washouts.  The West bunkers have done what they do and turned to mud.  We didn't get any fairways mown as they are generally too wet and as much rough got mown as the day allowed.  There is some extremely long grass out there and will take time to get to it all from both a time and wetness factor.  1R green will also come back in to play on Saturday.

We have had to cut a drain across 11W fairway in front of the green to drain the water from the green.  When the green was built we renewed the drainage outlet and ran a pipe down the front bunker and it has somehow become blocked at a point where it is about 2 metres deep.  I couldn't get a big enough machine there in the wet so made the decision to renew the pipe.  The green well was basically backing up with water as it couldn't drain out.

The River greens got some fertiliser yesterday and we are planning on sanding them next week.  328 doesn't like dull conditions and they have thinned considerably which is not ideal going in to winter, especially with the amount of golf we have coming up. Getting a full healthy sward is of critical importance and will be a focus over the next several weeks.  The West greens have fared much better and look as though they have enjoyed the break from traffic.  The fact that they are so much flatter helps spread the wear as well which is a great benefit.

So we finished with 461mm from Friday evening to Wednesday morning and have now had 760mm in March - Thats 30 inches in the old scale!!  YTD is 1130mm and since December 1 is a total of 1690mm.  Most people I quote those figures to don't believe it.

With no more rain overnight motorised buggies will be back on both courses on Saturday but there are still a lot of wet areas so please exercise extreme caution when driving.

And although we think we have it bad spare a thought for dozens of golf courses on the eastern seaboard that have been flooded this past week.  Yes we get wet and if the river does break its banks it is a ''clean flood'' with not much debris or silt coming in.  Pictured below is Nambucca Heads GC where they are pushing 6 inches of sludge off the fairways.  It's a common sight at most clubs that have flooded and greens cop the same amount of silt.  The best way to get it off the greens is to use high pressure water but most pump stations go under as well so it is all hand work.  The Glades has suffered its fifth flood in thirteen months and this one is one of the worst they have seen there.   Seriously heartbreaking for the crews.

Nambucca Heads GC.

 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

The final update for the week @ 5pm Thursday.

Most of the water has now gone although there are some areas where water is still standing that I don't recall seeing this much before, including LHS 14R before the dogleg and further down on 14R on the RHS of the green, especially so long after it has stopped raining.  The entire cart path on the RHS 14R green is inundated which I am sure has never happened previously.  Just goes to show how much rain there has been.

But the good news is that both courses will be open for walking only on Friday.  Carts should be good for the River on Saturday and it just depends how well the West dries out tomorrow so that call will be made as usual before 5.30am Saturday.

Thanks for your interest in the blog (now 3,800 views since Saturday) and your patience in missing out on some game time due to the weather.

 

Water still lying LHS 14R.


Water covering the cart path RHS 14R.

   
Now for the dirty work - clean up time on 1W.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

6pm update Wednesday.

We have been pumping water all day today as well as clearing drains and have made some progress but not enough to make the courses playable tonight.  At the moment we are predominantly concentrating on the River and there is still water across both 11 and 12R making them both impassable.  There are also numerous other large puddles of water at least a foot deep and the ground is pretty much saturated throughout.

I will update the course conditions tab by 5.30am in the morning.

A couple of photos below to show progress made today.

1W this morning.

 

1W this afternoon.



12R Tuesday evening.

 

12R this afternoon.