Friday, June 18, 2021

A short week and a busy one on the courses with lots of play and beautiful weather.  The Senior Matchplay event went off well and for a change they had nearly perfect weather although the unexpected thunderstorm on Tuesday had them off the courses temporarily.  It was great to hear a lot of positive feedback from the players and the West course looked and played great and was a credit to the hard work of the crew.

We were able to get a different product out this week in an attempt to control the resistant Poa annua. The Tif practice green surround and River greens 3, 7 and 10 were sprayed as well as a few other areas.  Fingers crossed we get a result from this.

Monday next week will see Cool Tweed host the Australian Superintendents golf championship which is played on day one of the 2021 Australian Sportsturf Management Conference which is on the Gold Coast from Tuesday.  Covid restrictions have had a small impact on numbers but the golf field has stayed steady at around ninety players and there are thirty players on handicaps of 5 or less.  Unfortunately Covid restrictions have also robbed us of some Supers who are in their respective State golf teams but it is still a very high quality field.  The winner of the event receives a red jacket (Toro sponsor the event) so you may see a few of the previous winners parading about in their red jackets from the year they won which is part of the tradition.  The winner also gets to play in the American Superintendents golf championship which is obviously going to be on hold until international borders open up again.

And I thought prepping the courses for an elite golf event was a bit stressful but having ninety of your peers looking over your work is pretty nerve wracking I have to say.  The club featured on the front cover of the Conference edition of Australian Turfgrass Management.


Friday, June 11, 2021

It almost felt icy this week with a very cold breeze blowing but having spent last weekend at Black Mountain near Glen Innes where it snowed yesterday, this week has been quite balmy by comparison!  All the turf on both courses except the tees are handling winter thus far very well.  The tees are struggling with the sheer volume of play and winter has a long way to play out.  The entrances and exits to buggy paths are also struggling with the huge amount of buggy traffic.  A relatively calm Friday gave us the opportunity to get the main playing syurfaces blown  and the courses are looking in great condition and a credit to the crew.

The resistant Poa annua I have previously mentioned appears to be resistant to the latest product tried so another will be trialled next week.  It is pretty frustrating but at least we don't have the resistance issues that the southern States have been experiencing so that's a positive at the moment.  What would be frustrating though, would be your course flooding literally the day you come out of lockdown in Melbourne due to the stormy weather they have been having this week.  A number of courses on the Yarra River in particular were affected.

I got the photo below early this morning and was thinking about what a great site the courses occupy.

Beautiful outlook across the River to sunrise.

And then this is how the day finished up a couple of hours later...a four inch irrigation mainline repair.

Thank heavens for Gus and his mini digger!


Friday, June 4, 2021

Not very much to report this week with the Ladies championships taking most of our attention on Tuesday and Thursday.  Pretty much all efforts were put towards preps for those two days and the courses came up really well.

All the fairways and greens got some liquid fertiliser this week and selected tees were also done.  The par 3 tees are really starting to struggle with virtually no recovery and they are looking really chopped up.  We have topdressed a couple of them and will start filling divots as well for the rest of winter.

One of the fairway sprinklers on 18R wasn't functioning properly and when the lid was removed the boys could smell something fishy.  After removing the sprinkler the cause of the blockage was found with an eel jammed in the base of the sprinkler.  Not the most pleasant smell I can assure you!! 



Friday, May 28, 2021

Another good week of weather and lots of play.  The main playing areas are holding up really well so far, particularly the fairways.  We will start some liquid fertiliser on them next week to assist with colour retention as there is not too much growth left in them.  The tees have still been growing and covering in quite well but the cooler overnight temperatures are starting to slow them down.  The bunker crews have nearly finished what has been an enormous task of re-sanding and facing the bunkers.  If only the old irrigation system would be as good as the rest of the place!!  Three pretty major breaks this week which couldn't be isolated so the whole system gets shut down and drained which means a slow re-pressurising of the lines to prevent further damage.  We quite often have problems at this time of year as the ground not only cools down but it is actually also drying out as well which can mean some pipe movement.  A few sprinklers have stuck on overnight as well which has caused some localised flooding and wet patches around some greens in particular.  

I have mentioned the last couple of years of a resistant strain of Poa annua that we have in various areas and the struggles to control it.  Some of it actually survived the summer which is really unusual for such a shallow rooted grass but i guess just shows how much rain we had.  We are battling it again and have tried several different methods.  There is some in the roughs but it's the patches in 3 and 10R greens and the Tif PPG collar that are the most frustrating and are proving nigh on impossible to eradicate.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Another very productive week on the courses with some very nice weather albeit a bit cool in the mornings.  The big tree dump on 6R was mulched this week which reduces the fire hazard and allows us access to the area.

Tub grinder in action.

As mentioned last week the shade is starting take effect and none so more than on 4R tee.  The photos below show the deterioration around the mens back tee in just over four weeks.  And winter has a long way to run.

4R tee April 16.

4R tee May 19.

Friday, May 14, 2021

And still it rains.  Another 60mm this week to just top us up again and takes the total to 2,055mm since December 1, 2020.  The radar still below is from the front that hit on Tuesday morning just as we were about to start.  It only dropped 10mm but it kicked off the weeks wet.  The black spot over the ''W'' in Tweed is right on top of us.

Some nice daytime temperatures still has the grass moving along and the excellent grass cover is just what we need to survive winter.  You can already see the fairway turf on the shaded north side of the east / west fairways starting to thin.  Fairways like 2, 4, 5, 11 and 12 River are some of the ones affected.  The shaded greens are also thinning and this is one of the factors in the maintenance of the River greens as they are particularly affected by the shade.  Greens like 2, 4, 5, 12 and 13 River have quite serious shade issues and require special treatment to try and assist them with their growth.

I visited a course this week with no such shade issues and that was at Teven GC just outside of Ballina.  The course was purchased about five years ago and the team set about transforming the once heavily treed site and the result is simply stunning.  Former Monash GC course super Paul Gumbleton led the transformation and was ably assisted by former Kingston Heath assistant of over thirty years Bob Simmons.  The greens were planted with TifEagle and the rest of the site was turfed completely with Sir Grange Zoysia.  A new clubhouse and some equally stunning landscaping leaves just a few odds and ends to complete the project.  If you get the chance it is well worth the visit to see the transformation.

Sanctuary Cove Super Paul McLean playing No. 9.

And a group of ladies were left wondering what all the fuss was as they heard a group of noisy miners chirping their heads off on Thursday as they played 11R.  To their surprise there was an Echidna making its way across the fairway heading for the rainforest area on the RHS of 11.  Many thanks to Liz Browne for the great photo.


Friday, May 7, 2021

Wednesday certainly cooled things down with the daytime temperature not even topping 20 degrees which is the first time since August last year.  We also got a further 15mm of rain during the day and the water table is that high that it looked like we'd had 100mm with the amount of water lying about the courses.  The fertiliser that got applied to the tees is certainly doing it's job with a very good cover of grass evident as we head towards winter.

Once again the course closure on Tuesday allowed us some much needed course access and the River greens were solid tined with the same size tines as the West greens the week before.  We also got a sanding on both courses greens which will probably be the last for the season and this helps level up the surface.  It is a blended sand that is used and its got some humate and gypsum mixed in with it.  An application of soluble fertiliser on Thursday has some nice colour on the River greens as well.

Quite a few more bunkers were renovated during this week and the weather finally allowed the contractor to come in and spray the assortment of weeds on the West course lakes.  It will probably take a couple of applications to get control due to the thickness of cover.