Thursday, October 21, 2010

Time for a breath

Well what a week so far and still a day to go although the bulk of the hard stuff has been done.  Apologies to my followers for the break in writing but I just haven't had time this week.  I was actually contemplating titling this instalment "blessed" as we certainly were with the weather for the renovations on the River course on Monday and Tuesday, after the rain of the previous three weeks.  Even the couple of showers that came through on Wednesday would have been enough to seriously disrupt the works which all went to plan and the greens have come up terrifically well, from an agronomic viewpoint anyway.

Hollow tyning greens

The greens were hollow tyne aerated with 16mm (5/8 inch) tynes which removed about 1.5 cubic metres of material per green.  They were also de-thatched with 3 new sets of heads that removed thatch to a depth of 3.5mm over three passes and another 1.5 cubic metres of material per green.  The greens then had a slow release granular calcium product spread and a slow release granular complete fertiliser applied which were rubbed in to get the product down the aeration holes where it is needed most.  About three cubic metres of sand mixed with fowl manure was then applied to each green and worked into the surface until the majority of the holes were filled and the surface restored.  A bit more warmth would be nice to promote the growth required to get the grass back through the sand but after the luck we had on Monday and Tuesday with no rain, I can't complain.  At this stage the greens should be due to be mown for the first time next Tuesday.

De thatching greens in blue skies!
Today was by far the busiest day and I sometimes wonder why I program so much in the one day but I do like to get the most out of my contractors who are on site.  The preparation works for the grass face to be installed on the 17th River bunker commenced today.  I have scheduled this over two days so that the work is completed before players reach the hole and there is no need to take the hole out of play or use a temporary green.  The works should be finished tomorrow and the turf will be laid on Monday with the bunker being out of play for at least two weeks whilst the turf establishes.  This bunker was selected as the trial site as it is the easiest and cheapest bunker to do due to its shape, depth and location.

The oversown tees have been lifted in preparation for turfing on Monday and the turf lifted off these has been placed over some of the more severe tree root infested areas in the roughs.  I don't have the resources to be able to hand lift and place the turf so it is done by a Bobcat machine and although the areas are initially quite uneven, they soon settle and I figure it's a much better surface to play off than tree roots.  The rear of 3rd and 15th River tees have also had the trees removed and been prepared for turfing on Monday.

We had a spare half hour today (!) and I took the opportunity to lift the front right portion of the Chipping green on the short range.  This area of the green has always had trouble growing grass and so 300mm of the soil that was there was removed and replaced with sand from the nursery trial site at 17th River.  Turf from the trial site has been lifted and transported to the Chipping green and will be laid tomorrow.  Whilst excavating the green we found a large area of what looked like "brickies sand" (see photo) so hopefully with that removed and a good growing medium installed, the new turf should respond accordingly.  

Brickies sand under the Chipping green

The foreign Couch areas in the greens have now been removed and returfed.  The turfed area on the 7th green came up exceptionally well however the putting green is not as good.  On the 7th we used turf from our own Nursery green which is a slow labour intensive process.  Indeed it took 24 man hours to re turf the 10 square metre area.  I didn't have the resources (or suitable turf) available to be able to allocate that much time to the 150 squre metres on the Practice green, and so the turf was bought in which means we don't have to harvest and transport it which is a huge time saver.  Unfortunately the quality of the turf was poor and although it will knit in, it will take some time. 
Lifting turf off the Practice green
I mentioned the contractors that I use on the course earlier on and if any readers require the services of a Bobcat or small excavator you won't find any better than Trevor King on the Bobcat or his son Scott on the digger.  They are both first class operators.  And I must mention my staff who have all worked long hard hours on the renovations and then backed up on these various projects whilst still going about their normal duties.  For a 36 hole complex of this size they are only a small crew and do an exceptional job.

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