Friday, March 18, 2011

Encroachment 5

I have had a few comments about the foreign grasses that are appearing in the West course greens which I did mention a couple of posts ago.  It is a perennial problem at this time of year when the Bent greens are at their weakest after a long hard summer and the invading grasses are at their healthiest and therefore more prominent.  This is particularly the case with the encroaching Couchgrass which is at its worst at this time.  Its a bit like "groundhog day" as this problem is raised at this time every year and a quick perusal of old Course Committee minutes demonstrates this.  I actually have a copy of minutes from 1980 (March 1980 by coincidence) that mention the encroachment of Couchgrass and even contains  a recommendation to convert all greens to 328!!  In years gone by the method used at CTHGC was to fumigate and either re-turf or re-sow the entire green and this would require a temporary green to be in play for anywhere up to 16 weeks.  Fumigation is not available now so either a total kill spraying program or re-construction would need to take place, meaning even a longer period of interruption to play.  I have adopted a containment strategy on the West greens as there is no one product that can selectively remove Couchgrass, in particular, from Bent greens without causing damage.  As mentioned a couple of posts ago the Bent greens are under enough stress and the addition of weed control products would only put more pressure on them.   A lot of encroachment information was covered in posts last year and you can quite easily refer back to them for more information.

And whilst speaking of Bentgrass under stress there is no other green at Cool Tweed under more stress than the Bentgrass practice green, especially now that the fan at the 17th West seems to have had the desired result.  The practice green has a total area of just 225 sq metres with only 182 of that available to be cupped, which is probably about 15% of what it should be.  The green is in an incredibly tough position with the massive trees to the south competing for air, moisture and nutrients and preventing air circulation.  The retaining wall also reflects an enormous amount of light and heat and then you have the volume of traffic that the green is subjected to.  We are regularly quizzed on why there are only two holes on the green and the reason is simply wear and tear.  Each hole location has a severe wear area around it of 16 sq metres (4 x 4 square if you like).  That means that there are a total of twelve possible hole locations on the green and the holes are moved every second day meaning every sixth day we need to go back to a worn area.  The amount of wear that the green receives does vary, but last Sunday for some reason, the green was nearly worn out around the holes and as of today has still not recovered, which reduces even further our positions available for cupping.
Wider view of wear from last Sunday

Close up view

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