Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I once worked with a groundsman whose sole job at that course was bunker maintenance and on a course with over 100 bunkers on 18 holes he had his work cut out.  At the end of every day he would come into the lunchroom and say "I'm bonkers about bunkers" and whilst that was a long time ago, the same expression is probably used with some much more colorful language these days by golfers.  Bunkers are one of the most controversial subjects at almost all golf clubs these days and in many cases cause more angst and argument than any other area of the golf course, including the putting greens themselves.  Too hard, too soft, too deep, too shallow, too wet, too dry and too many!! 

So with this in mind the next Course Information Session will take the form of a “Bunker Symposium”.  This is your opportunity to come along and ask me any questions you would like regarding the bunkers at Coolangatta Tweed and hear about some of the strategies and trials that have been undertaken on our bunkers over the past several years.  You may be surprised to know that we spend nearly as much on maintaining the bunkers on the courses as we do the greens and all this for a hazard as far as the rules of golf are concerned.

And of course if you have any burning questions regarding the maintenance of other areas of our courses I will be happy to answer them at the meeting.

The Bunker Symposium will be held at the Course Maintenance Shed in Davey Street Tweed Heads South at 4.00pm DST on Monday October 17th
All members are welcome to attend.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

De Thatching greens

The warmer weather has started the River greens growing and they received a de-thatching this morning.  The units we use attach to our existing greens mowers and are adjustable in their depth to about minus 5 mm.  At this time of year our units are set at level with the green surface which means the weight of the unit penetrates the surface just enough to remove a lot of dead material and cuts some of the stolons to encourage some new growth.  Three machines are needed to stay in front of the play and the greens are double covered "up and back" in the same line.  The greens are then mown to pick up the clippings that are left on the surface leaving a very good surface behind.  This is an operation that we will be doing at least fortnightly throughout the growing season and we will also sand the greens in conjunction with this operation on some occasions.  The other benefit of this operation is the smoothing out of the greens surface by reducing the leaf coverage and therefore the friction between the ball and the leaves which results in a smoother faster surface.

Close up of de-thatching unit

Units in action on 16 River green

Close up of green surface after de-thatching

And the warm weather brings out some of our wild life as well.  This rather sleepy carpet snake was enjoying the sun on 11 River fairway yesterday.  It provides golfers with a timely reminder to be aware of snakes on the courses although they generally don't want contact with humans so they are rarely seen.

Carpet snake out enjoying the warmth

Monday, September 12, 2011

Seeing the light

Anyone who has been on the Golf Management Committee at Cool Tweed would have heard me talk about the need for light for grass to grow.  The USGA Green Section have a saying that "If your grass isn't getting 8 hours sunlight a day....then why isn't it?".  The 9th West green is already showing marked improvement since the removal of the trees at the rear of the green and has now highlighted the next two greens that are badly affected by shade being 3 and 5 on the West course.  On the River course on the other hand, it is interesting to note the improvement on the 12th River green which is probably one of the most shaded greens I have ever seen.  But as the sun climbs higher in to the sky the green is gradually getting more and more sun, especially in the morning which helps lift the soil temperature and dry the surface.  The top photo below shows the 12th River at 8 am in early July in the depth of winter and the one underneath shows the green at 8am this morning with considerable sunlight across the back of the green.  If you look at the health of the green at the moment, the area in full sun at 8am is recovering very well.  It is almost a line of 8am sunlight area being healthy and non sunlight area still struggling.
12 River green early July

12 River green mid September

The West greens have recovered a little slower than expected from their renovation although given the weather we experienced during and immediately after, it is to be expected.  The greens are at the stage now of needing a final sanding to help level and smooth the surface out.  Weather permitting this should happen tomorrow morning.  It is timely to remember that although the greens are not at their best the need for pitchmarks to be repaired still remains and players assistance in this matter will be most appreciated.  At the end of the day you are really only helping yourself by improving the surface and allowing my staff to work on other areas of the course instead of repairing pitchmarks before mowing in the mornings. 

It is encouraging to see the 7 day forecast of mid teen lows and highs in the mid 20's which will really get the grass moving.  Not far from fertliser time and aeration for the fairways methinks.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The things we do

It's all in a days work for us but it is sometimes interesting the jobs we have to do.  Removing a Carpet Snake from the 14th River tee last week and another one sunning itself in front of the 11th River tee today in the glorious spring weather.  Then the call came out for us to remove a pigeon that had found its way into the Kids Club in the clubhouse and had resisted all previous removal attempts.  But alas it is back to some normality with the grass starting to move about the place with the warmth and the mowers are starting to crank up.

You may have noticed the numerous tree stumps that have been cut down and flagged in readiness for removal tomorrow.  It is a long hard day for the operator and we use a bobcat to remove the woodchips and replace them with a sand/grass mix that has the resultant holes covered over in no time.

Tree stump flagged and ready.