Friday, July 25, 2014

Some delightful weather to finish off the week and dare I say it but some rain would be most welcome.  It seems strange to be irrigating fairways at this time of year but I guess it's a nice problem to have considering the weather down south.

The West greens responded very well to this weeks sanding and it is planned to get another sanding in before the Club Championships.  The greens on both courses were fertilised and some Sulphate of Iron was applied which gives them the dark coloured appearance that is currently evident.  15 River green is enjoying the full sunlight following the tree removal and the adjacent 16 River mens tee has a full grass cover for the first time ever in winter.  That used to be one of the tees that was oversown to provide a grass cover for winter so that is very pleasing.

Over the years I have contemplated oversowing the River greens for the winter months but have decided against it on a number of counts such as cost and disruption to play amongst others.  The grass that would have been used on the greens was the same that has been planted at the rear of 15 River green.  The flock of ducks that have taken residence demonstrates that it is obviously a tasty dish which would mean they would be over all the greens if they were oversown!!

13 - 18 West as well as 16 and 18 River fairways were fertilised this weekOnce again a high content of Iron was present and should help give them some colour.  One of the challenges with this type of spraying operation on fairways is to get the colour even so watch this space as we refine the operation. 

The member information night last night shows just how passionate Members are about their courses when there was some change suggested by course architect Richard Chamberlain.  The plan is now on display in the Members Lounge and comment is expected and welcome.  As General Manager Brett said last night it is imperative to have a plan going forward and that is exactly what we now have for the courses.

The Open Championship was played in some amazing weather although one of my friends in the UK wrote an article talking about the "sweltering conditions".  I just got back from Dubai and it was still 39 degrees at 11pm which is what I call sweltering.  And speaking of the desert, Sanctuary Cove Superintendent Robin Doodson is making the move to Doha GC in Qatar which is host to the Qatar Masters on the European Tour.  Cool Tweed member Paul McLean has accepted the position as Superintendent at The Cove.  And just a couple of snaps from The Open; 

Rory's happy "selfie"

No comment!!
And a bit of trivia.  The British International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) supply course support officials that were mentioned several times during the telecast of the Open last week whose task is to walk with each group and rake bunkers and keep the course tidy.  Hoylake has 82 bunkers and they needed raking 335 times during the first round and a total of 945 times for the week.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Back to work after some leave and the cold weather welcomed me with open arms!  Two days of widespread frosts last week end have certainly slowed the grass down and the shaded areas on the north side of fairways, in particular, are really struggling.  This low level of growth normally doesn't happen until August so it is going to be a long winter until the warmth and subsequent growth re appears.

It is interesting watching The Open Championship at Hoylake as that was one of the courses I visited earlier this year.  The calm benign conditions of the first round are a far cry from the arctic type gale force winds and driving rain that were happening when I visited!

Not much will be happening on the courses with the low growth and low staff numbers with several staff taking some annual leave through the cooler months.  The West greens will have at least one sanding applied in the lead up to the Club Championships in late August.  This will help even out the surface and also fill in some of the un repaired pitch marks.  The sand bins around the clubhouse will also be refurbished over the coming weeks.

The Members Information Evening next Thursday will see Course Architect Richard Chamberlain in attendance to discuss the draft Course Improvement Plan that has been developed over the past months.  Such plans are sometimes referred to as Master Plans but the Board felt that Course Improvement was more suitable to our situation.  There are no proposed major structural changes to the layout of the courses but rather some vegetation control where it is now impacting on play and removal of unnecessary bunkers that have no effect on play.  The following is Richards own explanation;

What is a Course Improvement Plan ?
I have produced these types of plans for many golf clubs throughout the country. Each golf club has a different set of goals and desires for their golf course in addition to their own set of problems and short-comings.
A CIP is simply a plan and a written report that outlines a direction for the golf course. This long term plan can be acted on immediately or broken down into phases over time. Some clubs simply perform general improvement works on their course, as a result of the CIP each year and embark on a single green re-model each season. Effectively the CIP is a fifteen or twenty year plan for the future.
What a CIP does reduce is unnecessary work that is decided on a whim and can often result in the work being re-done at a later stage.
The CIP is effectively a set of conceptual ideas for the golf course so that it can be managed and improved effectively.

Richard has prepared similar plans for Redcliffe, Murwillumbah, Cairns and Middle Ridge Golf Clubs.