Monday, December 29, 2014

WOW - just WOW!!  We needed some rain but that was ridiculous320mm fell in the 25 hours until 10am on Sunday December 28 with the bulk of it coming down in the 12 hours from 10pm.  There has been more rain on the courses in a 24 hour recording period with that June day in 2005 when an incredible 382mm was recorded followed by 228mm the next day so I am glad that didn't happen this time.  The rain gauge nearly overflowed and I haven't seen such a volume of water on the courses except in an actual flood event. We must have been very dry though as the courses sucked the moisture in and the drains worked overtime to get the courses playable for Monday with motorised buggies able to use the River course.  

The River course bunkers once again showed their superior design with 3 staff able to re-instate the bulk of them in 8 hours on Monday.  The West bunkers are another story and I doubt we will get much done to them this week so they may remain "out of play" for a while.

3 West green under water

Rain gauge nearly overflowing

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The rain has certainly had its effect with good levels of growth across the courses.  Unfortunately most of the growth is in the roughs and consists of a variety of weeds, particularly Kikuyu.  A letter came in from an interested member recently commenting on the number of weeds present on the courses and part of my reply is that we have to work within the course maintenance budget and quite strict laws under the Pesticide Act and also EPA regulations not to mention what the label of the product says.  As such it is not possible to treat every square metre of the property so areas are priotorised and are treated accordingly starting with greens and unfortunately roughs are last on the list and often don't get treated.  That changed a little this week when a herbicide was applied to quite widespread areas of the courses with two goals in mind.  Firstly to eradicate some weeds but also to "burn" off some of the grass to help players find their golf ball and also to reduce mowing requirements which are stretched at the moment.  So for the next couple of weeks there will be a "burned" appearance in some rough areas and also the greens surrounds.

Herbicide burn showing on 14R roughs
The writer also made comment about the amount of couchgrass in the West greens which is under constant surveillance I can assure you.  There is however only one product registered to remove couchgrass from bentgrass safely and its effect is negligible.  This encroachment is not a new problem as can be seen from the Board minutes from 1980 when the then Superintendent Les Neuhaus was recommending using the same product we try and use today! 
13R green with sprinklers in place!!
13R green continues to develop and this coming Friday will be 5 weeks since planting and I couldn't be happier with the greens progress.  Some things never cease to amaze you though and last Sunday I turned the sprinklers on the green remotely from the shed when I first arrived and as I have been doing went for a drive out to check the green to discover 2 of the small sprinklers on the green had been stolen overnight and the hose was causing a minor washout on the green!! 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Quite a busy week on the courses with the dry and the heat continuing.  The River greens have bounced back from their renovation in the fastest time I have seen and are looking and putting very well.  The West greens are entering the "stress" time with heat and humidity on the rise.  Once again this week the constant north wind has made irrigation very difficult across the courses but they are both holding up extremely well under the circumstances.

13 River green continues to develop and is covering in nicely.  The green was mown 4 times this week and received the first of many upcoming sandings to start grooming the surface down to playing level.  The green has obviously had a large amount of water applied during establishment and whilst establishment has been good the water itself can present its own range of problems with the high salt content restricting the new turf.  The expected rainfall on the week end should see a great improvement in the health of turf and even faster growth.

First sanding on 13R green.

Nearly 5 tonne of fertiliser was put out on the West fairways this week so hopefully the predicted rain will arrive.  If not we will just have to keep the irrigation going at the level it has been at over the past several weeks to water the fertiliser in.  Actually the motorised buggies do a pretty good job of breaking it up and moving it into the thatch / soil layer anyway however we lose some of the long term capabilities of the fertiliser when this happens..  The fertilising is the reason there are so many wheel marks visible at the moment on West course fairways this week.