Friday, February 20, 2015

A further 96mm of rain overnight on Thursday has tipped us over 1000 mm of rain since Boxing Day which is more than 40 inches in the old terms.  And just another 60mm during Friday!!  The very high tides that are accompanying this weather system means that the water can't get off the courses so it will take a few days of dry weather and receding tides for the drying out process to start.

Unfortunately 17 West green has suffered some wash from the rainfall so will take some time repairing although most of the grass has remained in place at this stage.  The best thing for an establishing couch green is warmth and sun light and some rain but not to the extent that we received.  The grass has established very well and at this stage the wash at the front may delay the opening date but with a return to some good weather the green should get back on track quickly.

As I write this on Friday afternoon the forecast is for the worst of the weather to arrive this evening so here's hoping we miss the brunt of it.  A few shots from the courses on Friday afternoon;
16 West

The ducks are enjoying it

2 West

And the worst is yet to come?

Friday, February 13, 2015

937mm of rain since Boxing Day and still it rains with the 60mm that fell on Wednesday afternoon most unwelcome especially given that it came down in about 45 minutes!  Unfortunately it caused quite a bit of wash at the front of 17W green and fortunately didn't wash too much of the grass away but will make grooming the surface that little more difficult.  The cover will come off and Monday and the mowers will be on soon after.  TifEagle is a very different grass to the River course 328 and has vastly different maintenance requirements which will be quite manageable as we can prepare the rest of the course then get to 17 before the players.

The West greens continue to improve which is a great relief because it didn't look good there for a while and it has been the most stressful time of my greenkeeping career which now (somewhat unfortunately) spans 4 decades this year.  I have never seen greens turf lose the root system the way they did and I am amazed the way they have recovered to be honest.  The photo below shows dramatic root growth over the past week. One thing that has worked in their favour has been the rain and the effect of lower player numbers which considerably reduces the stress they are under.  But I wish the people playing would make some attempt at repairing their pitch marks.
New roots 100mm deep from 2W green
I trialed a potential new tees mower this week and was very impressed.  We currently mow tees with a couple of older greensmowers and it generally takes 2 men 3 hours for each course.  We were able to mow both courses in 3 hours with just the one machine which is a great time saver and the resultant finished surface was just as good.  There are a few scalp marks on some tees, especially the smaller ones but the turf generally adjusts to this after a period of time.  Another 3 hours of rough cutting time would be very handy at this time of year methinks!! 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The 17 West green planting went to schedule last Tuesday and apart from a hose blow out that caused some damage the green is progressing well.  First sign of roots establishing came on Saturday which is a great start.  A number of people have asked me why there is so much water being put on and it is simply that the pieces of grass (stolons) that are used to plant the green are just that - pieces of grass - with no roots to sustain the plant so it is imperative that they are kept moist until the roots are established.  The water can generally start being backed off after 2 weeks when the roots have established well enough.  The cover on the green serves a number of purposes with the main ones being increasing the air temperature underneath the cover which helps the grass establish faster and more importantly protecting the stolons from being blown away by the wind or washed away by rain.

Rolling stolons in 17W

And on the West greens they are still in very poor health.  A combination of some Nematode damage, root disease and soil temperatures have combined to deliver them an almost lethal blow and all but wiped out their root system.  Once again I have been queried about the amount of water being put on them and simply we have to as the roots are only just regenerating and are up near the surface as you can see in the photo below.

New roots growing