Friday, February 24, 2017

The mounding has been installed on 12 & 14 West and irrigation was installed yesterday.  The areas will be turfed on Monday and with the predicted rainfall should be thriving very quickly.  To install the irrigation the pumps needed to be shut down to allow for new tappings to be made and this means the system loses a lot of water and as I have mentioned before it is very important to expel the air from the pipework as slowly and thoroughly as possible, especially given the age and condition of some of the pipework on course.  

Not only does this mean a very late finish it also means a long and nervous day with no back up water available for the remaining front nine West Bentgrass greens.  They got through OK and the new TifEagle greens just keep improving every day and despite their young age had no dryness issues appear.

Unfortunately after such a complete irrigation system shutdown there is always the possibility of damage from air in the system, despite the best efforts to expel it.  There is no definitive plan of the network of piping under the ground and there are a lot of unknown areas where air can accumulate.  Sure enough a "Friday afternoon special" appeared on 2W fairway when a 100mm mainline let go but this was due more to the frailty of the pipe.  Fortunately Gus from Gus's Mini Excavators was able to leave a job he was on and come down and excavate for us to make the repair.  So another late night awaits while the system is bled again!!

Friday afternoon special!!

Friday, February 17, 2017

A very busy week across the courses this week and the dry conditions continue with the irrigation system stretched to the limit.  At least we have a reasonable supply of water that although it is not ideal for turfgrass it is way better than having to buy potable water in as many clubs along the east coast are doing.  The grass is still motoring along though and when we do get the break in the dry conditions and receive some reasonable rainfall the grass will be really growing.  90% chance of 15 - 25 mm on Sunday would be a very nice start!!

I think "brutal" would be the best way to describe the weather last week end but the remaining Bentgrass greens are handling the summer thus far it fairly well. There is no doubt that the lower number of players is part of the reason for them hanging in so well.  There is an enormous amount of stress placed on any kind of putting surface from foot traffic and unrepaired pitch marks that then become disease sites.  I have seen it before when the courses are effectively "closed" for a few days after a rain event and there is no traffic on the greens and the immediate improvement.  

Maybe it's an omen for some rain but he probably just likes the fish in the dams but we have a huge Pelican that is regularly landing on 15W green and watching over the dam.  It's an awesome sight to see it land and / or fly off.  Mother Nature really is amazing sometimes.

The Pelican

Trenching to 1W tee

Elsewhere on the courses the line to the drinking fountain at 1W tee was replaced this week and as suggested last week the collars on the TifEagle greens were scarified.  The greens themselves are still maturing and dependent on how they progress next week may get another heavy sanding to assist the surface develop.

Next week will see the construction of some mounding on 12 and 14W fairways so both holes will play shorter at various times on Monday and Tuesday weather permitting.

Friday, February 10, 2017

12 West green was able to be opened last week which brings to an end the grow in phase for the new Tifeagle greens.  We now enter the "finishing" phase with a lot of work needed to tie the greens in to the surrounds that started a few weeks ago with the collars being heavily scarified which is an operation that will happen again when time permits.  The LHS of 10W has had a couple of runs of turf removed to lower the lip against the green which will re-generate quite quickly.  It has certainly been a project full of long hours and hard work and is a credit to the staff and contractors involved.  Also a big thanks to the members for your support and understanding throughout the process.  I am amazed with the positive comments I have continually received from players throughout particularly when there were eight temporary greens in play.

As mentioned last week the new West greens were all given a heavy sanding this week to assist in leveling up the putting surface and to get them as consistent as possible.  It is a very important step in the development of the playing surface and now means that we can concentrate on all the greens utilising the same green keeping practices and watch them mature and get better by the day.

I thought I would try something a bit different this week and have included a couple of videos explaining one of the jobs that we do that gets regularly questioned.  Hope you enjoy them!

And finally the camouflage skills of Tawny Frog Mouth owls never ceases to amaze me although these two were perched in a Casuarina right in the drive zone on the RHS 11W so I hope they got through the day unscathed!

Hard to see!!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Another hot windy and dry week that made course maintenance difficult with a number of spraying jobs mounting up due to not being able to get out in the mornings due to wind.  The fairways are holding on a little better in this dry spell though, although with virtually no rain in the forecast for the next seven days it may not last.

These are also the conditions that really stretch the remaining Bentgrass greens on the West course.  Soil temperatures around 30 degrees and water from the holding dam being pumped out at high 20's is a recipe for disaster and this is the time of year that just about all you can do is hold on and hope they can pull through.  Remembering that Bentgrass roots start dying at soil temperatures above 25 degrees and we rarely get below 23 degrees so it is quite a battle.  The TifEagle on the other hand is thriving in the hot conditions.  At least there is only nine Bentgrass greens left now which makes it somewhat easier than past years.

Some irrigation issues at 12 West green means it may not open tomorrow as earlier planned as it isn't quite holding enough moisture throughout the day as well as the other TifEagle greens have done.  A near full field booked in tomorrow would exert too much pressure on the fledgling turf so we will err on the side of caution.  The others TifEagle greens continue to develop and on a suitable day of weather in the next two weeks they will receive quite a heavy sanding which will be one of the final steps in the leveling of the surface.

Next week will see us hopefully get back on top of the spray programs if the weather is kind.  We will also be re-turfing the two old bunker areas on 6 River to allow for better growth and the tree stump at the LHS of 12W will be covered and turfed.

Irrigation issues in the middle of 12W temporary as well!!