Thursday, March 29, 2018

The rain just doesn't seem to want to go away with constant showers hampering maintenance during a short week with a double long week end and another short week next week.  The grass is still growing very quickly and we got the whole property cut despite the rain and reduced hours which was a great effort.

In amongst the mowing we covered some tree root areas with some of the turf scraps from the recent turfing and then sanded over the top.  Most areas are well in the rough and as I have said before, although you are hitting off sand until the grass comes through it is way better than hitting off tree roots.  We also managed to get some fertiliser out on the tees and some more fairways to further strengthen them for the winter.
RHS 14R tree roots covered.

In some ways it seems longer ago but it is 12 months since the remnants of cyclone Debbie reeked havoc upon the local area and I don't really want to see that again for some time.  My thoughts are certainly with those in FNQ who copped it again this week.
1R last year

No thanks.
The US Masters starts next week and the cry will go out around the golfing world of why can't my course be like that??  Lots of reasons why with the main one being the resources available to them.  I was speaking to a young intern in the USA recently and he had worked there one year with his main summer job being erecting tents on the greens to keep the sun off!!  It isn't the most expensive golf club to join in the States but it is the most difficult.  They don't have a lot of play either and the course is worked on pretty hard once the tournament is gone to make alterations and improvements.  The photo below was taken in the heat of summer and you can just make out the covers that they use on the bunkers to save the sand from being contaminated.
It doesn't always look perfect!

More people mowing fairways than I have on my crew!!

Friday, March 23, 2018

A wet end to the week with another 30mm falling overnight on Thursday.  As mentioned last week the localised water table is practically "full" and the water is taking a long time to drain away.  NSW is an amazingly contrasting State when you look at the tragic bushfires at Tathra, floods on the central coast and near flood conditions up here.

A fairly normal week on the courses with just a couple of irrigation problems to keep us on our toes starting with a 100mm main requiring repair in the middle of 9W fairway right in the middle of the members comp day on Monday.  Thanks for your patience while we carried out repairs.  We have also been carrying out the rather huge task of spraying weeds around the tree bases on the River course which given the number of trees takes some time.  A bit more fertiliser for greens on both courses as we start getting them ready for winter which will appear on the scene in no time.

I have mentioned the growth regulator that we use a few times and one place we use it is on the bunker edges over summer to try and reduce the amount of edging required.  The photo below is of a bunker on 17W and the effect is nothing short of dramatic but for some reason we can't seem to get that effect on all the bunkers.  The fairways, greens and tees always provide more consistent results.

Great effect on growth on the lip of the bunker.

And whilst on bunkers it was interesting to watch Tiger at last weeks PGA event when he had two very buried lies on a course that would have a very large budget and crew to maintain them.  It was also interesting to get a shot of just how much sand gets moved in the playing of a bunker shot and demonstrates how bunkers evolve and change over time and for the need to be constantly re-arranging the sand in the base and face of the bunker.

Is that a sand wedge or a shovel!!

And another unraked bunker last week but I won't be fronting the culprit after a snake took a short cut through the fairway bunker on 5R last Friday!! 
Be my guest!!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Well the rain seems to have stopped for the moment after 18½ inches since January 28!!  The water table is just about as high as it can get and not dropping which is a little unusual.   With this amount of heat, humidity and moisture I am certainly glad that there were no Bentgrass greens to cope with it as I doubt they would have survived it.   
It is amazing just how well the course takes the water though and I remember Doug Robinson and Jeff Gambin (both former CTHGC Supers) coming to visit me when I was at Victoria back in the 1980's and they were telling me about the massive drainage project they were undertaking at CTHGC using 900mm pipe in sections.  Considering I barely had any drainage piping installed at Victoria I thought they were crazy but thank heavens they did as it is still just as effective today.  That's the system that runs from the dam on 11W across 3W, 4R, 5R and 6R to the dam on the RHS of 6R green before it leaves the property.  Probably a third of the course is drained through this system which on basically flat land is quite an achievement.  That's a shot of 6R dam below before being enlarged as part of those works.
6R dam
The heat and moisture has certainly got the grass growing so a mixture of some growth regulator and herbicide was applied to all the fairways this week.  There is a little bit of dis-colouration from the herbicide on a few areas but nothing to worry about.  The West greens also got a granular fertliser applied to them this week and the rain was actually quite handy in helping to water it in.  This is the first time I have used a granular on them since planting and was one of the ideas bought back from the recent trip to the USA.   The photo below shows the size of each granule which is quite small and has no effect on ball roll once it moves into the turf canopy.
Granular fertiliser.
The turf arrives on Monday for the remaining West course areas after having to cancel it last week due to the wet conditions. 
And some more shots for the "really??" file from this week.  The weirdest of them all was 12R tee where a wedge must have been used to make that much mess which was right in the middle of the men's back tee.  The divots on 5R were replicated on a couple of other fairways and thanks to the ladies who sanded them on Tuesday as they were originally just left untouched and I guess taking two swipes to get out of the bunker on 3W would leave you a little tired for raking duties!!

5R fairway.

12R tee? At least they tried to sand them!

3W bunker

Friday, March 9, 2018

Just another 90mm in the rain gauge for the week but we were still able to get a lot done.  Most importantly we were able to pretty much keep up with the mowing which was quite a feat given the soggy conditions but come Friday afternoon and you would hardly know it had rained.  It would have come as a surprise to some of the Friday morning players when they saw us hand watering greens!  The West greens had been sanded the day before and rubbed in but there was still some sand on the surface so the best way to settle it in to the turf canopy is to water it in.

Watering on 16W.

We were also able to get the planned earthworks done adjacent to the temporary greens on the West course and an extension to the blue tee area on 15W tee.  The sublime skills of the Bobcat operator allowed us to barely leave a tyre track in the areas.  The turf arrives on Monday to finish the areas off.

A couple of photos below clearly belong in the "REALLY" file!!  Although one of the courses I played in the USA recently is a top 100  course with just 300 members and they have the same problem with care of the golf course. 

18 River fairway bunker.  One set of footprints.

4 juicy divots on 10W fairway.

As I have mentioned before - Please leave the course in a condition that you would like to find it.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Nearly 9 inches of rain last weekend certainly tested the courses ability to take water out with the massive thunderstorm on Monday evening finishing it off.  I always say that I won't knock back rainfall as you don't know where the next lot is coming from but that was ridiculous.

Motorised buggies were off both courses at various times and the constant rain kept the players away.  In the deluge on Saturday there must have been a window of opportunity to get out on the River course and the photos below show some of the damage caused.  Calling motorised buggies off is my decision and it's not a very easy one to make.  Realising the effect on the club's income and members enjoyment it is a decision that is not taken lightly and has many factors considered before the call is made.  There are a couple of "go too" areas that quickly give an indication of just how wet the courses are and their condition forms the basis of the decision.  The current rainfall radar and weather forecast are consulted to see just how long the rain will be lasting and the general weather forecast for the day is also considered.  Unfortunately one of the sites I rely on for wind and rain predictions have changed their forecasting model and are now nowhere near as accurate as they once were.  If anyone knows of an accurate website, particularly for rainfall, please pass it on.  Perhaps unfortunately for me the arthritis in my fingers is becoming a pretty good sign of approaching rainfall!! 

The decision on buggies is generally made by 5.15am after a tour of the courses and posted on the website by 5.30am.  This obviously means that the call is made in the dark without being able to physically see the sky.  If I had been able to see the sky last Saturday morning buggies may well have been off both courses and the damage below prevented.

The photos show the damage on Sunday morning after a buggy had driven through an area of pooled water then the same area today.  They were taken on 11R fairway which is one of the driest out there so one can only imagine what sort of damage would result on 13 or 16W for example. 

Sunday am.

Friday pm.


Sunday am.
Friday pm.

The photos below is of the approaching storm on Monday evening that had a very "green" look about it which is generally a very good sign of hail.  Fortunately we had no hail but a heck of a light show and 35mm in about even time.

Overlooking Club Banora.

Getting closer!

The rain has certainly made the rough grow and we are attempting to keep up as best we can which isn't easy so please bear with us.

Next week will see some further repair works around 6, 7 and 9 West green surrounds where the access areas that were unable to be repaired due to their proximity to the temporary greens will be done.  Most of these areas are riddled with tree roots as well, some of which were exposed by the volume of vehicle traffic over them.  15W men's tee will also be extended back, moreso to level out the blue teeing area than to gain length.  There will be various contractors on course so players co-operation would be much appreciated.