Friday, October 26, 2018

A very busy week on the courses and as always the staff stepped up to complete the extra tasks with no real effect on other course duties.  The week started with the re-laying of a 2 coat seal to the pathway in front of West half way.  The path was originally installed on top of the old road base in 2003 so had stood up quite well considering it is our main access track to the courses so any manner and size of vehicle has traversed it.

New pathway.

Then came the re-routing of the irrigation pipe at 4W which as always unearthed some unknown underground services which in this case was a power line that fed the old billboard that was out side the fence near 9W tee.  Having overcome that small hiccup we were able to only go through one of the bunkers which cut the work down somewhat and the job was completed in the allotted time and more importantly successfully as far as the conduit of water is concerned!!

One big trench.

Then came the start of tee renovations and we got the West course scarified and cleaned up.  You need dry conditions for this task and Thursday finished up going cloudy with a light shower around 9am but cleared out and the job was done.  The tees will be aerated next week and we will start on and hopefully finish the River course.

An interesting sideline to this is the machine we use to "scarify" the turf.  Most golfers know it as the machine that puts in "tram lines".  The machine is made by Graden industries which is an engineering company in suburban Melbourne and when it first came on the scene it was revolutionary as the blades spin backwards whereas all other similar machines spin forwards.  The machine has been so successful, particularly in the huge USA market that most Superintendents over there now say they "Graden their greens". 

The Graden in action.

And in my readings this week I came across this gem;

Open Championship 6-7 October 1891. 
Play will commence in the First Round at 9 a.m. and in the Second Round at 12.15 p.m. Competitors will play with as little delay as possible. 
By Order of the Green Committee.

And in October 1998 - 20 years ago - work started on the re-construction of the back 9 River greens and conversion from Bentgrass to Tifgreen 328.

10R green under construction.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Hard to believe we are on the same planet after what happened last week end into Monday!!  The difference in the courses is astounding and a credit to the hard work of the crew to get them that way.  Thanks to all the members and visitors who have paid us compliments over the past few days.  It really does brighten our day and makes the hard work worth the effort.  All main playing areas are back to normal with some areas of rough still needing a mow.  This is the time when the rough can get away on us with some heat and now plenty of moisture in the ground so please bear with us.  It's not often at this time of year we get such an extended forecast for light winds so make the most of it on the courses while you can!!

A big week next week with the re-location of a 100mm irrigation main line across the front of 4W green on Tuesday.  As mentioned before here the two front bunkers on 4W will be reduced in size to allow for the sweeping bend of the pipe.  At the moment holes 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 are supplied by only one 100mm irrigation main line following the failure of the one we are replacing at 4W which doesn't allow for required water pressure.  
The path at the rear 10W across the front of ½ way West and 15W green is also scheduled to be re-surfaced.  
If the weather is kind to us the West tees will get a renovation next Thursday.  Hopefully we will be able to get them scarified and hollow tyne aerated in the day.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The rain has finally stopped and there's some sunshine and a decent outlook at last.  The courses received 130mm over the past six days which was less than forecast which is only a good thing and for once we were spared the big numbers that fell further up the coast and  the hinterland.

The courses have bounced right back and all playing surfaces were cleared of the debris that came down in amongst the 70+ kmh wind gusts.  Only one tree came down in on the LHS 11R.  The staff did a great job today getting the courses back in shape and ready for golf - with motorised buggies on both courses - on Wednesday.  Greens on both courses will be cut and rolled for Wednesdays comp and bunkers raked with probably 3 or 4 bunkers still holding some water.  

So we are good to go!!

Some before and afters below; 

4W fairway prior to blowing.

4W fairway after.

Rear 4W green bunker.

And after.

Tree down LHS 11R.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Not a very pleasant end to the week weather wise and the forecast doesn't look good for the week end either.  100% chance of 30 - 50mm of rain for Saturday and 100% chance for 30 - 80mm for Sunday means it may be a wet one!!  The wind is also a pain with debris down across the courses but the crew did a great job again today in particular cleaning up after some gale force gusts on Thursday.  The wind was so strong that it has even started shredding the bark from the Gum trees which normally doesn't generally happen until well into November.  

Leaves on 3R green makes putting tough.

4R fway covered.

Bark being stripped from Gum trees.

No motorised buggies allowed on the West course today and virtually no play came out as a result.  The greens stay dry though so we took advantage of the situation and got the West greens de-thatched and mown while the surface was dry in the late morning which is a bonus as this is normally done in front of play while it is still dewy.  A dry surface means a much better result and the photo below shows a tiny sample of what was removed with the main thing being a lot of it was dead material that makes up the thatch layer in the turf which is the layer between the soil surface and the top of the leaf blades.  The less dead material in there the better and the de-thatch also helps create some new shoots.  We also took the opportunity to put some liquid fertiliser on the West greens after the de-thatch so although no golf it was a win win for us. 

Mainly brown dead material removed.

The new stump grinder that will primarily be used as a tree root grinder got it's first run this week up the RHS 1W fairway.  It did a great job as expected and so starts what will be a virtually never ending task of removing tree roots from fairways in particular.  At this time of year with the increase in grass growth it will be difficult to allocate time to this new task but we will get it out as often as possible.  It is a head down type of job and takes a lot of concentration so if you see it out on the courses please make sure the operator knows you are about to play.

The new addition to the fleet.

Tree root chopped off on 18W.

The forecast may not help us win next week though as a contractor had been booked to add some sand to bunkers on the West course. That requires the use of a large backhoe (and shovels + rakes) and trailers to transport the sand around.  Unfortunately if it is too wet then the job is postponed and the problem is the contractors are normally booked a month ahead and it is normally that long before I can get them onsite again.  That also puts it back into the busy time of tee and green renovations as well.  Here's hoping the forecast is wrong.


Friday, October 5, 2018

As mentioned last week the short working week was going to present some challemges then a couple of irrigation breaks added to the workload of the week.  Come Friday afternoon the courses are looking a treat and have cleaned up particularly well after a very windy Wednesday and Thursday.  Just about everything got mowed / trimmed and blown off or in the bunkers case out.  I would have to say that the courses could hardly be any better given the resources that are available on course.  Let's hope the weather behaves and the rain stays away for the Club Champs this week end which may well be wishful thinking!

A few of the fairways on the River course have quite a "stripy" look about them which is a result of an application that was made a couple of weeks ago.  We put out a tank mix of a growth regulator and a herbicide which is very commonly recommended and used throughout the world of turf but was a first for us.  For some reason we got a reaction and the mix didn't combine properly despite mixing together quite well in a "jar test" prior to application and hence the resultant stripes.

Stripy result on 2R fway.
A bit more tree work on the programme next week with a number of dead trees to be removed and a bit more trimming in a few areas.  We will also be doing some topdressing on some of the turfed areas around the West greens in amongst prepping the River course for the 3rd round of the Championships.