Friday, November 2, 2018

Another very busy week on the courses that started with a massive clean up following the very strong winds from last week end, particularly Sunday night.  It was hard to believe it was the same golf course on Monday and Tuesday with just light breezes allowing us to get the courses spotless and playable again.  That didn't last long as the winds picked up again on Wednesday and don't look like abating anytime soon.  A couple of shots below to show off the handiwork of the staff in the clean up.  It's pretty hard to keep your spirits up when the wind just comes back and blows it all back down again although the winds of the last few days are nothing compared to last week end.

Clearing leaf debris is a seemingly never ending job most of the year at Coolie Tweed and particularly so at this time of year although it is very necessary to allow as much sunlight to get to the turf surface.  The shade of the trees themselves make it tough enough to grow grass successfully in many situations on the courses.  I came across an interesting quote during the week;  "Good grass doesn't grow in the forest and there are no trees on the prairie - the two were never meant to coexist."

2R fairway bunker before
And after
4R greenside bunker before
And after
You know it's windy when the bird nests are on the ground!!

Two of our most shaded tees have had some turf lifted in preparation for some new turf to be laid next week.  Pictured below is 18R which will have a new variety of Couchgrass called "TifTuf" which has a very high tolerance to shade whilst still being mown low enough for use on a tee and 7W will have a variety of Zoysia called "Sir Grange" planted that also grows very well in shade.  It does take a little while longer to develop but should provide a great playing surface for this notoriously difficult tee.  I first saw Zoysia's in the USA in 1988 and they were used then in shady areas with some success.  I must say I am a bit dubious as to why it has taken so long for Zoysia to catch on but from all the trial work and actual plantations I have seen they seem very good in the shade. 

18R tee ready for turf

All the tees have now been renovated with the coring completed this week.  As they recover the mowing height will also be lowered for the summer growth months.  Whilst coring the tees we ran in to another tree issue - that of roots.  We have always hit some roots with the coring machine but this year for some reason was worse than ever with dozens of tines being broken after striking the roots.  As the photo below shows the cores actually pull some of the roots out!!  The (soil) cores are rubbed back in to the surface which has the double effect of top dressing and also some fertiliser response from the soil itself.

A broken tine with a root inside and other "root cores"!!

Next week will see the stumps removed around the courses and some fertiliser applied to the fairways.  This will be done on Tuesday as player numbers are low due to the Melbourne Cup so hopefully some rain will follow.  We will also be literally painting some herbicide on some of the foreign Couchgrass patches in the River greens in readiness for it to be patched out of the greens following renovation later this month. 

And very sad news with the passing of Percy Roberts who was an obvious stalwart of the club and a lover of the courses.  As a founding father of Dad's Army he spent more than 30 years tending to the courses on a weekly basis which is an extraordinary effort in itself.  Let alone the countless hours spent in the boardroom as a club director.  Vale Percy.

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