Friday, June 21, 2019

A busy week of golf on both courses in some great weather and the nice positive comments about playing conditions is always nice to hear.  The crew have done a great job recently so it was only natural to have a BBQ breakfast this morning.  Apologies to the members walking up 9W fairway next to the shed and smelling the bacon and eggs cooking!!

Not the healthiest but very tasty and just reward.

I mentioned last year about some Wintergrass (which is Poa annua) on the courses that has become resistant to our normal control methods and we now have some in 3R green so trials have commenced using alternative methods of control.  Watch this space.

And speaking of Poa annua which was mentioned seemingly a thousand times on last weeks coverage of the US Open golf and was incorrectly referred to as "Po anna" which is most definitely not how it is pronounced.  I mentioned last week that Monterey is not an easy place to grow grass and the Poa thrives there and so they accept it and live with it.  The greens seemed to play very well and considering that the course is really only a par 69 with 2 easily reached par 5's, only 2 players broke par so it was still a very stern test of golf and the course looked and played very well.

Green speed looked to be a suitable match to the greens design at Pebble Beach which is a critical aspect of preparing a course for tournament play.  The old classic courses, especially in the USA, were designed with some severely sloping greens that are not really suited to fast greens.  As an example in 1978 the USGA visited over 500 courses and recorded their green speeds and the results are astounding when you compare them to the same courses today where they all seem to run in excess of 12 feet on the stimpmeter.  Oakmont which is considered to have the fastest greens year round in the USA had their greens running at over 14 feet for the 2016 open on greens that have the same slopes as were there in 1978! 

1978 speeds;
  • Harbour Town, 5-1 (5 feet, 1 inch)
  • Congressional, 6-4
  • Merion, 6-4
  • Pinehurst No. 2, 6-10
  • Pebble Beach, 7-2
  • Shinnecock Hills, 7-2
  • Pine Valley, 7-4
  • Winged Foot, 7-5
  • Cypress Point, 7-8
  • Medinah, 7-8
  • Augusta National, 7-11
  • Oakland Hills, 8-5
  • Oakmont, 9-8

At least the foxes that dig in our bunkers are only nocturnal and I am probably the only person that sees them on the courses in the very early morning course inspections I make.  These fellows are a good bit bolder though!!


I will be on leave for the next 3 weeks so will return to the world of blogging in mid July.  Until then enjoy the golf courses and good golfing to you all.                   

Friday, June 14, 2019

The amazing run of warmer temperatures continues with a reading of 27 degrees in the compound today which allowed the opportunity for the West greens to get another de-thatching which for this time of year is nearly unheard of.  This is the operation where thatch is removed and the deeper you go the more surface disruption you have.  At this time of year it was only a shallow depth used and a large amount of dead material was removed as a result with virtually no surface disruption.  A definition of thatch is - The intermingled layer of living and dead grass stems, roots and other organic matter that is found between the soil surface and the leaf blades.   

In the photo below you can see the tungsten tip on the end of the blade which helps prolong the life of the blades as they wear very quickly.

Close up of the de-thatcher reel.

The US Open golf is obviously on this week and the course looks amazing.  The Monterey Peninsula where Pebble Beach GL is located is a very unique environment and not a very easy place to grow good turf.  Not only the proximity to the ocean and resultant seaspray but they have very variable conditions with winds coming up very quickly and abating and a lot of sea mist / fog.  Golf is very expensive there and to the credit of the owners they pour money back into the course to maintain the excellent conditions.  A crew of 40 maintain the course day to day and they have been bolstered by 100 volunteers for the week which includes six Australians.  The attention to detail all year round is astounding on the course but goes to the extreme come tournament time.  If you click on the link below it will take you to a video showing how they repair pitch marks.  

Friday, June 7, 2019

Another very quiet week on the courses with staff numbers still low but at least that does coincide with the low growth time.  Some more very cold mornings has really snapped the turf back with the greens in particularl losing colour and tightening up which is a natural reaction to the cold.
A windy week means lots of tree debris around on the playing surfaces which has been cleared as well as could be.  There is rain in the forecast too and dare I say it but we could do with a bit right now and hopefully it co-operates and comes down overnight and not spoiling golf.
And we got a chance to get the root pruner out for the first time this week with some work being done on 4 and 9 West fairway edges.  The machine cruised through the areas with some sizable roots encountered along the way.  The tractor has to move very slowly and so it is a job best done away from play for the safety of the operator.  There is very minor surface disruption following the pruning as can be seen below and even on very hard ground we were still getting up to 250mm of penetration.
6 slices evident on the RHS 9W.