Friday, October 25, 2019

A couple of windless mornings this week allowed for the opportunity to catch up with some spray applications and we were able to get greens on both courses fertilised as well as all West fairways.  We also got the chance to spray weeds in bunkers which was badly needed.  We had actually started to hand weed some of the bunkers which is quite laborious but the constant wind had hampered our efforts to get them sprayed.

And speaking of bunkers we have transferred the trial rakes across to 18 West greenside to continue assessment.  The only feedback so far has been that "exhibit B" pictured below leaves a very nice finish and is light and easy to use.

Most popular so far.

We had two additions to the course maintenance fleet this week with the delivery of two new greens mowers.  We have been using the same type of mower over the years and not much has changed on them, save for some refinements in the mowing head itself.  We run four of these mowers on greens, two for each course and after they have served a useful life on the greens they are "retired" to be used on tees and greens collars.  That normally happens around 2000 hours worked which is pretty much the equivalent of 100,000 kilometres on a car and is generally when little niggly problems start appearing.  They generally stay on course until they are traded in at around 3,500 hours.   

Ready to mow.

And soil samples were taken from the River greens this week for a complete nutrient analysis to be performed.  Only six greens are sampled which gives a pretty good indication / average to work on. This gives us a guide on just what to add to our sand mix and the type and amount of fertiliser that will be used in the renovation in November.  It was done prior to the greens being fertilised this week for obvious reasons and about 750 grams of material is collected from about thirty core holes such as the one in the photo below.

Size of the core that is pulled. 

Friday, October 18, 2019

Just a measly 27mm last weekend which certainly won't be sniffed at but gee it would have been nice to get some more.  The 2mm in the front that passed through on Thursday evening was also disappointing but at least we have had some rain now.  The wind over the past weeks has played havoc with planning with the spray jobs literally banking up which is normal for this time of year but very frustrating as we keep dropping behind.  On the days we can spray greens are prioritised and then it's down the chain from there.

This is the filter that operates in the pump shed for the irrigation water and it is a crucial piece of machinery in the maintenance of the courses.  It is an automatic self cleaning unit that back flushes to clear debris when it senses that pressure starts to drop and no actual electric power is required as it operates solely on inline water pressure.  It has been in the irrigation shed since the pump station was installed in 2000 and was upgraded to some new technology in 2018.  It has barely missed a beat over the years which is of great assistance to the even application of irrigation across the courses.  We pulled it down this week for its 6 monthly service and it was back humming again within 3 hours.  It is a pretty laborious task to undertake but at least we only need to do it 6 monthly whereas I know of courses with dirty water supplies that need to do it every week in some instances. 

The filter in the pump shed.

Whilst we serviced the filter the pumps obviously have to be down so we take the opportunity to replace / service the many other smaller filters and fittings that help make the irrigation system tick over.  This includes the town water line that feeds our supply to the in field satellites that utilise water to control the sprinklers.  Below is a photo of the in line filter on this supply after 6 months in service compared to a new one.  No wonder people like to filter their water supply at home!!

Pretty easy to see the one on the left is the new one!!

On Wednesday night we had some intruders on the courses and they fortunately didn't cause too much damage.  The worst of it was at the bridge on 8W tee where they pushed the railing over and perhaps somewhat disappointingly didn't finish up on the rocks below themselves.  Just another unplanned 4 hour job for 3 men to replace the railing support amongst the other ongoing works that we undertake.

New railing support installed.


Friday, October 4, 2019

Not really much to report on the courses with a pretty much routine maintenance week.  The West course closure on Tuesday after the ladies did afford us the chance to get the West greens solid tine aerated which allowed for some much needed gas exchange after such a prolonged dry period by allowing some fresh air to enter the soil profile.  This type of aeration has little effect on the putting surface and I would like to do it more often which should be able to happen now with the extra time.

We are still very dry with just 4mm falling on Monday night when parts of Murwillumbah got 30+mm and Headland GC on the Sunshine Coast in excess of 100mm.  A lot of that would have run off and not penetrated the surface but they put in a big dam a few years ago and that was filled to capacity.  So at least someone is smiling!

I noticed this week that some of the Gum trees are starting to lose their bark so a messy time is on the way.  I have never looked into timing of this phenomenon and the reason for it other than its a pain to clean up and generally happens around greens renovation time in November. 

And in some ways its hard to believe that this week marks three years since the back 9 West greens conversion to TifEagle stared on 13W green.  In some ways it seems a lifetime ago and in others just like yesterday.

Bobcat about to start stripping 13W off.

The layered soil profile we found on 13W.

And I just noticed recently the return of the Honey bee eater birds.  They burrow into some of the bunker faces and elsewhere and are here for around three to four months.  A few years ago we had a keen photographer on the courses and he snapped these amazing shots of  them in full flight.


Dinner time.