Friday, November 29, 2019

The River greens are recovering well from their renovation and have had a couple of mowings already this past week.  Another top up of sand has a very nice level surface waiting for some more mowing next week to get the height back down to normal.  It is always a difficult time as the sand and reelmowers don't mix very well so it is very hard to get a quality cut in the early days following the renovation.

The West renovation will get under way next week with either the tees or greens collars being scarified.  The main part of the greens works will commence the following week and at this stage the greens won't be hollow tined but rather a 7mm solid tine will be used.  The weather (rainfall) will play a major part in this decision.  The greens will be heavily scarified and de-thatched with amendments added and finally sanded.  See November 15's post for some more detail on these activities.

The dry continues and some of the trenchlines around the courses are showing up including one of the most vital for the course.  That would be the trench that contains the pipe from the treatment plant that conducts the water to our dam for re-use.  It literally is liquid gold at the moment!!  As mentioned before and easy to see on the courses at the moment we don't get enough water to satisfy the entire property but we are in a much better position than others with many clubs operating on nearly dry dams or exceptionally salty water.  The arrow below indicates the line of the pipe which runs through the RHS green bunker on 15W.

Liquid gold under there.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Wind, wind and more wind.  It is a windy time of year but it would be nice if it blew some rain in!!??

The River greens renovation occupied the week and started last Sunday when there was a shower of rain that barely wet the ground but as I mentioned last week was enough to clog up the rollers on the machines.  Then the storm that hit on Sunday night came along and gave us lots of other work to do to put the courses back together again as well as renovate the greens.  Two and a half great days work by the crew saw the greens finished on time and a good result achieved.  It is a painful process but a very necessary one.

And speaking of the storm, the photo below shows the radar and the course is right under the arrowed black section that provided hail as well as 20mm of rain in about fifteen minutes.  A lot of it ran off unfortunately as it was too heavy but we got some benefit from it.  It caused a lot of clipping wash as can be seen in the other photo at the front of 4R tee which mostly requires time consuming manual removal.

Came from nowhere.

Debris at 4R tee.

Friday, November 15, 2019

A weird sort of week with the smoke haze blowing in one day and out the other with gusty southerly winds followed by equally gusty northerlies.  At least Thursday gave us some easterlies which sometimes brings some rain and Friday changed it up a bit with a gusty north easterly.  Which all adds up to lots of leaf debris.  We did manage to get the River course tees scarified and cleaned up but no aeration as it is too hot and dry.
Monday mornings sun @ 6.30 am with smoke haze.
Everything is set for the greens renovation on the River course that will commence on late Sunday afternoon.  We have had some light rain the last couple of years just to annoy us and also impact on the tidiness of the tasks performed.  And lo and behold there is rain forecast for Sunday!!  But we will certainly take anything we can as far as rainfall is concerned in the current conditions.
At this stage it is planned to scarify the greens in at least four directions up and back on the same line so at least eight passes over the green @ 5mm depth.  That will then be followed up with the de-thatchers set @ 3mm depth in two directions up and back.  The scarifiers and de-thatchers we use are mounted on the greensmowers and are pictured below.

The top photo is the scarifiers and you can see brushes in between the blades that help throw the material in to the grass catchers.  Golfers often refer to scarifying as ""tramlines"".  The de-thatchers below are what is used on a regular basis on the greens but in this instance will be set at 3mm depth whereas for routine operations they are set to ground level height with the weight of the unit allowing the unit to contact the surface.

Scarifying heads with brushes evident.

De-thatching heads with a narrower spacing.

After that operation the greens will be hollow tyne aerated using tungsten tipped tynes to a depth of 50 - 75mm.  The photo below shows the tynes which are classified as 9.7mm or 3/8 inch which isn't quite right when you look at how the taper of the carbide tip reduces the opening.  Following the hollow tyne the greens will have some amendments / fertiliser added and then finally sanded.  Due to the high sodium levels and therefore stressed growing conditions recovery may be a little slower however given the soil test results the greens are in fairly good health.

Even though the renovation is on Monday it isn't until you get a start that you can figure out exactly what will be done as the weather and soil conditions dictate just what can be done.  A light shower of rain can cause havoc with dirt sticking to rollers and clogging up the mower heads. Sometimes depending on the soil conditions it is hard to pull a plug out, especially with the carbide tips which last a lot longer but tend to lose their sharpness and therefore clean penetration through the surface.  So despite the best laid plans you sometimes have to fly by the seat of your pants as the saying goes.

Tynes mounted and ready to go.

Taper very evident.



Friday, November 8, 2019

It was hard to believe we were on the same planet in the calm conditions on Wednesday afternoon after what happened on Tuesday.  I can't remember being on course in such high winds as we got on Tuesday and fortunately not much tree debris hit the ground.  Except of course leaves!!  A few times the leaves looked like a tidal wave as they swirled around and basically rendered the course unplayable.  In such conditions the bunkers virtually become leaf collectors and the amount of debris in them required hand raking out which is a very time consuming task.  The greens had a lot of debris on them too so much so that it took four staff two hours each to get them clear for mowing on Wednesday morning whereas most normal windy days takes 2 staff 1 hour each.  Then along comes Friday with a howling northerly so at least the debris is coming from a different direction.

2R green - good luck putting through that!

15R leaf collector!

The need for rain gathers momentum every day now especially with the increasing temperatures.  The turf is under a lot more stress as the heat exacerbates the drying out of the rootzone.  The pond on the dogleg of 5W has dried up again which is the third time in eighteen months and I think it has only happened on three other occasions since I have been here.

Another leaf collector.

The River greens soil tests came back pretty much as expected after such a prolonged dry period and subsequent high usage of the treated water.  Salt levels are in the extreme range on all greens so the renovation and hopefully some rainfall will do them wonders.  Most other elements are within the expected parameters.  We will kickstart the renovation period with the tees to be scarified next week and they may also be aerated but that depends a lot on the rainfall outlook as the aeration really dries them out.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Well at least it tried to rain today!!  Hopefully this might start a trend with the cloud cover and we start to get some decent falls in the coming weeks.  On course and it was a routine maintenance kind of week with the River greens being de-thatched and sanded and all fairways having some growth regulator applied.

I might have spoken too soon last week about niggly problems occurring on machinery once they get to 2000 hours with a hydraulic oil leak happening on the oldest greens mower on Monday morning on 5R green.  The hydraulic hoses are the most likely to fail on the machine and it is almost impossible to avoid and / or predict.  A lot of the time the leak is hard to see on the greend at first which is hard to believe when you see the photo below but at least the operator caught it before he started the next pass.  To his credit the mowing line is nice and straight though!!  It's never what you want to see but if it has to happen then just prior to renovation is the best time for it so we get a good chance for some re-growth.

The mow line was straight!!

The root pruner that has been used down the sides of fairways is really showing some benefits now.  In the photo below the cool season wintergrass is still hanging around on the RHS of the photo where it can still get some moisture out of the soil.  The fairways have never been this good in such a prolonged dry spell as the irrigation water actually gets used up by the turf itself instead of the tree roots.  Now to try and find something to stop the overnight wind?

Arrow indicating cool season grass still going.

The Corellas have started digging on the greens again which happens at this time of year for some reason.  They only attack 5 and 7W greens as a rule and normally don't if the flag has been removed.  We are fortunate though as our local Corellas only nest here and feed elsewhere during the day whereas at many clubs they attack greens continually all day.  There have been a number of ideas floated to try and prevent them by using fake snakes and birds of prey for example but a couple of clubs have used a wire cut out that looks a bit like a person.  So meet our new staff member below who has been stationed at the rear of 5W green in a bid to deter the pests!!  Night one went without any damage after five consecutive nights so here's hoping.

En garde!