Friday, March 27, 2020

Just when you think the rain had finished and the last pool of water on the left of 9W was nearly gone down it came again with more to come. We have now received nearly 50 mm since it started raining last night and you compare that with the airport who have had 16 mm. It’s amazing what that short distance can do with the weather.  The airport has also received just under 1200 mm year to date compared to our just over 1500 mm.

Almost back to square one on 12R Friday afternoon.

I don’t know if anybody really knows just what is going to happen moving forward regarding the coronavirus situation particularly with respect to the playing of golf and the maintenance of golf courses. Not only golf courses but sporting facilities including racetracks, football ovals, bowling greens etc. There has been a mixed response around the world with some States in America allowing golf to continue with no maintenance and some banning both golf and maintenance. New Zealand have banned all maintenance and they had to walk away from the course which is a heartbreaking thought. The advantage there I guess is that they are heading into winter whereas the United States is heading into summer. So it will be a stop and wait and see for us.  If there is no maintenance allowed I would fear for the future of a lot of clubs as the cost of re-instating their facilities after a prolonged shutdown may be beyond them.

And always a sad day at the end of the season when we say goodbye to our casuals which was bought forward because of the effect of the coronavirus. To Shane, Tom, Jamie and Mark thanks for your efforts over the summer for presenting the course for the members and good luck in the coming weeks and months.

Monday, March 23, 2020

    In response to the Covid-19 virus the following actions will be taken on the golf coursestarting from first play on Tuesday, March 24 and will remain in place until further notice.

  • To avoid touching the flagstick, an insert will be placed into the cup so that your ball still effectively goes in the hole but you will only need two fingers to retrieve it and therefore not come in contact with the flagstick or the cup.  There should be no need to remove the flagstick.  See photos below.
  • All rakes have been removed from bunkers so please smooth your footmarks using your shoe or club.
  • All ballwashers will be removed.
  • All bubblers have been capped or turned off so if you need to have water while you play you will need to take bottled water with you. The on course toilets will still be operational. 

Insert in cup to hold the ball up.

Another view.

Friday, March 20, 2020

With the situation regarding the Covid-19 virus it is hard to know what to expect with the situation changing daily.  Within course operations we have split the crew in two meaning a separate start time and meal break each day and are sanitising all machinery and shed touch points as well as flagsticks each morning.  All course staff are self monitoring as everyone should be and are under strict instruction to report if they feel unwell.  At this early stage we have a clean bill of health which I hope continues. 

Back on the courses and at least the rain seems to have stopped and we got virtually a full week of maintenance in and it really shows with the finished product on Friday.  Just about every square inch of the property got mown this week and the slow down in growth means the surfaces are looking and playing great.   Another couple of mornings this week below 20 degrees at 5.30am which is 3 - 4 weeks ahead of the last three years and the cooler overnight temperatures have quite an effect on growth with the soil temperatures starting to drop.  The reduction in sunlight hours also has an impact on plant growth.  Some nice warm days with full sunshine is what we need heading towards winter.

And with just 30mm of rain this week the courses finally dried out and it was nice not to hear the squelch of water as you drove across the fairways or see this sort of damage from buggies in the wet areas. 

6R fairway last Friday.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Another 150mm of rain this week to top us right up once again.  That takes our year to date total to 1402mm or 1.4 metres.  The rainfall chart below tells the story. 

Only part of 1 and 18 fairways were able to be mown on the West course this week with the rest of the fairways way too wet to get the mowers on.  The River course fares a little better in the wet but many were too wet to get mowers on out there too. Thank heavens for the growth regulator and the extra application that went out last week that has slowed their growth right down.  The virtual month of low light intensity due to the cloud cover and lack of sunshine is taking its toll on turfgrass throughout the courses.  Couchgrass likes sunlight and warm conditions and that has been lacking recently.  Even overnight temperatures dipped below 20 degrees late this week which normally rarely happens until well into April.  

We took the opportunity today with low play numbers to get some fertiliser out on the tees on both courses to try and get them moving and in as good a condition as possible as we approach the cooler times of winter.  It is planned to try and get some fertiliser on the fairways as well in the short term if they ever dry out.

Once again a number of jobs mentioned last week that were planned for Tuesday were postponed due to the rain which just keeps putting them further and further back and now a couple of the contractors that we use are busy elsewhere.  Frustrating all round.  

Motorised buggy status for Saturday will be updated on the website under ''course conditions'' by 5.30am as normal.  At this stage, and with no further rain, the River course should be ok but the West course is borderline and it won't take much rain to make it too wet.  There are still significant wet areas out there so please drive very carefully.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Not very much to report this week with the focus primarily on mowing.  As I have mentioned before in the high growth conditions we are currently experiencing we never actually finish mowing fairways or rough as it's just a continuing operation.  At the start of the week you look at the amount of grass out there after a weekend of growth and wonder how you are going to get it all done.  Our four outfront rough mowers, two surround mowers and two fairway mowers are operating non stop at present.  The growth regulator is assisting with the fairways but it doesn't work as well on the longer rough areas where it is hard to get good spray coverage through the grass canopy.  The growth is so strong at the moment that even the growth regulator only lasted three weeks instead of the normal four.  This is caused by the high temperatures and humidity and the level of moisture in the ground. 

One of the benefits of the growth is that you can really see the definition of the fairways which given our high cart traffic and normally dry conditions doesn't really normally show.

There are a couple of jobs that have been planned to be done including repairing the drain on RHS 6R but with all efforts on mowing at the moment they have been postponed until later this month when the weather may have cooled a little and there are some low tides for this job in particular.