Friday, April 24, 2020

Not the greatest comment last week when I said there was no rain in the forecast and then down it came on Saturday.  Alas it was only 2mm although it seemed like more which is now all we have had in fourteen days and with the high temperatures we are certainly drying out again.  The constant charge of motorised buggies down the fairways also has an impact on compaction and dryness with player numbers seemingly increasing on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, a breakdown meant the tree contractor didn't make it to site this week to start on the dead trees so next week will see that project start up.  We did get the palms trimmed up before the seed pods dropped and did a little bit of other trimming while the travel tower was onsite.  Next week will also see the drain on RHS 6R replaced.  This is in amongst all the normal routine maintenance that is still ongoing with the growth continuing across the courses which is good to see.

A bit of a lucky escape with a large 4 wheel drive being driven across 6R green.  It was a little weird though as you can normally pick up their tracks in the dew but on this occasion there were no visible marks of how they got on to the courses with no damage left behind.

6R green Thursday morning.

Hopefully tomorrow morning will see a great response to the call for Australians to stand in their driveway at 6am with a candle as a mark of respect on Anzac Day 2020 under the banner #lightupthedawn  Unfortunately I will be mowing greens so won't be able to join in but will certainly be thinking of the Diggers.  Michelle and I visited Gallipoli in 2010 and to say it is an incredibly moving place is an understatement.  Lest we forget. 

Lone Pine 10 years ago.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Seven days since it has rained is the longest run since it started raining on January 11 and there is not really any forecast in the next seven days either.  It seems quite surreal to actually be thinking about scheduling some fairway irrigation given what we have experienced thus far this year.

The weather we are having at the moment is just what we need to get as much growth as possible before the winter although the shorter daylight hours don't help but temperatures in the high twenties is just perfect.  This is in stark contrast to the more recent wet weather where the light intensity has been very low which has a direct impact on plant growth.

It's been a difficult time knowing just what to do with the courses with the potential of a shutdown always in the back of my mind although the closer we get to winter the less impact it would have on the courses.  For example if we did go into a shutdown with no maintenance allowed as has happened in New Zealand and some States in the USA, the irrigation would need to be turned off meaning no water for the greens and in the current temperatures that means dead grass.  So that's why the closer we get to winter the better if a shutdown does occur.  We have upped our application of plant protectants to make sure that we could cope with a shutdown but have backed off on fertiliser so as not to get a growth surge which is a little counter intuitive to the comments above about getting some growth.  Hence the apprehension about the situation.

One of the other difficulties we are having maintaining the courses is dealing with the two ball situation.  The first groups out are playing in just over two hours which doesn't give us much time to get the courses prepared in front of them.  This means that we need to do a lot more work amongst play than usual.  So please give the staff some consideration when you encounter them during your round.

We got another days grinding of the raised edges on the concrete buggy paths done this week and have just about got the place covered. Next week will see the start of the removal of the dead trees that are scattered around the courses and given their size will be quite a task.  The following week it looks like the tides will be suitable for the drain on RHS 6R to be replaced which will be quite an involved process and the last thing we want is any more rainfall to lift the water table.

More grinding RHS 11R.

With no sport on TV to speak of I have been watching some of the old Shell's Wonderful World of Golf on Youtube.  Two absolute classics are the 1962 Gene Littler v Byron Nelson match at Pine Valley which is one of the very few occasions any golf has been televised at what is widely regarded as the worlds best course and Jack Nicklaus v Sam Snead in 1963 at Pebble Beach.  Sublime swings on some awesome courses.

I heard a bit of chirping behind me this morning and looked around to catch this pair of Rainbow Lorikeets inspecting a hollow for their upcoming breeding season.

Simply stunning colours.

Friday, April 10, 2020

A dark and gloomy Good Friday which probably made staying home that bit more bearable.  On the courses it was pretty much back to normal with another 14mm overnight which left us very wet again!  That gives us another 31mm this week and the years total up to 1552mm.  As we are approaching the real slow down of the turf I doubt whether the areas the water has been lying for almost months now will recover as per the photo of the water pooled on 1R fairway this morning.  These areas are just not getting a chance to dry out and re-generate

An all to familiar site on 1R.

In turf management we get to deal with our own outbreaks of disease and unfortunately sometimes they can have devastating effects on the playing surface.  The struggles experienced by anyone trying to grow bentgrass greens in our climate is testament to that.  The diseases come with all sorts of names from Pythium, Fairy Ring, Dollar Spot, Brown Patch, Red Thread and Anthracnose to name a few.  A few photos below.

Pythium on 16W in the days of bentgrass.

Fairy Ring (fortunately not @ CTHGC!!)

Dollar Spot on 17W in the bentgrass era.

But I found another one this week that has been seen before, but this is probably the worst I have seen it and it was on the 328 practice green.  With the mosquito plague we have been experiencing lately a lot of insect repellent has been used.  Someone was applying some to their lower legs and oversprayed on to the green surface and the resultant burn to the turf is clearly evident.  So if you don't mind could you apply the repellent away from the turf please!!  

Aeroguard patch!!

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Certainly one of the weirdest weeks I have experienced on the courses with the closure then re-opening on Wednesday.  It was quite a different feeling driving around and working with no golfers although there were a million thoughts going through my mind of what we were going to be able to do without play.  One of those was a mini renovation on the greens which fortunately I didn't start although the River greens were sanded on Tuesday at a higher rate than normal which is going to make mowing a bit difficult for the short term as sand and mowers don't really like each other.

Well that didn't last long!!

We are fortunate to be open and it is very important that all the guidelines that are in place are strictly adhered to as there have been at least two courses in NSW that have been closed for contravening them.  It's also important for the welfare of the staff throughout the club who are interacting with you throughout this time that they stay fit and healthy.  So it's over to you members on this one!