Friday, April 30, 2021

A very productive week on the courses with the mowing requirements certainly waning which allows for a lot of other works to be done.  We have started a program of renovating bunkers which includes the addition of some sand where required and re-facing the faces of the bunkers.  It is labour intensive and slow work but the results thus far have been excellent.

The majority of fairways were fertilised this week and all tees on both courses were also done.  The fertiliser applied has 65% slow release which in a perfect world would slowly release over the next six to eight weeks.  Unfortunately golf courses aren't the perfect world, particularly when you have golf carts driving all over the fairways literally smashing the granules up and causing the nutrients to release.  We will probably finsh up with around 30% slow release left out there which will be releasing and taking advantage of the last bit of warmth in the ground.

The course closure today due to the proposed roadworks gave us the opportunity to get the West greens solid tine aerated which allows some air exchange and helps the greens breathe.  The photo below shows the tine used and we get about 80mm depth.  Once the green is rolled following you hardly know we have been there but the turf roots certainly do.

6.3mm solid tine.

1W green tine and roll.

After a couple of dry weeks the rain looks like it might be back again with an ordinary forecast for the weekend.  Year to date at the end of April has us at 1395mm and since December 1 we have had 1953mm.

And we took delivery of two new greensmowers this week.  They replace two of our fleet of diesel mowers that had served us exceptionally well throughout their twelve year lifetime.  The new machines are of the hybrid variety and are predominantly powered electrically.  This reduces our emissions and fuel usage significantly but more importantly means we can mow earlier due to the low noise levels.  Our current machines operate at 88 decibels compared to the hybrids 25 decibels.  They also eliminate hydraulic oil which takes away the possibility of burst hoses killing turf on the greens surface.  They have a 14 horsepower petrol motor that operates at idle which powers a generator which in turn provides the power for the unit.  An advantage of this is no battery charging and no restriction on run time as there has been with all ''electric'' models that we have previously trialled.

New mower on 9W.


Friday, April 16, 2021

Quite remarkably there is still some water lying in a few areas around the property.  We haven't recorded rain for the last seven days and the weather has been nice and sunny which is just what we want for the turf and also to dry the place out.  Just about everything got mown this week and a few areas got scalped which is understandable considering some fairways didn't get mown for three weeks.

One area that certainly got scalped was the new target green that was installed on the short range earlier in the week.  The golf management committee deemed it necessary to restrict the length of shots being played on the short range due to a few near misses when players were picking up balls on the green and they were being peppered from incoming shots.  So the sign says - ''CHIPPING PERMITTED FROM WITHIN 25 METRES ONLY, UNLESS UNDER INSTRUCTION FROM PGA COACHING PROFESSIONAL''.

New short range sign.


A few cooler nights this week and generally a milder end to summer with the cloud cover associated with the rain has got the Wintergrass (Poa annua) germinating a little earlier than normal.  Although as mentioned last week, some of the Wintergrass survived the summer due to the rain which is most unusual.  We generally only try to control it in the main playing areas due to cost and spraying logistics.  As I have mentioned in other years we have some varieties of Poa that are now resistant to the available herbicides so will be trying a new product for some of these areas.  

The photo below shows some Poa already germinated on 4R tee which is expected as it is a very shaded tee and the shaded areas is where we get most of the Poa growing, due to the Couchgrass being thinner in the shade.  The photo also shows just how much wear the tee gets from just one days play and is one of the reasons I keep asking players to play from the markers of the day and stay off the back tee areas to give us a chance to maintain a full cover throughout the winter.  We do have a good cover of grass on the tees now but that has to last us until November when we start to get some growth again.

Poa germination around the bottom tee marker.

And speaking of tees, below is 16 tee at Augusta during the final round of the Masters.  Notice only one line of divots which are from that days play.  The others in front have been plugged out with fresh turf.  Ahh the pursuit of perfection  -  and they do a pretty good job of it.

16 tee divots.


Friday, April 9, 2021

At last a fine sunny day that should help start the drying process and I have never seen the courses stay this wet for this long.  The light nature of the rain means that the water just sits in pools and with the soil profile saturated the water has literally nowhere to go.  We are blessed to just be talking about some water lying about the place in comparison to many other clubs on the eastern seaboard who have been flooded and covered with silt.  Many SE Qld and NSW central coast courses flooded again this week although nowhere near to the extent of a few weeks ago.

We haven't attempted to mow fairways this week due to the soft conditions and only a small amount of rough was able to be mown.  We are lucky that there is no more serious heat so that the grass isn't growing too strongly although on the other hand it would be nice to get some more growth to set us up for winter.

We have had a really weird reaction take place on the West greens this past week.  The greens were fertilised on March 30 in the lead up to Easter and there appears to have been some sort of reaction take place with the nutrients releasing in a haphazard way resulting in some blotchy patches appearing.  We put a soil conditioner and some more fertiliser out this week and they are returning to a consistent colour.  When the River greens were new we had similar occurrences as the high rain levels leach a lot of the nutrients out but it hasn't happened to the West greens before and we have certainly had enough rain to test them.  We have sent away some soil samples to see if that will provide an answer.  I have used the mix of fertilser for my whole career and have never seen this issue before.  Another course who used the same sand supplier has had a similar issue this week which makes it even stranger.

15W green spots.


And a rare double rainbow nearly formed on Thursday morning which was quite spectacular but it also meant there was some more showers hanging around.

Rainbow over 15R.

A couple of shots below from Windsor CC in Sydney in Sydney this week who bore the brunt of the floods.  As I mentioned above we only have some casual water lying about now.

Yes that's a green.


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

78mm of rain in the 24 hours to 9am this morning came on top of the 75mm that was recorded in the 24 hours to 9am Tuesday morning on top of the 13mm that fell on Sunday.  To say the courses are wet is an understatement.  It has been the worst type of rain we can get in that it is only quite light and doesn't get the chance to run off which means it just makes the courses even wetter.  There is water standing in areas I can't recall ever being there before such as 8R tee which is the driest tee on the course.

So the 187mm so far in March takes us to just shy of 1.9 metres of rain since December 1 which is 75 inches in the old scale.  Incredible.

2W fairway Wednesday morning.

9R tee Wednesday morning on high tide.

8R tee Tuesday afternoon.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

We just can't seem to get a break from the rain and it has certainly been a roller coaster ride over the past couple of years.  2019 saw a very dry January / February followed by a very wet March / April then the driest ever July thru December.  Then 2020 kicks off with the wettest ever January thru March and then February and December 2020 each being the wettest on record, since 1886 for Tweed Heads.  Then 2021 brings us the deluge we have experienced in March which finished up being the second wettest March on record behind 1906 which was the wettest year on record.  So below is the story of the past four months and although not record breaking it has just been persistent with 73 / 114 days recording rain.  It's been such an unusual summer that there is some Winter Grass (Poa annua) still alive on a couple of greens surrounds which is the first time I have ever seen that at the end of summer.  Poa is a shallow rooted grass that normally can't tolerate the summer heat we have.

And it doesn't look like it's over just yet with the outlook for the next seven days.

Not the best outlook.


It's hard to remember that we dried out to the extent below twice in 2019.

4W fairway November 2019.


The lack of sunlight is still not helping turf growth but we are on a par with other years with April 1st seeing us drop below 20° in the compound at 5.30am for the first time since December.  April normally still sees a few days of over 30° so hopefully that will be the case.

All tees on both courses got fertilised this week and hopefully the fairways will also get some fertiliser over the next couple of weeks if they dry out enough.  We have also been able to get a lot of bunker maintenance done this past week with most of the courses being too wet to mow.