Friday, June 25, 2021

Well the Superintendents championship has been run and done and the winner was Jordan Sherratt who has recently become a Superintendent after plying his trade as a tour pro with some appearances on the Korn Ferry tour on his resume.  Jordan shot a 2 under 72 in difficult conditions with strong winds buffeting the courses.  It was a relief to get the day out of the way and very nice to hear the course complimented by my peers with numerous players saying the greens were ''pure'' which is about the best compliment you can receive for greens. Lots of thanks to Nicole James for the organisation of the day which went off without a hitch.

We then moved to Broadbeach for the annual conference and trade show which was attended by nearly 400 delegates.  The Victorian Covid situation meant that nearly sixty couldn't make it from that State which was a shame.  The conference subject matter is not always restricted to agronomy and this years featured a day dedicated to mental health and team building / leadership.  This first day included a presentation by Kurt Fearnley to round the day off.  You could have heard a pin drop as he had the audience engrossed with his stories of overcoming the odds and the importance of building a strong team and leading by example.  The three main people in his team were together for twenty five years through his career which is an amazing feat.  

Inspiring Kurt Fearnley.

We then moved into the agronomy stuff and given that most presentations only go for forty minutes it's hard to have too much detail in them but the one for me was a series of presentaions on disease control.  There is some new research data and trial results on a disease that is almost unique to Australia and one that we have had here at Cool Tweed.  Some new and different control strategies have been discovered and we will be following some of the new methods very closely.

The trade show had over sixty companies exhibiting such things as batteries, fertilisers, fumigants, chemicals, golf course accessories, sprayers, pumps and mowers plus a host of others.  The biggest worry going forward  is the difficulty in getting product freighted into Australia with waits of six months commonplace.  A shortage of steel is also affecting production in the USA. 

A couple of other CTH staff attended some of the sessions and mechanic Craig was there for the week attending the dedicated mechanics stream.  This was only a small group but the networking and contacts he has made will help no end when a problem arises that we haven't seen before.    They had sessions on small engine maintenance, electric / hybrid mowers, sprayers and a number of site visits to other club's workshops.

You don't expect to change the world as a result of attending conferences but if you can glean something that will help your facility it will have been 100% worthwhile and we certainly achieved that this week.  My take home was the new disease control strategies and Craig's was trouble shooting carburettors. Thanks to Assistant Simon and the crew who had the courses in pristine condition on my return on Friday.

Friday, June 18, 2021

A short week and a busy one on the courses with lots of play and beautiful weather.  The Senior Matchplay event went off well and for a change they had nearly perfect weather although the unexpected thunderstorm on Tuesday had them off the courses temporarily.  It was great to hear a lot of positive feedback from the players and the West course looked and played great and was a credit to the hard work of the crew.

We were able to get a different product out this week in an attempt to control the resistant Poa annua. The Tif practice green surround and River greens 3, 7 and 10 were sprayed as well as a few other areas.  Fingers crossed we get a result from this.

Monday next week will see Cool Tweed host the Australian Superintendents golf championship which is played on day one of the 2021 Australian Sportsturf Management Conference which is on the Gold Coast from Tuesday.  Covid restrictions have had a small impact on numbers but the golf field has stayed steady at around ninety players and there are thirty players on handicaps of 5 or less.  Unfortunately Covid restrictions have also robbed us of some Supers who are in their respective State golf teams but it is still a very high quality field.  The winner of the event receives a red jacket (Toro sponsor the event) so you may see a few of the previous winners parading about in their red jackets from the year they won which is part of the tradition.  The winner also gets to play in the American Superintendents golf championship which is obviously going to be on hold until international borders open up again.

And I thought prepping the courses for an elite golf event was a bit stressful but having ninety of your peers looking over your work is pretty nerve wracking I have to say.  The club featured on the front cover of the Conference edition of Australian Turfgrass Management.


Friday, June 11, 2021

It almost felt icy this week with a very cold breeze blowing but having spent last weekend at Black Mountain near Glen Innes where it snowed yesterday, this week has been quite balmy by comparison!  All the turf on both courses except the tees are handling winter thus far very well.  The tees are struggling with the sheer volume of play and winter has a long way to play out.  The entrances and exits to buggy paths are also struggling with the huge amount of buggy traffic.  A relatively calm Friday gave us the opportunity to get the main playing syurfaces blown  and the courses are looking in great condition and a credit to the crew.

The resistant Poa annua I have previously mentioned appears to be resistant to the latest product tried so another will be trialled next week.  It is pretty frustrating but at least we don't have the resistance issues that the southern States have been experiencing so that's a positive at the moment.  What would be frustrating though, would be your course flooding literally the day you come out of lockdown in Melbourne due to the stormy weather they have been having this week.  A number of courses on the Yarra River in particular were affected.

I got the photo below early this morning and was thinking about what a great site the courses occupy.

Beautiful outlook across the River to sunrise.

And then this is how the day finished up a couple of hours later...a four inch irrigation mainline repair.

Thank heavens for Gus and his mini digger!


Friday, June 4, 2021

Not very much to report this week with the Ladies championships taking most of our attention on Tuesday and Thursday.  Pretty much all efforts were put towards preps for those two days and the courses came up really well.

All the fairways and greens got some liquid fertiliser this week and selected tees were also done.  The par 3 tees are really starting to struggle with virtually no recovery and they are looking really chopped up.  We have topdressed a couple of them and will start filling divots as well for the rest of winter.

One of the fairway sprinklers on 18R wasn't functioning properly and when the lid was removed the boys could smell something fishy.  After removing the sprinkler the cause of the blockage was found with an eel jammed in the base of the sprinkler.  Not the most pleasant smell I can assure you!!