Friday, July 16, 2021

A strange sort of week weather wise with some seemingly unexpected rain and then some almost balmy days to finish off the week.  We were able to get the River greens sanded again on Monday which helps to even up the surface and dilute some thatch.  The greens are at their winter mowing height which is imperative to try and maintain a grass cover into spring.  The height is dictated by the need for the shaded greens to have as much leaf as possible.  River greens 2, 4, 5, 12, 13, and 17 all have quite significant shade issues and with the amount of foot traffic they are receiving this year it is most important to protect them as much as possible.

The wet and unseasonably humid conditions have some diseases popping up in greens on both courses despite a thorough preventative protectant regime being in place.  It has been a common theme throughout SE Queensland this year and the severity has caused a couple of courses to oversow their greens to help mask the problem.  We are lucky that it isn't affecting the actual putting surface so can be masked without to many issues. 

We finally have some control starting on the resistant Poa annua that is evident around the courses.  Some good results on 3, 7 and 10 River greens and some early looking good signs on 5R green surround.


Poa dying on 7R.

Clumpy Poa dying on 5R.

The water circulator in the main irrigation dam has had some electrical problems of late.  It is affectionately known as ''the paddle'' and is a beast of a thing to get in and out of the dam.  We got it out and thought the problem was fixed but after putting it back in it was still not working under the water yet was working just fine out of the water.  It does an excellent job of continually turning the water over and generally keeps the dam weed and algae free.

Pete McConnell's backhoe to the rescue.


It's always interesting to watch The Open Championship and this year is no different.  I played Royal St Georges in 2014 and it was one of the toughest I have played with so many blind shots that you didn't know where to play to, especially playing as a 2 ball and neither of us had seen the course before.  The head greenkeeper at RSG has been there since just before the 2011 Open and took control not long after.  He set about a massive restoration, primarily focused on returning the course to the preferred types of grasses and when we were there it was certainly fairly patchy.  But with England's rather fickle weather it takes time to grow good turf and he thought he had it going well until the drought and heat of 2018 when they lost 60% of their turf.  To see how the course is playing this week is a testament to his knowhow and the efforts of his crew.  And speaking of blind shots, The Maiden as it is known is the par 3 6th hole and it used to play from the LHS over the mound so the green was competely blind.  Imagine building something like that now!!  The red line in the photo below shows the original line of play and the one below is a photo of the original hole.

The red line shows the original line of play!

The original ''Maiden''.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Another wet end to a week with over 26mm recorded this morning with a massive downpour really wetting the courses just on daybreak.  The 26mm we got compared with the Gold Coast Airports 6mm.  What a difference a few kilometres makes??  More showers during the day and then a downpour of 8mm at 2pm  has us really wet again and the soft conditions doesn't help the turf.  The tees in particular are taking an absolute hammering with the shaded ones in really poor condition.  The volume of play we are getting on soft shaded turf doesn't help.

The low player numbers due to the rain today though helped us get the West greens de-thatched and edged which was a bit of a bonus.  Elsewhere it was difficult to move around the courses due to the soft conditions.  Carts probably shouldn't have been on today but on my first inspection at 5am we were still ok but that deluge that followed caught us out. 

I have a machine booked to come in next week weather permitting that is a new type of aerator that I saw at the recent turf trade show.  It uses air injection to penetrate the surface and provides two ''blasts'' of air at 6 inches and then at 12 inches deep and creates a ''fracturing effect'' on the profile.  It will be used on some of the compacted tees that are staying wet and some of the entrance and exit areas from the cart paths to try and alleviate the compaction and facilitate some drainage.  The machine is self propelled and the operator walks and it virtually leaves no damage but is very slow moving so if you see the contractor out on the courses please give way where possible.

Friday, July 2, 2021

The rain returned with a vengeance this week after a month of relatively dry weather since mid May.  It was forecast and the amounts have been fairly accurate thus far which doesn't bode well for Saturday with a 100% chance of 25 -40mm predicted.  Since Tuesday this week we have received 102mm as at 9am Friday morning.  Although it reduces player numbers the bonus is that it gives the courses a much needed break from play.  Morning temperatures have been hovering around 18 degrees which although that won't promote any great growth it is much better than single digit numbers.  Another 15mm during Friday has our total at 117mm at 5pm and it doesn't look likely for carts on the weekend and tomorrows Medal round has already been deferred.

We took advantage of the lack of play and were able to do five kilometres of root pruning across both courses which is just about all we can do without hitting too many shallow services (pipes) that are scattered across the courses.  The machine cuts to a depth of around 250mm and has six blades so each root is cut in six places and we have had some outstanding success in the past by removing competition for water and nutrients from trees in the main playing areas.  It is a very slow operation and is difficult to keep moving in amongst play so the lack of play was a great advantage. The video below is from this week and shows just how slowly the blades rotate and the photo below shows 18R tee from a few years ago post root prune with the arrow indicating the cut line. 

In action LHS 18W.

RHS 18R tee from a few years ago.

We were also able to get the River greens sanded on Tuesday with low player numbers and although the rain is good to wash it in we have now probably had too much!!  Low Vets numbers on Thursday also gave us the opportunity to get the West greens de-thatched.  We also got some fertiliser onto the tees on both courses in the hope that we may get some response. 

And an organisation in the USA called ''National Golf Foundation'' who collect data on golf and distribute it to the golf industry to improve the business of golf sent the following out in their weekly newsletter.  It really is amazing to think how far we have come in such a short time. 

When the iOS App store opened in 2008 – less than a month after Tiger’s dramatic U.S. Open playoff win at Torrey Pines – 500 applications were available for Apple Users to download. Today, they have their pick of about 2 million apps, while Android users have 2.8MM available through the Google Play store.
Consumer spending in mobile apps hit a record $64.9B during the first half of 2021 – a 25% YoY increase – based on preliminary data from app store intelligence firm Sensor Tower. While there’s no doubt the pandemic contributed to this growth, it’s clear that companies are investing more and more in apps. Most are a business in themselves, but they can also be a vital connector for those looking to enhance their brand value, improve the customer experience and drive sales.
Lest you think the golf industry isn’t along for the ride, take a look at not only the hundreds of golf-centric apps now available, but the way they’re being embraced. More than three quarters (78%) of Core golfers now indicate they have at least one golf-specific app on their phone, up from 37% a decade ago and 56% in 2018. These aren’t just the young person’s domain either, with almost two-thirds of Core golfers age 65-and-older using them today. 
Among golfers who have golf apps, the average count is 3.5 (I can tell that you one golf nut here at NGF has more than 25!), and the use cases vary, from reserving tee times, tracking scores and round statistics, playing virtual golf, reading news about the game, or chasing improvement through instruction and swing analysis.