Friday, August 27, 2021

Just a week of routine maintenance with the reduced crew thanks to the border closure.  Only seven staff on course early in the week with a couple on pre arranged annual leave.  Ramped all the way up to nine by weeks end though!!  We have been joined by two qualified greenkeepers from Hope Island and The Grand.  I don't think either of them have ever seen so many golfers on a course at the one time.  Particularly on Friday when there was no room to move on either course. Unfortunately they may be here for a while.

I came in to set some irrigation last Saturday evening and got the dreaded call from the Pro Shop that there's water everywhere near 1W green.  Got out there to find a six inch mainline had let go so instead of scheduling irrigation it was a cancellation program sent out.  A large sub-surface area was impacted by the volume of water and hence the large area left after the repair requiring re-turfing.

1W awash.


Tweed Shire Council have a contractor who is monitoring the movement of foxes throughout the Shire and they have visited the course a number of times over the past few weeks.  At this stage there have been no dens identified on our property but certainly quite a lot of activity overnight which I can vouch for as I regularly see them on my morning round.  To help gain data of actual movement there have been a number of motion sensor cameras installed around the property such as the one below.


Camera near 9W tee.  

Friday, August 20, 2021

A productive week on the courses despite being four men down.  Unfortunately four of my qualified greenkeepers live in Queensland and are unable to cross the border for work.  It's a situation that is obviously affecting a lot of people who live close to the border in many ways and is extremely frustrating.  All four have mortgages to pay and two have a young family so it's certainly not ideal for them.  With a bit of luck we might be able to get them some work in Queensland as a few clubs on the Gold Coast have staff who are similarly stuck in NSW.  I have already picked up one greenkeeper from Hope Island and am talking to a few more next week so hopefully we will be able to replace them for what will hopefully be the short term.

It was pretty much routine maintenance with the lower staff numbers and two balls in the first groups playing in just over two hours doesn't give us much time to get the work done in front of them.  We were able to get the West greens de-thatched twice this week and cut into the turf canopy a little deeper than usual to try and reduce the thatch that naturally builds up.  The greens cleaned up quite nicely and are putting really well with good roll and speed.

Speaking of speed, in 1976 / 77 the USGA took greens speed readings on 1500 greens across 36 States and the average speed was 6.5 feet on the stimpmeter.  The table below shows the speed at some of the elite courses in the USA at the time.  I was watching ''Shells Wonderful World of Golf '' recently on YouTube and watched a match at Pine Valley back in the 60's I think it was and the greens were very slow.  The players were almost taking a half swing at their putts!!

Interesting speeds?


Friday, August 13, 2021

What a beautiful week of weather to come back to after recuperating at home for two weeks following some surgery on my hand.  Some really good temperatures and the days are getting longer so light intensity is improving which all combines to help the turf.  It even felt a bit stormy this afternoon so hopefully the warmth will keep up.

A couple of weeks ago the edges of the West greens were sprayed to control some broadleaf weeds and some Poa annua that had germinated in the perimeter cut line.  We got a great result on the broadleaf and a poor result on the Poa so it is obviously one of the resistant strains.  We also got a leaf tip burn on the Tif that should grow out without any long term problem.  Speaking of resistant Poa annua we have finally had a great result with the Poa literally melting out on River greens 3, 7 and 10.  Not as good a result in the longer surrounds but great in the greens.

Tip burn at 5W green edge.

Along with the warmer temperatures we are also starting to dry out with normal low winter rainfall figures occurring that will hopefully continue given the deluges of the past two years.  The general drying out will really start to show the benefits of the root pruning that was done along side the fairways in June.  You can already see some of the lines starting to show as per the one below which is on LHS 2R fairway.  Unfortunately due to irrigation / drainage and other services we are unable to do a lot of the pruning close to greens and tees which is a shame.


Cut line evident on 2R.

I don't think bunkers have ever been a non-topic at any golf club anywhere in the world.  Since the Covid playing restrictions have been lifted and the rakes returned to the bunkers we have been raking more often.  Staff numbers dictate just how often we can rake and it certainly isn't every day.  Raking bunkers is something that players can do to assist in the maintenance of the course every time they play a shot and the old saying of leaving the bunker as you would like to find it is just so true.  The photo below is of LHS 4R green yesterday morning.  I guess after you have played ten shots and nearly stepped on the rake you would be too tired to pick it up and use it !


And an amazing story from the last couple of weeks of golf, in particular women's golf.  It was interesting to see the stark contrast between the men's and women's games at the Olympics.  The men tore the place up with wedges in hand for most second shots whereas the ladies were playing some much longer clubs in and it almost looked a different golf course, and to my eye was more entertaining to watch.  And last weekend's US ladies amateur was played at one of the first courses I ever visited and played in the US @ Westchester CC.  So I tuned in and the course was as expected - immaculate.  An interesting story about the winner, Jensen Castle who was injured prior to the tournament and only played because she had an exemption.  She fired 79 in the first round of qualifying and then somehow got into a playoff to qualify for the matchplay with twelve other players for two spots.  In her semi final she came from dormy 2 down to win on the 19th with a twelve foot birdie putt.  The other amazing thing is that Castle used the same ball over the final five rounds and slept on the floor of a friends house because she had only booked three nights in a hotel expecting an early exit!!