Friday, 17 February 2017

A nice morning for some hand mowing on the greens!!

Also this week we have micro-cored the greens, applied liquid iron to the fairways and approaches and we have started to make some progress on the bunker renovation on the 6th green.

This bunker, once all the old sand had been removed, has had a soakaway installed, and lined with crushed chalk which we then compacted - to seal the chalk. We then applied a light dusting of sand so that if golfers went into the bunker to retrieve balls they wouldn't then leave white chalky footprints everywhere!
We then purposefully left the bunker to see how the chalk layer reacted through the winter- and thankfully it has performed very well. 
This week we have been building up the revetted face and backfilling so that next week we can turf the top and surround.

An update on the soil moisture levels..........!

Following the micro core and an application on penetrant, the moisture levels have dropped by 20%.

This clearly shows the importance of aeration and thatch removal... 

Friday, 10 February 2017

Throughout the year we will take many samples, readings and measurements of the greens in order to assess their condition.
These can be from visual tests- looking to see any obvious signs of change in the greens performance ie a change in turf colour, signs of disease occurrence. pest activity etc etc - to sending off  nutrient samples to assess how much nutrient has been retained in the rootzone.

Regularly we check the greens soil water content. During the summer we use this to assess our irrigation needs and during the winter to assess how the greens are draining.

We took these two readings from the 18th green 5 days apart. During the summer we will keep the greens at a moisture content of 15-25%. At 8% the surface will dry out (this is our 'wilt point'). During the 5 days of the readings we had very little rain so this shows how the thatch layer retains moisture and acts like a sponge making the surface soft and leading to a poorer surface with increased footprinting and open to increased disease incidence.

 This photo shows a soil profile sample from the 18th green taken from a high spot. The thatch layer is about 25mm thick.

 This photo, again from the 18th green, but from a low spot (where water accumulates) shows the thatch layer at about  60mm thick and notice the darker layering. This is where the soil is becoming anerobic, a condition called 'black layer'. 

This photo, again from the 18th, but taken from a level area shows the thatch layer at 40mm but you can also see the profile is lighter in colour and you can also see where we have recently cored and the sand infill present. Compared to the previous photo a much more healthier situation but still the need for thatch removal.

What these samples clearly present is how important thatch removal and topdressing is to the health of the plant and to the soil and how water content is also one of the controlling factors of how quickly organic matter (thatch) is decomposed in the soil. 

"The measurement of soil water content is a critical part  of good greenkeeping practice and groundsmanship. Monitoring soil water content can alert turf managers to potential problems before visual symptoms can become evident. It can also enable managers to assess the efficacy of turf maintenance operations."

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Update On 11th Bunkers

Sand has been delivered and the boys have been busy filling the new bunkers, 3 down just 2 more to go! Bunkers are still currently GUR, rakes have been placed in the bunkers for members and visitors to rake when retrieving their ball.

Signed Off Deputy Course Manager Joshua McCallum

Monday, 22 February 2016

Update On 11th Bunkers

Channel has been dug out for the rubber crumb shelf to be put in.

Ben and Tom mixing the rubber crumb and resin.

Me laying the rubber crumb shelf.

Rubber crumb shelf set and ready for revetted turf.

Pallet of revetted turf.

Ben backfilling sand behind the revetted turf.

Bunker prepped and ready for top turf.

 The far left green side bunker finished, now just needs sand adding. 

We have two more bunkers to revett, backfill and turf.

Signed Off Deputy Course Manager Joshua McCallum

Trip To John Deere Headquarters

We took the trip up to Nottingham to see the new release of there 9009A rough mower. We wanted to see for ourselves what all the hype was about and give it a inspection and test drive.  

The John Deere 9009A rough mower has a 2.7m cutting width and 55 hp engine with a new digital control display. Some of the new features it had on the control display were impressive, Password controlled for Course Managers preference, adjustable transport speeds, adjustable turning speeds and load match.    

Some of the fine turf machinery they had in stock.

Greens mowers.

Huge combine harvester on show. 

Some of the bigger tractors they had there.

Lots of compact tractors they had in stock.

Signed Off Deputy Course Manager Joshua McCallum

Monday, 1 February 2016

A Very Wet January!!!

We have had an exceptionally wet January, in total we have had 79mm of rainfall over Caversham Heath. As for yourself im sure you can see how wet the course is in places but i think we are coping rather well on greens and tees, some fairways are laying wetter than others. The verti draining has helped with draining standing water through the soil profile. Others things we have put in place to help with the wet conditions are, spreading sand over worn traffic areas and placing more post and rope around greens. We ask members and visitors with trolleys to keep to these marked areas to prevent play around the green becoming well-worn.

New Tee Distance Markers 26/1/2016

We started by taking the existing yard plates in, they had seen some wear and tear over the years. Alot of the concrete Tee stones had broken into parts making the Tee area look untidy and a hazard for our mowers. It was about time they needed changing!!!

After all the yard plates had been brought into the Greenstaff shed we took a wire brush to them to take off any scum and debris. Afterwards we gave them a hot jet wash so they came up looking like new.

 This rubber crumb is what we have used for the base of our new Tee stones, Its the same idea as the new bunkers that have been lined with rubber crumb on 4,7,9,and 11. The gluey resin which is set off by temperatures and moisture levels, within 2hrs it has already started to harden. After the rubber crumb has been poured into the already made sunken tee holes, I placed the refurbished Tee plates with some resin and set flush making sure no mowers would hit the Tee stones. 

This is the final product, I'm fairly happy with the final finish of the tee stones costing nothing in parts or material just man hours. hopefully they will last a while and making the overall tee area look a bit smarter. 

The Mapledurham wildlife has already been scraping and ripping up the rubber crumb, my guess would be the rabbits. So over the next few weeks we may be making some repairs to the Tee stones.