Following my blog last week and having met with many of my suppliers, I can confirm that we are about to engage on an extensive refurbishment programme of our fairways.
We looked at many options, considering the impact each would have on the course through the winter and next season.
Doing nothing was dismissed quickly because we feel there is a good chance it would make the course unplayable through the winter once it gets wet.
We considered fixing the bad patches only, but we felt that it would make the recovery uneven and the course would not look its best when the 2019 Season starts.
In the end, we have decided to take the bull by the horn and commit to a full-blown re-seeding programme for fairways, tees and surrounds. This will be a costly process, and there is no guarantee it will work, but it will give the fairways the best chance to recover.
On Monday 17th September, we will take delivery of a large seeding machine and tractor. This seeder will cut into the fairways and drop seeds straight in the soil. A roller at the back will close it back and all fairways should then be playable. We will start Monday afternoon and carry on through Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with this equipment being returned Thursday afternoon.
Winter Rules have been brought forward to pick and place on the fairways. Because of the condition of some fairways, especially the 2nd around the 150 yards marker, there is a chance that the worst parts of the fairways will get damaged. These areas will be tidied up and marked GUR to give time to recover.
In order for the seeds to germinate, we will need temperatures to remain warm. But we will also need some rain since we do not have the capacity to water fairways (we have neither the tank capacity nor the adequate watering system).
I realise that there are matches and other events in the diary this week, but we have to do this now to give the fairways a chance to recover before the winter, while the weather is still warm-ish. Once we have started a fairway, we will not be able to stop. Being mindful of Club Matches, I will try my best to stay out of the way, working on the back nine in the morning and front nine in the afternoon. But the project will affect someone at some point and I apologise in advance for this. I also thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.
On another note, I have gone through the results of the survey with Eric. I realise that the rating of tees and fairways in May would have been somewhat better, but being a positive person, I see the result as a great measure going forward. My aim is therefore to better the results for the next survey, when it comes out in the Spring. Apart from the situation with the fairways and tees, there are 2 recurring topics I have noticed: rabbits and bunkers.
We have met with the person who “deals” with the rabbits and we have asked that they ALL be dealt with. I am pleased to say that after a week, the situation has already improved. Having said that, we still have an issue with rabbits coming from bordering properties. We shall be contacting them and ask that our service provider be allowed to enter their properties to solve the situation.
For the bunkers, Eric and I have spoken to Noel about doing an audit of all bunkers, judging them for their playability (amount of sand, depth of sand…) and reporting back on those needing attention. Unfortunately, not being a golfer, I need someone to feedback that information so that I can address the issue. I have bunker sand ready to top up those requiring it and will look at refurbishing those who need more work. I have also spoken to my Team to make sure they remove flints from bunkers when they identify it. We rake bunkers daily and I want to make sure they understand the importance of this fairly basic (yet crucial) task.
Tom Grace – Head Greenkeeperby