29. Oct 2021

Greenkeeper Newsletter

  • Greenkeeper,
  • News

Dear members,

This coming Monday November 1st the off-season commences, thankfully the weather has been very mild for this time of year, however the grass plant stopped actively growing many weeks ago and as stated in my September Newsletter we started to prepare the course for the off-season many weeks ago.

Whilst the weather has been mild it has also been very wet, we have received almost 150mm of rain in the past five weeks in the local area. Many of our surrounding courses have had to partially or completely close for a number of days/weeks. Thankfully our course received this volume of rain very well, this is due to the vast amount of drainage installed during initial construction and additional areas addressed in recent years. Another beneficial contributing factor is the amount of aeration we carry out on an annual basis. When water drains it moves through the air pockets in the soil so by inserting long metal tines and heaving the soil we relieve compaction and allow the grass plant to breathe.

We have been delayed in this task due to the excessive rainfall received however, at every opportunity moving forward we will carry out some form of aeration wherever and whenever possible. This week we have deep-tine aerated A-Loop greens and a number of greens on C-Loop, we hope to complete this task early next week.

Following the greens aeration we will proceed with fairways, approaches, tees, greens surrounds, grass pathways and high traffic areas along with further greens aeration.

One of the biggest contributors to winter wear on a golf course is trolleys as is very apparent in the picture below. I am greatly aware many members require trolleys, to be able to play even 9 holes of golf. So, I would ask any members who are physically able to, to please switch to carry bags now, this can only assist me in being able to extend the trolley ban as far as possible for those who require it most whilst still protecting the course.

For those of you who choose to continue with trolleys please adhere to the roping.

An email will be sent to all members once the trolley/scooter ban is put in place.

We are all aware that at Simon’s we are very privileged to be able to play the course, including regulation greens, even during the winter months from November through to April, weather permitting. To allow for this benefit we must do everything we can to protect the course, especially for the greens and tees during these very challenging climate conditions. Over the past years I, A/S and the Club’s Board have worked to compose a list of actions which can help us to achieve this goal. Not all of the points below will take place immediately, but as the weather demands. This information is provided so that members/golfers are aware of what can be expected to take place during the weeks and months ahead.

  • The 9 hole course will be closed Monday to Friday to allow us to carry out our tasks, such as aeration. All 27 holes should be available on weekends unless the weather deems in impossible.
  • Preferred lies have been in place since the 1st October and will not be lifted until the weather allows next spring.
  • All the large open areas of high rough have been cut down, we will also tackle the smaller areas and areas in between trees.
  • We will continue our fight to overseed the greens with more desirable creeping bent grasses, rather than the Poa annua which encroaches naturally and is the least resistant grass to wear, drought and disease.
  • We will collect the wooden hazard markers for annual maintenance and repair, these will be replaced with plastic ones. We will also remove benches and ball washers. Bins will be available on every hole. Please do not place rubbish in the tee markers.
  • The cutting heights of the grass have been raised and will remain at the higher height of cut until the soil temperatures deem it possible to reduce it in the springtime.
  • As grass growth levels are now greatly reduced, we will continue to try to roll greens as often as possible to help smooth wear.
  • We endeavour to try and solid tine aerate the greens whenever possible, to alleviate traffic wear, improve drainage and to help the grass plant stay as healthy as possible.
  • During the off season it can at times prove to be very difficult for my staff to manoeuvre around the golf course. We will continue over the weeks/months to come to continue to set up the course as best we can. We will brush, blow, repair pitch marks on greens as often as possible ahead of golf.
  • White and blue tee markers will be removed and yellow and red markers will mark the tees in play. Again, this year we will set the course up to redirect traffic and wear to tees that are not heavily used during the growing season. We will also place Driving Range mats on the par 3 tees and other high wear tees. Please note once this takes place it will be possible to regulate handicaps as we will, as last winter, have a rated winter course and a winter scorecard available.
  • We will no longer use the 1-2-3 pin positions to allow for more flexibility for pin placements.
  • When wear and weather demand it only one putting green will be available.
  • We will remove all fountains from the ponds they will be cleaned, serviced, and stored for the winter.
  • The course, as in previous years, will be closed on mornings/days when frost, fog or snow deems the course unplayable. Note: there is often a delay in reopening the course following a heavy thaw. No grassed areas will be available for play during this period.
  • We have observed that during these periods we are unable to pick the balls due to the range being too wet, frozen or under snow. We will provide information on the splash on our homepage when this is the case. However, buckets filled with water and a manual collector will be available.
  • Please refer to the recent course closure procedure located on the homepage under either Course or Pro-Shop or the glass cabinets, so you are fully briefed on how this effects golf.
  • All daily course information will be provided in the starter house and on the splash on the homepage. Every member/golfer must read this information before commencing their round.

Due to the seriousness of the damage that may be caused to the golf course, any members who deliberately do not follow the information provided could face disciplinary action from the Club Board in conjunction with the Order and Etiquette Rules.

I hope you all enjoy the off season.

Kind regards,

Reamonn O’Neill
Golf Course Superintendent

Go back