01. Oct 2022

Greenkeeper Newsletter

  • Greenkeeper,
  • News

Dear members,

In this newsletter I hope to explain to you what works and tasks have recently been carried out and what we plan to do in the weeks ahead.

Last week we finalised greens core aeration on all greens, this takes us to a total of 3 core aerations for the season plus sand injection in July. Core aeration is carried out to ensure we stay at the optimal level of thatch in our greens, this is to aid plant health and playability. I appreciate as the aeration work is carried out on the 9 holes that are closed you do not get to see the hard work that goes into the process, I have created a 1-minute timelapse video to explain: https://youtu.be/4cxD4v8usho

Throughout the weeks and months ahead, as in previous years, we will take every opportunity to aerate the greens further. This is done in a variety of ways; deep solid tine aeration at 12mm diameter, shallow tine aeration at 9mm diameter and shallow tine aeration using bayonet tines. To read more about why we aerate, the benefits of aeration and golfing tips please follow this link: https://thegolfacademy.org/2017/11/28/survive-aerated-greens/

It is the policy at Simon’s Golf to play our summer greens all through the winter except during periods of frost and snow. It is my responsibility to try and ensure the greens are as prepared as they can be for the stresses associated with this. Again, I ask all members to please fix their own pitch marks and any others they should see on the greens. Please follow this link to find an informative article on repairing pitch marks from the Director of Greenkeeping at St. Andrews: http://blog.standrews.com/2016/03/09/repairing-pitchmarks/

We have started our autumn/winter tasks, below are a list of these with explanations as to why they take place:

  • Blowing leaves daily – Leaves will be removed from the greens each morning, this is to aid playability and ensure plant health. This task will continue throughout the autumn.
  • Raising mower heights – Mowing heights are raised in the autumn as day length/light is greatly reduced, a grass plants leaf acts as a solar panel, the longer the plant the more light can be absorbed making the plant healthier. This applied to all grassed areas but especially the greens. During this period the grass will reduce significantly in growth potential, we will mow the greens less and roll the greens less to ensure we do not create too much mechanical stress to the plant.
  • Brushing and rolling greens – now that the grass growth rate has greatly reduced we cannot roll greens too often as this causes additional stress to the grass plant. We will, however brush greens to remove dew on days that we are not rolling or mowing. Unless of course there is a lengthy frost delay.
  • Verti-draining – We will verti-drain the fairways, surrounding traffic areas and grass pathways, this is predominantly to aid in decompaction and improve drainage.
  • Seeding – We will be seeding grass pathways and high traffic areas and focus on incorporating rye grass seed in areas of the fairways that have a high Poa-annua population.
  • Iron applications – We will continue to harden the grass plant for winter weather and play, this is done by applying iron-based products to the greens, tees and approaches, this helps to reduce the activity of various fungi.
  • Hedges – The hedges will receive their final cut of the season.
  • Trees – Continue tree pruning and stump hole repairs.
  • High Rough – All main areas will be mown for a final time during October and all other high rough areas will be taken during frost periods over the off-season.
  • Stone pathways – We will continue to maintain and resurface the stone pathways.
  • Traffic areas – As the grass growth diminishes traffic wear from trolleys will become more apparent, we are therefore forced to rope off areas to protect them from excessive wear.

Please note, all of these tasks are weather dependent. From this point forward the weather plays a huge part in tasks that need to be carried out, normally we can only plan a few days in advance and have to adjust our plans accordingly.

In addition to this we will continue to carry out our usual day to day tasks such as the mowing of greens, tees, approaches, fairways, semi-rough, rough, divoting tees and landing areas, changing holes, raking bunkers, hover mowing bunkers, hover mowing and strimming of lakes and streams, emptying bins, moving tee markers, trimming irrigation heads and yardage plaques and checking and adjusting sand levels in bunkers amongst other daily course maintenance tasks.

In the spring we purchased an additional machine, the Toro H-800, this machine assists course maintenance in a number of ways. During the autumn months it allows us to collect and remove the leaves from the golf course, it also gives us the possibility of mowing in-play high rough areas as and when required, again the grass is mown, collected and removed from the golf course.

As we move into the autumn there is the possibility of fog and frost delays, please remember to check the website and Starter House before play.

Kind regards

Reamonn O’Neill
Golf Course Superintendent

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