27. Oct 2020

Newsletter 27th October 2020

  • Greenkeeper,
  • News

On Sunday 1st November the off-season commences, thankfully the weather has been very mild for this time of year, however the grass plant stopped actively growing many, many weeks ago so from there on we have started to prepare the course for the off-season.

This week we will apply our second application of Lawn Sand, this is a powdered fertilizer that has a high iron content which helps to harden the grass plant against the elements and disease. We mow the greens before this is applied and then we cannot mow, brush, blow or roll the greens until the powder has dissolved, this usually takes 3 to 4 days. We apply irrigation water to help speed up the process if rain is not in the forecast.

Now that the main tasks of the 2020 re-model are complete including the B1 back drop and the grass pathways on C1, C3 to C4 an B3, we will continue to add the finishing touches to some other areas of the course. I ordered additional fescue turf from the UK for the B1 project to enable us to re-turf the drought stressed edges of the bunkers on the likes of B3 and B9. We will also turf and seed the edges of the recently extended red asphalt pathway from B1 to B2.

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 deems necessary, this information is provided so that members/golfers are aware of what can be expected to be taking place during the weeks and months ahead.

  • Preferred lies have been in place since the 29th September 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 over-seed 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 at least three times a week to help smooth wear. As this entails driving a machine over the greens this task also contributes to compaction. Therefore, we will also try to aerate the greens as often as possible with micro 8mm solid tines to alleviate this.
  • During the off season it can at times prove to be very difficult for my staff to manoeuvre around the golf course. We will, over the weeks/months to come continue to set up the course as best we can. We will brush, blow and 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. This year we will once again 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 matts on the par 3 tees. Please note once this takes place it will no longer be possible to regulate handicaps.
  • We will no longer use the 1-2-3 pin positions to allow for more flexibility for pin placements.
  • I am aware many members require trolleys so, as in previous years, trolleys will be permitted until the weather/course condition demands them to be prohibited. An email will be sent to all members when this comes into effect.
  • 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.
  • When the course is closed to frost no grassed areas will be available for play during this period.
  • We have observed over the past winters that during wet periods we are unable to pick the balls on the Driving Range due to the it being too wet, frozen or under snow. We will provide information on the splash on our homepage when this is the case.
  • Please also note that now we are in the off-season, as in previous years, staffing levels have been reduced and bunkers will not be raked on weekends.
  •  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

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