01. Nov 2023

Off-Season Greenkeeper Newsletter

  • Greenkeeper,
  • News

Dear members,

In week 42 we were delighted to receive delivery of two new greens rollers. We have changed our rollers to Agri Metal GR-660’s. These machines are much wider, heavier, more powerful, and faster than our previous rollers. I believe many of you have already experienced an improvement in greens speed, trueness, and firmness, even though we are mowing at a higher height of cut and less often. The strength and size of these rollers also allow us to roll tees, fore-greens and fairways following aeration.

The following information will be familiar to most of you, however, I am aware that we have many new members who have not yet been with us through an off-season. This newsletter is to inform all of you as to what will take place in the coming months.

The trolley ban was put in place on Tuesday 31st October. Due to excessive rain this also means that the trolley ban also applies to those members over 65 and those who have medical exemptions. Hopefully the weather will improve so that I can lift this further ban and allow trolleys for those with the relevant permission, please keep an eye on the splash on the website for new information.

We have completed fairway aeration on A and B Loops, however C Loop will have to wait until the course has dried out.

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 many years, I, SG 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 it impossible.
  • 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 some 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. This helps to alleviate wear and promote better photosynthesis.
  • As grass growth levels are now greatly reduced and we mow less often, we will continue to try to roll greens as often as possible to help smooth wear. On days when we do not cut or roll, we will remove the dew from the greens by brush.
  • 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.
  • As in recent years 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 a driving range style mat on the par 3 tees and other high wear tees, we have purchased a new style of mat which will allow golfers to place a tee anywhere on the mat. Please note once this takes place it will be possible to regulate handicaps as it was last winter, winter scorecards and conversion tables will be available. I will give notice of when this will be implemented.
  • We will no longer use the 1-2-3 pin positions to allow for more flexibility for pin placements to help to spread traffic wear on the greens.
  • 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 Course, (Winter Communication) or in the glass cabinets, so you are fully briefed on how this affects 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.

As always, and especially during the off season I ask that all members focus on fixing any ball marks they find on the greens.

Although thankfully very rare, 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, especially regarding course closure, 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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