02. Nov 2022

Off-Season Newsletter

  • Greenkeeper,
  • News

Dear members,

As of Tuesday 1st November the off-season will commence bringing to an end one of the best seasons at Simon’s Golf, and the areas remodelled in 2020 have continued to grow in fantastically well. The weather has been extraordinarily mild through the month of October, from experiencing rain that restricted us being able to work on the course in week 42 to days of 17°, and although this does generate some growth, the grass plant growth has slowed due to the reduced daylight hours. Yesterday, I received my latest email addition from Greenkeeping Magazine, this is one of many educational publications that I subscribe to to keep in up to date with industry progression. This months magazine featured an article on how to prepare for winter and it was a great pleasure to read that we at Simon’s are carrying out each recommendation listed: Greenkeeping – Autumn article

In the weeks ahead we will continue aerating the course dependent on the weather.

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. I have to say that last year you, the members, were fantastic with assisting me in this task. As I look at the weather for the week ahead, it looks very similar to today, very humid, cloudy, damp weather, this creates a challenge as the surface of the course will remain damp and can get muddy quite quickly in high traffic areas. For anyone who is continuing to use a trolley, please stay as far away from the greens as possible.

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.

After demonstrating a new machine that has become available at the end of last season, in spring we purchased the Toro H800 ProLine direct collect rotary mower. This has proven to be a fantastic addition to our fleet allowing us to mow the smaller in-play areas of high rough during the playing season. We have been able to use it to collect grass clippings, particularly around the greens complexes and now in the off-season it is working almost every day to help collect and remove fallen leaves from the course. To see the machine at work, there is a video available: Mowing high rough and Autumn leaf collection

At the start of the 2022 season we implemented the 5 tee setup, as stated at the time I would evaluate how the course coped with the wear of play through the season. Overall there was very few problems, however as anticipated, the forward red tee on B1 needs to be bigger. Caspar Grauballe has met with me on-site to mark out a new tee. In week 45 a shaper from Nelson & Vecchio, the same company that carried out our 2020 remodel, will be onsite with assistance from my team to carry out this task. The new tee will be 8m x 8m and will raise half a meter. We will turf all the surrounding turf areas and seed the tee which will be open for play in spring 2023.

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 16th September and will not be lifted until the weather/growth 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 (as explained in the above link) until the soil temperatures deem it possible to reduce it in the springtime.
  • 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.
  • 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 or 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.

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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