Hello and welcome to our fresh new blog for 2018. We have decided to bring our blog back this year as I feel it’s a good way for the greenkeeping department to let you know what’s going on around the course. Hopefully the blog will also explain the reasoning behind our tasks and will help to better educate the golfers and possibly reduce the number of moans and groans that we are receiving. Our intention is to release a new blog once a month and try to include as much information as we can on what’s been happening on the golf course.
As you will all be aware we have experienced a bad run of weather in the last few months. I think the last time the full course was open would have been around about the end of November. The forecast for the next few weeks is not looking much better. We understand it can be frustrating for you as golfers to either be playing on winter greens or not being able to play at all due to course closure, but spare a thought for the greenkeepers too as we have several jobs which need to be done but unfortunately can’t due to the weather. It’s very frustrating to say the least.
Since the greens have not been played on since November not many of you will have noticed the disease marks on the greens called fusarium patch. This disease can be sprayed out with a fungicide. We have known about this problem since the middle of December but unfortunately, we have not had the right ground or weather conditions to be able to spray them. Fortunately, the weather allowed and on Monday 15th of January we were able to spray the fungicide. Winter greens also got a small feed to help them along.
Throughout the winter you may have noticed that the winter greens are now getting a little worn. Due to these greens being smaller they are not really designed for as much play as they have been getting in the recent months. Changing the hole on these greens can be difficult due to the stony ground and carrying out this job could cause damage to our hole changing equipment. As golfers we have to be thankful that winter greens is an option as this still allows us to play golf when the ground conditions are not at their best.
The reconstruction of the 8th tee has been started but unfortunately this is taking longer than we would have liked it too due to the recent weather conditions. The first phase of this process was removing the turf which has almost been completed. We are hopeful we can start to make some progress on this task in the next few weeks as we know the start of the season will be here very soon.
With all the bad weather we have been experiencing recently our team have taken the opportunity to upgrade the maintenance facility. We have installed new LED low cost lighting, new heaters in the drying rooms and freshly painted the workshop, toilets, canteen and office to brighten the place up. Tee markers have also started to be painted.
You’ll all be aware that with recent weather the course has been closed numerous times in recent months and the all too common saying that can be heard from golfers is “we have played in worse than that before”. Unfortunately living in a world where health and safety has taking over almost everything and developed the now blame culture where if someone falls the first thing they think about is who can they claim money off rather than the old school it was my own stupid fault?? I am quite sure that most of you would manage to go out and play no problem in bad conditions, but it only takes one person to fall and sustain an injury and the club could be looking at a claim against them it’s a horrible society to be in nowadays but that’s the reality of it. So now we have to protect you as golfers and ourselves as greenkeepers. So, we are not closing the course for the sake of it, it all comes down to SAFETY.
Any other news
We have had some changes in the greenkeeping team over the last year. We welcomed Chris Hunter to the team as a mechanic/greenkeeper. Chris has a great knowledge of car mechanics and previously worked as a landscaper, he joined the team in March last year and has fitted in well with the team. Ryan Queen one of our assistant greenkeepers has left us for pastures new so we wish him all the best in his new venture. We are currently advertising for new staff to join our team.
Hopefully I have managed to cover most things that have been happening on and off the course in the last few months and that the blog gives you some insight into some of the tasks we as greenkeepers have been carrying out. Fingers crossed for better weather and I hope we will be able to start making some more progress on the course.
Deputy Head Greenkeeper
I have not posted for a while so I thought I would give a wee update of some of the work we have been doing through the winter months.
It has been quite a decent winter on a whole with mild temperatures for the time of year and very little rain up until the last few weeks!
I am pleased to say the course has been on full greens most of the winter unless there has been a frost. The rest of the course has held up really well with us rotating tees between winter tees and main play tees to spread the wear and give the golfers a longer course.
The use of the fairway mats from 150 yards seems to have been a success and we will see the benefits of this once the season starts
A lot of my budget this winter has gone on drainage work, installing new piped drainage systems on the 8th men's tee, the ladies 16th tee and a new main drain across the 4th, 5th and 7th fairway. The work on this main drain is nearly complete now with all trenches dug out, pipe laid and back filled with gravel and rootzone. We have had over 50mm of rain in the last couple of weeks so we are leaving the surrounding area to dry out before we re-lay the turf.
We have done a lot of tree work again this winter with the biggest job being the felling of the trees to the left of the second green to allow the early morning light to hit the green. We are already seeing the benefits of this on frosty mornings as with the sun hitting the green it is no longer the last green to be switched over.
The small bunker to the left of the 15th fairway has also been filled in although you might not have noticed as I don't think anyone ever goes in it which is the reason it was filled in!
We have done a lot of aereation this winter too with the fairway slitter and spiker out as much as possible.
On rainy days we have been painting tee markers and hazard posts as well as servicing machines and tidying up the shed.
With the recent mild weather we have decided to start applying lawn sand to the tees and aprons as this will harden the turf, weaken the moss and green them up after the winter.
Next week we will apply a granular fertiliser to the greens and walkways.
We will also be applying a penetrant wetting agent to greens tees and aprons next week.
Before the start of the season we will be looking to have all the bunkers flymoed and edged, the drainage lines all turfed and as much aereation work done as time will allow us. In addition we aim to fill in the bunker at the back of the 6th green, crown raise and thin out some more trees and complete a few more small drainage jobs around the 8th green, 14th green and the 16th green.
That's is all for tonight, I will post my next update quicker than it took me to post this one.
It’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog due to being so busy and not having many days in the office. Even with the terrible weather we have had, I have still been working the lads pretty hard so a big well done to them!
We have had a couple of staff changes in the last few months as Jim Gowans and Ian Scott have moved on, so we wish them all the best in their future endeavours.
David Cooper has come in as Deputy Head Greenkeeper. David is 27 and hails from Cupar and has been a greenkeeper for 11 years at Ladybank Golf Club where he started out as an apprentice and worked his way up to 1st Assistant. We wish him all the best and hope he has brought his wellies.
The golfing season has gone really well with the greens performing exceptionally considering the amount of rain that has fallen of late. We are in the process of solid tining them with 12mm solid tines down to 9” to help them drain better and get air into the soil profile. They will be rolled and cut afterwards to restore the high quality surface.
All of the main play areas on the course have had aereation work carried out on them. Greens were hollow cored with 12mm tines then top dressed with 55 ton of kiln dried sand at £60 a ton!
Tees, aprons and fairways have all been solid tined with 19mm solid tines.
We have rescued an old Sisis slitter that used to sit on the practice area by treating it to new tines and a bit grease and have run it over all fairways and walkways.
We will continue to solid tine and slit throughout the winter to help improve drainage and try to break up the hard pan that sits a couple of inches below the surface.
We have been doing small drainage jobs across the course over the last few months and we are in the process of doing a couple of drains on holes 13 and 14. We would like to do more but are restricted by our budget. However our new budget starts in January so expect to see us digging more holes on the 4th when we come back after the Christmas break.
During the high winds of late we have only lost 2 trees, 1 of which was dead and was due to be cut down and the other was on the left of the 8th. It goes to show all the tree work we have done in the past few years is now paying off and we are not losing large numbers every time we have strong winds.
On the run up to Christmas we will be tidying up loose ends and if the weather is suitable we will try cutting some of the main play areas.
Merry Christmas to all and good luck for the 2016 golf season.
Its been a while since I last updated this due to the fact we have been really busy and we only have 5 green keepers including myself at the moment. The shortfall in staff equates to us being 100 man hours short every week so if there are some jobs not being done please bare with us, we know they need doing and will get to them as soon as we can.
I would like to say a big thank you to Jock Peebles and Hamish Brown for all their help with the drainage work that we have been doing and also thanks to wee Davey Hart and Willie the Sherriff for turning up every week to help out
With the help from Jock and Hamish we have fixed a number of wet areas on the course, the wet bits at the top of the 4th, the 14th fairway and the corner of the 13th.
The picture to the left is of Hamish's back side in the trench at the 13th, its not the best picture but if you look closely you can see how much water is running down the trench. The pipe we found here was 12" in diameter and was choked solid with tree roots so it just goes to show drains and trees are not a good combination!
This week we have dug an open ditch up the left hand side of the 13th to try and dry up that boggy area.
We are meant to be in the middle of summer but with temperatures in the single digits I think the couple of weeks of good weather we had in April was summer!
The low temperatures have meant that growth and winter recovery has been pretty slow so a few greens still showed evidence of disease scars up until a few weeks ago.
The whole course has been sprayed with fertilizer, iron and primo max growth regulator to try and push things on. The wee white blobs of foam that you have all been asking about is the line marker from the sprayer. Its kind of like the football referee's vanishing spray!
Over the last few weeks we have had very little rain, I'd tell you exactly how much but my rain gauge keeps getting stolen! To stop the greens drying out we have been watering by hand because the irrigation system is not up to scratch and needs a lot of time and money spent on it.
In the coming weeks we will be focusing on presentation and keeping the course tidy. I am also looking to overseed and top dress greens if the weather is suitable.
Thanks for reading this,