Last weekend saw the opening match of the season between the captain and vice captain in which the vice captain's team won 16.5 to 9.5. The season opener saw us revert back to the full summer course and an end to the use of the dreaded fairway mat.
It was also last weekend that the clocks spring forward to BST but I think the weather didn't get the memo to change as we have had really low temperatures this past week with frost on 4 occasions meaning our spring aereation has gone a little slower than expected.
This year we decided to scarify the greens using the graden sand injection machine as this process can remove 3 times as much thatch as hollow coring and it back fills the the lines with kiln dried sand. Due to the frost we have not been able to start these aereation works until 8.30 am meaning we have only completed 11 greens so far.
We have put on 30 tonnes of sand on the completed greens which has emptied the storage silo and with it being the Easter weekend we can't get anymore delivered until Tuesday at the earliest so when it arrives we will finish the remaining greens.
The picture on the right is the 1st green after it had firstly been spiked with 13 mm tines to a depth of 12 inches to help with the drainage then had the graden run over it to remove thatch. 3 tonnes of sand was put down on green to fill the tine holes and scarifyer lines before we dragged it in and blew off the thatch and debris.
Next week once all the greens have been completed we will spray them with a pigment called Green Lawnger TR and then apply our Everris cold start spring feed to help the recovery process.
Over the past few weeks we have been doing some smaller jobs for the coming season such as priming the irrigation system, topping up the bunkers with sand, cutting and tidying the wind blown trees, trimming sprinklers and doing machinery maintenance. We have given the tees, aprons and some of the fairways a cut to tidy them up as well.
In the coming weeks we will be tidying up paths, prepping and seeding the area between the 3rd and 4th tees, cutting the bushes and hedges around the clubhouse and applying fertiliser to tees and aprons. If I get a chance I will try to dig sumps at the wet areas to the right of the 6th green and on the 4th fairway.
The last few weeks have been a bit of a mixed bag weather wise - we have seen sun, rain, frost and more snow again on Tuesday! Thankfully all the tree work we have done over the past few years means we don't have the same shade problems so the sun is getting through as is the wind to melt the snow.
Last week myself and Ian traveled to Holland to visit the Everris fertilizer factory. It was a great trip for us to see how they take the raw materials and turn them into the products we use on the golf course.
For security reasons they wouldn't let us take pictures inside the factory but we did get this cracking picture of Ian in his hi-vis and hard hat.
On Tuesday we battled through the snow to get to Dunfermline to the Bigga Scottish Conference. There we heard talks from Richard Windows of STRI, Robert Patterson talking about the Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen, Steve Chappell reviewing the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and Gordon Irvine giving us a great presentation on the work he has done at Askernish golf course on the Outer Hebrides. If you ever feel brave enough to battle the elements there it looks like it will be a great challenge to your game.
Back on the course we have been clearing some of the old drains at the 13th, 15th and 16th, edging bunkers and then topping them up with sand and doing some woodland management whilst the course was under snow.
Today we cut the greens at 5mm and started spiking them with the weidenmann with 8mm solid tines to a depth of 6 inches. This is done to help relieve compaction, help with drainage and let air into the soil profile. This is a fairly slow process that will be finished early next week. Once a green has been completed we roll it with the turf iron to smooth off the surface and minimise disruption to the putting surface.
Tomorrow we will get all the bunkers raked and holes changed in the hope that we can get out on the main greens over the weekend.
Welcome to the Downfield golf course maintenance blog.
This is a new way for us to keep the members and visitors up to date with all aspects of maintenance works, wildlife and anything else I think people may find interesting.
So far this winter we have spent a lot of time doing more woodland management by tidying up and burning branches, tidying up all the storm damaged trees that have come down during the high winds and digging out the tree stumps.
We have done some drainage work at the bottom of the hill on the 4th fairway. This has involved digging a main drain down the right hand side of the fairway and tying it in to the open ditch. We have used 160mm perforated pipe for the main and then back filled with 10mm washed pea gravel and sand. We then used 100mm perforated pipe for the laterals going across the fairway and back filled with the same gravel and sand.
At the moment the turf is still frozen so we cant get it laid back down so bear with us until the weather changes and we can get the job completed.
The above picture is an old stone cundy drain that is underneath the 4th fairway. This drain is well over 50 years old but still works wonderfully!
Other jobs that have been done over the winter have been machinery servicing, shed maintenance and painting of the tee markers and golf course furniture