Saturday, January 27, 2018

No internet in my office for the last few days so a bit difficult to do a post properly off my phone and there may not be any posts over the next couple of weeks as I am heading to the USA to attend the Golf Industry Show in San Antonio. I have been to the show 6 times since my first in 1988 and they are a real eye opener and one of the best educational opportunities available.  Last year saw 13,600 people attend and the same number is expected this year in San Antonio.  There is also a 250,000 square foot trade show that runs alongside the educational sessions which always showcases the latest products and ideas available for the golf course maintenance industry with generally more than 500 companies exhibiting.

There is an excellent full day seminar on the management of Ultradwarf couchgrass greens that I did 3 years ago so am very much looking forward to the latest research updates.

San Antonio has several courses with TifEagle greens but their climate is a lot cooler than ours so whilst some visits to courses will be made I will once again spend some time down in Florida where there is an abundance of TifEagle greens in very similar conditions to Cool Tweed.  

Friday, January 19, 2018

No rain in the forecast until next Wednesday at the earliest!!  I haven't often seen such a pessimistic rainfall outlook and I hope they are wrong.  Both courses are drying out and I cursed myself last week by saying that the lack of wind was assisting good application after the wind has blown almost every night since!!

The new TifEagle greens on the West course are settling in very well and surviving the warm dry conditions with apparent ease.  As was the case last year they will just get better every week as they smooth out and adjust to the lower mowing heights.  9W will open tomorrow which is just 7 weeks since being planted and they are now back in play.  A big thank you to the members and their patience playing temporary greens over the past 2 summers.  The putting surfaces on the back 9 certainly demonstrate how good the grass is for golf though so a bright future ahead for the West greens.

As was the case last year the ducks are certainly enjoying the lush growth on the new greens.  We had a product that we have previously used that the ducks don't like the taste of but that is no longer available.  So I got on to some snail and slug pellets that we sprinkle on the immediate green collar and as they are grazing towards the green they hit these pellets which again they don't like and so far it has kept them off the green.  4W is the main green affected at the moment so that is what the little blue pellets are on the collar.  

Blue snail pellets stopping the ducks.

Friday, January 12, 2018

And then there was one!!  Barring overnight dramas 9W will be the only temporary green left on the front nine West with 2, 3, 4 and 8 set top open to play tomorrow.  The greens were all groomed and sanded this week to improve the putting surface to an acceptable standard which was achieved.  9W should come in to play next Saturday and by the start of February they all should be providing an excellent putting surface.

Final sanding for 3W on Friday

Elsewhere on the courses and things are starting to dry out but at least with the lack of wind overnight the irrigation system gets a chance to perform as well as it can with the sprinklers allowed to operate efficiently.  The fairway sprinklers at Cool Tweed are just a single row down the middle of the fairway so there is not a lot of overlap.  They are actually 2 speed sprinkler drives so they speed up where there is overlap and slow down where there is not.  They are generally Toro 690 sprinklers which have a throw of 30 metres and deliver 300 litres of water a minute and it is quite possible that some of the sprinklers in the ground on Cool Tweed are in excess of forty years old such is the quality and longevity of the sprinkler.  They rarely cause a problem which can't be said for our ageing control system. 

A Toro 690 in full flight on 11R

Friday, January 5, 2018

Thankfully the short weeks are now past us and we can start to catch up on the mowing and trimming about the courses.  High player numbers this week slowed down our work rate but the staff did a great job to just about get both courses fully mown.  The strong winds also add to the workload with clean up required each morning before the normal jobs can be done.

Another machine breakdown this week with one of the roughcutters succumbing which is quite possibly the worse time of year for this to happen but as their name perhaps suggest they are "roughcutters" and spend a lot of time in amongst the trees chopping up sticks as well as grass.  I have mentioned before that we use "mulching" type blades which help reduce the abundant sticks and twigs to a mulch which is a lot faster than trying to pick them all up.  The photo below shows a new and 6 week old blade and it's plain to see just what happens to the blade with such use!!

The last place a machine needs to be is on the hoist!

Wear and tear on the blade!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Another busy week both work wise and golfer wise.  Thursday and Friday saw huge numbers of social players out on the River course and it is virtually a WHS issue with the quality of most of the players fairly ordinary and a lot of them not knowing where the ball is going.  It does raise some safety issues for the staff because a number of jobs we do are head down and / or ear muffs on to protect our hearing.  

A couple of staff on arranged annual leave then 2 staff requiring unplanned leave for family situations and we were pretty light on for numbers.  A fairly major breakdown to two of our mowers topped off what was a pretty difficult week all up.

On the bright side, 1, 5, 6, and 7 West greens will open to play tomorrow.  1 was planted 11 weeks ago, 5 and 7 planted  weeks ago and 6 just weeks ago.  They still have some thin areas on the edges but they are more than playable.

7W ready for play.

Friday, December 22, 2017

One of the best parts of this Christmas season is that I won't have any bentgrass greens to lose sleep over!!  The weather has really heated up this week and the humidity is sky high so hopefully a storm can get brewed up and drop some rain which would be a lovely present.  Both courses are drying out and again the wind plays havoc with even application of irrigation. 

Hopefully the beautiful colours of the sky this morning will produce some rain!!??
Red sky in the morning??
The new West greens continue to power along and there is a good chance of some opening next week so that will be looked forward too.  4 and 9 got their first mowing today and came up very well as did all the greens after a fairly heavy sanding.

9W getting its first mow.

4W getting its first sanding.
The back 9 West greens that were renovated last week also got a top up of sand today as a final surface leveler. The greens have continued to recover very well and this sand will help to further restore the surface.
Light sanding on back 9 West.

Friday, December 15, 2017

A very busy week with the West greens renovation taking place on Monday and Tuesday and a very good result evident on the greens.  All the greens were scarified and de-thatched numerous times depending on their condition and then a very small hollow tine which is only 4mm in diameter was put over them with virtually no sign of the holes now.  Some fertiliser was put down and then a very light sanding over the top to finish.  The tees renovation on the West course has been completed and a start made on the River course which will be completed next week. 

Just renovated!!

A pretty frustrating time trying to present the courses over the past few weeks with the constant wind blowing leaves and bark down also making finding balls very difficult.  Our out front rough mowers are fitted with "mulching blades" and they do just that to the leaves.  Below is a before and after mowing photo of an area of rough on the LHS 9W at the front of the course shed.  This area of trees took 1 hour and 10 minutes to mow which gives an idea of just what a huge job the mowing of rough is and why at times of peak growth like the moment it is literally never ending.

Before the mow.

After the mow.
7W fairway is somewhere under there!!

11W fairway is somewhere under there too!!

9W green had the cover removed to reveal an excellent strike and very good even cover.  1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7 all received another sanding today and 1, 5 and 7 aren't far from being playable with very close to 100% cover having been achieved which is only 8 weeks from planting for 1 and 7 weeks for 5 and 7.  Just shows the value of rainfall for the growth of plants.