Friday, August 26, 2016

80mm of rain on Wednesday wasn't really the preparation I was looking for with the Pro Am just 2 days away but the course took it well and the ground staff did a tremendous job again to get the course playable.  The 7 o'clock shotgun in the morning was a challenge but the staff stood tall and once again produced the goods.

A bit of tree trimming and removal of a couple of dangerous trees this week down the LHS of 3R opens the play lines up to make the hole much fairer.  The right side is earmarked for similar work in a few weeks.

The pipe for the new irrigation installation on the new West greens arrived this week which is another indicator of just how close the project is.  The temporary greens continue to develop and are almost growing too fast.

 Irrigation pipe.

Some sand will be added to bunkers next Monday and Tuesday which will replace some of the sand that has been played and blown out.  The bunker sand is trucked down from Caboolture and is widely used throughout SE Qld at the moment.  It is a blend of actual rated bunker sand and brickies loam which gives it some weight and water holding capacity and helps hold it in place.  We have been using this blend for some 8 years now.

And just for a laugh this was the actual grouping at last weeks tour in the USA.  Someone at least has a sense of humour!!

Have to laugh!!

Friday, August 19, 2016

I spent the first part of the past week at a conference in Tasmania that was held at Barnbougle and although the sun was out it was exceptionally cold although one of my playing partners in the golf was wearing shorts!! 

The daunting tee shot at Lost Farm #5

One of the presentations about communication with members had this as a final slide highlighting some of the tasks required of a modern day golf course superintendent which I thought showed the diverse range of tasks required;  

Environmental audits

Environmental reports

Environmental sustainability

Environmental compliance

Human resource plans

Human resource strategies

Human resource policies

Performance goals

Performance appraisals

Master plans

Capital works and budgets

OHS policies

Position descriptions even for apprentices

Strategic plans

Living documents

Staff induction

Professional development







When do we ever get time to smell the grass??

The temporary greens continue to develop and should provide an excellent alternative putting surface during the West course greens works.  Planning still continues with one of the next tasks to undertake some soil testing of the sand that has been stockpiled for the project.  Nearly 600 tonne of sand will be required for each green which even just transporting it in creates a logistical minefield.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Another great week of weather for the Veterans week of Golf with just a couple of spots of rain spoiling the perfect run late on Thursday.  It always amazes me the way the course is left after such huge player numbers and it's a credit to all the volunteers who come in and assist the organising committee. 
The temporary greens on the back 9 west received their first mowing today and look very good.  Unfortunately the ducks think they are looking good too and are grazing them daily.  Preparation for the greens works started back in April when the Board approved the works when the planning logistics of such a program started.  Labour, machinery contractors, staff, sand, fertilisers, irrigation and drainage materials as well as the grass itself are just some of the items requiring planning.  It is a big project to undertake and the bulk of the works will be done "inhouse". 

10W first mow.

The information below gives an outline of the proposed works;

  • Spray out as much foreign couchgrass as possible prior to excavation.

  • Excavate to a minimum depth of 400mm and a maximum of 600mm where couchgrass is present.  The greens will all be enlarged and 12 green will have minor surface adjustment to allow for fairer pin locations.  The surplus material will be either stockpiled for future use or spread in areas of tree roots in amongst trees close to the green being worked.  A select number of bunkers will be reduced in size.
  • Find greens drainage and ascertain condition and functionality.  Replace / upgrade / flush as necessary.
  • Green surrounds to be modified where required to improve water movement away from the green surface and surround.
  • Remove and replace all existing irrigation, some of which is 30+ years old.
  • Refill the green “well” with USGA specification sand, with the top 100mm being amended with various soil amendments.
  • Greens to be stolonised with Tifeagle.


 May - July 2016  
·           Temporary green preparation. Tick.
·           Stolons ordered and reserved.  Tick.
·           Growth blanket, irrigation, drainage, sand and machinery requirements ordered /   confirmed.  Tick
·           Advertise for two seasonal staff.  Tick.
·           Confirm excavation / construction contractors. Tick.

October 4, 2016Project starts.
·            Two greens to be planted at a time on October 17, 31, November 14 and 28.
·            Two greens back in play at a time on January 2, 16, 30 and February 13.

Timeline is totally dependent on suitable weather.

Friday, August 5, 2016

A great finish to the USPGA last week with an incredible effort from the grounds crew to keep the course playable despite the weather interruptions.  They do get a huge number of volunteers to assist (which is an effort in itself to manage the numbers) but the playability of the course was superb given the conditions.  Although Jason Day finishing pin high on the 550yd par 5 last with 2 x 2 irons on a rain softened course may hint toward the ball traveling a bit too far!!  

There has been a very good seed strike on the temporary greens on the back 9 West and the plan is to let them grow then mow them back down slowly.  The finished putting surface should be very good, especially if we can stop the ducks grazing on them!!  The greens have been oversown with a mix of Bentgrass and a grass called Poa trivialis which is the most common turf type used for oversowing Couchgrass greens.  Both these cool season species are expected to die out once the warm weather really arrives around Christmas and there should be a smooth transition as the Couch underneath emerges.

The weather certainly took a turn for the worse this week but fortunately we didn't get the volume of rain that fell further south with many areas receiving 250mm+ which is too much.  What we did get virtually closed the courses on Thursday then had buggies off the West course on Friday.  When I see damage like this it really makes you wonder why I worry so much about the decision on keeping buggies off.  Maybe they need to be off until both courses are bone dry again?

Frustrating damage on 5R....Idiots.

And I saw the following photo on a Twitter feed that I follow.  Could you imagine that happening in this day and age??

Single file please!!

Friday, July 29, 2016

The great weather continues and I don't think I have seen the fairways growing like this at this time of year before.  The weather last Saturday in particular was extraordinary with the weather station in the maintenance compound recording 32 degrees.  Compare that to the weather that southern Australia experienced and you are very glad you live up here.  Football matches were called off due to players suffering from hypothermia and golf almost impossible to play with sleet and snow falling.  The photo below is from The National GC south of Melbourne.

Too cold for golf??

I had a couple of comments this week about why the West greens are being done when they are so good  with which I agree right at the moment but when you cast your mind back to the problems they experience in summer the changeover is well overdue.  I was also asked about how good they were last Saturday in the heat and that they didn't seem to suffer which is easily explained by the soil temperatures.  With the colder overnight temperatures the soil doesn't get the chance to heat up which happens in summer when the roots are literally cooked.  The works will only be quite short term pain for long term gain for the Club.

And it was nice to see another club post a photo of unrepaired pitch marks on a green which I did a few years ago to prove that we are not alone with the problem.  The photo below is from Glenelg GC in Adelaide and there are 700 balls on the green sitting on poorly repaired pitch marks.  They actually didn't get all the marks covered in time before play started coming through!!

700 pitch marks!!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Back to work and was greeted by some lovely winter weather and the courses in great condition thanks to the efforts of my Assistant Simon and crew.  About the closest I came to a golf course over the past three weeks was a putt putt course in Lithuania!!

The temporary greens on the back 9 West will be oversown on next Monday weather permitting.  This has always been the plan but had to be delayed until the effect of a pre- emergent herbicide has hopefully dissipated enough to allow the seed to germinate.  The areas will be roped off so as to keep cart and foot traffic off them to allow for the seed to strike.

A very busy couple of months of golf ahead so it will be nice if the weather continues, particularly the lack of wind which keeps the courses clean and allows staff hours to be deployed elsewhere.  We will be doing some root pruning next Thursday with a machine that was used a few years back that causes little or no damage to the surface but slices through the roots.  A couple of courses in Melbourne have done their entire course with great results. 

And a couple of photos below that need no explanation but makes you wonder why signs are put out on golf courses.  I do know one course that covered their bunkers with wire to protect them and several courses do the same thing to protect the back tee areas from unauthorised play.

Putt putt in Lithuania!!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Here's hoping the forecast for Sunday is wrong but they have been constant with the prediction all week so it looks like battening down the hatches once again. 

A very sad day this week with the passing of Club Patron Bill Garbett.  His contribution to the golf courses over his membership was nothing short of amazing and a truer gentleman I doubt I have met.  His passion for the Tuesday morning volunteer crew of Dad's Army knew no bounds and the number of hours he volunteered to the Club and course was simply amazing.  Vale Bill.

I am on leave for a month from today with next week being spent at the Australian Turfgrass conference and Show in Melbourne so there will be a break from posting for a month. 

I saw the following which certainly gave me a chuckle;
A golf course owner has said a neighbouring venue spent £120,000 on a health and safety course redesign because balls were found on a nearby block of flats’ roof – only to discover later that birds thinking they were eggs had deposited the balls. They weren’t actually hit by golfers!!