Friday, January 13, 2017

A very productive week with fewer players than the previous weeks making it a lot easier to get the work done.  One of the skills you need to work on a course as busy as Cool Tweed is the ability to keep working in amongst the play and it is something that is talked about with all prospective employees.
The week didn't start well though as I heard the irrigation pumps cycling when there was no sprinklers running which generally means a leak which I quickly found as I walked to the pump shed and saw the water bubbling out of the 17R tee rockwall.  Visions of uprooting the entire rockwall appeared and the need for some sort of excavator was going to be required which on a moments notice is not always that easy to arrange together with the knowledge that it was a 150mm mainline.  But the excavator that did the West greens was going to be working on Queensland time on Monday and could come in first thing to do the digging.  So at 4.30 am we started the dig and fortunately found the leak outside the wall and got the job done.  It did mean that there was no water available if required for 8 very new greens and 9 tender Bentgrass greens in 30+ degree temperatures so it was a fairly nerve wracking day hoping for the best.  Purging the air that gets in to the lines is extremely important and this was done late in the day followed by a full irrigation cycle so after arriving to the course at 4.15am I got back in my car at 7.25pm to go home.

Doing the repair

And I guess last Friday was sort of part of this week when some moron decided that the courses would be a good 4 wheel drive venue and in particular the bunkers.  Fortunately there was little damage to the turf and / or the bunkers as they wheeled through 15 bunkers and across 6 greens including 15W which was only opened the day after.

Out of LHS bunker 14R and across the green

Thru RHS bunker 16R and across the green

Across 15W green

The back 9 West greens continue to develop with 5 of the 8 currently in play.  The greens are still very young and will continue to develop.  10W was close to being opened this week but it is still only 9 weeks since it was planted so another week will do it wonders.  All the greens should be back in play by February 4 which is well in advance of when anticipated.

The greens are being constantly monitored for soil moisture during the day to ensure that there is no heat stress / drying out of which there has been none evident at this stage.  The 5 greens that are open lose about 25% of soil moisture content during the day which would just about be curtains for them if they were Bentgrass.

Friday, January 6, 2017

56 of the most welcome millimetres of rain earlier in the week with parts of the courses as dry as I have seen.  You know it's dry when there are burn marks left from buggies driving across areas that are parched so the rain was just in time.  The promise of more rain to come on Friday night is quite tantalising so hopefully it arrives and is slow enough to allow it to soak in.

The crew have done a great job over the short weeks with nearly everything getting covered over the past two weeks.  The massive number of players doesn't help productivity but the work continues although you need to keep your eyes aware of balls.

11, 13 and 16 West greens were opened last week end and have survived their first week relatively unscathed despite the large player numbers.  They are a little rough around the collars and surrounds but the greens are in fine condition and the surrounds are improving by the day.  14 and 15 will open this week end after only 10 weeks growth time since planting.  10 and 18 are both down to greens height so won't be far away from play.

Opening day for 11W

18W mowing height coming down

Friday, December 30, 2016

Well opening day for the first of the new TifEagle greens on the back 9 West has arrived.  11,13 and 16 greens will all be open to play from Saturday December 31.  13 and 16 are just ahead of scheduled opening time and 11 is 2 weeks ahead and is by far the best developed green only 10 weeks since planting.  These greens are still growing vigorously given the amount of fertiliser applied to get them established so the surface will "fine down"as the growth level reduces and a much tighter surface will result.  

The greens have settled a little on the edges in places creating a little ridge so the collars were all heavily scarified to remove some thatch and allow for a smooth transition from green to collar.  A local rule allowing relief from the bare areas is in play.  14 and 15 greens will probably open next week with 10 not far behind which will all be well in advance of the proposed timeline.  All greens are being sanded on a regular basis to help smooth the surface out.  There is also a lot of wheel marking evident on the greens that will be removed once we start rolling the greens.

Brushing in some sand on 10W

Elsewhere the courses are drying out with strong northerly winds rendering accurate irrigation virtually impossible.  A lot of drain and irrigation trenches are showing up which is a sure sign of just how dry it is so the predicted rain next week will be a welcome relief.  Hopefully it will fall overnight so that the "silly season" of golf can continue. 

A very evident trench line at 16W

Friday, December 23, 2016

Not really a lot to report this week other than the new West course TifEagle greens are progressing very well and 13 and 16 are right on schedule to open in the first week of January as planned.  11 has progressed exceptionally well and will probably open at the same time with 14 and 15 not far behind.  11 is the stand out at this stage and the fact that it gets the most sun of all the back 9 greens is obviously a factor in its development.

Irrigation issues have continued this week with some pump problems cutting capacity once again but the courses are holding up exceptionally well.

I have said many times before the condition of the courses are a tribute to the work of my staff.  A couple of untimely and lengthy sick leave events and some planned annual leave has left us with an average of 13 on the courses during December which has been quite a stretch on the rest of the staff but they have done a great job as always.

I trust followers of the Blog will have a merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year.


Friday, December 16, 2016

The cover came off 12W green on Thursday which was the last to be uncovered in the West greens Tifeagle conversion for this year.  It had really moved along and will be catching up with the others very quickly.  This week was 10 weeks since 13W was planted and 9 weeks since 16W and 11W were done.  They received a heavy sanding today and aren't far off being bought back in to play.  There is just some thin areas on the edges and unfortunately they are in the major walk off areas.  These 3 greens and all the others are progressing very well and forming a very good surface.

Other than that it has been a week of getting ready for the busy holiday golfing season with as much preparation done as possible.  The growth regulator will be applied to the fairways next week which significantly reduces the need for mowing which is critical at this time of year.

The cover coming off 12W after 20 days.

Friday, December 9, 2016

cooli golf long movie

The video above was done for the Club by our excavator operator Scott King from some time lapse photography and also some drone footage and gives a good insight in to just what happens in the construction process that we go through on the greens.

The other West back 9 greens continue to develop and the cover was taken off 18W this week after 20 days and the coverage and growth was amazing.  The warmer overnight temperatures are keeping the soil temperature up which assists the establishment phase of the grass and this coupled with the higher humidity also accelerates the establishment.  On the front 9 on the West these weather conditions are exactly why the Bentgrass struggles throughout the warmer months.
Some very welcome rainfall this past week with nearly 40mm falling on the courses and getting the grass moving across the property.  The look of the radar as the storms approached was pretty scary and it might be a blessing that they somewhat dissipated as they crossed the coast.  Having said that the lightning we did receive took its toll on a few trees and a few of our irrigation controllers in the field.

Our Irish recruit Sean giving 18W its first mow @ 6mm

Friday, December 2, 2016

A week of growing in the West greens with some nice warm weather assisting.  Unfortunately we only scored 3mm of rain from the two storms on Wednesday and Thursday when I was really looking for 50mm plus.  The courses are both drying out and a couple of irrigation issues have meant less than adequate water has been applied to the courses.

The irrigation concerns started on Saturday when an 80mm T piece started leaking on 1R fairway and required immediate action.  Two of the crew responded and the repair was done and the water turned back on but an issue started with the filter which was only allowing 60% irrigation capacity.  A couple of quite stressful days followed particularly on  Tuesday when the water was down for 3½ hours with two four day old greens needing it most.  An electrical fault took one of the pumps out as well on Tuesday night which further reduced capacity.  But we made the end of the week and the main playing areas have survived reasonably well.

The River greens renovation was a great success with the greens being heavily de-thatched then core aerated and the cores rubbed back in to the surface.  The remaining material was then blown off the surface, fertiliser and amendments applied and then top dressed with an amended sand.  Sounds easy?  It's two full hard days for the crew which followed hot on the heels of the eight week West greens project so no wonder there are some tired looks on their faces.  I think they are looking forward to being able to sit on a mower again!!

An 80mm repair on Saturday.
Rubbing the cores back in on 1R green.
  I am continually on the West greens monitoring them and often bemoaning the fact that they are not growing in fast enough.  I got a couple of photos of the same spot on 14W this week taken on Monday afternoon then again on Thursday morning to show the great progress. 

14W Monday pm.

14W Thursday am.