Friday, May 30, 2014

The weather is certainly a topic at the moment with some glorious days and nice cool nights for sleeping.  The West greens had a full irrigation cycle applied to them last night which is the first time I can recall that in May - especially this late.  The fairways are also still kicking along and may even have some growth regulator applied to keep them under control.

The good weather certainly brings the golfers out but unfortunately there is that minority who still just don't care for the courses.  Perhaps it is lucky that we have still got some growth to repair multiple divots like those found on 11R yesterday morning.  I counted 12 and not any effort to repair.  But as the bottom photo shows most of the divots are aiming well left of the green so some time on the practice fairway with Ross Moodie might be more beneficial.  When my Dad taught me to play golf he instilled the etiquette of the game in me and always said to "look at your divot as it tells a lot about your swing and shot and when you're finished looking - repair it".  Repairing divots and pitchmarks on greens are the one thing a golfer can do to improve the golf course and yet so many don't.

Middle of 11R fairway.
Divots aimed left

The rather massive job of spraying around the tree bases is underway at the moment and is evidenced by a yellow stain that is left after spraying which is a pigment that is in one of the products.  With the number of trees on the property it is a daunting task for the staff to undertake but an important one as it not only makes finding balls close to trees a lot easier but also prevents the possibility of "ring barking the trees if a whipper snipper was used around them.

Friday, May 23, 2014

The new seed at the rear of 15R green has taken off really well and will no doubt offer the resident ducks some fodder which will hopefully keep them off the greens.  That is one of the balancing acts that the greens on both courses need in that they can't have to much growth or else the ducks feed on them and the Coots that have invaded recently are particularly aggressive and cause damage to the putting surface.  15R green is no doubt enjoying the sunlight thanks to the tree removal.  If you are interested you could scroll down to the post from April 11 with the photo of 15R green nearly in full shade at 1.30pm in the afternoon!

15R green enjoying full sun at 2.30pm today!
Over the past couple of weeks we have been varying the tee marker positions a lot more in an attempt to spread the wear.  Under the new handicapping system the course has to play within 100 metres of the rated length for the competition to be classified as a blue or white course.  Overall an average of 6 metres per hole can be used to achieve this but with the low grass growth we are now putting some markers up to 12 metres in front but compensate with some either on or near the distance marker.  Hopefully this will negate the need to use the shorter yellow rated course.  The yellow course will be used for some of the veterans 4Ball and Ambrose events though.

The club received its water bill recently and the meter that is in Davey Street had an unusually high number and we were asked to investigate.  This meter feeds the maintenance facility and also the on course toilet block and drinking fountains.  There were no obvious leaks present so we got a leak detector contractor in who located the leak 20 metres from the meter under a massive gum tree on the left of 9W.  There was no water visible on the surface until we disturbed it and didn't really feel like digging through roots to find the leak so re-routed the pipe around the tree.  The hole was on the under side of the pipe and spraying straight down into the sand so didn't surface.

Water leak on 9W located under the red bucket!!
Pipe now trenched around the tree.

And I don't know if Russ is stocking these shoes but please think of the greens and the putting surfaces before buying a pair of these!!
The designer couldn't be a golfer!!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

102 mm of rain for the past 4 days with 92 of that falling on Wednesday and Thursday in the middle of a very busy week of work on the courses.  The courses are quite damp so extra care is needed in where you decide to drive your motorised buggies and repair of pitchmarks is of paramount importance with the greens much softer than usual.  Motorised buggies were not allowed on the courses on both Wednesday or Thursday due to the weather conditions.  The status of buggies is updated on the club website by 5.30am when they are not allowed so if in doubt it pays to check the club website as relying on what falls at the airport is not a good guide.  For example the airport received only 51 mm this week!

The trees at the rear of 15R green have now been removed and the light that is now available for 15R, 3R and 2W greens as well as 4R, 16R and 3W tees will see dramatic improvement in turf quality.  Unfortunately a late hiccup at Royal Pines meant that the material that was to be used wasn't available so the area has been stolonised with some Wintergreen couch and seeded with some Poa trivialis.  The Wintergreen will struggle to grow at this time of year but should establish well enough to regenerate in spring.
15R green sans trees at the rear
The bridge to 8W tee was also repaired this week.  The bridge had concrete poured on it and reinforcing bolts were inserted to strengthen the rails and side timbers.
8W tee bridge concreting

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Well you could just about call it 'a divot a day" at the moment with the way the greens, particularly the West greens, are being treated.  There is hardly a day that goes by that we don't need to repair a divot taken by a frustrated golfer.  Frustrated with their own lack of ability they take it out on the surface when their energy might be better channeled by having a few putting lessons.  Most who read this are the "converted" who take pride in the courses they play but I wish I could catch someone doing the damage.  The picture shows this mornings effort on 18W with no attempt made to facilitate any sort repair.  Disgraceful stuff in my opinion.
18 West green divot
I was very lucky this week to have the opportunity to play the very private Ellerston golf course which is the course designed by Greg Norman and built on the Packer families massive cattle and sheep station east of Scone in NSW.  The course would be able to host a tournament at a moments notice such is the level of grooming with some of the purest turf surfaces I have seen. There is little play however with six of us playing on Wednesday and the next players due being a 2 ball next Tuesday!!  On entry to the property which also has extensive Polo fields you sign a document that prohibits the taking of photos so sadly I can't share any views of the course.  The course was complete prior to Kerry Packers passing in 2005 and sadly he never got to play the masterpiece he created with Norman.

Back to reality and a busy week coming up on the courses with the trees at the rear of 15 River green to be removed.  Once the stumps have been ground we will be covering the area with some material that is being sourced from Royal Pines.  This material is basically the top 2 inches of the fairways from RPR which is being scraped off prior to the new construction works.  The only cost to the club is the freight down which is a significant saving on buying in sand and turf.  If the material is successful it may be used to fill in some of the bunkers that may be removed as part of the Course Improvement Plan.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The weather is certainly starting to turn now with predicted highs only in the low 20's this coming week.  Some very helpful rain this week although we didn't need the 7.00 am electrical storm this morning as we tried to prep the courses in front of a capacity field corporate day.  The groundstaff were called back to the shed for safety purposes and the storm cleared by 7.50 am and out they came!!  But the warning signs were there with the "red sky in the morning being a shepherds warning"!!
A spectacular colored prelude to sunrise.

The week started with a mini renovation on the West greens after Monday's rain had cleared and it has been a great result for the greens especially after an application of fertiliser prior to the rain late in the week has them growing in nicely.  It was then a pretty uneventful week until one of the crew alerted me to a potential irrigation leak very close to the auxiliary pump shed on the dam at 4/9 West.  Whenever we see a leak we hope that it's town water which means that we don't need to shut the pumps down and it's generally an easy fix.  Unfortunately this was a doozie and I would love to meet the person who built the mound over the pipe which resulted in the problem being a 6 inch pipe 2.5 metres deep.  

Fortunately our contract backhoe operator Pete McConnell was available because we would still be there digging!!  Upon confirming the problem my Assistant Simon went to shut the pumps down and returned with - "Hate to be the bearer of bad news but the 6 inch main near 1st West has a leak as well"!!  Two 6 inch pipes in one day is a first that's for sure.  Despite the rain, I don't like not having water available so the necessary parts were air freighted in and repairs effected on Friday.  I am typing this at 5.30 pm with the sound of Pete McConnell loading his machine after returning to back fill the holes.  Thanks Pete and to my Assistant Simon and Irrigation Tech Dave for their work in the repairs.

Backhoe operator Pete Mc starting the dig.
The guilty pipe.