Friday, August 28, 2015

A very tough week just gone with a flu outbreak amongst the course staff affecting numbers with only 5 on course staff available for Tuesday and Wednesday.  Despite this the efforts of the crew were outstanding in getting the courses up for the week ends play and in particular Round 3 of the Club Championships.  Fridays weather was just about perfect with a light breeze that allowed us to get the courses cleaned up  and clear from the tree and leaf debris.  I don't think anyone was at the Gold Coast show as both courses were packed to the rafters.

On Tuesday this week we installed a new method of irrigation control that has the potential to revolutionise irrigation in any situation but in particular golf courses, particularly those with a "hydraulic" system such as ours.  A hydraulic system means that water pressure is used to keep the sprinkler valves closed and therefore any loss of pressure means the sprinkler will pop up.  So any sort of leak or major pressure variation can cause havoc with sprinklers coming on unintentionally.  If there is a leak in the control lines you can try tracing it which on a sandy site proves difficult sometimes or you just have to replace the tube which means trenching from the sprinkler itself right back to the controller which can unearth all sorts of hidden obstacles.  This new system uses underground wireless communication from the controller to the sprinkler location within a 350 metre radius without any trenching which is simply amazing. 

Disc adjacent to field controllers

The transmitter is fitted close to the controller (under a 300mm aluminium disc) and the receiver is in the body of the sprinkler and we have currently installed 3 sprinklers.  There are 14 sprinkler locations on the greens where sprinklers have been removed or paired with another sprinkler to avoid the trenching so this control will allow us to attain much improved irrigation coverage.  It will also allow for extensions to the irrigated area as now we only need to get the irrigation pipe and a sprinkler to the area and no tubed control.  And absolutely best of all it's an Australian invention!!

The River greens were fertilised last week to try and get some colour in them and they have taken that up combined with the warm temperatures and are growing like I have never seen them before in August.  A plant growth regulator was applied this morning to try and curb the growth spurt.  The good news is that 13 R green has also responded and only has the very rear edge still weak.  The presence of some sandflies this week indicates that spring has already well and truly sprung!

And with the amount of social play on the West course today there were some temper tantrums demonstrated that could well have resulted in this;

About the only thing I haven't seen on a golf course....yet!!

Friday, August 21, 2015

I wrote this piece last week and forgot to properly load it to the Blog so it will be this weeks post with all the information still pertinent.  Hopefully the rain up on the Sunshine Coast doesn't make it this far down and spoil the party that is round 2 of the Club Champs.

The beautiful weather continues but it's not enough to get the grass moving again although it provides great golfing conditions.

I drove past 12R green on Tuesday at 9am and noticed the full sunlight the green was receiving and then drove back up to 13R to compare.  The photo below demonstrates the intense shade that 13R is subjected to.  No Couchgrass can grow successfully in shade such as this so we will just manage it as best we can.  The very back edge of 12R is still affected by shade later in the day and is the reason it is so thin at the rear.

12R green @ 9am.

13R green same day same time same sun angle.

New Maroochy River course.

I got the opportunity to play the new Maroochy River GC (formerly Horton Park) on Friday and came away very impressed.  The new course opened on May 30th and has been getting a lot of play but has taken it very well.  The greens were grassed with Tifeagle and were putting very nicely.  Considering it was built on a an old cane farm the undulation created is just enough to present a challenge without being too over the top.

Friday, August 7, 2015

An absolutely superb week of weather which is to be expected for the Vets week of golf on with history showing one wet day in 14 years and the majority have been weeks such as this.  The courses have been packed to the rafters with players and congratulations to the Vets organisers and volunteers who do so much to keep the fields moving.  Also congratulations to the players on their care of the course.  It's such a stark contrast when compared to the Twin Towns Open for example last Sunday when the greens were left peppered with unrepaired pitch marks and litter left all over the courses.  I have toured the courses each evening after the Vets have finished and found 2 unrepaired pitch marks over all the greens and nothing left out of place.  Even the sand buckets at 11 West tee carpark were neatly stacked!

It's amazing how quickly the courses have dried out now with quite substantial irrigation required on the greens in particular.  All the recently turfed areas needed some water today and while it's nice to see the warmth it could make for a long irrigation season.

As mentioned last week soil samples have been taken from selected West greens to establish what amendments will be added at renovation.  13R green was also sampled to check on its progress.  One of the goals of the autumn / winter maintenance program on the West greens has been the development of a strong root system and this will be further addressed at the renovation.  The photo below shows some strong growth from a plug on 13W green which was one of the hardest hit greens last summer.  This depth of about 6 inches is pretty representative across all the West greens which is very encouraging.  It's a long way from my excitement when I had a paltry single one inch of root recovery in January in the other photo below!!  As mentioned last summer when the soil temperatures reach extreme levels as they do here then the roots just can't keep going.

Good root growth on 13W

Not so good roots in January!