Friday, May 27, 2016

Another great week of weather but the wind on Thursday certainly messed the courses up somewhat.  It also made for some tough playing conditions for the Vets foursomes Championships.

And another week of irrigation blow outs with the worse being a 6 inch mainline next to 1 West green on Wednesday night which meant that the irrigation program for that night didn't run which left the West greens stressing for water.  We weren't able to mow them for the Vets Champs but with the way the wind got up that was probably a good idea in the end.

There has still been some fertiliser going out in select areas and this will continue whilst the weather continues.  Most of the rest of the turf is in good health although quite dry and with the loss of water from the irrigation break our storage is quite low so water is being used judiciously.  

The time of year has also come for the casual staff to have their hours reduced to match the budget so numbers are tight which makes it impossible to get everything done.  Once again it is about prioritising the works with the staff numbers available.  For example today with some annual and sick leave being taken I had just 8 staff!!  A friend of mine in Sydney on an 18 hole golf course has a staff of 25!!  If only!!

Friday, May 20, 2016

I doubt the weather can get much better than this past week with cool nights for sleeping followed by perfectly sunny days for golfing.  It's so nice to have the courses free from leaf litter and it's amazing just how much time is freed up when we don't have to continually clear areas of the leaf litter ready for mowing.  The bunkers are also so much quicker to rake and stay more playable without all the normal debris.

The preparation of the temporary greens continues and we will keep getting the height down until we have nearly got all the grass off the areas and they will then be oversown and grown in so that members will be putting on quite an even surface.  Hence why we started the work so early so that the putting surface on the temporaries will be as good as it possibly can be come October.  Unfortunately they are not quite as big as I would have liked but there were to many humps and hollows and wet areas that dictated the size but with a good putting surface they will serve their purpose.

Elsewhere on the courses and as much fertiliser that can be applied to playing areas is to ensure we maintain as good a cover of grass for when the cooler weather does arrive.  It is already noticeable with the slower divot recovery on the fairways which will only get slower the further into winter we move.  All the more reason to be vigilant on re-filling divots with sand - but not too much so as it looks like a sand castle!!

Members will also notice the tee markers being rotated around, especially on Wednesday and Saturdays.  Under the new rating system the tee markers need to be placed within 100 metres of the rated length and markers can be placed behind the rating disc if required.  Essentially all 18 tee markers can be 5.5 metres in front of the disc and still be "legal".  By dropping a few behind it means that some of the weaker tees (4R, 6R, 7W) can have the wear rotated accordingly.  With a lot of back tee play approaching over the low grow months of winter such protection is most important.

Fortunately the moron vandals we have had coming in on 9R fairway have all but stopped and we were very fortunate they didn't find their way on to a green.  The two courses below were not so lucky over the past week.

Golf Club of Houston.  Site of the USPGA Tour Houston Open
Closer to home - Tamborine Mountain GC

Friday, May 13, 2016

Well 10 degrees on Thursday morning was a rude awakening but the beautiful day time temperatures and lack of wind make for a lovely time on the Coast and out on the courses.  No wind means little or no leaf litter and the courses look so much better for it.

The River greens got a final sanding going in to winter, unless the unusually warm weather continues, and they are well placed to handle the no growth / high play period coming up.  The West greens have cooled enough to be able to be safely sanded and that will happen next week which will help even up the surface and fill in some of those unrepaired pitch marks.  The West greens will also be solid tined to allow for some much needed air exchange.  This particular operation has little or no effect on the putting surface.

We started mowing out the temporary greens on the back 9 West today in preparation for the arrival of the Tifeagle and they will receive several more mowings before being oversown to help produce a first class surface on the greens.  The location of the greens was determined by proximity to irrigation, access requirements for the construction works and suitable putting area.

Mowing out 12W temp.

And the cold weather on Thursday morning claimed a victim when an irrigation mainline blew out on 12R fairway right in the middle of the dogleg.  The change in temperatures can often cause pipe problems with some contraction and / or expansion of pipe joins and fittings.  Hopefully this is the only one for this year!!

12R fairway.

Friday, May 6, 2016

The grass is still actively growing around the courses which for this time of year is most unusual, especially on the fairways.  Recent fertiliser applications to the tees have helped them thicken up for the winter ahead as well.

As mentioned in the recent Presidents report, the Club's Board have decided to re-grass the remaining back 9 West greens with Tifeagle in a process identical to that successfully used on the practice green and 17W.  It will be a large project and there will be constant updates here on the blog as we move towards the start date of Tuesday October 4.  The proposed timeline is;
·      May 2016  

o   Temporary green preparation. This is to ensure that a superior and fair playing  
      surface is provided for players.  Size and location of each green to be determined.
o      Turf ordered and reserved. 
o      Growth blanket, irrigation, drainage, sand and machinery requirements ordered / confirmed.
o      Advertise for two seasonal construction staff.

·      August 2016
o    Start spraying couchgrass infested areas on the greens out. 

·      October 4, 2016
o    Project starts.
o    Two greens to be planted at a time on October 17, 31, November 14 and 28.
o    Two greens back in play at a time on January 2, 16, 30 and February 13. 
So the preparation of the temporaries will be the first task and should start next week.

I traveled to New Zealand this week in my capacity as President of the Australian Golf Course Superintendents Association in a information seeking tour regarding the potential for a joint Australian and New Zealand Superintendents conference and trade show.  Just some Federal Government red tape to be tidied up but it seems that can be achieved to make the event happen.  Whilst there I was lucky enough to enjoy both Kinloch and Cape Kidnappers courses and came away suitably impressed, particularly at Kinloch where Jack Nicklaus has designed what many say is his favorite golf course which is high praise indeed.  Considering the site was flat grazing land, the result is nothing short of astonishing to say the least.  Most of the holes look as though they have been there for 100 years rather than the 8 since opening.  Just a couple of shots below to whet the appetite but when there is no change from $350 per person per round it's a one off achievement for most!!

Say no more

Overlooking Lake Taupo

Amazing green complexes

Cart storage shed!!  Bit smaller than Tweeds??!!