Friday, October 27, 2017

A very productive week on the West greens project and despite a weather delay on Monday some ground was made up and we are nearly back on schedule.  Things didn't look good on Monday when a storm hit just after the trucks started arriving.  In some ways we were fortunate to only receive 6mm but it was enough to create a mud heap where the trucks were driving and when one truck very nearly got bogged we called it a day.  That is one of the reasons we build the access tracks such as the one across 5W fairway so that there is no problem for the trucks to get across there.  Now we we finished in the corner the track on 5W has been lifetd and will be re-turfed on Monday.

5 and 7 were planted as planned on Tuesday and 6 will be planted next Tuesday.  3 is moving along well and may get planted next Friday but we will assess progress on Tuesday before deciding that.  

2 has just started and the existing growing profile is very thin meaning the green will most likely need to be re-drained which adds time to the project but has to be done.  Some of the drainage lines were only just below hole cup depth which is hard to follow why.  There was also a root barrier installed around the perimeter of the green and given the high level of couch encroachment in to the green it is pretty obvious how useless the barriers are on golf greens.

The cover will come off 1 on Monday and mowing should start later in the week so we are well on our way!!

LHS 7W Monday after the storm.

The same track on Friday.  In 4 weeks you won't know we were there..
First load of top sand in to 6W
VB cans used as drainage caps on 2W!!

Elsewhere on the courses and there is a lot of weed control happening on the fairways which results in the yellowing that is currently evident.  We are getting very good control of a couple of very hard to control weeds which is very encouraging.  I am hoping that we will also be able to control the crowsfoot which would have been germinating over the past two months given the soil temperatures being up.  The crowsfoot plants will only be very small and more susceptible given their early stage of development.

Yellowing evident after weed control on 13W.
And a very nice way to end the week with a long term low handicap member going out of his way to say that "the River greens are the best they have ever been.  I realise you probably don't get many compliments but they really are great at the moment - well done". 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Quite cool and cloudy conditions earlier in the week which was nice to work in but not very good for growing warm season grasses especially ones that have just been planted last week such as 1W green!!  It has also been very windy which has meant our plant protection spray programs have been interrupted resulting in a bit more disease on some greens than I would like.  Even the temporaries on the front 9 West haven't been spared an outbreak.

2W temp disease
A very productive week on the greens project seeing both 5 and 7 being completed with just some fine trimming left prior to planting early next week.  6 has been excavated out and it was amazing to see the number of tree roots that were in the green from the Eucalyptus trees at the rear feeding on all the nutrient and water that is applied to the green.

Work starts on 5W
It will depend a little on the weather as to which green we move to next.  Both 4 and 8 are able to be done in very wet conditions should we encounter them given their proximity to the entry road allowing easy access for the sand trucks.

A couple of videos below to finish the week off that might give some insight into what we do on the greens.


Friday, October 13, 2017

An exceptionally busy week with preparations for the Pro am on top of the ongoing front 9 West construction works.  Tuesday was the day that the top layer of material was to be installed in to 1W green until a 5am discovery found a 6 inch irrigation mainline had burst and had lost 80% of water in storage.  There is no rhyme or reason or foreseeable cause for these breaks but it nearly couldn't have occured at a worst time.  Fortunately the excavator was on site and was able to dig the hole quickly for us and get the repair done.  A pretty stressful day though with no water available and 7 remaining bentgrass greens drying out with temperatures well in the 30's. And a day lost on the greens project.

Front 18W tee where the irrigation main burst.

 I mentioned the "top layer" of the green above and this is the top 100mm (4 inches) which is what is known as "amended sand".  In the old days (and sometimes today) just straight sand was used to build the greens and then some fertiliser would be rotary hoed or raked in to the surface.  This generally didn't form a very consistent profile so it is much better to mix the amendments at the sand yard and then have it delivered as a blend.  I have a consulting agronomist who advises on what to include and based on the success and health of the greens last year he is right on the money.  The photo below gives a very good comparison between the "barren" base sand and the "amended" top layer on 1W.

The difference between the 2 sands is plain to see.

1 West green was planted today as was the new collar.  I mentioned last week that Santa ana would be used as the collar grass and would be harvested off our own fairways.  The photos below show the green being hand watered to keep the plant moist while the collar was planted which is evident in the middle photo below.  The bottom photo shows where the Santa ana is being harvested from on 9W fairway.  The collar is a bit more than a metre wide which will allow a greensmower to mow it and also for the same size mower to scarify and de-thatch the area.
1W planted

1W collar planted
9W harvesting area.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Well it was only 45mm of rain that fell but it is some of the most welcome rain I have seen here.  A nice soaking rain that was just what we needed with very little run off.  For the first time since I have been here I recorded a zero rainfall month during September.  Indeed since July 20 we had received just 4.6mm of rain until last Sunday!!  It did delay the start of the Front 9 West greens project but it didn't really bother anyone, particularly me!

A very productive week with 1W green being dug out and irrigation installed.  The dig went well with mainly good material coming out that has been stockpiled for future use around the courses.  A very similar profile to the back 9 greens with a gravel layer on top of a functional drainage system.  The green has been extended about 4 metres to the left but the rest of the green has been taken out to the "existing well" of the old green.  The excavated hole does look very big at the moment but that includes a one metre collar which will be planted with Santa ana which is the variety of couchgrass found on 4, 9 and 10 West fairways.  I have been doing some trials on the Santa ana and it doesn't seem to throw out such aggressive runners as the common couchgrasses elsewhere which will hopefully help limit encroachment into the greens.  A couple of other SE Qld courses are finding the same result.  At this stage the green should be planted next Friday. 

The sequence of the other greens being done is totally weather dependent as some of the areas on the West course can get and stay very wet making access for the trucks very difficult.  We have got some heavy steel plates onsite for the duration and these are used to cover known irrigation mainlines and on kerbs and paths to prevent damage.

Steel plates protecting the 6 inch irrigation main on 17R

Road to 1W.
Most of the front nine greens are "perched" in the air and will require a pretty decent road to be built to allow truck access as was done at the rear of 1W.

And here is a video of the start of excavation at 1W.


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

7mm of rain at 9am Monday morning and 38mm on Tuesday morning.  A few other places got more and the greens works have lost a day but we are certainly not complaining!!

LHS 5W last Friday

LHS 5W Tuesday morning