Saturday, January 27, 2018

No internet in my office for the last few days so a bit difficult to do a post properly off my phone and there may not be any posts over the next couple of weeks as I am heading to the USA to attend the Golf Industry Show in San Antonio. I have been to the show 6 times since my first in 1988 and they are a real eye opener and one of the best educational opportunities available.  Last year saw 13,600 people attend and the same number is expected this year in San Antonio.  There is also a 250,000 square foot trade show that runs alongside the educational sessions which always showcases the latest products and ideas available for the golf course maintenance industry with generally more than 500 companies exhibiting.

There is an excellent full day seminar on the management of Ultradwarf couchgrass greens that I did 3 years ago so am very much looking forward to the latest research updates.

San Antonio has several courses with TifEagle greens but their climate is a lot cooler than ours so whilst some visits to courses will be made I will once again spend some time down in Florida where there is an abundance of TifEagle greens in very similar conditions to Cool Tweed.  

Friday, January 19, 2018

No rain in the forecast until next Wednesday at the earliest!!  I haven't often seen such a pessimistic rainfall outlook and I hope they are wrong.  Both courses are drying out and I cursed myself last week by saying that the lack of wind was assisting good application after the wind has blown almost every night since!!

The new TifEagle greens on the West course are settling in very well and surviving the warm dry conditions with apparent ease.  As was the case last year they will just get better every week as they smooth out and adjust to the lower mowing heights.  9W will open tomorrow which is just 7 weeks since being planted and they are now back in play.  A big thank you to the members and their patience playing temporary greens over the past 2 summers.  The putting surfaces on the back 9 certainly demonstrate how good the grass is for golf though so a bright future ahead for the West greens.

As was the case last year the ducks are certainly enjoying the lush growth on the new greens.  We had a product that we have previously used that the ducks don't like the taste of but that is no longer available.  So I got on to some snail and slug pellets that we sprinkle on the immediate green collar and as they are grazing towards the green they hit these pellets which again they don't like and so far it has kept them off the green.  4W is the main green affected at the moment so that is what the little blue pellets are on the collar.  

Blue snail pellets stopping the ducks.

Friday, January 12, 2018

And then there was one!!  Barring overnight dramas 9W will be the only temporary green left on the front nine West with 2, 3, 4 and 8 set top open to play tomorrow.  The greens were all groomed and sanded this week to improve the putting surface to an acceptable standard which was achieved.  9W should come in to play next Saturday and by the start of February they all should be providing an excellent putting surface.

Final sanding for 3W on Friday

Elsewhere on the courses and things are starting to dry out but at least with the lack of wind overnight the irrigation system gets a chance to perform as well as it can with the sprinklers allowed to operate efficiently.  The fairway sprinklers at Cool Tweed are just a single row down the middle of the fairway so there is not a lot of overlap.  They are actually 2 speed sprinkler drives so they speed up where there is overlap and slow down where there is not.  They are generally Toro 690 sprinklers which have a throw of 30 metres and deliver 300 litres of water a minute and it is quite possible that some of the sprinklers in the ground on Cool Tweed are in excess of forty years old such is the quality and longevity of the sprinkler.  They rarely cause a problem which can't be said for our ageing control system. 

A Toro 690 in full flight on 11R

Friday, January 5, 2018

Thankfully the short weeks are now past us and we can start to catch up on the mowing and trimming about the courses.  High player numbers this week slowed down our work rate but the staff did a great job to just about get both courses fully mown.  The strong winds also add to the workload with clean up required each morning before the normal jobs can be done.

Another machine breakdown this week with one of the roughcutters succumbing which is quite possibly the worse time of year for this to happen but as their name perhaps suggest they are "roughcutters" and spend a lot of time in amongst the trees chopping up sticks as well as grass.  I have mentioned before that we use "mulching" type blades which help reduce the abundant sticks and twigs to a mulch which is a lot faster than trying to pick them all up.  The photo below shows a new and 6 week old blade and it's plain to see just what happens to the blade with such use!!

The last place a machine needs to be is on the hoist!

Wear and tear on the blade!