Thursday, 31 January 2013

10th green

The 10th green is now back in play following the re-profiling and drainage work we carried out at the start of November. There is still some settling needed to improve the surface, but with dressing & gentle rolling it should be in good order for the start of the season. The 6th green should also be back in play for the weekend.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Course open

Great to have 18 holes back in play today.
Managed to get 14 greens back in play as well. Hopefully, we can keep the course open and really get stuck into preparations for the start of the season.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Snow & ice.

Despite the thaw, we are still unable to open the course due to thick snow & ice on north facing slopes around the course. This photo shows the 16th hole. Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Tree work.

We continue to carry out extensive pruning and tree removal throughout the course during this extended period of snow cover.
The work on the 7th & 9th is now complete, the 7th tee in particular will be a lot brighter following the removal of the over hanging branches.
We have also started thinning and lifting some more of the trees around the putting green. The green suffers from extensive root ingress, air movement issues and shade especially in the winter months.
We have started removing some trees along both sides of the 14th hole. The corner of the dog-leg has seen 2 silver birch removed around the corner and more trees are to be removed across the OB ditch. This should provide golfers with more opportunity to see around the corner when playing their 2nd shot.
The group of birch next to the L/H greenside bunker has been removed and the turf and tree roots stripped off. The tree roots in this area were coming thru the surface creating dangerous conditions for walking and playing a shot. The turf was also dominated by moss. This area will be re-turfed ready for the start of the season. The tree removal will complete our program of "opening up" the views in this area of the course.

Fingers crossed for some golf early next week.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Tree work.

During the continued closure due to snow cover, we continue to work out on the course.
This photo shows a cherry picker we have hired in to access the over hanging trees at the back of the 7th tees.
These trees are on the adjoining farmland and pruning them has always been an issue.
The  cherry picker has proved itself to be the ideal tool for getting at those high branches safely.
We also intend to prune other high branches around the putting green and in front of the 9th tee.
The snow cover of 100mm shows no sign of melting at the moment. It's frustrating the staff and golfers alike. Fingers crossed for a quick thaw.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Soil test results from Hopwood's greens.

For anyone whose interested. These are the results over 10 years from various soil samples from the greens at Hopwood.

The greens have been sampled in the same way each year to improve consistency of results. They have been dressed with the same pure sand material throughout this time and the management of the greens has been mostly unchanged since 2002. Two applications of lime were made at the start of the 2003/2004 seasons to correct the low ph levels. The greens have been deep scarified using a Graden twice a year with 3mm blades. Very little hollow-tining has been done. The fertiliser applications have been predominantly liquid based to try and reduce the phosphate levels. Nitrogen application levels are around 55/65 kg/p/ha, while in 2002  they were at 200kg/p/ha. Seaweed liquid has been used extensively throughout this 10 year period.                                                    

The only significant change to the management of the greens has been the application of Compost tea liquid since the start of 2010. Since this started, we have seen a dramatic reduction in the levels of Iron, Sulphur and Phosphate. While seeing the levels of more desirable elements increasing. Thatch levels have also dropped, despite the record breaking rainfall figures.
 It would have been better to have had the soil tested at the end of 2009, but I still think the use of Compost tea has made significant improvements to the soil and its biology.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Greens work

Here are some photos of the current aeration work on the greens.
The 1st shows the Weidenmann aerator on the 1st green.
The 22mm wide tines penetrate the soil to a depth of 375mm , heaving the surface to allow air and water movement through the soil.

   The  2nd picture shows the John Deere micro tiner making a pass over the large tine holes. This action helps close the top of the holes over to speed up recovery.

The last picture shows the green being cut by hand mower to lightly roll the putting surface. This will be repeated within a few days.

Following this work, the greens should settle down and be back in play asap.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Aeration work on the greens.

A decision was made in the autumn to postpone the deep tine aeration to the greens. This was because we wanted to maintain smoother putting surfaces for longer. But due to the prolonged wet weather, the greens had softened, limiting their use anyway.
On monday (7th) we intend to spray the greens with a seaweed & iron mix to harden the turf against disease. This will be followed by deep aeration (down to 400mm) with 20mm diameter tines. We will then micro tine the greens to help restore the surfaces.
This will be followed by hand cutting.
Hopefully, this work will help dry the greens out and firm up the surfaces.

The course has suffered badly during this spell of exceptional wet weather. With many areas becoming wet and slippy. I've not seen the course this sodden in 10 years and it's going to take a prolonged dry spell to improve matters.
Fingers crossed, we can get the course back on track before the start of the season.

PS. I'll do a detailed post concerning the weather in the next week.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Tee boxes.

From today, the temporary tee boxes we have used on the 6th, 7th, 8th & 12th holes will be out of play. This is due to slippy ground conditions & the risk of an accident. Please play from the yellow markers on the front of the daily tee's.