Sunday, 26 May 2013


Well Spring has sprung at last. The course is showing real signs of growth in all areas at last. The meadow grass in the greens is finally catching up with the bent grass and the surfaces are smoothing out. Of course, this also meant that the weedy poa was struck by Fusarium patch disease, which meant I had to spray the greens for the 1st time in 18 months. We couldn't risk the disease spreading with the Northern Counties event just around the corner.
We have continued to verti-cut lightly and we again will apply a light sand dressing this week to further smooth the surfaces and the height of cut will be brought down ready for the big day.
Lets hope the sun continues to shine so we can all enjoy the course.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Black Greens!

One of the methods we use for managing the greens is to apply Sulphate of Iron in liquid form.
Iron is an essential element in turf grass, but usually occurs in tiny quantities.
We apply iron in a sprayer with other micro nutrients and Compost tea. If applied regularly during the year, it helps to control moss, helps strengthen the plant against disease and darkens the turf. This last benefit is ideal at this time of year when we are looking to increase soil temperatures to help recovery. The darker the turf the more heat it can absorb from any available sunshine. And the way the weather is at the moment, we need all the help we can get.

The black staining of the leaf soon fades, but then leaves the turf a darker green.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013


I never intended this Blog to be constant updates on prevailing weather conditions. But the extraordinary spring weather we are currently experiencing is having a major impact on the course conditions. 
As you may be aware, temperatures are still stuck in single figures combined with high winds further dropping the temperature. Spring conditions seem a good way off, with many trees still not in leaf.,
This is causing the turf on the greens to lay dormant, with little growth to aid surface recovery. We have already applied twice the level of Nitrogen to the greens, compared to this time last year, hoping this would push them on. Further applications will only weaken the turf and cause long term damage to the plant.
 Our maintenance programme of rolling, top-dressing and verti-cutting is helping the surfaces, but nothing can replace some natural growth. As previously stated, irrigation water further cools the soil so can never be the answer in these conditions.
Fingers crossed for some warmer weather, as everything else is in place.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Irrigation system

Over the last 3 days we have been working through our irrigation system, fixing bursts, changing and updating sprinklers and repairing the wiring and control system. All the greenstaff are now trained in this important aspect of our course maintenance. This saves the club £1,000's in bringing in outside contractors.
One of the reasons we leave this job till later in the spring is due to potential frost damage to the system and the fact that watering the greens too early reduces the soil temperatures which slows growth and recovery. The water in the system will be around 3-4 degrees, while the turf needs much higher temperatures to flourish.

The 12th green sprinklers following their update to new Rainbird eagle sprinklers.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Robert Laycock

Today, Robert Laycock made one of his visits to inspect the course. Robert has been the clubs Agronomist since July 2002 and has played a major part in the improvements and alterations to the course in the last 10 years. This visit we focused on the recent results from the soil tests in December and the condition of the greens especially the drainage work on the 6th & 10th.
We also discussed the effects the wet & cold weather has had on the winter work programme. He informed us that other clubs in the North had suffered course closures of up to 2 months (twice our lost days).
Robert announced he was very pleased with our progress and complimented us on how tidy the course was looking. His report will be put on the board when we receive it.

                        Greens Chairman, John Shaw pictured with Robert today.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Soil Biology

Last week, the Grenstaff had the chance to attend a Soil Biology course which was held at the club by Symbio (the makers of our compost tea brewer) and Dr Sue Hodgson. It was very informative and as a bonus the club now own their own microscope for analysing our soil biology.

Also in attendance was Steve Hemsley the course manager from Bolton Old Links GC.

Some of you may be wondering why we need to go to such lengths with our maintenance programme. But if the biology of the soil is out of balance, disease and pests can multiply. We also need to know that the Tea we apply to the greens has the correct amount of bacteria and fungi.


When I got to the 2nd green around 8.30 this morning, to my horror, I discovered a deep divot about 10 feet from the hole!
Unfortunately, the first competitors had gone through the hole in the comp so I couldn't change the hole.
I really don't need to add anymore comment to this.