Since my last report in November we have seen a massive amount of rainfall, not just locally but nationally, the rainfall that I have recorded at Drax Golf Club since November 19th has been 150mm to date (24/1/16). Broken down this is as follows; From November 19th to November 30th 23mm was recorded, December 1st to December 31st 61mm was recorded and form January 1st to January 24th 66mm has been recorded. As a result of this substantial rainfall we have had a total of 26 days of been completely closed and 21 days of been partially closed, despite this things do look to be on the up as we have already had a lot less closures this month than last, this is mostly down to the strong winds that we have been getting and the fact that we have been out clearing ditches, rodding drains & clearing the drain outlets.
The first green has got problems with standing water gathering on the front of it, as a trial we drilled soak holes within the green where the standing water gathers, this was done by cutting and removing a hole with the hole changer then using an auger with a 100mm diameter bit fitted on it, holes were drilled down to a depth of approximately 600mm then backfilled with gravel to about 200mm from surface level then the plug that was cut with the hole cutter was then replaced. This process was continued over the entire area at 2 meter centres. This has made the front of green much better with it holding a lot less water, this process will be carried out across the whole of the 8th green next year as this green seems to hold excessive water throughout the entire profile due to poor drainage under and across the entire green.
The approaches where verti-drained late November with the 12mm diameter tines down to a depth of 125mm, the main reason for this was to help relieve some of the compaction within the soil, the compaction within the ground was clearly identifiable through patchy areas of turf along with areas of very poor and thin grass coverage. Tees were also verti-drained through December, this was done with the larger 18mm diameter tines down to a depth of 150mm, and again compaction was also apparent here due to the poor grass coverage on the majority of the tees. Both the Tees and Approaches will be verti-drained again before the end of March to further help reduce compaction and improve the quality of both of these playing surfaces by increasing the sward density and consistency.
Over the last few months we have been very busy with the tree work on the golf course, behind the 2nd green has been cleared of mostly brambles and self-seeding elders, only four trees were removed from this area and the trees that remain had crowns lifted to around 3-4 meters, this has created much better air circulation and increased light around the green helping improve the condition of the turf surfaces and reducing the chance of disease in this particular area. As well as having the benefits of improved turf surfaces it gives an excellent view of the 12th,13th&14th ‘new land` holes. The trees to the right hand side of the 3rd tee have also been thinned & crowns lifted this has been continued down the entire length of the 3rd hole and will also see the trees around the back of the 3rd green thinned, there is still a lot more planned tree work to be carried out before April 1st when the season begins.
We have begun cutting all the roughs down around the course with a tractor mounted flail that we have borrowed form a local golf club, all the rough areas will be cut with this before spring and these areas will be maintained throughout the playing season to help create more playable areas that will hopefully speed up play and create a more astatically pleasing rough.
The water hazard ‘Moat` between 7&17 tees has seen all of the self-seeding trees removed from around the water’s edge, the island has also been strimmed and the reeds have been removed from approximately ¾ of the water, unfortunately work has had to stop in this area due to the extremely wet ground conditions where machines where getting stuck, work will continue here once ground conditions improve enough so that machinery can be taken across this area and the remaining reeds removed.
Whilst it has been too wet to take any machinery across the course we began clearing the course wardens track and car park space, while doing this it was decided that the Area to the right hand side of the 1st tee could do with a general tidy up so it has been strimmed of brambles and weeds and any overhanging trees cut back.
Finally I am pleased to announce that we now have a new First Assistant Greenkeeper in place at Drax Golf Club; Ben Morgan he is a very experienced and knowledgeable Greenkeeper who will make a great addition to the team hear at Drax Golf Club. Liam our apprentice has also started attending Askham Bryan College where he attends one week every month through winter for the next 2 years, at the end of his apprenticeship he will have achieved a NVQ Level 2 in Sports turf.
Above: Looking down on to holes 12,13 & 14 after all the scrub has been cleared.
Above: Looking up to the second from the 12th fairway after all the scrub has been cleared behind the green.
Above: A panoramic of the trees to the right hand side of the 3rd fairway, left of the red line shows before and right shows after.
Below: some photos of the work that we have been carrying out on the moat between 7 &17 tees.