As day light hours start to increase going into spring and the rain has finally started to ease, ground conditions have improved around the course, and with the high temperatures we have been getting recently this has improved the ground soil temperatures and finally allowing the grass to start to grow a little. We could still do with temperatures staying a couple of degrees higher overnight to further spur on the growth but we are definitely heading in the right direction at last!
This month has really seen the course take a massive step forward, we are now managing to cut almost all areas around the course with the exception of a few areas of semi rough that are still a bit wet for the mowers so we are cutting these areas as and when we get chance with the tractor mounted flail and strimmers. All areas are also now been cut at their “summer heights” (something I mentioned in last month’s report) these heights of cut will be maintained all thorough the playing season.
Greens this month have had an application of wetting agent and seaweed and have had their last granular feed applied, this will take them through to the end of May, beginning of June before we start applying foliar feeds on a monthly basis along with growth regulator. Daily cutting and/ or rolling is now been carried out on the greens, top dressing and verti-cutting is been carried out as and when possible so that it causes little disruption to play and there is a genuine need for it. With all this in mind we are at present managing to achieve a daily average Stimp meter reading of between 9&10 foot, 8’.6” to 10’ is what the USGA would consider a fast green for general play.
Approaches and collars where verti-cut and top dressed late April, verti-cutting was down to a depth of -3mm, there was approximately 140 grass boxes of clippings removed in total, this is extremely excessive and indicates a very high level of organic material within the surfaces. In time regular verti-cutting, aeration and topdressing will see these areas improve even further than they already have in recent months. Verti-draining down to a depth of 125mm was carried out late April and has now been followed up with a further application of wetting agent on the approaches to help the soil retain moisture allowing for a healthier plant and in turn better quality playing surfaces.
Tees are now been cut at 8.5mm twice weekly, verti-cutting was carried out early April down to a depth of -1.5mm, wetting agent along with humic and fulvic acid has been applied to them and another application of fertilizer will be made once conditions allow.
We have started with verti-draining Fairways and high traffic areas around the course. This process helps to relive the compaction that mostly occurs through the wet winter months while the ground is soft, the tines that are been used for this process are 18mm diameter tines that are set up to penetrate the soil down to a depth of approximately 125mm, due to their only been minimal top soil in some areas of the course that cover concrete, steel etc we are limited to which areas we can work on with the verti-drain. With this in mind the golf club has recently purchased a large fairway slitter that will be able to aerate all areas of the course down to a maximum depth of 300mm, the reason for this is that the tines are driven into the ground under the weight of the implement itself as appose to the verti-drain where the tines a mechanically driven into the ground with extreme force and hitting concrete or steel beneath the surface of the ground could result in the machine been broken and extremely costly to repair.