Since being appointed as Head Green keeper at Drax Golf Club seven months ago I am very happy with the progress and improvements myself and my team are making around the course despite the difficult weather conditions we have been having over the last few months.
Autumn Winter 2015/2016
Tree work has been something that has been neglected in certain areas around the course, so far we have opened up the trees on the 5th & 15th holes, although there is still some work to be done in this area and it will be completed once ground conditions allow. Behind the 2nd green has been cleared and this work has continued down the entire right hand side of the 3rd hole, around the back of the green and up to the side of the 4th tee. Some tree work has also been carried out along the right hand side of the 4th hole. Other areas and trees that are to be worked on are the willow trees to the front right hand side of the 6th tee are to be crown lifted and reduced, the willow tree on the 7th in front of the middle lane to the left hand side also needs reducing and the ash tree between 13th & 14th that has the large cavity in the base of the trunk making it unsafe will need to be felled.
Some paths such as, 2nd, 7th, 8th & 5th will be stripped of the wood chip surface that is on them as this has broken down and become boggy over the winter; I am hoping that these paths will be resurfaced with ash from the power station before the start of the season.
Bunkers are to be renovated before the start of the season and this will consist of; de-compacting the sand, edging/ repairing damaged edges and topping up with extra sand (if needed).
Unfortunately, the new tee that was to be built on the 9th over winter has had to be put on hold because of the excessive amount of rain we have had it has made the area where the tee was to be built inaccessible for any sort of machinery, once dry enough we will start to bring materials in and all been well the tee will be built before the end of the 2016 season.
Spring/ Summer 2016.
Renovations will soon be taking place at Drax, this will be starting the week commencing Monday 14th March, we will be starting work on the greens first and this will see them been verti-cut to help remove some of the moss that has built up over the winter months and followed up with hollow coring, the holes that are created during this process will then be backfilled with sand and finally over seeded. Tees and approaches will also be renovated; this process will see these areas been verti-drained to help relieve some of the ground compaction that has occurred over the winter months then scarified and finally followed up with dressing the surfaces with sand.
The course will continue to be maintained to the same high standards that you would expect it to be throughout the 2016 season, particular attention will be paid to the greens as expected but also approaches, as I would like these areas to be more of an extension of the greens rather than just an area in front of them. And the rough is another area that I want to pay particular attention to throughout the entire season with regular mowing every 3-4 weeks and spot spraying of weeds taking place.
Tree and tree plantation work is something that will continue to be managed to a good standard, this will help to speed up play, increase light and air circulation around the greens and tees and create much more astatically pleasing tree areas.
Drainage seems to be another issue here at Drax; although a lot of areas have been extensively drained these drains have been poorly maintained, if at all. After rodding many of the drains the majority of them do seem to be clear, I believe that the issue is that the heavy clay soil here at Drax G.C. are “capping” the gravel trenches that the drains sit in, so I propose to raise suitable funds through selling other unused machinery in the shed so that a large fairway slitter can be bought and I am certain that with regular slitting throughout Autumn & Winter it will break through the clay that is “capping” the drains as well as allowing the grave to be broken into and water taken away, I am certain that if done regularly a massive improvement will be seen.
The greens at Drax are in good condition with a reasonable soil profile that has little to no black layer and good thatch levels. I have noticed that throughout the summer months the greens seem to become very firm and dry and extremely soft with a lot of water holding within the top 100mm of the profile throughout the winter months, I will be increasing the sand percentage within the greens profile down to approximately 200mm this will be done through dressing the greens with sand after hollow coring and deep tine aeration and regular light dressings applied throughout the year. With all this in mind I will be aiming to apply 2.5-3.5 ton of sand per green per season, this will within the next few years if kept up with see much firmer and dryer greens throughout the winter and make it possible to maintain a firm, fast and receptive green throughout summer.