On The Right Track at Drax

Drax Golf Club is set in attractive woodland just south of the town of Selby in Yorkshire. As its backdrop, it has the largest, yet cleanest coal powered power station in the UK. Assistant Greenkeeper, Ben Morgan, discusses their plans for the course in the coming months and years.

The winter of 2015-16 was one of the wettest on record, which has forced us to use temporary greens more frequently, and close the course in some instances, just to protect the main greens. So, this coming season, we aim to rectify this by carrying out a combined treatment of aeration and topdressing to improve winter playability. We also plan to encourage Fescue grasses (Festuca) into the sward through topdressing and species management.

Nine of the twelve greens at Drax were constructed using native clay soil push-up method. The profile beneath the greens is:

- Sandy root-zone profile (80-120mm - Native clay soil pushup (100-150mm - Ash drainage pan (Varying depths)

When we change pin positions, we regularly look at the plug to analyse the soil profile and discuss ways we could make any improvements.

We have noticed that there is sand through the upper sections of the soil, but no sand in the lower sections. The thick clay layer makes it extremely difficult for water to percolate through. Using aeration and topdressing, we plan to break through this layer down to the ash drainage pan and create channels of sand running through it to help water drainage.

The push-up method has been used traditionally in the past, but unfortunately it has the following disadvantages:

- The soil swells up due to absorption of water, creating a spon