Course Conditions – The weather has finally taken a turn for the good with the last seven days being drier and warmer than the seasonal norm. As a result, much of the course has now begun to dry out and we have been able to return to playing golf from grass. This seems a far cry from the position we faced on 4th April when the ladies tee on the 13th became an island.
The water table however remains very high with some areas still showing surface water and many other areas remaining so soft that machinery is as yet unable to cut. This is particularly evident where we have several water sources / springs appearing about the course. The worst of which are on the 7th fairway which remains water logged for almost its entire length after the bridle path to the green and the 16th fairway which as last year is being fed from a spring in the left hand bunker. Other springs have appeared on the 6th in the woodland beside the green and as usual on the 17th fairway where this year it is considerably wetter and nearer the green.
The soft conditions have meant we are unable to cut the whole playing surfaces with machinery which digs in too deep on the soft turf creating ruts and damage which outweighs the benefits of cutting. As a consequence, we are cutting some rough areas by hand with strimmer’s and slowly progressing the rough cut away from fairways into the slightly firmer areas.
Elsewhere on the course we have fertilised all greens, aprons and tees, verti cut greens 3 times, commenced cutting of greens daily at near summer levels in addition to cutting most fairways and semi rough. Top dressing scheduled for Thursday 19th April had to be abandoned due to a mechanical failure of the tractor. This however will be re visited on Monday 23rd April.
Overall I would estimate that preparatory work for the season is between 3 and 4 weeks short of where we would wish to be as a result of the late March and early April weather conditions. This it would appear is a position we share with virtually every other course in the north of England. Our aim now is to maximise the time available and ideally introduce “qualifying” conditions for the first weekend of May.
Winter work update:
Winter work has been set aside. We may have provision to re-visit some areas dependant upon weather and commitments however in summary we achieved.
Work which will continue through the playing season
Overall I hope you will see this as a success particularly in light of the weather conditions faced during the winter when considerable labour hours were devoted to keeping the course open.
Finally – It has been a long and very frustrating winter for us as golfers as well as our green staff who share our desire to see the course at its best whenever possible. Dave Crampton summing it up excellently when saying how he felt on returning to the course after bad weather… “it’s like you spend all day doing your garden at home then overnight some vandals trash everything and you need to start all over again”
I believe our green staff have done an excellent job this winter against the full force of mother nature and our course is now migrating to full summer conditions. Lets not spoil that hard work and play the course with etiquette in mind. Repair your divots, take a divot bag if you can, repair your pitch marks, rake your footprints in bunkers, put your litter in the bins provided and keep your trolley 10 meters away from greens. If we could all do this, then our pleasure in playing the course will be maximised and our green staff will be able to take our course forwards throughout the season.
Enjoy your golf