Course Condition: The winter thus far has been exceptionally mild with many areas of the UK recording record high temperatures together with exceptionally low rainfall. Wakefield, whilst not breaking records has also been exceptionally mild and as a consequence our course has only been closed on a limited number of days. Underfoot, we are playing from firm ground and off grass away from the fairways. Perhaps the biggest indicator of just how dry things have been can be seen in the continued use of buggies.
Elsewhere about the course we have not experienced the level of surface water nor flooded out bunkers of previous years which I believe has made golfing a more enjoyable experience thus far this winter. Hopefully the weather will continue, and we can continue to enjoy the course.
A side affect of the good weather has been the need for our green staff to give greater focus to what would in normal circumstances be spring tasks. Greens have always been cut in winter which in many cases removes only limited cuttings along with blown vegetation such as twigs and leaves however this year the grass boxes have been filling as our greens have continued to grow. We have also been cutting the fairways and rough which has not been the case in recent winters. Many of you will recall the worst of our wet areas such as to the right of the 9th green and right of the 13 fairway which in previous years would not support the driving of heavy machinery until April. Today these areas are mowed and already in April condition. Hopefully this bodes well for the upcoming season.
Greens: Our sand-based greens have started to grow as the temperature has risen and particularly when overnight temperatures have remained above 5 degrees. This growth will help close the hollo tinning holes which I am aware many members will be glad to see the back off. Root growth, which we can see when moving holes, is some way ahead of the norm for this time of year which we would partly put down to the additional drainage and air penetration which those holes provided. Ideally we will hollo tine in August this year allowing us to top dress immediately and the holes to close within a couple of weeks unless of course we break all temperature records again this summer !!!
All greens have been treated with Lawn Sand to help address moss growth and have had a light top-dressing application in the last two weeks. We plan to fertilised all greens in the next week which should further kick start growth if temperatures remain favourable and help us generate smooth rolling true surfaces.
Additionally, we are conscious of the need to address the bare areas on some of our greens. These are the areas which our old irrigation system fails to deliver sufficient water coverage and even with the support of hand watering in the early morning and late evening we still suffered burnt patches. These areas are being hand spiked, rolled with spike rollers hand seeded and then top dressed with root zone. Current we are asking golfers to take relief from the patches if necessary however I hope with some light rain and fair weather they will return to green in the next few weeks. As a final solution we have made plans to hire in an over seeder which would be used to cover all areas of our putting surfaces. This will only be used when the forecast supports the germination of seed as to absorb the cost of hire and large quantities of expensive green seed without favourable germination conditions would be foolhardy.
Winter programme: The mild winter weather has abstracted some of our staff onto spring work however we have managed to complete some of the planned developments and will hopefully finish others before the real season begins. The 18th pond is complete except for the return of the fountain which will be installed in the next few weeks. The machine is 12 years old and required a service and some remedial work to the dispensing area including obtaining a part from the USA. Once this is back in place with its inbuilt light display and the new waterfall (Finch’s Falls) our signature hole will look better than ever.
Elsewhere we hope to complete work on the path to the right of the 12 hole removing the old rubber eyesore and continue with the amendments to the 8th hole. Filling in the first left hand bunker and moving the fairway over to the left away from the road. If, however the winter weather takes a turn for the worse then we will fall back to tree removal particularly to the right of the 3rd hole.
Finally: - I guess any update without a request for assistance to you as fellow golfers would not be my style. Therefore, can I reiterate my regular request re golfing etiquette
Enjoy your golf