It’s not been much of a summer out on the links with only a scattering of decent days and plenty of horrible weather thrown in. The water system has remained unused since the end of May which is quite remarkable for here, being such a dry place in general. The high level of rain brings with it its own problems in that the grass seems to be growing quicker than ever when growth should be receding by now. This has put pressure on us to keep the course looking tidy and we have been ‘chasing our tails’ literally with the grass cutting. One benefit is that the seed in the devoting has been germinating quickly which is of great help to the tees and fairways.
We encountered an oil leak while out cutting on Sunday 20th August and 7 greens and the top putting green were affected. This was unfortunate as we had swapped the greens cutting units over to the tees machine on the Friday as the greens machine developed an electrical fault that morning. The oil leak started on the 7th and was dripping from a pipe (power steering) under the operators seat and into the middle grass box and then through the box and onto the turf. As the hydraulic oil is clear it went unnoticed for the remaining greens as it only reacted with the turf a short while after. Not much could have been done on the day as we had an Open on and hopefully no long term damage has taken place.
We gave these greens a double verti-cut on the Monday afternoon to try and lift as much oil drip from the turf as possible. We have also micro cored some of the more noticeable scars and sanded and seeded these bits. Hopefully with still plenty of growth through the autumn the drips and streaks will become less evident as like a drop of grease which recover after a few weeks.
The green staff have been advised to be especially vigilant while working on the greens and we will be adding a dye to all the hydraulically operated grass machines which will highlight any leaks quickly should they happen in the future.
Our two machines are now repaired and passing comment to the engineer that things always come in threes, sure enough the fairway machine developed a leaky seal in at the flywheel and engine! The fairways at 7th and 8th have been mildly affected with some drips but nothing too serious.
The competition and Open schedule has been intense and the greens are being cut on a daily basis at 3.9mm and rolled as much as time and manpower allows us. It is difficult to maintain consistent good speeds >9ft when the weather is soft as was highlighted at Kingsbarns for the Ladies British Open when they were only achieving 9ft 2’’. We are also having to do a lot of wet cuts and it is never the same as a good dry cut.
Overseeding – we have done a little seeding at the entrance side to the bottom putting green which has been weak all year. Our own Sisis Variseeder was used but was not that effective in that the Fescue seed found it difficult to find the small holes that it produced. These two greens seem to suffer most from ‘Anthracnose’ which is the yellowing and basal rotting of Meadow grass plants that are under environmental and physical stress.
Lately we micro cored the two putting greens and overseeded both with a demo Blec Multi seeder. The Blec machine produced thousands of small holes but not big enough for the Fescue to drop in successfully. Our plan for this autumn is to shallow solid tine with 10mm tines starting on Monday 25th Sept and then broadcast seed and sand to provide cover for the seed. We have several bags of greens Fescue seed in stock which will be used this time around. This work should have the greens back to a reasonable standard within a few days.
Bunker Renovations & Alterations
Starting in November we will be working on reducing the depth, renewing faces and changing the sand in several bunkers. These are RHS 2nd green, front 8th and 9th greens and the approach bunker at 13th green. Proposed alterations are planned for the bunker between the 6th and 12th fairways to return it to a larger splash bunker with a small Marram island within. The LHS greenside bunker at the 6th and also middle fairway bunker which have proven both difficult and unfair have been proposed to change to grassy hollows/swales.
In order to keep the 6th hole as a challenge it is proposed to add an additional fairway bunker 35 – 40 yards beyond the current bunker on the right hand side of the fairway. This is designed to catch the longer hitters that leak shots to the right and also give a bunker that can pose a threat and be seen from the tee. In addition to this it is also proposed to reinstate the approach bunker short left of the green which will tighten up the 2nd shot. It is planned that any alterations and new bunkers will be made less punishing and will be easier to maintain longer term.
The intended bunker areas will be spray paint lined at their proposed location out on the course We also intend to add a bunker liner to bunkers that give us trouble with stones coming through. This is a permeable fabric specifically designed for both keeping the sand in place on slopes, keeping it consistent in depth and keeping it clean from underlying debris. Hopefully with this in place and with the new sand, ball plugging will be greatly reduced and shot making will be more predictable. A plan for these bunker additions and alterations will be displayed in the clubhouse notice board for your interest and comment.
Renovations to the greens this autumn are with the solid tining / sanding starting 25th September and a verti draining with 1/2’’ tines in November, date tbc. The tees and approaches will be hollow tined during the autumn at some point, date tbc. All the tall roughs will be cut and collected during a dry spell this autumn.
Along with the bunker work we hope to do some turfing work at the 4th hole on worn areas, the 16th shelter surround and the path leading down from the 18th to 1st fairway and the worn bit by the 12th tee. Whin reduction/eradication on the RHS and also over the main ridge on the 4th hole and also the whins in front of the tees on the ridge at the 15th hole.
A list of the planned winter work will be displayed on the main notice board next week.
George Paterson – Head Greenkeeper