4th May 2020
That’s us into our 6th week of lockdown and typically the weather has been fantastic for golf! We have been quite lucky to carry on with our work on the course with 2 to 3 staff working individually, keeping on top of essential maintenance and so far we will be ready when golf resumes. Jobs are being completed quicker with no golfers about and many hours saved on not having to collect range balls, rake bunkers and change holes etc.
So what have we being doing?
This spring has brought many sunny and dry days with very little rain which in turn has kept growth to a minimum. Therefore we’ve been cutting greens 2 to 3 times per week and a little higher than normal, tees and aprons once per week and the fairways, range and semi roughs on a fortnightly cycle. We’ve also kept on top of banks cutting otherwise things would have got out of hand. Early into the lockdown we sprayed the fairways with wetting agent, ammonia and iron to give them a wee perk up. With the course being quiet we’ve also managed to treat the weeds on the fairways and range and got our usual wetting agents on greens and tees.
One problem that is causing concern is aeration holes not filling in due to Leatherjackets feeding on the grass roots over winter. The insecticide for treating these grubs was withdrawn from our use 3 years ago now and is becoming a problem for many courses now. I’ve been using the water system to the greens on a fairly regular basis throughout April as the rainfall was so low (8mm) in an attempt to top up the deficit on an average April month. The greens can dry out here very quickly in the spring and with grub activity can go backwards quite quickly. Subsequently we have taken the chance to seed and spike 10 of the worst hit greens and top dressed over a couple of times. With the grubs popping out of the turf now hopefully most of the damage has been done and once growth starts to pick up then the greens will establish full cover.
We’re all looking forward to getting back onto the course and I expect it won’t be too long now and I see no reason why not. Ireland have set a date of May 18th. It looks like there will be measures in place similar to lockdown and that will include social distancing, no touching flag pins etc. The so called experts will no doubt keep us well informed!