1st August 2022
The weather has picked up recently and feels more like summertime after a pretty miserable May and June. T-shirt weather for a change! Rainfall for May and June was 60mm and 11mm respectively and June especially seemed to be windy most of the time. The dry weather has continued through July with just 36mm and this fell mostly over 2 days at the start and end of the month.
The greens have suffered as a consequence over the past month with dry patch disorder affecting several of the more exposed greens. The blotched areas have become hydrophobic and are not accepting water which exacerbates the problem of achieving uniformity on the surfaces. We have been watering at nights as per usual (1500m3 used this year to date) and also hand watering with wetting pellets to the worst greens in an effort to re wet these bits. We also gave all the greens a close pencil tine down to 5″ to help enable any water to penetrate more evenly. We have more wetting agent to go on at the next opportunity which will hopefully bring back a full recovery. My thoughts are that the Meadow grass (Poa) component in the sward doesn’t like the dry weather and will always be susceptible in weather extremes and when the greens are pushed for speed. The fertility in the greens is also low and particularly the sandier greens which suggests that a light organic feed is imminent and would benefit things overall for the rest of the playing season. We are currently cutting at 3.7mm which is low enough for our site and greens make up but ultimately, if players want faster greens then the greens swards will require more Fescue grasses.
The fairways although pretty parched have stood up reasonably well. We have not cut them in the past three weeks as there has been so little growth although they will be cut this week. Regular and weekly divot filling is keeping them tidy but not a lot of germination taking place mainly due to dry weather. Leatherjacket damage is still evident and is an on going concern and they just love aeration holes to make things worse! Weeds have been spot treated again this year.
We are looking into various options to strengthen up the weaker fairways in general. Over seeding machines that will drill better seed in that will withstand drought better. Possibly adding sprinklers to these fairways that when we need them in dry weather and in times of over seeding they can be used sparingly. We are currently awaiting a geological survey which will help us decide if we can get a borehole drilled for our own water supply. Other measures are improving fertility, more aeration, top dressing and wetting agents which means much more spending than currently done.
Our roughs have pretty much looked after themselves this summer with no summer cut required as they have thinned out with the dry weather. Plenty of colour in them with with dandelions and wild flowers here and there. A cut and collect will be done end of season.
Our tees are also holding up pretty well and getting a watering 3 to 4 nights a week in dry spells. They were given their second feed today of a slow release 16.2.10 which has been successfully used in the past. This will keep them healthy and help repair divot damage for the rest of the playing season.
In general the course is standing up well and providing a good links test which most seem to be enjoying. The course has been extremely busy with lots of visitors and members playing and it is a credit to our small dedicated greenstaff crew that it is kept so tidy.