Green Keepers Report
By James Gill

Winter Maintenance Greens Report 2020/21

It’s been sometime since my last report about maintenance on the course,but with all the lockdowns and furloughs time has gone too fast.

During the lockdown in November/December there was non of the greens staff furloughed so we had the opportunity to achieve many more improvements than if there were any Golf being played,
Our main objective was to get as many greens drained as possible and I am pleased to say we completed drainage on the 5th,9th and 13th greens, the 13th front right hand side bunker was also treated to a drain installation we also revamped the fence on the 6th tee (what a improvement)
(A few pictures of our greens drainage)

After the completion of the greens drainage Christmas was soon upon us, there was a short spell of golf,a lot of rain and then another lockdown.

After the completion of the greens drainage Christmas was soon upon us, there was a short spell of golf,a lot of rain and then another lockdown.
This lockdown was different as all the greens staff were furloughed for 75% and working the remaining 25% which meant we worked 1 day per week.
It’s surprising how much work can be achieved in one day, the Widermann aerator was out pushing holes into the turf on the Tees, Approaches and walk off areas, servicing machinery was started and the construction of some new steps up to the 2nd Tee, these were completed with a little bit of volunteering and generously financed by Phil Ledgard and Alan Young

Furlough lasted for four weeks after some wise decisions from our Club Committee, this meant their was the greens staff back in full time employment.
This gave us the opportunity to start some Tree management on a few designated areas were trees are affecting the game, we have started on the 2nd and 17th holes.
We have made excellent progress on these areas and I would like to thank Phil ledgard and his volunteers for their generous help:
Alan young, Eddy Walker, Dave Waters, Graham Wadsworth, Mr. President Brian Johnson, lan Whitehead and most of all Mr. Ray Fox
No photos unfortunately but you will soon see the improvements.

Thank you James Gill Head Greenkeeper

May/June Greens Report

To start I would like to thank the following on the Clubs behalf for volunteering their time and effort raking bunkers, markings hazards, painting course furniture and divoting fairways:
Phil Ledgard, Alan Young, Gary Dunkley, Alan Hayes, Ian price, Graham Wadsworth, Jordan Hammond, Mark Colley, Bob holdroyd, Paul Clapton
There is also,
Martin Shaw and the lady captain Eileen Hogan Shaw Who have kindly donated 40kgs of greens quality bent grass seed to our club.

May was the driest May since records began
It’s becoming a theme with all the adverse weather conditions and breaking records.

Maintenance on the course continues with 4 days with 75% staff present and 1 day with 50% so I was pleased about the dry May as the grass grows slower in drier conditions but that didn’t last long June has been a Grass factory.

Greens maintenance
Our greens are mowed every day to a height of cut at 3.5mm but presently the greens are a dense sward and growing at a rapid pace, mowing starts at 6am and completed around 10/10.30am by 1pm there could easily be a couple of “mm” new growth resulting in a slower true putting surface.
Scarifiying is achieved every 3 weeks weather permitting and verticutting is done every 2 weeks,
Wetting agent and liquid fertilisers have been applied every 14 days, topdressing has been achieved twice this spring with one imminent, all these contribute to improving the health and trueness on our Greens.

Tees are mowed as often as possible in a week usually twice, a spring feed has been applied to help thicken up the grass and contend with the heavy golf traffic, markers and moved and divots filled with a mix of root zone and fescue grass seed every Monday/ Tuesday

Fairways and Approaches are cut as much as we can, usually once a week because of limited resources, the fairways are being cut using the ploughman’s pattern which results in a two shaded appearance, this is a more time efficient method and it encourages the grass to stand up for a even cut and a better lie.

Between all our regular maintenance tasks there is always an unexpected job that takes immediate priority, most recently there has been leaking irrigation pipes, fortunately we are competent and experienced at achieving all our own irrigation repairs in house

Some Positive news
As you are all aware last January we drained the 3rd Green and I was very pleased to see how effective they were working, during a recent wet day when the 3rd Green would normally be half covered in water I had to get a photo of a dry green with no puddles at all.

April 2020

Since the last report the whole world has been turned upside down!
Coronavirus has effected all of us!
But the grass keeps growing!
Before the lockdown started we were preparing for the golfing season at a good pace!
I was planning work programs for spring green treatment and work schedules with the imminent return of our part time Greenkeeper!
The Driving range is up and running, the Greens were Aerated with solid tines to a depth of 275/250mm.

Since the lockdown started in March everything changed as you all know!
From a Greenkeeping perspective our maintenance strategy changed,
There are only two Greenkeepers working on the course at one time!

Presently two staff are furloughed until further notice ( David and Jamie)
Darren and myself are doing the essential basics,
There has been some good advice from the R&I, Bigga and British Golf,

Mowing the Greens has been achieved at least three times per week, I have been leaving them slightly longer to help relieve stress and promote healthy growth!

April has been a dry month which helped out in respect of slower grass growth, but hasn’t helped the Greens recovery as much!

As mentioned only essential tasks are being achieved,
Fairways are cut once a week and semi rough takes up the rest of one member of staffs week!
And it’s not looking bad!

The Greens take up the majority of the week for the remaining member of staff (me)
They have been top dressed twice during late April early May, regular mowing gradually lowering the height of cut to summer length, Scarified and I have been applying wetting agent and irrigation during the night,
The Greens are coming good slowly but surely.
Tees and Approaches have been mowed once per week.

Breakdowns and hydraulic oil leaks have been a issue this season so far!
Hydraulic leaks on machinery is a problem due to the fact there’s no warning!
Its only initiated and experience which determines how fast one detects a leak!
Recently the fairway mower leaked around the perimeter of the 1st green, luckily it was identified before too much damage occurred!
I just want our members to be aware that these turf damaging leaks will occur with no fault of the operators! Just ageing machinery.

During lockdown there has been a number of our members which have been a great help volunteering divoting fairways and helping fill in pits on the greens, raking bunkers and many more time saving tasks, I would like to thank them all: Phil leggard, Alan Young, Mark Colley, Rob Speight, Jordan Hammond, Alan Hayes, Mick Toon, Graham Wadsworth, Paul Fleming, Andy Nickleson, Eddy Walker, Gary Dunkley, Bob Oldroyd, Paul Clapton, Phil Codman and the legend Ray Fox.

Any questions or queries
Please contact me
Thanks James

February 2020

So far February has been even wetter than January, with two named Storms which have even closed the course! The course has been the consistently wettest that I can remember! But the Greenkeepers tasks continue regardless! Since my last report we have been fabricating an old Shipping container into a Driving range Ball Dispensing facility, thanks to our Engineer/Greenkeeper Mr David Leatham! And developing the area around the container for Car parking! There has also been a new pathway put in to get to the new driving, I just need some drier days to complete that task!

We have also had flooded sheds which has been recently rectified:

The problem was from the raised bridleway outside the shed, it was evident that a drain has to be installed as shown below:

Maintenance procedures on the course have mainly consisted of removing water off Greens, unblocking drains, trying to maintain bunkers and repairing pathways, roll on summer!

The storms have also created extra work like trees blowing down over pathways:

Because of the time of year with the golfing season looming, we have to maintain the course furniture, as new bins and tee markers are an expensive luxury!

Once the Driving range facility has been completed, there is still a shed full of machinery which needs serving, due to the age of our machines it’s more than a filter change, our engineer regularly has to fabricate new bearing housing and bushes to reduce costs. All in all there is never a moment in our day when there isn’t a job to do!

Any questions or info please contact me. Thank you James (Head Greenkeeper)