Welcome to October's edition of our Course Blog aimed at keeping you updated on the general condition of the golf course plus details of all the work Head Green Keeper, Shaun Kench, and his team have been doing throughout the past month.
The month of October has been extremely busy for the team with the renovation work carried out. The start of the month began with the weather finally returning to a more normal pattern with several showers and reduced temperatures, both of which were very welcome! The change in weather has helped many areas throughout the golf course recover from the intensity of the previous six months and the signs are very promising moving forward.
We started October with our planned winter renovations which was to core all the greens followed by overseeding and top dressing. This programme was very intense this time round, however, many areas have shown great germination already with vastly improved grass coverage. The greens were overseeded with a DLF Seed marked PM10 which is a mix of Bent Fescue, Dwarf Rye's and Creeping Fescues. After the work was completed we then sprayed the greens with Instrata to reduce any Fusarium Patch that appeared and then followed up with fertilising all the greens with K-Two 7-0-14. This process really helped the greens recover with a healthy sward and a strong appearance.
Following this we then gave the greens a two week rest from cutting which has again shown the benefits and aided recovery from the stresses of the renovations. From now on our plan will be to reduce the cutting programme where possible, ie: quiet days for golf traffic, which will result in the greens being in superb condition throughout the coming winter months. The extent of the quality in recovery can be seen in the photograph below (bottom right) where the root growth is nearly 6 inches below the surface. This is compared to only 1.5 inches below the surface when Shaun started working here nearly 4 years ago!
Once the green renovations had been completed the team turned their attention to Verti-Draining and heavy overseeding of the tee boxes throughout the course. In the time Shaun has been Head Greenkeeper at Magnolia Park this is a process that has not been done so the team were very keen to ensure that every tee box and green surround was treated. This vital work has really helped with reducing the heavy compaction that the tee's were suffering from and also allowed the team to get soil conditioners into the surface. The tee's were seeded with a PM70 DLF Seed which is a Rye and Dwarf Rye mixture and is extremely hard wearing on heavy traffic areas. All tee's were then sprayed with Prosper Plus, Libfer Fe and Complex 12-0-18 to help recovery from very difficult conditions. The early signs are showing fantastic recovery already and look set to continue for the coming weeks.
We have now started work on all the temporary tee positions for the coming winter months, where many of the Yellow tee positions will be moved forward as per normal. The Ladies Red tees will be placed as far forward as possible with some being placed on the spare tee grounds that are available. This year the decision has been taken to place driving mat';s on the 2nd, 7th and 17th holes for ALL golfers to play from. The plan is to do this alternate years as the tee boxes have been taking quite a battering over the last 18 months and really need a period of rest. Whilst, from a playing point of view, this is not ideal, the practical side means that there will be no damage caused to the tee boxes over 6 months which will enable them to be fully rested before next season starts and also be in prime condition.
These new positions will come into effect from mid-November and it is requested that no golf is played from the grass tee's on the holes stated. We have also ensured that with the Yellow tee's being brought forward on most holes, that we have taken measures for the Red tee's to also have some forward positions which will create fairness to play. The Red's will be moved forward, most notable, on the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 11th and 14th holes.
During October, and in between the renovations, work continued on our new putting green with drainage being installed and the cores, taken from the main greens, being used to fill. The green is taking shape and in next month's Blog we'll give a further update on our progress on this exciting addition to our golf facilities.
AROUND THE CLUBHOUSE & HOTEL:
With winter now upon us, our Estate Gardener, Jonny, has been using his skills throughout the whole estate. Over the past month he has finished preparing all the beds and has planted bulbs ready for early Spring flowering. With the completion of this work Jonny has turned his attention to areas around the golf course in need of repair which started with reducing the height and thinning of the hedge located behind the 6th green. This will help the 7th white/red tee boxes to get more sunlight which in turn will help keep the surface growing for longer periods into, and throughout, next season.
As you have read, October has been an extremely busy month for Shaun and his team who have been working incredibly hard to present the golf course in such great condition and complete vital work to take us into the 2019 season. The coming months now give them a chance to focus on areas of the course such as tree's, ditches and reeds as well as the chance to complete the 2 year bunker plan which was put in place to improve the bunker consistency across the course.
Shaun and the Green Keeper Team would request that all on course directions, signage and line markings are all adhered to until further notice when playing. These are all visible and are in place to help keep the course in a presentable and enjoyable condition for all golfers. It is also requested that due to the reduced light in the mornings that the Green Keepers are given right of way at all times, and can all golfers please wait to be called up before playing shots.
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