From Damon Kirk, Course Manager: This month has been extremely busy in the maintenance department. The beginning of June saw the temperatures rise and plant growth become sufficient to allow the application of Selective Herbicide on all playing surfaces apart from greens. This rids the course of undesirable plants and weeds, which improves the surface playing quality and is more aesthetically pleasing.
We have been very active on the greens from a maintenance perspective, with the spraying application of a Plant Growth Regulator (PGR). PGR is applied to the playing surfaces to influence the development and growth of the plant. It reduces the production of seed heads by the Poa Annua, which affects ball roll on the greens, and slows down growth, so reducing the need to cut as frequently and the clipping yield.
Once the greens had recovered from this application (the effect of the chemical upon the plant stuns its growth temporarily and causes discolouration, a yellowing of the leaf, especially with Poa Annua), we began an aeration programme. This consists of slitting the greens using a hydraulic Moddus T tractor-mounted slitter.
Following this, the surfaces were verti-cut in two directions to remove as much of the lateral plant growth as possible and to promote a better receptive surface for top-dressing sand, which was applied post completion.
After this procedure was complete and the surfaces had recovered sufficiently, we trialled a new aeration hollow tine to remove more organic material from the profile. Ninja tines were used to take small cores from the top two inches of the green. These cores were removed quickly and efficiently, after which the aerated area was then mown to produce a surface that could not be distinguished from an un-aerated green. The whole process took about 11 hours.
The benefit of our work so far has improved root density and depth as well as a general improvement of plant health.
Elsewhere, we have applied Hydrozone wetting agent on the fairways, which washed in well after some rain. The fairways are looking great thanks to this and the feed that we applied earlier kicking in. The definition is really good now.
We have also fixed the non-working irrigation heads on the 4th and 11th greens as part of our drive to fix a number of errors in the system. In addition, we repositioned the heads on three tees to prevent them drying out too quickly. We started with 109 errors and are now down to 10!
We hope that the maintenance undertaken on the course has benefitted all players and we thank them for their understanding and cooperation.