Green Keepers Report
By James Gill

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)