The new irrigation system is now fully operational and is active every night during this dry period watering greens, tees and approaches
Even after this short period surfaces have greatly improved especially the tees and approaches that did suffer during dry periods.
Greens are also in very good condition with very little visible signs of dry patch, which indicates coverage is much better.
The system has over 300 sprinkler heads which can be programmed individually on how long they water.
To combat dry or overwatered areas the programming is adjusted daily to ensure surfaces have adequate amounts of water for healthy growth.
Sprinkler heads can also be operated remotely using our mobile phones which allows greater control of managing water usage.
It is vital that the right amount of water is applied, so setting times for the programme is based on data from a moisture metre.
This important device I use daily on random greens to measure the amount of moisture in the soil profile, from these results accurate irrigating times can be set. Ideally on clay greens measurements should range from 25-32% and that is what I aim to achieve.
Greens are cut daily at a cutting height of 3mm and measure 9- 9.5 on the stimpmetre.
Recently the greens have been verti-cut, reducing thatch and broad leafed grasses.
Liquid feeding is carried out weekly with added iron which encourages chlorophyll production to improve colour.
Tees are cut twice a week at a cutting height of 12mm.
Divoting tees is carried out weekly, par 3s three times a week.
As the fairways are browning off we have raised the height of cut to 17mm and only cutting selective fairways if needed. If growth slows further cutting will be suspended until normal growth returns.
Currently being cut once a week at a cutting height of 52mm. This will also be adjusted as growth slows.
This week have started to remove reeds around the edge of the pond that were choking the banks, this will help to enhance the look of the pond from the tee and roadway. Work is ongoing.
This week the results of the members survey were sent to me and I was pleased to see 99% thought the greens were excellent/Good.
Your opinion of the greenstaff was also very encouraging with 96% of members that answered marking us excellent/good.
Tees have also improved from the last survey, although there is still more work to be done on the bunkers.
This spring many of the neediest bunkers were topped up, and as result of the survey you may have noticed ongoing refilling and improvements to bunkers has taken place this week.
Members do sometimes comment on the sand and question its quality.
The sand we use is called Redhill 37 and is a high quality bunker sand used by many top golf courses including Woburn.
Sand consistency is affected by many forms, foxes for example dig holes in the bunkers on a nightly basis contaminating the sand with stones and clay which deteriorates the sands texture and colour.
Inaccurate raking ie raking backwards drags the sand away from the centre to the edges, and heavy rain creates washdown.
To combat this we rake the bunkers daily and service them fortnightly which involves cutting edging and weeding, but on aging poorly designed bunkers it is difficult to achieve noticeable improvements without major investment.
The new 16th bunker has been a great addition and future bunkers are planned, but this form of rebuild is not cheap and an average size bunker could cost between £1,000- £1500 not including liners or any drainage.
We do take seriously all the comments and will act on as many as we can to improve the golf course.