It has been one of driest Junes since records began with temperatures reaching 30 degrees for long periods and only 1mm of rain for the entire month.
It has been a real test for the new irrigation system and generally its coped admirably, although there has been a few teething problems along the way.
The 3rd, 17th and 18th tees were showing signs of dry patch due to some programming issues that restricted water to these areas, but the fault has now been fixed and recovery to these tees should be swift.
It has been particularly early in the year to experience this heatwave as June is usually one of the months when course looks its best with green manicured fairways.
This period of hot weather has required us to water every night which has eaten into our bore hole allocation quite significantly.
The Environment Agency allocated us a licence to abstract only 8000 cubic metres a year (March-October) after which expensive mains water will then have to be used. If like previous years we have a dry autumn, irrigating the golf course could stretch well into September, so water management is crucial.
The bore hole also feeds the two ponds that need regular top ups, each fill uses over 100 cubic metres of water, which again puts more strain on water allocation.
This summer is very much a learning curve on how to get the best out of our system. Every green and tee is constructed with different materials and are located in different areas, which does effect the quantity of water you apply. For example 12th 13th and 14th tees are sand based and in full sun most of the day which require twice the amount of water than the 10th tee which is built on clay and sits in shade during the morning.
Watering times are adjusted daily on information and data collected throughout the day, so were are always adjusting our run times where we need more and reducing volumes where we have too much.
As I said we are still learning, but very much enjoying the experience of what this system brings to the golf course
However you may well see me doing a rain dance in the not too distant future if this weather doesn't break.
Thursday 5th June
My prayers have been answered with 21mm of rain falling last night in only a few hours, this was very welcome
The mat on the 16th tee has now been replaced responding to comments from members and guests.
The Huxley mat was very old and the surface so hard that our club pro Danny recently broke his wedge playing a shot from it.
The new mat does not require an infill of sand and is designed for you to insert a tee peg anywhere on the mat. The new mat does feel very soft when you walk on it, this is normal and will firm up over time.
General Course Maintenance
Cutting programmes on non-irrigated areas have been suspended during this period of very little growth.
Greens are still cut daily at a cutting height of 3mm, tees reduced to one cut a week.
Early next week the greens with be top dressed with sand to help keep the surfaces firm and true, disruption will be minimal.
The greens will soon be sprayed with a systemic fungicide to combat the threat of a disease called Anthracnose. This disease common at this time of year during times of stress brought on by hot dry conditions.
We have history with this particular disease when we experienced a severe outbreak two years ago that devastated our greens for several months.
The systemic fungicide will help guard against this disease from taking hold and spreading.