Autumn is upon us and as night temperatures decline so grass growth begins to slow, although with the recent very dry weather you would be fooled to think we are still in the middle of summer.We do rely on average rainfall at this time of year to encourage growth and help the grass to recover after a hot dry summer.
The fairways in particular have suffered considerably and need substantial amounts of rain for the natural repair process to start before winter sets in.
Verti-draining of the fairways will commence once they become soft enough to receive a tine, at present a verti-drain tine would not penetrate the surface to any great depth.
The greens renovation week has passed successfully with the greens receiving some essential aeration and heavy sand dressing to help relieve compaction and dilute the build-up of thatch. They have recovered very well and are in excellent condition for the time of year.
Leaves shedding from the Poplars is an on-going battle with leaf clearance being carried out on daily basis to minimise disruption to play. This work has been ongoing from as early as June and I feel we are now starting to win the battle, although the shedding of other deciduous trees will soon start.
What has been alarming of late is the disruption wildlife is doing to the golf course, in particular to the last six holes. The damage foxes do to our bunkers has been well publicised but recently crows are pecking holes in a number of greens for Leather jackets, in particular the 13th green which has been severely damaged.
The way to combat this behaviour is to take away the food source which is the Leather jacket with the use of insecticides. Unfortunately, most chemicals for this job are now banned leaving much weaker less toxic chemicals that reduce the success rates.
With both foxes and crows doing their worst we now have another frequent visitor with a disruptive nature namely Muntjac deer. The grass bunker on the 16th, 17th tee and 18th tees have all been affected by Muntjacs digging large holes. Muntjacs have been residents on the golf course for many years and in my experience have never caused damage, which makes this behaviour a mystery. We will continue to monitor the situation in the hope that it stops.
Many projects have been carried out on the course recently that you might have noticed, for those who haven't here is a rundown on what's been going on.
2nd Fairway Bunkers
The poorly designed and constructed fairway bunker on the 2nd has been made into two smaller pot bunkers to improve the playability, cosmetics and ease of maintenance. These bunkers were designed and constructed by outside contractors in 2011, unfortunately the poor workmanship has resulted in a complete renovation to bunkers that are only 8 years old.
We have been aware that the view from the 15th tee to the green has become very narrow due to the tree line. Work has been successfully carried out to cut back and crown lift large trees to create a better visual of the green from the tee.
Further work in this area will be carried out during the winter that will include the clearance of vegetation at ground level.
Work continues on repairing bare areas especially around the collars and faces of bunkers. The rear of the 5th green and 2nd greenside bunkers were both worked on recently to repair affected areas. This work will be ongoing throughout the autumn.
12th greenside grass bunker
It was decided to remove this unsightly feature by filling it in and creating a grass mound.
The grass bunker looked very poor and had a large hole in the face that was dug by foxes on a nightly basis.
Several attempts were made to repair the face only to have it destroyed the following day.
Ideally, I would like to return this area back to a sand bunker and make some other changes, however other projects are more of a priority at present.
The weed that had built up in the pond has now been removed and has vastly improved the health and look of the pond. This very invasive weed was mistakenly planted some years ago and went undetected until it was too late. This now means the weed has to be physically cleared on a regular basis to keep it in check.
A local resident removing a large pond from their garden has donated over 50 fish that we have relocated in the 13th pond. The new additions that are mostly Koi carp look great and have helped replenish fish stocks since the de-silting works of last year.
A large Ash tree adjacent to the 18th medal tee was removed this week for safety reasons.
The tree had an extensive crack at the base and a large cavity throughout the trunk which deemed the tree a danger to golfers and local residents. Other trees in this area that are in decline are being monitored and a programme of management or removal will be in place.