Last few days before the flood gates open, when this quiet tranquil course of the last 3 months becomes a bustling hive of activity after lockdown.
The four week notice was beneficial to help me to plan our maintenance programme to opening, and we have worked tirelessly to this goal, resulting in the course now being ready for play.
We have utilised the furlough scheme fully, with only 2 green staff working on a rotational basis to keep on top of the general maintenance on the golf course.
Projects have been a big part of our works including the construction of the practice green and the completion of the very impressive practice nets.
Both projects have greatly improved our practice facilities, and does show the commitment of the club to keep improving, even during these difficult times.
The recent clement weather enabled us to give a first cut to the fairways, tees, collars and approaches, to clean the surfaces and restore definition.
We managed to complete our greens renovations early to avoid any disruption to members, although the weather was very much against us.
In very difficult conditions we managed to hollow core the greens and harvest enough cores for the new practice green.
The cores will be grown-in with the help of seed to improve density, resulting in a green that replicates our native greens.
Irrigation has also been installed to this green to allowing automatic watering to be achieved.
To improve this area further and to shield our maintenance facility, we have erected a new fence and gate to smarten up the visual backdrop when entering the practice facility.
Director's parking area
First impressions are vital, so we have tidied up the Director's car parking area in front of the clubhouse, to improve the cosmetics and encourage more members to use the garden. This area was very overgrown with foliage that completely blocked the view of the decorative wall and the garden beyond it.
The bushes have now been thinned, fresh gravel applied and the wall jet washed, resulting in this area being greatly improved when viewed from the clubhouse.
New committee parking signage has been ordered to freshen up the look, and to update committee titles.
To enhance the practice bays further a raised flower bed has been constructed with sleepers to add a decorative area, Work also involved in the building of steps for members and guests to enter the practice, and improving the path.
Shoe cleaning area
For some time the shoe cleaning area has been a weakness with insufficient pressure, broken air guns and mud from shoe cleaning littering the concrete slabs. Cleaning of this area was increased but continued to be a difficult area to keep clean.
We have now installed a floor grate above a sunken pit for the mud and debris to fall into, this will keep this area tidier and be easier to maintain.
New air guns and hoses have also been installed with the compressor being serviced or replaced shortly.
A bunker filling programme replenishing fresh sand to the bunkers of greatest need. Bunker edges will be trimmed and banks cut in preparation of the opening as well as being fully raked and weeded.
Paths suffering from wash-down or that have lost material will be topped up with Granite fines to improve the look, and create a more pleasurable experience to walk on.
Tee surfaces will be cut on a more regular basis, and tee bankings hand cut to improve their appearance.
Tee markers that have been painted and varnished will be set out before we open.
Greens are cut 3 times a week at a cutting height of 5mm.
In the coming weeks as temperatures rise so frequency of cuts increase, and height of cut reduced to the summer height of 3mm.
Regular verti-cutting will be increased to thin out broad leafed grasses and reduce thatch, which can build up over the winter period.
Spring granular fertiliser has been applied, this will encourage growth to improve sward density, colour and help any scarring from the winter to recover.
Fairways, Collars and Approaches
Increase cutting programmes to all these areas, culminating in two weekly cuts to restore definition.
It has been a terrible winter for all of us and the wet weather has just made it all the more miserable. I hope now we can look forward to a great summer of golf in beautiful dry conditions.
Looking forward to seeing you all back.