Home Blog Greg’s Greenkeepeing Blog September 2018
September is often one of the best months of the year at Hunley.  It is the most popular month of the year for golf breaks and we have had stacks of golfers on the course.
Autumn is in the air though with shorter days and cooler nights upon us.  This has slowed growth and allowed us to reduce mowing frequency and begin preparing for the winter program of work to begin.
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Coarse Grass Removal

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Rescue is a selective weed killer for the use in removal of coarse grasses in turf,  specifically Ryegrass and Yorkshire Fog. Rescue though is no longer available after removal from the market under EU legislation, therefore before it’s removal we took the decision to purchase as much as we could with the view we may not get another chance.

All Fairways have been treated and a good portion of the of the fringing roughs bordering the fairways. Our main problem is with Ryegrass and whilst it doesn’t pose a great problem to play on the fairways, it is unsightly and very difficult to cut cleanly. Removing it from the sward will significantly reduce maintenance requirements as well as producing a much Finer texture to the turf. We have had great success with our approaches in the past and we hope to achieve similar results on the fairways.

In the Rough both Ryegrass and Yorkshire Fog cause problems with ball retrieval due to their thick and dense growing nature. Their removal will aid our efforts in producing wispy thin roughs that will provide definition and penalty, without difficulty in locating golf balls.

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Rough Management

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Managing the roughs is ongoing but the difference made over the last 3 years is starting to show. This season the frequency of cutting and collecting has reduced by around 50% and the texture on the rough, even when long is much thinner in nature. The end of summer signals the beginning of cutting and collecting the rough and the team have been busy with this in September.

The time saved this year as a result of managing the rough in this way has enabled us to put a lot more time into other areas. This is reflected with further improvement to the condition of the course and it is pleasing to see this year-on-year. Moving forwards this will continue and seeing these results, after so much hard work not only carrying it out physically, but also in communicating the reasoning of work during difficult periods where golfers have been unhappy when the rough has been thick, is extremely pleasing indeed.

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Sustainable Turf

The time of year still gives some wonderful sunrises and we’ve had some glorious days to enjoy out on the course, but this is a time of year where dew on the grass becomes more prevalent as the temperatures drop and the nights lengthen. It is a constant battle with nature as a variety of fungal diseases can potentially cause significant turf damage, however despite the presence of these at different times of year the condition of the turf is very good.

As we have implemented a more sustainable approach to managing the course, much in the same way as with the rough, it is pleasing to see positive results. It is now coming up to 2 years since we last applied a fungicide to treat any fungal disease as the turf becomes more and more resilient. The fine grasses really dominate the turf now and any diseases that have affected the turf has only seen minimal damage and damage that is more than acceptable.

Things have changed quite drastically in recent years with very few pesticides still available to use on turf. I believe this is a good thing as we should be aiming to be more environmentally friendly in order to safeguard the future of both our courses and the ecology that inhabits our courses.

Of course there has to be an acceptance that imperfections on the course will result. Worm casts, some turf damage from fungal disease, animal scrapes etc are all things that we should be able to tolerate if kept to a minimum. This is certainly more than achievable with the right management and despite our low input regime, I doubt many would argue against the quality of the course conditions here at Hunley.

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Rawcliffe New Green

Work has continued to progress on the new green complex on the hole Rawcliffe. Bunkers have now been built by the green and also one of the fairway bunkers, with most of the surrounds now shaped there is only a relatively small amount of work left to do.

More rootzone is required for the green surface before we can complete the final contouring. Once the contouring and final shaping of the surrounds is complete it will be ready for cores and seed to be spread over the whole area and left to grow!

As we are now going into the off season, establishment of the turf is likely to be slow and it won’t be until next spring that we can really start to prepare it as a playable green, with our hope to introduce it to play at some point during the 2019 golfing season.

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October

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Obviously work on Rawcliffe is a large project and will continue to occupy a large percentage of our time, however the winter program is again extensive as we aim to continue to improve the course.

During this month we will be putting together the schedule for works to be carried out over the winter months. This will be sent out to the membership in due course and also will be posted here in my next blog at the end of October.

Although there are a variety of areas of focus, looking back at this years weather through the winter we may be subject to change of course.

Bunker work and ecology work will be the main areas of focus, with a continuation of revetting bunkers and things like last years wildflower introductions just a taste of what’s in store.

 

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