Home Blog Greg’s Greenkeeping Blog July 2019

Our busiest month of the year has certainly been eventful, plenty of challenges sent from Mother Nature but also plenty of her beauty to enjoy as well. Typically the course reaches it’s peak at this time of year and we are very pleased to say that conditions are now as good as they have ever been.

This is all down to the efforts of the whole team at Hunley, with everyone playing their part in it’s development in recent years.

The condition and look of the course has really come on this year and the whole site is absolutely teeming with wildlife.

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Golf

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Playing conditions have been very, very good with excellent feedback coming week in week out. Of course nothing is ever perfect, but the improvements to the course year on year are certainly being appreciated.

The new bunkering has really enhanced the look of the holes and with changes made to greens (including the new green at Rawcliffe still to open), each of the holes are now an enjoyable challenge to play.

Unfortunately Club Chamionship succumbed to the dreaded fog, with only the ladies able to complete their competition, however Captain’s Day went down well.

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Course conditioning has been very good despite the damp conditions

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Greenkeeping

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Warm and damp conditions are the worst when trying to manage turf

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Our challenges certered around the weather, with plenty of heat, thunderstorms, mist, fog and high humidity testing our resolve.

The humidity combined with mist and fog are where things become most difficult. As a rule mist and fog are usually confined to cooler times of year however in the last couple of years this has also been the case during periods of higher temperatures.

It brings with it ideal conditions for Dollar Spot disease. Although a rare turf condition in the UK, mainly due to the fact it affects fescue grasses which aren’t seen on many courses, but also down to our generally cooler climate.

One way to deal with it would be with the use of chemicals. Applying fungicide would kill off the fungal spores and prevent further infection but we made a commitment several years ago to stop using such chemicals for the good of the environment. This leaves us with cultural practices to minimise the risk.

By keeping soil moisture as consistent as possible, keeping the leaf of the grass dry and rolling the turf have all proved to help. When the disease does break out, applying sulphate of iron has proved very successful at checking the disease temporarily. This then buys time until weather conditions improve.

A combination of all of these are proving successful in managing the disease, with minimal damage to the turf. This is especially pleasing considering how ideal the conditions have been for the disease this year.

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A close up of Dollar Spot fungal spores

A nice little addition to the course has been with some new yardage makers on some of the tees. Having had some of our signage vanadalised, we decided to make our own to replace them and the results are great!

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New yardage markers on some tees

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Wildlife

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Wildlife has been on the increase at Hunley year on year but this year the course is literally bursting with life.

A huge array of insects have been evident, with Moths, Butterflies and Bees to be seen in numerous varieties.

Dozens of Hares are on site, hedgehogs, Deer and Foxes too are living on the course.

Bird life is the most abundant, highlights being with several pairs of Grey Partridge having young, Tree Sparrows using 1 of the boxes we put up, a Peregrine Falcon visiting frequently, colourful shows of Gold Finch, Yellow Hammers and Bull Finch and of course the success of the Barn Owls in a box that we put up.

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Barn Owl chicks being ringed before leaving the nest

It really is fabulous to see this and a real treat to enjoy while being at Hunley. The combination of fantastic golf in a beautiful setting, with nature thriving all around really makes Hunley a special place to be.

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