It has been a strange year so far for the course. The year started cold then we had a very warm spell in February where members were out playing in t-shirts. Since then it has been cold and dry and windy with very little rain. The cold North and East winds have checked back growth and the water that has been applied during the night is being blown around and drying out almost as quickly as it is being applied.
We hosted the Scottish Boys Strokeplay Championships during April and the feedback from competitors was terrific . The boys loved the course and the setting. I didn't hear one negative comment all week and the SGU were very complementary too. A really good week for the Club.
Divots on the fairways are drying out and the birds have started pecking the greens again for leatherjackets. I have been saying for the past few years that the normal life cycle of the crane fly larvae (leatherjackets), have been knocked out of line by the mild winters we have been having over the last 10 or more years. The life cycle used to be hatch in August/September, lay their eggs, turn into grubs and live as leatherjackets under the soil eating the grass roots etc. till the next August/September. As stated, I now believe they have been hatching around April/ May and the birds are looking for these just now. The image on the right shows a handful of grubs taken off the surfaces of the 10th and 11th greens last Saturday morning.
We applied the only registered product, Acelepryn, last September and this should control the population from then. The licence for this product is being reviewed in June this year. Hopefully it will be approved then for use again this year.
On the course in the next few months we will be doing our daily maintenance of cutting and preparing the course for play. The programme of applying wetting agent to greens, tees and approaches will be carried out monthly. This is done to help draw water and rainfall into the soil. If the surface becomes too dry then it becomes hydrophobic. This causes water to be repelled from the surface and run off rather being taken into it. The wetting agent is a form of soap which helps draw the water into the ground.
The Top Dressing programme will also be continued. This is carried out to help add more sand into the surfaces and also to assist with levelling them. We have been putting a lot of sand into the surfaces over the last number of years and this has helped improve their firmness and trueness.
We have also been carrying out a programme for a number of years of overseeding the greens to put more bent grass into the sward. This is a stronger grass than annual meadow grass which is the predominant grass in the West of Scotland, and helps improve the year round surface quality. This will be continued in the next month and later in the year. After last years dry summer, we carried out an overseeding and fertilising programme. This resulted in the grass on the fairways filling in quite quickly and we will look at areas which need this attention.
We have been applying liquid fertiliser to the greens during the summer months in place of granular fertilisers. This will be continued.
I'm also excited to try out our new Greens Iron which should help produce a superb finish on our greens. Our existing rollers were starting to show their age and our new investment should help produce the smooth, pacey greens we all desire. Keep your eye out for the piece of kit moving sideways on the green! Roller In Action
The shape of cutting on the fairways and rough areas will be looked at and if areas require to be reshaped or cut down, then this will be carried out.
The aim of the Greens Team is to have the course in the best possible condition we can have it in for the members to enjoy their golf. We will continue to work hard at this. It is your course and as such please help us with our aim by, repairing pitchmarks, replacing divots, raking bunkers and putting your papers and rubbish in the bins provided. This is just good golf etiquette.
The course is prepared every morning and it should be in the same condition at 12 o’clock for the members who go out then as it is for the members at 7.30. If everyone adheres to the above request then there is no reason it should not be.
Please remember - If you do not repair your pitch mark and the person playing behind you has a putt which bobbles on it then you have been inconsiderate. It can also happen to you.
The Greens Team hope you have a most enjoyable year on the course.