July has been an extremely warm and dry month with only 35mm of rain recorded. The average for this time of year is between 80 and 90mm. The irrigation system has been on daily as well as regular hand-watering to high spots and drier areas. We have used approximately 80cm3 of water per night for the greens, tees and surrounds. This equates to over 2.3 million litres of water during the month of July which is over three times as much as last year. I am concerned that several of the fairways are now starting to lose grass coverage with the lack of water. 2018 was our last extreme summer and if these weather patterns become more regular as predicted by the experts, then I feel the club should consider installing fairway irrigation even into the weaker fairways and remaining surrounds. Furthermore, purchasing a disc-seeder would be extremely beneficial to promote stronger grasses and aid recovery after periods of drought.
The following work has been carried out on the course:
- All surrounds have been Verti-cut which removes unwanted leggy growth and organic matter and I plan to overseed, top-dress and apply a liquid feed when there is sufficient rainfall to soften the ground.
- In early July several of the weaker fairways were sprayed with wetting agent, liquid fertiliser and seaweed. Hopefully, this will help the fairways recover quicker when normal rainfall figures return.
- The burn at the 1st to 16th was fly-mowed and strimmed.
- The banking at the car-park was strimmed and tidied.
- Bunkers were fly-mowed and edged.
- Strimming of all walls, posts, benches and signs was carried out.
- Several sprinklers have been replaced, adjusted and lifted
- Several irrigation decoders have been replaced in the valve boxes.
- The pipes and valves at the irrigation pumphouse have been replaced as they were leaking
- Divoting has been carried out as much as possible to all tees and landing areas on the fairways.
- Tees have been sprayed with liquid fertiliser, seaweed and wetting agent after being overseeded and top-dressed.
On The Greens
- The height of cut has been increased to 3.75 mm due to the drier conditions
- A preventative fungicide has been applied
- Monthly wetting agent, seaweed and amino has been applied
- Monthly application of Primo. Liquid fertiliser and Turf Lawnger were applied to suppress Poa seed head activity. This maintains colour and promotes tillering and also maintains smoothness of the putting surface.
- Additional penetrant wetting agent was applied to several greens that are prone to drying out quicker
- The 11th and three practice greens were solid tined to 5 inches and have had zeolites applied to help these greens retain more moisture and nutrient for a longer period.
- Overseeding has been carried out as well as a light top-dressing.
- Greens testing will be carried out shortly to find out how the organic matter levels are sitting. This will allow me to plan an aeration programme for the autumn and through the winter months.
- We have now received delivery of our Sarel rollers which will be a great addition to our greens refining machinery. The Dakota top-dresser will be arriving in mid-August.
- The new Widenmann Xp8 aerator will be arriving at the end of August and will allow us to Verti-Drain the greens at a deeper depth.
- I have spoken to a company regarding prices to install a petrol tank in the greenkeeping yard. I will hopefully have these prices shortly.
- A new water fountain has been installed inside the shed at the 9th tee to protect the pipe work and unit from the elements.
- I am also purchasing a moisture meter for the greens to assist us when applying irrigation water. During this extreme heat I noticed several areas of the greens struggle even after increased nightly irrigation, hand-watering and applications of wetting agents and turf de-stressors being applied therefore this tool will help us going forward to adjust our watering programmes as required.