Sunday, 5 March 2017

What's happening on the course?

Sorry for the long delay between posts. When I last posted in November I reported on the good recovery of the greens after our spring renovations. We are now nearly 2 weeks after our autumn greens renovations and I can also report on the great recovery of the greens this time round. We are now back to normal mowing height albeit with the old cutting units as there is still a little sand on the greens. Since my November post we have consistently dusted our greens on a weekly basis giving us a smoother, firmer surface with noticeably less puffiness in the turf at this time of year. Combined with regular applications of Trinexapac-ethyl(growth regulator) using GDD(growing degree days) as a timing mechanism, minimal nutrition, regular rolling and regular wetting agent(Revolution) applications I have had much greater growth control, no disease, no hand watering and less water use. The Browntop bent is thriving and has never looked better at this time of the year.

6th green 2 days after renovations

I have changed up my tee and fairway maintenance this summer with regular monthly applications of Dispatch(penetrant). This has made a huge difference to turf quality on the fairways. Last April we over sowed the fairways with a Browntop/fescue mix. The dispatch treatment has allowed for even penetration of irrigation all season with no runoff and surface water into hollows and minimal drying out of  mounded areas. We have used less water this year and the positive comments about the fairways has been numerous this year with the new seed flourishing and the turf density increasing.

fairways never looked better

Another development this year around the club is the rebuilding of a new clubhouse after being damaged in the 2011 earthquakes. Last week began site clearing for the new clubhouse adjacent to the car park. We had to remove valves and sprinklers from around the practise green and block off some pipework prior to site works beginning. First to go was the old pro shop and shipping container(for cart storage) that were relocated to a new site further south. The old clubhouse is still in use while the new building goes up and when that is completed will be demolished and the site will be transformed into a practise putting/chipping green with bunkering and a practise net area for warm ups.

the proshop about to be shifted

Friday, 4 November 2016

Course Update

Coming up to 4 weeks since green renovations were completed and the recovery is complete. With some timely rain and good growing conditions we have used minimal fertiliser to get the recovery that we were after. We applied Revolution(wetting agent) to the greens the week of renovations and will continue on a monthly basis.The greens were being cut at normal mowing height (3.5mm) within 2 weeks of completion and were also rolled regularly.

12th green 2 weeks after renovations

Closeup of the 12th green
Once the greens had fully recovered and there was no more visible sand on the surface we began our dusting program. With the new Dakota 410 topdresser we have the ability to apply very light dustings of sand to the greens on a regular basis. The sand was barely visible on the surface and we brushed and rolled all greens to push the sand into the crown of the turf. I plan on doing this on a weekly schedule to try and match the rate of growth of the turf.
Light dusting with the topdresser

A closer look at the light dusting
With the spring weather kicking in our mowing regime has increased over the last couple of weeks and the result is more definition in the mowing pattern. The results of the fairway overseeding in April, and the wetting agent program that has started over the whole course, has shown up with a more dense turf surface and better playing conditions. We will be spraying the fairways for weed control shortly and I expect further improvements in the quality of the fairways.

 Fairways are also coming along well. 

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Greens renovation

This week we had the course closed Monday and Tuesday for our greens renovation. We renovated our greens by vertidraining with 13mm solid tynes at 50mm spacings and at 150mm depth. This was followed by topdressing with Turf sand using the new Dakota 410 topdressing machine. The sand was then brushed in and then rolled to incorporate the sand into the tyne holes. After this process was completed we sprayed wetting agent on all greens and washed it in with irrigation to get the product into the soil profile. We also received timely rain which would have also helped. I expect quite rapid recovery from this renovation and we should be back to normal playing conditions in a week or two. Below are some photos of the process.
vertidrain on 17 green

Loading sand into the top dresser

Top dresser in action

Brushing and rolling the sand

Closer look at the setup

The finished result after several rolls

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Course Update

Since the last post the weather has continued to be amazing for this time of the year. The mild, dry conditions have continued apart from a couple of occasions when we got a quick southerly blast of winter weather. The last storm a bit over a week ago brought strong winds and quite a bit of rain which left the course in a bit of a mess with trees down and debris everywhere. Thanks to Dave and the team of volunteers, the course was cleaned up fairly quickly with a couple of big trees remaining to be cleared away. Several large Macrocarpas actually fell onto neighbour's property damaging fences and a garage. Because of the extent of  the damage we had to get tree professionals in to safely remove the trees so as to avoid further damage.
Fallen macrocarpa on 17
Macrocarpa on neighbour's garage
Hailstones on the first green

A little over a month ago we completed treating all the fairways with a product to control worm castings. It has been quite successful with no sign of casting in any treated areas and we will continue to monitor the results. At this stage it is quite promising and could be a viable option for future control.
Fairways free of worm castings

As is normal practise this time of year we are going through the irrigation system and checking the operation of all the sprinklers to make sure we are ready to go in springtime when watering is required. We have found a few split sprinkler casings as well as several blocked nozzles and weeping sprinklers. There has been nothing major unlike last year when we had major controller issues. It is fairly normal when we first fire up the irrigation system to get a few pipe leaks and this year has been no different. We have had 2 large pipe repairs, one being an old 100 mm a/c pipe that we had to dig up under a pine tree.
Pipe leak on 5th fairway
100 mm pipe repaired
A/C pipe repaired under macrocarpa near 6th tee

The start of spring has begun with strong growth on the fairways and in the rough and we are now into mowing mode on a regular basis. We have also started our sand dusting program on the greens with the new Dakota topdressing machine and are only about 3 weeks away from our green renovations. I am expecting excellent recovery from the renovations this year with the soil temperatures being a little higher than we would normally be this time of year. As I mentioned in a previous post the course has never looked better for this time of year so I encourage everyone to get out, bring a mate and enjoy themselves.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Course Update

The winter continues to be mild and dry which has allowed us to carry out vertidraining of the fairways and tees with no weather disruptions. We have now finished vertidraining with 12mm solid tynes at 150mm depth at 75mm spacings.

Vertidrain with 12mm tynes

We have been experimenting with products to control the worm castings on fairways and tees this winter and we have definitely had an improvement in the condition of the fairways with a lot less mud being picked up on golfers shoes, trundlers and equipment. We are also regularly dragging the fairways with a weighted hose that breaks up the worm casting before they get smeared with the foot traffic.The fairways are in the best condition I have seen them in for this time of year.

The newly seeded area between the 3rd green and the 4th tee has come along nicely. It has been recently fertilised and reseeded in a couple of washed out areas.

Seeded area between 3rd green & 4th tee

In the next few weeks we will be starting the winter maintenance on the irrigation system. This entails trimming around every sprinkler on the golf course and then checking for correct height and verticality, correct operation of the sprinkler and repair any weeping or broken parts that are found.
After the irrigation system frustrations of last year behind us I am hoping we will be in great shape when we need to start irrigating in springtime.

Overall I don't think I've seen the golf course looking this good at this time of year so I would encourage everyone to get out and enjoy themselves while the weather is still holding up -you never know when when it will change for the worst!

Monday, 30 May 2016

Heavy rain

Early Saturday morning we received 27mm of rain in about 4 hours and caused quite a lot of surface flooding over the course. We haven't had a downpour like that for about 2 years and it resulted in the course being closed for the day. Fortunately we dry out quite quickly and were back open Sunday for the club championship finals. Below are some photos of the flooding.

One of the benefits of the rain was the excellent results we had with the application of Tea seed meal Friday afternoon. We applied it to all the green surrounds and quite a few bad areas on fairways that are shaded all afternoon this time of the year. The results were spectacular.

Earthworms in the surrounds

Earthworms on the 10th fairway

Even earthworms in the bunkers

Earthworms on the greens