With the completion of our Club Championships earlier this month and Winter fast approaching, several maintenance projects have commenced or scheduled to be undertaken whilst our fairway turf conditions enter their dormancy phase.
We have been pleased with the turf quality of our fairways following the extended dry period over the Spring/Summer and Autumn months. The programmed aeration of our fairways completed last Spring has substantially contributed to an improved root zone and assisted us greatly to manage our turf quality during this dry spell. The dry spell has also necessitated to raise the mowing height to our fairways as high as 22mm during summer (normally 14mm) to ensure we had good turf thatch and minimise fairway irrigation. Weekly mowing of the fairways was also discontinued during this period.
Our water storage levels have been fully tested and what a difference in 18 months since we experienced one of our wettest years on record. Although we have approximately 36 megalitres of dam storage capacity available for our course, it is imperative that additional harvesting of storm water and improvements to our irrigation systems are prioritised before next Spring.
All avenues to harvest storm water is currently being assessed so that we capture as much storm water from our buildings, carpark, and overland flow to be directed to our storage dams.
Maintenance on our pump system is currently underway to repair foot valves clogged up by silt and replace other key components of the pumps that have had minimal maintenance over the years.
Cart Path Program
A new cart path has been established around our 13th green with options now available for cart users to exit the fairway to the East (right) of the green and proceed around the rear to access the 14th tee. The previous unformed Western cart path has been improved with the addition of road base and decomposed granite. This upgrade required the removal of a root diseased and dangerous Chinese Poplar. Carts will be directed to park at the front of the 14th tee when using this path with the previously damaged surfaces to the greens surrounds to be re-turfed.
The next cart path improvement project will be undertaken behind the 2nd and 3rd greens like the new path established on this 13th hole.
2 large Chinese Poplars to the East of the 3rd green will also to be removed to minimise risk to golfers and pedestrians on the North boundary. The tree roots from these trees have also invaded and impacting on the 3rd green playing surfaces.
Clean fill has been donated to our Club enabling some mounding to be established to the East (left) of the 4th green. This mounding will replenish the poor turf area that extends from the bunker and adjacent to the row of pines and will assist in making this difficult hole more playable for all golfers.
Trimming of the trees bordering the 16th hole and 18th holes have been completed by our dedicated group of volunteers and has improved immensely this untidy aspect of our course. The addition of mulch to these trees will also assist the health and their longevity and assist in gathering the numerous balls that stray beyond the tree line. The filtered view of the 16th hole adds a new dimension to our picturesque course. A good initiative and a big thanks to the Dad’s Army gang.
The Blue lines
In early 2017 we introduced markings on our fairways to restrict motorised carts from being parked too close to our greens and assist in managing traffic to our greens surrounds. Improvements to the turf quality to the greens surrounds have been evident however carts users are often observed in not abiding by keeping their carts outside these blue line areas. The green staff have been requested to regularly move the lines to assist in traffic wear and if members can oblige by not driving their carts inside these zones then all golfers can have the satisfaction of improved lies around our greens.
Divots and Pitch Marks
All golfers are reminded to repair pitch marks on the greens and to repair divots on the course. Repairing pitch marks and divots correctly is one of the most effective ways to preserve the playing surfaces on the course. Unrepaired pitch marks can take weeks to heal so there is no better time to repair your pitch mark after you have reached the green. Don’t be afraid to also repair any other pitch marks on the green whilst repairing your own.
In repairing your divots always tap in the edges, replace the turf sod and fill and level off with sand. Remember by undertaking this simple task you will have improved turf quality to the course and leave the course in better shape for others to enjoy.
During these frosty days and winter months the grass growth or clip rates on our greens have reduced and root zone sub soil conditions will compact. The speed of our greens will be running at around 10-to 11 on the stimpmeter (a device used to measure putting speeds on greens). Rolling of the greens has ceased and only dew removal and a light roll as part of the mowing process from our triplex mowers will be used during these months. We will endeavour to not get our greens too quick for play particularly our 12th and 18th greens and undertake regular fertilisation to promote turf growth.