By Robin Little
Now that the weather is more spring than winter like, we have much more consistent grass growth which means the greens have filled in and have improved vastly from April. The elevation of Penrith Golf Club will always mean that we have to be patient for grass growth at the start of the season. Constant grass cutting, presenting the course for competitions and running repairs on machinery and the irrigation system now takes up all of our time.
Monitoring costs are now more than ever a part of what we must do every day. Petrol and diesel costs last year were just under £6k, this year we are forecasting between £11 and 12k. Also, to put things into perspective a 25kg bag of urea fertiliser last year was £15.50, this year it’s £50! The cost of every job we do is considered carefully and we spend as prudently as possible.
- New turf which was laid on the 8th green has, disappointingly, been very slow to grow in. Fertiliser has been applied as well as liquid treatments of penetrant wetting agent and seaweed to help root growth and establishment as much as possible. It has been over seeded with bent grass and top dressed but all we can do is be patient, and keep pins positions away from the back left to aid recovery as quickly as possible.
- New Irrigation valve sets have been installed at the 17th green and 18th tee. We expected that this would conclude the work needed on replacing valve sets this year, however the ones which control the putting and chipping green are leaking due to being rotten and the 8th tee valve set also has a leak. We will repair and replace these as soon as possible. The putting green set is currently underway.
- Mid – June a turf bridge / crossing has been built half way down the ditch on the 1st to allow access back over.
- New steps have been built at 5th tee to replace old ones where the timber was rotten.
- A Greens maintenance week is planned for week commencing Monday 8th August – this has been on BRS since last year. Hollow coring is usually carried out after the season has finished in October, by this time growth has dropped off and recovery is very slow. By doing this work in August, as many other clubs do, it means that work can be carried out to a much better standard due to drier conditions and recovery takes a couple of weeks rather than several months.
- Trees stumps on the 15th fairway will be removed as soon as possible in July and the resulting cores from hollow tining in August will be used to reinstate the whole area.
Greens & Aprons
After a very slow start to spring due to cold dry weather right across the country we finally started to see some growth on greens by the second week in May. Unfortunately, by the end of May cold drying winds caused growth to drop off again. Now, at the end of June we have reasonably good consistent growth and most of the greens have filled in, albeit a month later than hoped.
On the 10th and 11th of May all greens were verti – drained to a depth of 10” with a 12mm tine and this was followed up with an 8mm tine to a depth of 3 inches straight away. 31st May all greens were double verti – cut to remove lateral growth and help speed up the surface. 15th June 15 tons top dressing sand was applied to improve trueness of the surfaces. 28th and 29th June all greens were aerated again using a 10mm tine to a depth of 8”.
We always try to carry out as much aeration work as we possibly can because of the nature of the construction of the greens and very high levels of footfall which Penrith Golf Club receives. We do this as it is essential to maintain water infiltration and ensure that the grass roots get the air that they need to survive.
Regular top dressing has been carried out on Greens 1, 8, and 15 and these surfaces are getting much closer to something that we are happy with. Dressing will continue in certain areas and additional overseeding will be carried out on the new turf on the 8th green.
Divotting continues to be carried out on weekly basis (twice a week for par 3’s). An application of 10 – 4 – 5 organic fertiliser was put down first week of June to feed and aid recovery from the high volumes of traffic which the course receives. Selective weed killer will be sprayed on summer and winter tees when we spray fairways in the coming weeks.
Selective weedkiller has been purchased to spray the fairways which have quite a lot of daisies in them. This will most likely be carried out at the beginning of the week instead of mowing in order to find the time to fit the job in. Dads Army have started divoting fairways once again – Thanks to them for their time to do this.