Greens Update – December 2019
As you may be aware, we recently suffered our 4th bout of quad bike vandalism of the year last week - on the top side of the 15th fairway. This followed the fairly severe damage done to the 2nd green in late October. Head greenkeeper John Osborne reacted immediately to carry out all repairs and re-turfing needed to give the 2nd green the best chance of recovery and ensure playability into next season. Unfortunately, this repair work means that the 2nd green will remain out of play for the forthcoming winter period in order to provide the optimal recovery window whilst growth levels are low in the winter temperatures. The greens team would therefore ask for your patience and understanding whilst this green surface is restored.
Priority work for early 2020 will include;
- Verti-Draining /Micro Tining/Dressing Greens.
Pre-season aeration work is planned as priority for early 2020 and is then likely to be followed up sometime in March. A double pre-season tining programme is aimed at providing the best chance of optimum surface playability throughout the coming season. Benefits of greens aeration (tining) are many and varied but include;
- Better penetration of water and air
- Improvements to soil structure (compaction)
- Delivery of fertiliser nutrients to grass root areas
- Improved root capacity and shoot growth
- Release of toxic bodies from the soil
- Longer use of surface – equating to increased year-round playability.
In summary, aeration keeps grass levels at their highest and putting surfaces nice and tight meaning the ball rolling more truly. For best results aeration is commonly followed up with top dressing which will be the case in our forthcoming work.
- 2. Drainage Work – 2nd and 12th holes
As you may have noticed, the area between the 2nd green and Bingley Rd is currently under an amount of water fluctuating between boggy and completely flooded depending on rain fall and levels of water coming off the road. Conversations have been had with Bradford Council (Countryside and Rights of Way ) with a view to the necessary drainage work being carried out on BGC’s behalf. However, past experiences with Bradford Council suggest that progress may be slow, risking further deterioration. Therefore, the greens team have provisionally scheduled drainage work for early 2020 aimed to improve this area of the course along with drainage on the 12th fairway. This would involve improvements to the size and strength of drain piping and some partial reconstruction of ditch areas. Where necessary this work will follow the aeration of greens and will be completed ahead of the playing season reverting to 18-hole qualifying competitions in the early spring.
- 3. Additional Cutting
You will have noticed that throughout late summer and autumn of this year there have been sections of the rough cut back by the greens team in the interests of increased playability. This was enabled via extra staffing and re-allocation of resource and has generally been met with positive comments. It has since been agreed via the management committee that this should continue throughout the coming season and greens staffing will be reflected accordingly. Hopefully this will continue to have a positive impact on widening playing areas, enhancing playability and overall improving the golfers experience of Baildon as a course.
- 4. Hole Cutting Frequency
From the late summer hole location changes have been stepped up from fortnightly to weekly in the interests of; 1.) distributing foot traffic more evenly and ; 2.) preserving the integrity of hole quality - where lateral grass growth can effectively shrink hole diameters and/or damage can arise from golfers removing their ball from the hole/replacing the flagstick carelessly. This is something which will be continued, especially into the summer season. However, there may be isolated periods over the winter season, where due to either resource pressure or in times of extreme wet (and resultant damage from greens machinery) the holes may need to be left for up to a fortnight.
- 5. Worms and Other
Due to tightened environmental regulations and reduced availability of pesticide products, greenkeepers now find their hands increasingly tied when it comes to dealing with some of the everyday challenges of golf course maintenance. Two examples particular to Baildon are moss eradication and worm control. The application of iron sulphate however remains permitted and is an effective moss treatment – stocks of which have recently been replenished to allow the greens team to continue to minimize moss build up - which becomes heightened in very wet conditions.
In terms of the worm casts we are used to seeing over the winter, the range of chemicals available to treat these has also been significantly reduced. The link to the National Club Golfer article (Read More link pasted below) gives more details for those who are interested, but in summary worms are seen as being a positive factor for soil quality and are classified as a beneficial species. Also, care is needed during green cutting, as rolling or flattening worm casts can damage grass root quality in the long term. Best practice is therefore to use a ‘switch cane’ in clearing worm casts from greens (those early birds amongst you may have seen the green keeper doing this on a Saturday morning), fresh switch cane tips have just been ordered so this practice can continue with the aim of minimizing the nuisance of worm casts.