Welcome to Grass Roots!!!!!!


This page will have information from our greenstaff, general snippets of information that hopefully, will increase awareness of why things are done a certain way, what is/will be happening in the near future and an email based forum so that you can ask the greenstaff questions and get a response!!!

Contact the greenstaff on
greenstaff@chalgravegolf.co.uk

 

 

 

 

A Spring Update - 31st May 2016

 

 

Firstly, we are scarifying the greens aggressively to remove the poa annua seed heads (the white flakes on the head of the grass) that appear in patches on the greens. These appear in the Spring and the scarifying removes the head and seed before it gets a chance to drop and spread. It also helps to remove what is already there. Whilst poa annua is a naturally occurring grass and is found in a huge number of golf greens, it can and does produce a bumpy sward  when the seedheads are being produced by the plant.

 

The scarifying is a very aggressive procedure,  which also dries out the greens very quickly. We currently have a problem with the automated irrigation, as the reservoir pump is out of commission, so we have to pump water manually each day which takes 8 hours to refill the tank, and under normal circumstances, the reservoir pump refills the tank as the irrigation system uses it on the course, so we have a virtual unlimited water supply.  We don't have staff onsite all day at the weekend, so we have a very restricted watering capability over the bank holiday weekend. We took the view that as the greens were growing so slowly as the temperatures had dropped, that we were better off not stressing the plant by continually cutting when we could not water overnight.

 

We are also clearing the long grass around the bases of the trees, we are working our way around the course having now cleared holes 1 - 9.

Initailly we strim around them and in certain places use chemical to keep the grass down beyond this. Strimming is immensely time consuming, and we are about to experiment with a woodchip surround to the trees on the right of 12, to see if we can keep it in reasonable tidiness using woodchip. We can't get 30K mowers right into the bases of the trees because of the damage to both the tree and the mowers, so the manual option is the only way at the moment.

 

We are very much aiming at Captains Day and are trying to ensure that the course is in tip top condition for that.
 

I always welcome viewpoints from club members, as everyone sees the course through different eyes and without that sort of feedback, I can't possibly deal with what irritates our golfers if I don't know what it is. Please be aware though, if you are losing balls in the deep rough, I think you need to sort out the direction that you hit a golf ball before we sort out the direction in which we will drive our mowers!!!!
 

We are very much aiming at Captains Day and are trying to ensure that the course is in tip top condition for that.

 

 

 

A Winter Update on the water saturated greens areas

 

 

Firstly, my apologies for the lack of updates on Grass Roots, we have been rather overwhelmed with the works relating to the boiler and firewood processing as well as keeping the course going through the winter. We are trying to get all of the works completed through this winter so that we can concentrate on just the firewood and the course next winter.

 

With regards to the water damaged areas, we obviously need to try and improve the drainage off these low spots and repair the damage caused. In the case of the 1st/10th/11th/13th and 15th this will mean either/or/and to digging a trench just off the green and extracting the accumulation of silt/water that has become dominant in these areas and is the reason why they are soft underfoot. Once removed, depending upon how much volume is removed, we may have to lift the turf and restore the levels with new sand/rootzone.

 

The trench will then probably have a pipe installed and be back filled, if we can run the pipe off to a lower area for discharge for the future. 

 

These works will involve machines on or very close to the fringes, so it is imperative that we have firm, dry ground conditions at the time, so that we do not completely destroy the ground structure on or close to the greens.

 

We have to be mindfull of irrigation pipes and cables in close proximity to the greens as well.

 

If the area is only affected in a relatively small manner, then we may be able to deep spike and compact the areas with sand, but I think that we will start with a larger area and make a decision on how best to carry out the operation as we gain experience from doing the first one.

 

The 18th is a different ball game, as there is nowhere to drain that low spot to, within 50m. The back of the green at the surface is already below the depth the trencher can achieve and the downhill run towards the 9th will take us through and below not just irrigation stuff but also the mains electric cables/telephones/water pipes that feed the clubhouse! I don't want to hit those!

 

It may be that we will have to dig out a soakaway at the back of the green which would deal better with the day to day water, and revert to pumping the larger bulk back off when it occurs. Not any easy solution with that that one unfortunately.

 

The dates and timescales for these works are, excuse the pun, fluid. We can't do it until the ground dries out enough and there is strong growth so that the works we do recover quickly.

 

Hopefully though, that will be sooner rather than later.

 

 

 

October 2014

 

October marks the last month of the greenstaff working longer summer hours which once again has proved very successful in benefitting the continual improvement of the course.

At this time of year the weed population thrives as the grass plant starts to shut down, so we will be spraying the fairways and ditches with weed killer.

Another spraying job will be to apply insecticide to the greens to kill off the huge quantity of crane fly, (daddy long legs)  larvae that will have undoubtedly laid their eggs into the greens. If left untreated the larvae will eat the root system of the greens creating huge dead patches all through the winter months.

We will be preparing the site for the construction and installation of a bio mass boiler.

The spiking and overseeding due for September will now take place this month, with the warm weather still with us, there should be no problem with seed germination even if it is now later than scheduled.

 

 

 

News From The Greenstaff

 

With the continuing warm weather I opted for one more summer fertilizer application to the greens. This should keep them nice and healthy going into the winter period and they should also be able to recover quickly from the spiking now planned for October.

We started the drain project on the 12th but ran into some level problems, namely the current drain location is not at the lowest point of the slope. So rather than have another marked ditch to play out of it looks like we may add soil to change the contours in our favour. We will require some plastic pipework parts before we can finish this project.

 

In early September the greenstaff attended the annual SALTEX show in Windsor, where a vast number of exhibitors showed the latest products and equipment available to the golf course industry.

Unfortunately I have to report that our latest apprentice position didn’t work out as planned  and has now left our employment. With winter fast approaching the decision to replace the apprentice will now wait till spring next year.

The dreaded Fusarium disease struck our greens in mid September. We were very quick to act and the spread has been halted. I am proud to report that our greens have remained disease free since November last year much to the disappointment of our chemical rep who has been missing out on the 600 a bottle to cure the disease. I think we had 5 outbreaks last year so it is quite an achievement to reduce it by that much. I put the reduction down to the vigorous and numerous thatch removal  during the spring.

 

Yes we have some new kit. Steve bought us two mowers this month. The first is a Ferris ZeroTurn petrol mower with a 5 foot deck and will be a direct replacement for our Troy Bilt mower that was used to cut the driveway and tree plantations. It is wider and quicker than the previous mower which will free up more of our time for other jobs. The second is a Jacobsen AR522 Rough Cutter. We had a demonstrator mower in early September where I caught many a golfer admiring the shiny orange machine. Well a new one of these with a price tag of 40,000 is a little bit beyond us, however we have acquired a nearly new fully reconditioned one which previously belonged to Pebble beach golf club!!! For half the money. Thank you Steve.

 

Talking of investment, plans are afoot to construct a wood burning bio fuel boiler which eventually should be able to heat the clubhouse, greenkeepers shed, irrigation pump house and greenkeepers office. With the vast log pile behind the 1st tee getting bigger and bigger we have decided to put the wood to good use. The better quality hardwood logs will be kiln dried and made available to buy for open fires and wood burning stoves.

 

 

 

 

 

September 2014

 

We will spike and overseed the greens whilst the ground temperature is still warm for seed germination. This should help fill any thin patches on the greens as well new grass for next seasons play.

I will have to make some crucial fertilizer decisions this month based entirely on the future weather. If our summer is over I will start to prep the greens for colder winter conditions where they retain their nutrients, slow down their growth and protect themselves from frost. Or if we have another warm spell forecast then continue as we are with full growth and daily mowing.

On the project side of things I intend to concrete a drain over the piece of exposed pipe in the 12th rough.

 

 

News From The Greenstaff

 

The recent change in the weather has become a welcome relief for man and machine, both of which have been overheating on regular intervals. The wet days have been put to good use with the continual maintenance of the machines, mainly roller bearing renewals which we have got down to a fine art now. The first bearing change that we undertook “in house” took 4 hours to complete !! we now have this down to to 1 hour.

We also  had to contend with our roughcutter breaking down with broken wheel studs. Unfortunately the old studs could not be removed so new holes and threads had to be cut to fix the poor design.

A large tree came down between the 1st and 3rd fairway which had to be completely removed. It came down in the strong winds from the tail end of the Atlantic hurricane, the clubhouse umbrellas were also destroyed in the wind. There is a small chance to make one working umbrella from all the bent pieces.

We have heavily fertilized the 12th fairway which was struggling in the recent hot weather. It will always take a few seasons for a new fairway to become hardy to the weather whilst the new roots establish themselves.

It has become apparent that there are several wet spots appearing on the greens. This has been caused by the huge amount of water required to keep them alive at the height of 4mm through this hot spell combined with a months worth of rain falling in two days in august making the ground saturated. The spots should dry out naturally, but to give it a hand we have installed deep drainage to the 10th green and other greens will follow should they require it.

 

 

 

 

 

August 2014

 

I plan to do another deep scarify in early august, weather and health of the greens permitting.

We have lots of machinery parts to fit to the mowers as the wear and tear of constant mowing starts to take its toll. The most common component to fail is the roller bearings, which have to cover hundreds of miles each season over undulating and sometimes bumpy ground. Failure to notice the problem ultimately changes the cutting height of each unit.

I intend to solid tine the greens when we finally receive some relief from this hot spell of weather.

 

 

 

 

 

 

News From The Greenstaff

 

The scheduled deep scarifying and topdressing went according to plan and on time. We used 7 tonnes of sand in the operation, my thanks go out to all the members we encountered for their patience whilst we carried out this essential work. There were the usual moans and groans from the same people despite announcing exactly when the work was to take place in last months “Grass Roots” page.

We have suffered this month with hydraulic leaks from the greens mower. The first instance was a loose bolt from a valve bank, next was a hose coming loose and finally an O ring let go deep inside the hydraulic system. All have been fixed, with relatively little damage to the greens partly due to us using biodegradable hydraulic oil. Unfortunately the oil gets very hot in the machine and this is the factor that caused the small dead patches on the greens particularly the 14th.

 

With still no let-up in the extremely hot weather I have increased the watering times, so the reservoir will start dropping as we exceed the input amount. No need to worry yet about water as we will have all winter to fill it back up again. The new components fitted to the watering system are all working correctly and during July we have seen no evidence of the dreaded “dry patch” disease on our greens.

One of our key pieces of small equipment suffered a catastrophic failure which we are now waiting for parts to come from America. The mower is responsible for keeping the driveway tidy and cutting in between several of the tree plantations. Please be patient with us while the wait for parts continues.

The more observant of you will have noticed the drastic changes to the large ash tree on the 17th tee. I witnessed a large branch breaking off and come thundering down onto the tee in relatively light winds. So we have pruned back all of the dangerous and potentially dangerous limbs for your safety.

Last of all I wish to thank all of my staff for coming in at 4:30 am to prepare the course for charity day. It sounds like a good day was had by all, and the low scores that arrived back at the clubhouse is confirmation enough that the course was in good condition.

 

 

 

 

 

July 2014

 

Deep scarifying will commence during the 2nd week of July along with the previously cancelled topdressing.

The Island on the 10th hole will be strimmed to improve the visibility to the green. A number of large trees have also been removed or trimmed for the same reason. The bulrushes around the tee area have already been strimmed.  A request for the complete removal of trees around the green will not happen as it will ruin the shape and ambiance of the hole.

 

We have a good relationship with the local schools and this is how we came to acquire our most recent member of staff, so when they ask us if we are prepared to take on a work experience student then we are only too happy to accept. During July we will have three different students working with us to see what it takes to be a greenkeeper.

Lastly we have our second biggest golfing event Charity Day at the end of the month where pretty much the same level of preparation as Captains day goes into making the course play at its best.

 

 

News From The Greenstaff

 

A number of staff changes occurred in June. Firstly Phil Byatt who had been with us for just over two years, left to pursue a different career and we all wish him well for the future. At the same time Danny Sanders completed his apprenticeship and now holds the position of a qualified greenkeeper. Danny will step into the shoes of phil taking over his duties with immediate effect. This left us short staffed during June, however a new apprentice has been appointed Niall Vanner who starts at the beginning of July.

 

The programme of deep scarification continues when the health of the green allows. The planned topdressing due to be applied before captains day had to be cancelled due to torrential rain, this will now carry forward to the 2nd week in July weather permitting.

 

Ironically during the week of rain, I turned the pumps on to start filling the reservoir up and replenish the water levels. At the moment we pump in the same amount of water as we pump out so the level should remain constant upon inspection.

 

Captains Day arrived with all of the greenstaff making a very early appearance and getting the greens cut and rolled and the whole course sorted by 8am, my thanks goes out to them and thank you to the few members that took the time to thank us personally on the day.

 

Finally, despite renewing the irrigation pumps and associated electrics and pipework in May 2014 the main computer controlling all of these components broke down and a whole new control system had to be installed. During this time in extremely hot conditions the greens tees and approaches could not be watered automatically and started to firm up (tees in particular) I can now confirm all is back up and running with extra water being applied to the tees to soften them up.

 

 

May 2014

 

An escalation of activity on the greens will occur namely verticutting and scarifying. One method removes the lateral growth of the turf and stands the sward up in preparation for cutting and the other removes dead and weak grass (thatch) from just below the surface. So not every mower you see on the greens is cutting.

With Captains Day only six weeks away, I am already tailor making the fertilizer applications to ensure the course is at its very best on the day. Don’t get me wrong we try to ensure the course is at its best every time we leave the gate.

News From The Greenstaff

 

Carrying on from my last report, we had a break in and all of our small machinery was stolen, things like our strimmers and chainsaws went missing. Whilst the insurance claim is processed please bear with us if you see some untidy areas as this machinery has yet to be replaced.

Whilst on the subject of annoying gits, in early April three motorbikes decided it would be a bit of a laugh to scramble around the flag on the 4th green !!! One of the riders even fell off of his bike burying his handlebars and foot pegs into the greens surface. We verticutted the surface several times and repaired all of the holes as if they were giant pitchmarks, And I have to say by the end of the week you would hardly know that anything had gone on. All we are left with is a small dead patch where fuel must have spilled from the tank of one bike.

The greens had a treatment of liquid fertilizer which is a new application method for us. This was designed to stimulate the greens from their winter slumber and activate growth. Our usual granulated fertilizer was used at the end of the month of which a noticeable green up is already visible.

Several fairways and tees have been sprayed for weeds which are always prevalent at this time of year. The weedkiller works by accelerating the weeds growth to death. So if you notice some really unsightly weeds it’s probably because they have been sprayed. Areas around the course will continue to be sprayed as weeds occur and when conditions are favourable.

The greens were solid tined to a depth of six inches, these small holes will gradually close up on the surface but all the good is going on underground. Roots will grow in the open spaces more freely than pushing through the soil. A gaseous exchange would have taken place when spiked releasing the foul smelling sulphur and allowing oxygen directly into the root system which leads to a stronger healthier plant. The soil structure would also have been given a bit of a heave to relieve winter compaction.

We have started to increase the number of scarifying procedures on the greens now that the surface can recover from such an application.

 

 

 

April 2014

 

We will start to use the types of fertilizer that make the grass actively grow (yes there are other types) not only on the greens but tees and approaches as well.

We will be spiking the greens either in the first or second week in April. This will help relieve winter compaction and get some well needed oxygen into the root system.

The final few remaining bunkers will be edged and dug over.

The cutting regime will be escalated as the grass on the course starts to grow at a quicker rate as it responds to repeated cultivation.

Any remaining wet spots will be investigated and drainage installed if required.

A devastating blow to the greenkeeping equipment occurred in the early hours of Wednesday morning 2nd April when our main shed was broken into, the thieves got away with all of our strimmers and chainsaws along with our small generator and portable water pump. Nothing makes my blood boil more when we lose hard earned machinery that enables us to do our job to a professional standard.

 

 

News From The Greenstaff

 

A busy start to our season, firstly removing the remaining dead trees around the course that were marked during last summer.  The course was dry enough to carry the volume of wood away without leaving wheel marks. Following on from some recent bad weather a few more trees came down with the combination of high winds and soft ground.

The 11th winter mat was relocated to a more central position now that the new trees down the left hand side have been planted. The pathway this tee has also been improved removing the wet parts of the path and replacing the surface. The same type of work was also carried out on the wet part of the 10th path.

We had a gift of 8 slightly more mature conifers from a member merv which I decided to add to the back of the first tee to help accelerate the screening of the greenkeeping barns visible from the 1st tee.

Drainage has been added to the front left side of the 11th green after the winter deluge had made this area extremely wet and now impassable for our machinery. Hopefully this area will dry out and the seeded areas come back into play soon.

Bunker renovations have been on-going this month with most bunkers being edged and dug over, the remaining few will be done in early April.

Finally the metal tee markers arrived and we wasted no time in re creosoting the posts and fixing the new metal plaques also nicely coinciding with the opening of the grass tees. 

 

 

 

 

Winter 2013/2014

 

As we welcome spring and revert back to longer hours, here is a look back at the last 4 months of work and update the Grass Roots page.

Firstly the success of the drainage works must be mentioned to the 2nd and 4th greens. I cannot envisage the amount of devastation and damage caused by flooding if the work hadn’t been carried out. December saw the last piece of the puzzle completed with the parallel ditch on the 4th fairway dug in its entirety. It wasn’t long before we witnessed the stream that the ditch turned into, and has been flowing for most of the winter months. The 2nd bunker had experimental drainage put in, which has been partly successful, half the bunker drains freely and it no longer fills to the brim like a pond. An adjustment will be made to the sand levels as soon as it is possible to take material out there which should hopefully sort the flooding. If this proves to be successful will use the same method to other bunkers that suffer from flooding.

An extra overflow pipe was added to the pond on the 10th, which at times was overwhelmed by the volume of water, making passage along the pathways nearly impossible. The 10th pond is not only fed by the overflow of water from the 1st pond but also surface water from the farmer’s field. The muddy pathway has also recently been overhauled with the saturated clay being removed and replaced with fresh hard-core.

The greens have fared well over the winter months, the introduction of high percentage Potassium fertilizer to the greens in early December has kept the dreaded Fusarium disease away whilst other clubs have suffered badly. Our last attack was in late November and at 600 a time to curb the disease I’m sure Steve is happy with the savings achieved from getting the application of fertilizer just right.

Most of the machines have had an engine service, the cylinder bladed machines have been sharpened using our in house grinding machines. The bottom blades have been replaced on two machines and again sharpened by ourselves.

Other machinery based jobs were carried our mainly when it was pouring with rain. One of our general trailers was given a full refurb with some welding, new wood and a storage box added. The greens mower was given additional lights to help with those summer 4am starts at weekends.

 

 

Several trees came down with the high winds during the winter, these have all been removed. In addition the dead trees that were marked with white paint during the summer months have also been removed. I’m pleased to say that the committee and Steve once again funded the purchase of new trees, 31 have been planted down the left hand side of the 11th fairway, this should dissuade the use of the 15th fairway to get to the 11th green. As a result of the new trees the 11th winter mat has been relocated to a more central position and should be in play by early March. One other silver birch tree was planted between the 1st and 3rd fairways to replace a fallen tree.  In addition to the mature tree order we have planted 15 conifers to the rear of the 1st tee, which after a few years should help block out the view of the greenkeepers yard and help shield the tee from any engine noises.

There was only one silver lining to the vast flooding to the 1st pond in that it gave us a perfect level in which to trim the trees to. So when the water was at its highest we braved the high seas in our raft and completed this task.

The high winds not only played havoc with the clubhouse roof shifting a few tiles but also flipped the starters shed over 2 times. The window was broken and the integrity of the shed was gone. We have now braced the shed, made a new window, concreted a base and firmly secured it to the floor, so long as the users of the shed ensure the door is closed when finished with it all should be well.

The front entrance gate was becoming harder to close for both staff and members after a lorry reversed into it last year and the travelling community decided to open it with a speeding 4x4 rather than a key. After numerous welds and some persuasion from our 12 tonne excavator we managed to get it back into some sort of shape and it closes more easily. Whilst at the front entrance new banners have been installed with the latest membership deals.

Apart from these more notable tasks the rest of our time was spent tending the greens with dew, debris and worm cast removal on a daily basis. Most of the pathways have been woodchipped and hard cored of which there are hundreds of yards of. The most memorable being the 11th green to the 12th tee which was a killer to do.

So in summary a very productive winter, there was no scrabbling around looking for things to do, and for all those who don’t think we do anything during the winter I hope the above has opened your eyes. We are all looking forward to the course drying out, getting the mowers out on the course and kick start the greens maintenance programme of aeration, topdressing, over seeding and fertilizing. The grass roots page will be updated monthly from now on keeping the members up to date of current and proposed works to the course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 2013

 

I am awaiting the irrigation controller to come back from the repairers, once received I will rewire it back into the shed and then start to soften the tees if they need it.

I am pleased to announce that Pete Rawson who owns the buggies has decided to replace all six with new ones, they should arrive in early October.

The greens will be spiked, topdressed and overseeded as soon as the recent fertilizer application kicks in. This work is essential to the health of the greens especially with the fast approaching winter months. May I ask all golfers to be patient with us whilst the work is carried out.

I am expecting a Demo rough cutting machine at the start of the month, it is going to be huge, so if you see a huge shiny mower out there it is the demo and steve hasn’t won the lottery.

October is the last month where the course sees the benefit of the greenstaff working long hours through the summer months. The system works so well and the course really does improve through the summer hour months, but it is absolutely knackering when you include working at the weekends as well, so one more month to go boys and then the recuperating slightly shorter winter hours start.

 

 

News from the Greenstaff

 

September flew by as so much happened on the course this month, starting with a junior member Jack Beany doing a week’s work experience with us. I hope he learned a few things from us, namely that green keeping is physically demanding and that our job is not just cutting grass.

Next up we all attended the SALTEX Horticulture show in Windsor, where all aspects of our industry is represented, a good place to get some future ideas.

I made the bunker renovation a top priority this month and can confirm that all bunkers have been topped up with sand, dug over and edged.

The first tee was opened earlier in the month and brings a whole new aspect to the hole. Hopefully the new position will prevent us getting hit on the 3rd green when teeing off. It’s amazing to note the condition of the old tee now that golfers are not playing from it.

With the new tee position came a more direct path from the clubhouse to the tee. Eventually the old path will be removed to make way for a practice net complex and the relocation of the putting green. The path still needs some adjustments made and we will enclose part of it with metal fencing to prevent an out of control buggy going “off piste”.

As I reported last month our irrigation system was experiencing some problems, the faulty controller has been sent away for repairs. This does mean that we have not watered the course for the last 3 weeks, we have been lucky with the weather which has provided some rain just when we needed it. On the plus side the reservoir has been filling up nicely replenishing the water used in the summer and should be full again by next month rather than waiting all winter to fill up.

Once again the Fusarium disease struck the greens again, this has been promptly sprayed and hopefully the scarring will be kept to a minimum, worst effected greens were the 6th and 14th.

Last but not least the 4th drainage ditch is coming along nicely, a huge drain on manpower but the ground conditions are perfect to complete this task. After the last heavy downpour of rain I expected to see the 4th green start to flood, it didn’t so I have to assume that the hard work is paying off and that the drain is working.

 

 

 

 

September 2013

 

The new 1st tee should be open and ready to play on, the ladies 1st tee will require a little longer after it was decimated by rabbits during its construction.

We will continue with the drainage works on the 4th, please be mindful that there are deep excavations and you are reminded to keep away from this area during the works.

The bunkers edge renovation will resume this month assisted with our work experience volunteer for the week. I hope that the experience with us will show him how difficult but rewarding the job can be and help remove the stigma of “those lads that just cut grass”!

 

 

 

News from the Greenstaff

 

Another busy month under our belts, not only has the course been maintained this month but a number of projects have been started as well. The most noticeable being the 4th green. We hand dug a 4ft deep trench from the green to a water collection pit which should draw away the huge quantities of water that flood the green  almost on a daily basis throughout the winter months. Now we are using our excavator to install pipework to take the water further from the green with a view to eventually channel it into the open ditch by the 4th tees.

A new pathway has been installed along the side of the 6th tee, can I remind golfers that buggies should remain on the path and not driven up onto the tee.

We took delivery of our very own cylinder grinding machine when the loaned demo model was returned back to the company.

The up and down weather produced ideal conditions for the fusarium disease to strike the greens again over the bank holiday weekend, this was quickly dealt with and there should be no scarring to the greens surface due to our quick reactions.

We have been experiencing some gremlins within our irrigation system this month firstly a faulty decoder was preventing the computer signal from reaching all areas of the course, no sooner than this was rectified an overheating problem re emerged from a power controller in the pump house. We are looking for a solution as we speak, the downside is that some areas will receive limited water and therefore some tees may start to firm up, please bear with us until we get the problem sorted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 2013

 

Now we have got the greens to condition where I want them to be, the next job is to keep them and improve the pace. All of the previous operations of scarifying and topdressing will be repeated during the month.

Whilst the hot weather has slowed some areas of growth down, this has freed up some mower time to address some project jobs, bridges on 14, wet spots on 14 and drainage on holes 2 and 4 are planned for August.

 

 

 

News from the greenstaff

 

The greens received a huge amount of time and attention during July, not only the struggle to keep them alive in the searing heat but to continually improve the surface. I believe we achieved both this month.

The greens were top dressed, fertilized, brushed, poa busted and scarified at various intervals with the results on the stimp meter going from a slow 5.9 at the beginning of the month, to 7.2 which is a good club golf speed at the end.

The hot summer was starting to overwhelm the watering programme with strong winds being the main culprit for areas not receiving the correct amount of water. Hand watering soon put this right along with the adjustment of several sprinklers on the course.

The 7th and 8th winter mat positions were constructed and concreted.

The trees around the 1st pond have been taken down in preparation to play from the new tee position. The grass height is being reduced steadily and should hopefully be in play at some point during August.

 

 

 

 

July 2013

 

During July we will again be stepping up the intensity of work to the greens, we will start with another feed closely followed with a minus 8mm deep scarify to rip out the thatch build up. We will have to empty the grass boxes after every stripe !!! the whole operation should remove 10 cubic meters of unwanted grass. After this procedure we will follow up with a topdressing to re-establish the surface. There may be some disruption to play but this will be kept to a minimum, weekend golfers should hardly notice we have been there.

 

 

 

News from the Greenstaff

 

The greens were topdressed this month now that they are able to cope with the disruption and machinery frequently passing over them. The results were excellent and future topdressing will continue throughout the year.

The wet spot in the centre of the 15th fairway has had drainage installed along with the wet spot on the Left hand side of the 11th rough. Hopefully both will now drain and dry out as we hit a numerous amount of water springs whilst digging both of them.

A silt trap has been installed in the drainage ditch in front of the 13th tee to prevent silt entering the underground pipework which later resurfaces at the 14th fairway ditch.

The small ditch on the 11th near the large bridge by the pond has been made deeper and wider to help combat the water feed to the area in front of the pond.

 

 

 

 

June 2013

 

June is the month for Captains day as well as lots of competitions both played in the week and at weekends. The cutting season is in full swing and we get punished by the sheer rate of growth if we miss a bit. Most areas have to be cut twice a week without exception.

I look forward to applying a light topdressing during the month, but I must have dry weather and a dry green to apply the sand so that it will rub in and not disrupt play.

We will continue with bunker renovations when time allows us from our cutting duties, half of the bunkers have now been done.

 

News From The Greenstaff

 

The coldest spring in 50 years!!!!

The greens have had a lot of attention this month, they have been spiked, fertilized twice and we have used our verticutting “Poa Buster” units 12 times. The verticutter units are attached to the power plant of an old greensmower, its purpose is to cut the longer strands of lateral grass that lay down and hide from the normal greensmower blades. The units also rip out the white seed heads from the unwanted grass cultivar Poa Annua. It was reassuring  to see that even the greens at Wentworth had white seed heads visible on their greens.

When doing this job you would typically empty the grass boxes 12 times during a single cut of the course, 12 times 3 grass boxes is 36, multiply that by doing this 12 times and you get 144 boxfulls of grass cuttings !!!!!!!. This operation is followed up immediately with a cut from our normal mower picking up any missed debris and now cutting grass that has been stood up by the verticutters. This two mower job is all completed by 9:30 each morning.

As always there are always a few disgruntled golfers who object to this amount of work being carried out on the greens this early in the morning, however to witness the comment “ this is the worst hole in Christendom” I think was a bit unfair and unjust as ultimately we are improving the greens for the golfers benefit after every pass.

The more observant of you will have noticed a new stronger, robust and waterproof irrigation shed on the way to the first tee. The old shed was getting way past its sell by date and some sensitive pumping equipment was getting wet after each rainstorm.

After the huge amount of rainfall in the final week of May, can I ask all golfers to avoid driving through the wet areas on the course, trolleys and buggies alike. You only have to see the amount of black muddy wheelmarks about the course to see where the wet spots are, please don’t add to them.

 

 

 

May 2013

 

Finally the weather is showing signs of warming up and while the rest of the course is starting to grow on a regular basis the continuous frosts are preventing the greens from fully starting to grow.

I estimate that the cold weather has put them back 6 to 8 weeks. The first batch of summer fertilizer will go on in the first weeks in May. As I write this update I have just spiked the greens to a depth of 5 inches. This not only heaves the ground relieving winter compaction, but adds oxygen to the root structure and creates a space for existing roots to grow into, improving the health of the plant. We aim to spike the greens every month this year.

As soon as the greens are actively growing we will start our deep scarifying programme to remove surface thatch which will again improve the growing conditions for the existing plants.

 

Buggies, I would like to ask all members when using buggies to select the buggies from the ends of the row in which they are parked, not from the middle of the row. The reason for this is these have the most petrol in and we try to average out the fuel consumption across the fleet. I know some of you select the same buggy time after time as you think it is faster than others……..well we regularly change the windscreen numbers around so you are in fact driving the slowest !!!

 

Lastly, I would like to remind all members to respect the ladies tees and not to walk over them with your bags, trolleys and buggies en route to the fairway…..yes it does happen!

 

 

News from the Greenstaff

 

I stopped writing the grassroots page as our winter work didn’t paint an exciting read, swishing everyday etc etc, however looking back over the last six months we achieved a great deal.

 

November saw the installation of the new Tee Marker Posts, we then measured the whole course using laser accuracy to get the new yardages from the new and existing tees.

 

December saw our first lot of snow, we were kept very busy installing new ceiling lights to the clubhouse and repairing the front entrance fence after a vehicle crashed through it.

 

In January we built a huge barn that sits between our 2 green containers. This was built to store several old machines that we rob parts from to keep our fleet of machinery operational. It also keeps the weather off our other machines that live outside all year. SNOW again rained down upon us. Twenty four trees were planted between the 2nd and 3rd fairways kindly funded by the committee.

 

In February we all attended a cylinder grinding seminar here at Chalgrave with a view to owning our own grinding equipment, saving us a small fortune in outsourcing the grinding of our bottom blades and cylinders which typically cost 700 each time we want 5 units sharpened. Space was made available, wiring put in and we now have two machines on loan for the season and we are doing all of the grinding here now.

 

March saw us digging tonnes and tonnes of soil as open ditches and further drainage was installed on the 11th, 14th and 15th fairways. This was incredibly hard work often with a minus 10 windchill, however judging from the volume of water that continues to flow in the ditches and now not on the fairways, the hard work looks like its paid off with just a couple of wet spots to deal with.

 

April, new flags pins and hole cups were put out marking the return to the original course layout. The course finally became dry enough to start cutting the rough and fairways.

 

 

 

October 2012

October marks the last month of working longer hours. This regime was put into place to maximise daylight conditions and to give as many greenkeeping hours in the growing season so that the course benefits now and in the future. The working hours reduce when we hit November for a period four months.

 As the amount of cutting reduces, this frees up some time to do the essential autumn work on the greens as well as a few projects. The first project will be to install marker posts to all three tee positions on each hole. Once these posts have been concreted in, the course will be re-measured and the yardages displayed on each post.

We will install new concrete winter tee positions for the 8th, 12th and 15th (old hole numbers).

The ballwashers will be swapped over to a plastic variety during the frosty, freezing conditions as the ice currently cracks the aluminium castings.

We will put out the new holecups, flag pins and flags.

 

 

 

 

News from the Greenstaff

We attended the Saltex show at the beginning of the month where we purchased new hole cups, flag sticks and flags for the course. We are currently waiting for them to be delivered and we will put them out during October. Steve will announce the new flag system as and when they arrive.

 Drainage slits have been made to the old 14th, allowing more water to drain into our master drains. We have filled the slits up with 20 tonnes of shingle and just have to pick up the soil piles to get the hole back into play properly.

I have started spraying all the tees, semi rough and fairways for weeds as we prepare to go into winter, I do however need a dry, non windy day to carry out this task!!!!!!, I have done approximately 1/3rd of the course already.

The greens have been given their last growing type of fertilizer this year, future applications will concentrate upon colour, disease resistance and turf hardiness until spring arrives.

We have refurbished 10 plastic ballwashers which we will swap with our existing ones as soon as frosty freezing conditions occur. The plastic expands when frozen, as our metal ballwashers just crack at the moment.  

 

 

 

 

September 2012

 

Now that the sprinkler project and the tee tops are complete we can now turn our attention back to the 13th  (old 14th) fairway drainage as well as planning to do our essential Autumn work on the greens with spiking, topdressing and scarifying.

 

Now I know that I shouldn’t use this page for moans and groans but I feel this is an ideal place to highlight problems we, the greenstaff face from the golfers. This month there has been an awful lot of driving buggies and trollies onto new and existing tees. Even pulling your trolley across a tee to get to a different start point on the course just because its quicker than going around. Not only is it extremely bad golf etiquette but the continuous use of the tee tops as short cuts will form a worn footpath where others will feel compelled to walk compounding the problem. Problem areas seem to be, on the current 12th tee (old 15th), walking directly down the slope and over the ladies tee. The same problem exists on the current 13th tee (old 14th) walking straight over the ladies tee. Crossing the 17th competition tee to get to the 16th / 11th tees on route from the clubhouse when not starting a conventional round. And the old favourite, crossing the 9th tee from the double green to get to the 18th tee. So in future can we please treat the tees as hallowed ground and not drive trollies or buggies over them. Thank you.

 

 

News from the greenstaff

 

At the start of the month with the help of Pete Rawson and his mini digger we managed to dig the two master drains on the current 13th fairway (old 14th). These have been backfilled with drainage pipe and shingle then left open for the time being. We saw an instant improvement to the water logged fairway, the fact that the ditch has been flowing constantly ever since we put the pipework in, goes to show the volume of water that would normally be heading for the fairway. Our future plan is to cut slits into the remaining wet spots in the rough and channel them into this master drain.

All of the sprinklers have now been installed by us. A total of 108 have been fitted, each sprinkler required a 2ft x 2ft deep hole dug, tapping onto the underground feed pipe and then backfilling with shingle and making good the surface at the correct level with topsoil. The new system did however have a breakdown for 2 weeks whilst a new cooling fan was sourced for an overheating control panel. This breakdown unfortunately meant that we could just water the greens for a 2 week period as the system overheated when trying to water the tees and approaches as well. It has now been fixed by steve and myself and normal watering has resumed to all parts of the course.

One benefit of having sprinklers to all of the tees now, was that we were in a position to try using turf for the remaining tee tops. Where water had always been an issue before, now there was no problem. So after a week of intense tee top renovation and raking to get them all level we were ready for the turf to arrive. Each roll covered 20m2, each weighing tonne, we had 29 to lay. Unfortunately the heavens opened on the day of laying and the freshly raked tops turned into ploughed fields, but it had to be laid or the turf would die. Hopefully with intense rolling we can get the level back in time for next year. I would ask all members NOT  to “have a look” by standing on the new turf, the last thing I need is to have to fix footprints as well.

We finally took delivery of the new greensmower, which we are very proud of, and we think that there has already been an improvement in the putting surface of the greens.

 

 

 

 

August 2012

 

We hope to finish the main drains on the 14th fairway, allowing the surface water to drain away. This will then be further improved with smaller slit trenches filled with gravel leading into the main drain.

We are eagerly awaiting a new Jacobsen greensmower to be delivered, our current one purchased in 1999 has deposited more drips of oil onto the greens for the second time in as many months, showing that it is time to replace it. With a retail price of 28,000 this is another huge investment of money into the club from Steve.

Both Phil and Danny have now been enrolled into the IOG course that will see them study towards their level 2 in greenkeeping qualification.

 

 

 

News from the greenstaff

 

In the beginning of the month we started by taking on two young work experience guys. Phil and Joe (both members sons) joined us for two weeks temporarily boosting the greenstaff numbers to seven. I hope they both enjoyed their time with us and learnt a bit more about the preparation and maintenance of the course.

When our numbers reached 7 it became very obvious that the small caravan inside the shed was getting too small to house us, all of our clothing and being the place where we eat. The mobile home situated next to the greenkeeping shed is our new premises, with sufficient space now for a small office, drying room and functioning kitchen. May I pass on my thanks to Steve from all of us for this very nice upgrade to our facilities.

We hit two milestones on the greenkeeping team, Jamie has now been with us 2 years and I just hit my 16 year anniversary!!!!

With the continuing wet and warm weather it felt more like September and the disease normally expected in that month appeared on the greens. We acted very quickly with minimal scaring occurring on the 1st and 3rd greens.

The 3rd winter mat was constructed so that the yardage can be maintained in the colder months.

We had one dry week that allowed us to cut the course twice and it was the perfect preparation for charity day.

We installed several more sprinklers to the new tees for when it finally gets hot, and as I am writing this we have started digging the main trenches for the old 14th fairway drainage.

 

 

 

July 2012

 

We hope that July will be drier allowing us to prepare the remaining tee tops for seed. We are also praying for a non windy dry day (I know, a big ask) to allow us to spray the ditches without risk of drifting spray.

The Tarmac drive has greatly improved the overall appearance of the entrance and the course itself. We have added road planings to the tarmac edge to prevent any crumbling along the whole length of the driveway.

We intend to do further work to the old 14th fairway to improve the drainage and resume our spiking routine……. Weather routine

 

 

 

News from the greenstaff

 

Another soaking wet month which prevented us from doing certain types of jobs, we were however kept very busy. Woodlands completed the construction of the 1st, 3rd and 11th tees and now all of their vehicles have been removed from the course. The 5th, 6th and 7th tees have been seeded along with the banks from the driveway to the church, and as I’m writing this it’s turning green with grass already.

The car park has now been extended, but it looks like it will be a while to change the habits of some golfers who still insist in parking in their old spaces or parking in the narrowest part of the driveway.

The path to the 10th tee became almost impassable due to the weather, so we added more hard core and rechipped the surface. Whilst on the 10th we took down one greenside tree and pruned back another, which should improve visibility from the tee. This pruning was carried out to the same degree 6 years ago, so it won’t be long  before the trees will recover and re-grow.

In between the showers we managed to cut the course, this job was made harder when one of our fairway mowers broke its engine mounts and was out of action for a week.

A lot of golfers have asked me where tony is, and I am pleased to announce he is back at work after having flu and a chest infection.

We are always looking for time saving opportunities and recently I have been logging the number of yellow, red and even white posts that have been removed and not put back. Over the last 8 weeks the greenstaff in a normal week have replaced an average of 18 posts a week. As a percentage of total posts on the course this is a huge figure, so can I ask you all to help reduce this number by informing you’re playing partners when you see it happen or making sure that you yourself are not one of the culprits and replace all golf course furniture.

 

 

JUNE 2012

 

Some big events occur in June, the biggest being Captains Day and which most of May is used by the team to prepare for.

The reservoir contractors will finally finish after being on site for 2 years. The only remaining jobs for them to complete are the 1st, 3rd and 11th tee using the soil that we transported to these areas earlier on in the year. Upon their completion the irrigation company can return to install the remaining pipework to these tees. The green staff will then install the sprinklers and that should be job completed.

Our new 16 year old apprentice Danny will be starting mid June, so please give him a warm welcome if you see him about the course.

 

 

 

News from the Greenstaff

 

After  the April showers came the hot weather which caused a massive growth spurt. After all the wet weather which prevented the machinery from going out, now we were faced with “catch up” mode. For two weeks solid, the rough cutter worked 9 hours a day 5 days a week, the fairways also required continuous attention. To put this level of work into perspective, in a typical working month we use 1000 litres of diesel, in catch up mode we were using 600 litres every 8 days!

It got so hot using the machinery and temperatures soared to 28 degrees, so that one Friday the greenstaff decided to christen the reservoir. We all went for a refreshing swim. The water was very clear and whilst the top four feet felt like a swimming pool the bottom four feet felt like the North Sea in winter.

Once on top of the cutting we decided to tackle one task that’s been a problem for years, namely the drainage on the old 14th fairway. As we still had the use of a mini digger and lots of left over pipework we decided to try and intercept the flow of water to the fairway. We found numerous springs and some old clay field drainage pipe, all of which now flow into our new drainage trench. Only time will tell if we have solved the problem, however I suspect that there are more springs directly under the fairway which will require draining in the future.

Some may have seen the marks on the 11th green, which was caused when a hydraulic pipe burst on the up/down control on the greensmower. All  credit to the operator Jamie, who noticed it very quickly avoiding further damage, a less skilled operator could have covered the whole green in hot oil before noticing.

 

 

 

 

 

May 2012

 

May marks the start of the real growth season and the fertilizers are much more responsive on the greens. The correct balance of chemicals will be my main task this month to provide perfect greens conditions for the fast approaching captain’s day. We will be solid tining during the month which will improve the greens. This operation using our new machine from last year hardly disturbs the surface, so golf will not be affected.

The new fairway to the old 12th hole will continue to be stone picked, rolled and fed when conditions allow.

The new trees are all looking a lot more healthy with most of the small push in trees now showing signs of life and many can be seen bursting out of their protective spirals.

 

News from the Greenstaff

 

Well the wettest April since records began soon puts any plans to move soil or prepare the remaining tee tops into touch. This work will of course take place when conditions improve.

The end cap on the reservoir has worked very well and finally overflowed on Sunday 29th April giving a final reservoir depth of 387cm. The water is now lapping up against the grass edges with only a very small amount of black liner now visible.

The majority of the fairways and tee’s were sprayed for weeds until the bad weather stopped this operation. The remainder will be treated in May and if chemical stocks permit, spraying will be extended to weed prone areas of rough.

One bit of good news resulting from the bad weather was that quite a few machinery projects were undertaken and completed. These included the total refurbishment of our excavator’s fuel tank and installation of a new bottom blade to one of our recently acquired tee’s mower.

We conducted interviews throughout the month for our apprentice green keeper position and came out with two possible candidates. Both undertook a day’s work experience with the green keeping team and based on their day a decision has been made to take on Danny. He will start his apprenticeship in June.

 

APRIL 2012

 

In April we will be concentrating upon finishing the surface to the new tees, so that they are ready for seed now that the warmer weather is here. We just have the new 3rd tee to move subsoil to. Once this has been done the irrigation company SJS will come back and pull pipe to the new tee locations and the greenstaff can finally install the remaining sprinklers to the tees.

 

We have decided to add an end cap to the reservoir overflow to increase the depth by an estimated 30cm, which will not only hide more of the black liner but increase the capacity by another 300,000 litres of water.

 

The old 12th holes new fairway will continue to be stone picked and eventually rolled this month, the grass will then be encouraged with the use of feeds and cutting once the stones are removed.

 

News From The Greenstaff

 

Well March will be remembered for lying face down in two foot deep holes installing sprinklers all over the course, but I can confirm that all the sprinklers to the approaches have now been installed. We have also installed 60% of the tee sprinklers.

 

We also moved hundreds of tones of subsoil to the new 1st, 4th, and 11th tees. We also helped the Woodlands staff by driving the 5 tonne dumper trucks and also assisting with the stripping of top soil with the mini digger and compaction of sub soil using our 13 tonne excavator.

 

The reservoir finally overflowed on 17 March with a depth of 361cm from empty to the bottom of the overflow pipe.

 

Next time you are out on the course, and you end up in the trees, have a look at the new trees that we planted in the winter. Most are already showing signs of life and some are trying to break out of their spirals already…… amazing !!!!

 

 

 

FEBRUARY

The irrigation company SJS has commenced work on the course, with pipework being laid to all tees and approaches. Whilst these works are in progress we will take the opportunity to enlarge some of the smaller tees before the sprinklers are put in. I would like to ask all golfers to be patient with the SJS staff and the greenstaff whilst the irrigation is being installed. The yellow tractor being used to pull the pipes underground cannot stop once it is underway, so please wait till it is out of harms way or move on to the next hole, Thank you. Piles of soil indicate holes for sprinklers or pipe ends, these should be covered with a wooden board when left unattended, but we would request that golfers do not remove wooden boards to “have a look”. Golf balls coming to rest upon a board or pile of soil should be treated a GUR.

I would like to welcome Phil Byatt to the greenkeeping team, please extend a warm welcome to him as he settles in to his role. Phil comes from a forestry background, so is used to the weather conditions that occur here at Chalgrave. We have already used his skills on the 10th medal tee, with the high pruning of the existing trees and the opening up of the hedge to allow more light in when the new tee is completed.

 

 

 

NEWS FROM THE GREENSTAFF

January proved to be another busy month especially in the shed fixing some of the machinery and prepping some others for the coming cutting season. Some of these jobs included the fitting of a new brake cylinder to our large digger and the complicated procedure of then bleeding the brakes. A new alternator needed to be fitted to our transit tipper. The broken piece of cab glass was painstakingly sourced by steve and was then fitted, making our new Hayter fairway mower relatively weather proof. We have now planted over 2000 trees on the course, with another 500 to come for the remaining areas on the left of the 6th as soon as it has been topsoiled in either February or March. Lifebuoys have been installed to both the 10th pond and the new reservoir as it approaches its full capacity of 3.5 metres deep. We estimate that it should be full and up to the overflow within the first 2 weeks of March giving us an almost unlimited supply of water throughout the coming year.

 

 

 

January

 

January means more trees with another 500 ready to be planted and 500 more expected over the next few weeks.

 

The pipe work for the extension to our irrigation system has arrived. This work will be carried out by a combination of contractors and us. We will be placing sprinklers around all tee boxes and green surrounds. Again this will cause some disruption for a while but please be patient and think of the long term benefits this project will bring.

 

These two jobs will take up a considerate amount of our time meaning we will only be carrying out the basics to greens, bunkers etc.

 

Tidying and repairing pathways will also take place when possible.

 

January will also see the moving on of our deputy head greenkeeper Darren after 14 years at the club. Although not as a greenkeeper he will be staying within the industry and hopes to pop his head in from time to time.

 

Darren wishes the club and everyone involved all the best for the future and is proud to have been involved in the development of the course to date.

 

 

NEWS FROM THE GREENSTAFF

 

December ended up mainly being a tree planting month.  With 1000 whips being delivered and 25 staked we were kept very busy. 700 went on the slope that separates the current 13th and the newly constructed 12th fairway with the remaining 300 going on and around the slope on the practice area to the left of the first hole. The 25 staked trees went in alongside the 8th fairway with the aim of creating more of a dog leg to the hole when the 12th gets re instated. While planting these trees Jamie suffered a nasty injury which required 7 staples in his head and making it our very first opportunity to fill out our green staff accident book. Not bad for 15yrs!

 

The disease on the greens took hold again over Christmas so another dose of chemical was sprayed to prevent it spreading further.

 

The cables from the 1st to 4th tee were buried and the ground will be made good as and when possible. We are still waiting on when the overhead cables will be taken down.

 

 

 

 

December

 

I think we can finally say winter is here with the drop in temperatures and the first slight frost showing its face.  This does now mean we can reduce our cutting and concentrate on other things. However with Christmas coming it does mean it’s only a 3 week month as between Christmas and New Year we only do the basics such as greens, bunkers and mats.

 

We still have a couple of winter tee bases to construct and the pathways to finish wood chipping.

With the first frost coming we will be cutting temporary holes into the approaches for when the hard frost appears.

 

750 trees have arrived and we will be out planting them around the course but mainly on the large slope between the 12th and 14th

 

A colourant fertilizer will be applied to the greens and another dose of chemical will put down to prevent further spread of the disease.

 

We will be servicing our fleet of machines including oil, fuel and air filters and changes plus greasing them up and preparing them for next year.

 

You may notice some work happening around the 1st, 4th tee and 3rd green. This is an outside company who will be burying the overhead cables into the ground.

 

We hope you have enjoyed your golf at Chalgrave this year and we wish you all a very merry Christmas from the greenstaff

 

 

 

News from the greenstaff

 

Having sprayed a preventative chemical to reduce the risk of disease to the greens we are disappointed and apologies for the current condition of the greens.  Even with our best efforts the disease did take hold and the scars are evident for everyone to see. We will try everything we can to get our greens back to how they were, unfortunately at this time of year we are restricted with just how much we can do.

 

The smoking shelter was finally completed and we have made good inroads with getting the pathways wood chipped. The weather stayed reasonably warm so cutting continued and weekend cutting was still needed. The areas finished by the construction company alongside the 7th have been seeded and a new ladies tee on the 8th has been built.

 

We set up our two new machines so they are ready to go for next year’s cutting season.  We also took delivery of a new course van just in case you see something different driving around.

 

You may have noticed a new tree planted on the 8th fairway and although it seems in a strange position when the course returns back it will be very poignant and should create a dogleg for the fairway. This tree is a pin oak and has been planted in memory of Phil our greenkeeper who sadly died suddenly last year. The tree was chosen for its stature as an oak and its type creates wonderful coloring especially in autumn. It is also the only pin oak on the course.

 

 

November

The main change in November is our change in working hours.  To maximize the course potential we do long days over 8 months through spring and summer meaning that for 4 months through winter we work on reduced hours.  Instead of working 10 hour days we reduce down to 6 and a half hour days bringing a much needed rest for us.  We will also be finishing with the weekend cutting as the greens will no longer be growing at their usual rate.

 

We now turn to a winter fertilizer for the greens; this is more of a colorant with only a slight health boost for the plant.  The greens will also be verti drained but to a shallower depth than normal because of the potential of frost.  An application of insecticide will be sprayed to kill off grubs that are currently living below the surface of the green and a fungicide will be sprayed as a preventative to try and avoid a disease that usually appears this time of year (fusarium).

 

Our irrigation system will be drained and shut down.

 

The winter tee basses do become a priority now and we will be building new ones as well as tidying existing ones ready for use.  The pathways will also be wood chipped.  The roofing material has arrived and the new roof for the smoking area will go up.

 

We will also be making more space in our shed for our 2 new arrivals.  We will be taking delivery of a fairway mower and a tees/approach mower.  These will not only boost our current fleet of vehicles giving us ample backup for any cutting situation, it also gives us the opportunity to delegate the jobs out more evenly allowing us all the chance to do other things than “just cut grass”!

 

 

 

 

NEWS UPDATE FROM THE GREENSTAFF

October remained fairly warm and dry leaving us with more cutting to do than expected meaning we were unable to fulfill all the tasks we aimed to do.

 

We did however manage to hollow core and top dress the greens.  This took up the best part of a week but with much hard work and dedication the rest of the course did not suffer.  We are very pleased with the results and thank you for your patience and understanding while this work took place.

 

We also managed to locate the cause of the wet area on the current 13th.  This has been resolved and we are currently in the process of making good.

 

The old 12th fairway has been cultivated and seeded all the way from the path and should hopefully be turning green within the next 3-4 weeks.  The last 150 yards has also had its first cut.

 

Jamie passed his spraying course and now holds his PA1 and PA6 certificates which allow him to legally spray chemicals via a knapsack sprayer or pedestrian sprayer.

 

Finally we would like to thank Cliff Perry for his kind comments in his recent email.  If you would like to ask any questions or have any comments for us please email us on  mads52000@yahoo.co.uk 

 

October

 

Despite the prediction of an Indian summer being forecast our attention will now start to turn towards winter and getting prepared for it.  This includes making sure all the winter mats, markers and bases are ready.  We will also be building up to three new concrete bases in new locations.  The pathways will all be reestablished and wood chipped.

Our last summer fertilizer will be applied to the greens and we will continue to rotorvate and seed the old 12th fairway as and when we can.

 

Typically in October the temperatures should drop thus slowing down our cutting regime.  This will allow us to continue with some project jobs such as the wet area on the left side of the 14th and finishing off the smoking shelter outside the clubhouse.

 

Much like September we will also be carrying out a very important job on the greens.  We will be hollow coring.  This helps with the removal of thatch, soil exchange and will allow air to get into the soil and roots.  We will also be top dressing quite heavily after coring to fill in the holes created.  This will be followed up with a lighter dressing after the first dressing has settled down. 

 

This will help fill in any holes remaining and will leave a smooth playing surface.

 

Hollow coring will cause a certain amount of disruption; again we will try and keep this down to a minimum but please be patient with us and remember it is for the improvement of the green in the long term.

 

It should take us between 3-4 days to complete and depending on the weather conditions will be carried out in the week of Monday the 10th.

 

 

 

News from the greenstaff

 

September was a very productive month for us and we are pleased to have reached our goals.

We managed to complete the scarifying within 2 days with little disruption to the playing surface.  We appreciate the results from this work being done are difficult to notice but it’s vitally important for below the surface and will improve the green overall.

 

We successfully managed to drain the two damp areas on the 11th and they are now recovering and you should see grass coming through within a couple of weeks.

 

Hopefully you will have also noticed the old 12th fairway greening up after much rotorvating and seeding.

 

Jamie has also been on a two day spraying course with his test early in October. This will allow him to be able to spray all the chemicals we use out on the course which will help spread out the work load.

 

 

 

NEWS FROM THE GREENSTAFF

 

Hello and welcome to the new greenkeeper’s board.

 

Hopefully this will help you understand our job a little bit more and find out exactly what we are trying to achieve out on the course.  It will explain why and when we do certain jobs, it will also keep you up to date on a monthly basis of work that is due to be carried out within that next month.

 

It should also help you to understand why the course looks and plays different ways at different times.

 

We will also try and answer any questions you may have about us, what we do or about the course. Please email us at mads52000@yahoo.co.uk remember this is just for questions and not a means to get a point across.  Please also feel free to approach us out on the course with any questions you may have.

 

Remember everything we are doing is for your benefit, so if we do hold you up on the tees, fairways then we will make sure it will only be for a few seconds and move well to the side and wave you through. Please do not play your shot while we are cutting in front of you!

 

Please keep all rakes in the bunkers and remember to repair your pitch marks

 

Many thanks

The greenstaff

 

 

 

September

September for us signifies the last few weeks of summer and a slight change in the weather. It is also a time of major work especially to the greens for their overall health.

 

The most important job of the month and probably the year is the deep scarifying to the greens. We currently have a slight thatch problem which can lead to turf diseases and is possibly the culprit of the holes giving way towards the end of their week. To cure this we are carrying out the scarifying to a depth of -8mm. After the initial scarifying of the greens we will follow up with quite a heavy top dress and this will also be followed by a lighter top dress if needed. Mixed in with the top dressing will be our greens seed as this will probably be our last chance to overseed before the colder weather and the chance of frost arrives. With new machinery and greater experience we are now able to do this job over 3 days hopefully with minimal disruption to you. If we happen to be on the green in front of you, please bear with us and we will call you on as soon as possible. We will be aiming to carry out this work within the first two weeks of September.

 

As well as scarifying we will be applying our penultimate summer feed to the greens to keep the growth and color stable and this will also help them in their recovery from scarifying.

 

Usually September will be wetter than August so a rise in cutting activity will be at the front of our minds with the grass enjoying wet then warm conditions, however we do try to avoid cutting in the wet for obvious reasons. With the wet days it also means we can get back into the shed and sort out any mechanical problems we may have occurred over the last few hectic months. Our machines do a lot of work and need a lot of looking after especially towards the end of a hard summer.

 

Other jobs we are hoping to deal with this month are the wet spots on 11th especially the new area just over the ditch that has recently appeared. We will also be leveling and seeding around the reservoir and the new fairway as and when we a get chance in preparation for next year.

 

We will also be keeping a close look at the greens and their recovery towards the end of the month to asses if we need to vertidrain them or start our next important job, of hollow coring them earlier than planned.

 

 

 

DID YOU KNOW????

It takes 10 hours to cut all 18 fairways.....

 

In a normal year we will get through 10,000 litres of diesel.....

 

If you were to cut the 9th fairway with a standard 13” garden mower you would eventually walk 21 miles.....

 

Until the reservoir was put in we were limited to applying 12,000 litres of water a night onto the greens. Just as a comparison Woburn would use 100,000 litres. Thanks to the reservoir we now have 8 million gallons available for our use.

 

We currently have 4 permanent greenkeepers with a combined experience of 40 years of work at Chalgrave, not bad when the course has only been open for 17 years!!

 

We cut our greens at 4mm in the summer and 5mm in the winter

 

 

 

 

GOLFERS MUST NOT RETRIEVE BALLS FROM THE RESERVOIR.

THE SIDES DO NOT LOOK THAT STEEP, BUT THEY ARE AND YOU WILL DAMAGE THE LINER WITH YOUR SPIKES IF YOU GO INTO IT.

 

 

The past two months have been one of the most transitional periods in the Club's short history. The works for the reservoir have progressed at a staggering pace..... three weeks ago, the triangle of tree were untouched, today, if the rain holds off, the lining will be completed and we will start to pump water into the reservoir!! The shaping works will continue for the next week or so, as the various drainage and water transfer pipes are installed, but the actual reservoir itself is virtually complete now.

 

Elsewhere on the course, after an absolute plague of dandelions in April, we invested in a 6 metre wide boom sprayer for the fairways, fringes and tees. This enabled us to spray all of these areas with a selective weedkiller, with the intention that we eradicate all of the broadleaf weed and clover from the fairways, tees and fringes over the next 18 months. This is a major investment, as the cost of the chemical far outstrips the cost of the machinery that we purchased to do the job!!

 

Already, you can see the impact of the first spraying all the way across the course. There are brown, dead weeds everywhere, which eventually shrivel and die, and this allows the grass to spread into the vacant areas and take over. In theory, this chemical is 100% effective on all weeds. It works by massively BOOSTING the growth of the plant by stimulating a growth cell that is not found in grass, which is why the grass remains unaffected. The massive growth is unsustainable by the plant, it cannot take enough food onboard fast enough to maintain itself, and it dies. You can see this effect where the weed leaf or stem has curled up, or has gone white in colour instead of green. In a normal grass paddock, for example, it is simply a case of spraying and leaving everything alone for 10 days, which enables the chemical to penetrate fully through the weed and kills it entirely. Regrettably, I think I would have a riot going on if we did not cut the fairways and fringes for 5 days let alone 10! The effect of the cutting is that we then remove parts of the weed that are helping to kill the rest of it, which then makes the application less effective. It will, therefore, take two or three sprays to really get the vast majority off the course. The effect is very noticeable already though and the improvement to the fairways, tees and fringes will be immense in a relatively short period of time.

 

The recovery of the relaid fairways, notably the 8th up by the tee and the new tees on the current 12th hole and the surround to the 13th green have been very slow. The complete lack of natural moisture through the spring has stunted the growth of these areas and they are only just showing signs of reasonable growth after the recent rains. We were expecting to get a much better coverage of grass onto the 8th hole fairway, but if this is not going to be possible then we will ensure that the pathways for this hole are permanent paths ready for the winter period this year. We will not be wading through 50 yards of slush I can promise you! The same applies to the pathway between the 12th Green and 13th Tee, which is shared by the 15th green to 16th Tee as well. Again, this will become a solid pathway before the winter period.

 

There are new tees to be built for both the 11th and 13th tees in the coming weeks, which will give better views down the fairways and will be positioned to hopefully reduce the amount of players who end up on the 12th fairway whilst playing the 11th and 13th!! The 11th hole will have works on it next week, as the contractors install a concrete chamber down by the ditch, which will house the pump that will top up the reservoir on a daily basis.

 

Once all of the cabling and pipework is complete, the works will be completed on the old 12th fairway, the are retopsoiled, trees planted and the area reseeded. Works will then start to withdraw back around the perimeter, with the new 8th tees being completed and then the 7th Hole being reshaped around the green and the pond enlarged.

 

Apart from that, its pretty quiet!!
 

Works to Old 12th Hole (currently 14th Hole)

 

Works are now commencing on the main part of the project, the reservoir itself and the reshaping of the 12th hole so that ultimately, the reservoir will sit in the landscape as though it has always been there.

 

What it will look like when finished: From a slightly elevated tee position, the tee shot will be framed by a mound to both the left and right side, effectively creating a valley/funnel through which the shot will be aimed. Players drifting right will end up in the trees to the right, which will remain untouched. The medal tee will be back further than it is at present, making the shot over the trees a much more risky affair. The yellow tee will be larger than previously, and like the 15th tee, will be significantly wider allowing the hole to play from its measured yardage on a near constant basis. The red tee will be more central than previously located, giving the ladies/juniors the same shot line as the men, instead of a more severe dogleg.

 

Eventually, the hole will sweep around the trees, with a banked fairway with mounded rough down the left hand edge instead of the ground falling away. There will be a ditch all of the way down the left hand side, and probably one coming across from the 8th fairway as well. These will link up with the existing ditch which crosses the 14th/15th holes. The objective is to create a greater network of ditches  across the course, into which we can drain wet spots. 

 

The upper section of the hole has now been reshaped and the temporary tee position has now been moved again, as the groundworks need to move down onto the main part of the old 12th hole to build the reservoir itself. From the concrete crossover, players now follow a path up the hill, towards the 8th fairway. At the top of the new mounds, the temporary tee position allows the hole to be played as a 290 yard par 4.

 

TEMPORARY LAYOUT FOR 14TH HOLE,
effective 17th February 2011 onwards:

 

 

From the tee box the fairway runs tight to the RIGHT HAND edge of the trees.

 

The Out of Bounds posts are now located to the LEFT HAND side of the trees, but do come back with the tree line to shape the dogleg from the new fairway. The hole will present a tough challenge from there, if you get too close to the trees, especially once they come back into leaf, then the second shot will be blocked out, if you go too far right, you will be on the 8th fairway downslope, playing to a green which runs away from you and has a small pot bunker absolutely bang in the middle of the approach!!

 

See Hole Plan below:

 

 

 

An apology: Pathways. This winter has been one of the wettest that we have since the Club opened. This, coupled with the ongoing works and the overall increase in golfer numbers, has caused a number of problems around the course. When we reconstructed the upper section of the 8th fairway in October 2010, we expected to be able to get at least a basic grass coverage on it before the end of the season. The sharp drop in temperatures in November, the snow in December all meant that this was impossible to achieve. When the 8th was reshaped, we felt that the path route through the tress, across an area with dense grass underfoot, would be more than adequate to enable reasonable access to the main fairway through the winter period. This, with hindsight, was not the case. The same applies to the access from the 12th Green to the 13th Tee and the 15th Green to the 16th Tee. This area has also become extremely loose and wet.

 

We recognised that this was happening, and when the temporary access to the 14th tee was created, over the concrete crossover, we put in place a substantial pathway to ensure that the route could bear the traffic. The new pathway to the new temporary tee position is made in the same way, so again, this will ensure that access on high traffic areas will be clean and dry. As we move around the course, renovating tees, we will be installing similar pathways which will become permanent features to deal with the problem of the winter traffic on the clay base for the future.

 

With regards to the pathway to the 8th hole, we are in a very difficult position. In order to do anything about it now, would cause more damage to the rest of the course getting the necessary materials to the location until the ground dries out. It may be that the the poor areas will have to remain as they are for the remainder of this period, and we will ensure that proper pathways are installed in readiness for next winter where appropriate. So, to all those who have played and endured the wet conditions during the winter period, my apologies to you for the few areas where we got it wrong, and I can assure you that we will be doing our utmost to ensure that winter golf will be cleaner and drier for the future.

 

 

 

In the past few years, there has been a lot of new legislation brought in which deals with reservoirs and reservoir construction. In simple terms, we have to create the reservoir, including all of its retaining bunds and have the whole reservoir signed off as safe by engineers. This will leave bunds on the lower sides of 45 degree slopes clearly visible. Once the works have been signed off, we are then able to complete our landscaping works on the perimeter, which will key into the bunds and the single angle shape will then be absorbed into a gently rolling contour.

 

If anyone has any questions, please do not hesitate to email or ask me. I will be happy to talk you through the project.

 

 

 

 

The 14th Hole......New Bunker......
I'm not saying its big....but my greenstaff are a reasonable size....
as is the 3.5 tonne tipper truck!!

 

 

The 14th Hole......New Bunker......
....and now it is in play....
It is one of those "must visit" places!!

 

 

 

 

As a taster of what is to come, the picture below shows the view from the new left hand medal tee on the 15th!! The yardage from this position is likely to be around 375/380 yards, which is a little bit longer than it was previously. What is a huge improvement, is that the ditch is clearly visible from the tee, as is approx 20 yards of fairway short of the ditch.

 

 

 

 

What will make this hole really special, is the fact that we will have TWO Medal tees, the second one playing from the right hand side, closer to the 14th Green. This enables us to alternate between playing the hole as a slight left hand or right hand dogleg, from virtually the same distance. The view below shows the view from this position, and again the ditch and fairway is clearly visible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, both the Yellow Tee and the Ladies Tee will play from a central position. Whilst it may not be possible to get the Red Tee to a height where the ditch can be clearly seen, without adding to much yardage to the Red Course, the central position and Mens Tee mound to the rear of the Ladies Tee will enable the Ladies to have a viewing vantage point from a short distance behind the Tee. The silver birch to the left of the fairway also is taken out of the shot line from the Ladies Tee in this position.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Front Entrance Works January 2010
Work has commenced at the front entrance to prepare the site access for the landscaping works around the course. Most members will know that we were granted a planning consent back in February 2009 for a 4 million gallon reservoir, to store water during the winter period for use in the Spring, Summer and Autumn. Once completed, this will enable us to irrigate all of the tees, all of the fringes, and the last 30-50 yards into the green on every hole.

The reservoir project is a multi stage operation, involving the reshaping and soft landscaping of existing, out of play areas, providing new larger, well drained tees, better shaping around a few greens, a new bridleway down the back of the course, where the footpath exists at present from the church, and finally, the irrigation reservoir.

To put this into perspective, the "reservoir" will be a large pond, roughly 15% bigger than the pond on the 10th hole, but deeper. It will be located in the triangle of unused (from a golf point of view) land between the 12th, 13th and 14th holes. The 12th fairway will need to be reshaped so that the pond sits properly in the landscape, with undulating contours running up to its edge rather than a steep and false angled slope. It is likely that we will play the 12th from the existing tee, but to the right of the trees, sharing a massive fairway with the 8th hole to keep the hole as a par 4 whilst the works are completed.

The works at the front entrance are necessary because we have to have a controlled area at the entrance to ensure vehicles are checked in and out, and are clean before they return to the highway. The 5th hole should be unaffected (unless you have a severe hook!)

I will put more detailed plans up shortly.

 

14th Fairway drainage completed
Over the past two wet summers, it has been clear that a couple of the springs that find their way to the surface on various parts of the course, had established some new routes. Generally, what happens, is that when we have sustained wet weather, then the long established underground routes that the water has been taking for years, cannot deal with the increased volume. The water pressure causes new routes to open up underground as the water has to go somewhere. If that new route actually becomes easier than the old route for the water to flow down then the water will simply follow the easiest route of flow. It is this principle that has seen the wet spots appear by the ditch on the 3rd, in front of the 7th green, in front of the 11th pond, the "waterbed" effect on the back of the 13th green and the middle of the 14th fairway plus some areas of the rough around the 14th/15th fairways. All of these areas have now had substantial drainage installed to deal with the water flow, and to move that water away from the important playing areas. The 14th fairway was completed this week, and already significant water flow can now be seen into the ditch across the 14th/15th/11th which is where we have drained it to. Don't expect to get a dry lie in the ditch anymore!!
We expect the drainage to enable the fairway and rough areas to firm back up again and for normal play from these areas to resume shortly.

New Course Routing Experiment
Captains Day 2007 saw the trial run of a potential new routing for the course. There are a number of issues that we would like to resolve with the course that have become apparent over the 14 years of operation, and the renovation of tees and the work with the reservoir will give an opportunity to resolve most of these issues.

 

The main areas where problems have been identified are:
3rd Green to 4th Tee ~ very slow part of the course as players have to wait for the group in front to putt out and walk back towards them for some distance before they are clear to play the next shot to the 3rd green. Excessive wear is also experienced on the front of the 3rd green as a result of this high traffic.
8th Green to 9th Tee ~ occasionally, we have players taking a short cut across or in front of the 17th green to access the 9th tee.
11th Green to 12th Tee ~ everyone's pet hate, the long walk up the hill!!!
17th Green to 18th Tee ~ players walking across, often with trolleys, the 9th tee box.
Other Issues:
10th Tee as a start hole ~ being over 150 yards and unseen from the clubhouse and a par 3. At busy times, players often go down to start on the 10th when the 1st is busy, only to find that there are already a number of groups waiting on the 10th. In addition, par 3's are notoriously slow start holes. It is not inconceivable that a fourball all might take 5 shots each on the 10th....that is 20 shots to be played before the next group can start. Compare this with the 1st where it is rare for players to still be in range after a second shot has been played. In a worst case scenario, after 10 shots, (everyone plays 2 and two players have played 3) everyone will be out of range and the next group can start.
Mid round snacks, balls, tees and toilets ~ at present, the 9th hole is not conducive to players coming back to the clubhouse mid round, whereas the 18th to 1st holes is a much more ideal set up.

 

The possible Alternative Route as tried on Captains Day, meant playing the holes numbered as they currently are, in the following order: Front Nine 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 10th, 11th, 15th, 16th, 17th and 9th
Back Nine  4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 8th and 18th

 

This resolved all of the earlier identified problems. The 3rd played very smoothly, with players moving to the back of the green and away from the following group. From the 8th green, players would now move to the 18th tee, meaning that there was no benefit to walking in front of the 17th green. There was no walk up the hill to the 12th hole. The players on the 17th green moved to the 9th tee so again there was no problem with players crossing one tee to access another one. The 4th Hole became the 10th tee, visible from the clubhouse and a par 4 so no starting problems at all.
However, all was not perfect. The walk from the 9th green to the 4th hole was quite long, uphill and bumpy through the carpark, even if it was perfect for collecting a bacon roll and using the loos. The loss of correlation between the 7th green and 8th tee meant that people appeared (from the 14th green onto the 8th tee) as players were about to play their shots to the 7th green. In addition, people ready to tee off on the 8th were disturbed as players approached the 7th green. The access to the 4th tee from the carpark would need to be sorted out. At present, the walk from the 3rd to the 4th tee is across and up reasonably level ground. The 4th from the carpark is across a quite severe side slope, which would be very difficult and slippery in the winter.

All in all, it was a very successful experiment and the problems of 7th green to 12th tee and 14th green to 8th tee can actually be reasonably easily resolved with realigning tees for the 12th and 8th holes, and these tees are to be renovated extensively as part of the reservoir project anyway. The walk from 9th green to the 4th tee can be resolved by going from the 9th green to the 1st tee and the 18th green to the 4th tee, which shortens the walks considerably, although we then lose the direct walk past the clubhouse after each nine holes. We are, however considerably closer than we are at present.

The comments from players were very favourable. A few had reservations, as described above. Most found the alternative route much easier on the legs. There was a final added bonus of the two nines being more balanced in terms of par for nine holes and the distribution of the par 5's.

Will we implement it? Possibly, once we have looked again at the problems that were created. To change and create new problems to replace existing ones seems somewhat pointless. Watch this space.......

 

And now they're wondering why we men prefer to play poker or watch TV over mowing the lawn?