Sunday, 29 March 2015

Spring bunker maintenance

Each Spring maintenance work is carried out on the seventy bunkers on the golf course.                 The work involves the mowing, trimming and edging of the bunker lips. This process gives the bunker a clean edge where any straggly growth is removed.
The sand in the bunker is redistributed and additional sand is added where necessary.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

John Deere 8800A Terrain cut rough mower

As part of the 2015 capital expenditure the golf club has purchased a new John Deere 8800A terrain cut rough mower. The purchase is to replace the tractor mounted wide area rough mower, which was twelve years old,  and has been part exchanged as part of the deal.
The mower is to be used for maintaining the mown areas of rough at a height of two and a quarter inches.
The photo below shows the new mower which operates with five twenty two inch wide rotary decks that follow the contours individually.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Shrub bed planting 1st Tee

The renovation of the 1st Tee is now complete with the planting of shrubs in the MGC bed and along the side of the extended Tee.
After taking advice four different types of shrub were chosen which are all low growing, salt tolerant and  low maintenance. The colours in the Morecambe golf club emblem were used in deciding which plants to purchase.
The four shrubs chosen are:
Lavender "Hidcote", purple flower
Ophiopogon "Nigrescens" black grass
Persicaria "Darjeeling Red", red flower
Erigeron karvinskianus ,white and yellow daisy like flower

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Golf Course Annual Report 2014




The following report outlines the work carried out on the golf course during 2014. The rainfall figures always have an effect on the timings of maintenance operations and sometimes the presentation of the golf course. The overall rainfall figure is higher than 2013. After a fairly wet start to the year the Spring was dry again with only 37mm in April. Other noticeable dry months were June and September. The irrigation was mainly put to use in April and the Summer months of June and July.


             Jan    Feb    Mar    Apr    May    Ju     Jly     Aug    Sept    Oct    Nov    Dec    Total
2012   116    55      29       64      91       145  133   152     194     145   153     176    1,453
2013   59      40      31       28      39        51    81     111     103     118   77       119       857
2014   175   123    76       37       57       19     69     96       18       150   113      83     1,016


                       Apr      May      June      July      Aug      Sept      Total
2012            317        525        0            0          25         0               867
2013            272        206       490        842       87        268       2,165
2014            398         0          707       502       0          358         1,965

In my 2013 annual report I wrote a paragraph on the “Future management of the Greens”
“Greenkeeping maintenance and management techniques are evolving all the time. I have decided, following discussions with the STRI and respected peers to amend and adjust certain cultural maintenance practices carried out on the Greens. The main objective is still to develop and sustain a fescue/Bent sward but with emphasis aimed at producing Summer putting surfaces that are more in line with tournament golf.”
Several changes were made which brought the following results.
1.. The nitrogen content in the fertiliser programme was increased by 16% with slightly higher inputs during the Spring period. This helped to overcome differential growth patterns between the grass species in the Greens.
2.. More intensive grooming work was carried out in the Spring with the verti-cut units. This process helped to refine the texture of the sward and improve ball roll.
3.. The vibrating rollers purchased in the Spring were put to good use being used on average three times per week during the playing season, Wednesday, Friday and Saturdays. The rolling has a cumulative effect, and if not abused will help to increase Green speed without the need for extreme low heights of cut.
4.. During the optimum growing conditions of the Summer months the height of cut was lowered from 4mm down to 3.5mm.


The four maintenance practices mentioned above helped to produce smoother, truer and to some extent faster putting surfaces. Overall this change in management did not seem to have any adverse effect on the Greens. The STRI did originally have some reservations, especially with the drop in height of cut, on the long term health of the Fescue/Bent grasses. If the regimes ever became too severe then annual meadow grass would become dominant again over the desirable grasses that have been established over the last twelve years.
Please remember we have to produce a surface playable for all abilities. Eleven of the eighteen Greens at Morecambe have aggressive slopes running through them. Anything over ten feet on the stimp meter will produce unplayable putting surfaces for the majority.

The Greens were successfully over seeded twice during 2014. A straight Brown top bent was used in May, and both Bent and two species of Red Fescue were used in September. The numbers of desirable grass species is still on the up helping to produce improved putting for the whole of the year.
As already stated the nitrogen levels were increased by some 16% up to 79 kilograms for the hectare. Potassium nitrate was used in the Spring to good effect. This nitrogen source is more readily available during cooler soil temperatures found at this time of the year. Liquid fertiliser was used again through the Summer months in the form of seaweed, an organic formulation and methylene urea which supplied the necessary nitrogen. The organic and seaweed have many benefits, it is a balanced soil conditioner, it stimulates growth and feeds the soil bacteria present.
For the fourth year in a row April was a dry month leading to the use of the irrigation. The other noticeable month being June where temperatures were quite high  with very little rainfall.
Straight sand was once again applied to the Greens this year. Approximately 120 tonnes was applied through the growing season with half between March and mid-May and the remainder around the maintenance week in September. This regime helps to build up the surface levels in Spring and cuts down on the amount of surface disruption during the main Summer months.
Regular monthly applications from March onwards allows for the even distribution of moisture through the Green profile as well as helping to move excess moisture away from the surface.
The vert-drain was used twice during the year in February and September. The action of the verti-drain produces heave within the Green and fractures the soil profile, relieving compaction and allowing air, water and root movement. The John Deere aercore  was used seven times again this year with solid tine attachments. This process keeps the surface open and is vital in supplying air to the organic matter layer and root system.



The golf course has a rolling programme set up with machinery replacement based on the age of the equipment and the addition of any new developments on the market. The club makes every effort to carry out this replacement programme as maintaining old equipment can be false economy and cost more in the long run.
The photograph below shows the attachment Greens rollers purchased in 2014. The units are fitted onto one of the Greens triple mowers in place of the cutting units. The Greens were rolled on average three times a week during the main growing/playing season.

The second purchase in 2014 was a John Deere 2500E Hybrid triple mower used for the mowing of Greens. An older version of this mower was used as part exchange.


Two Tees were redeveloped during 2014 as part of a long term plan of Tee renovations. The idea behind the renovation work is to produce Tees which are level, have a good coverage of irrigation and are built from quality materials which will allow play from them for the majority, if not all of the year.

5th TEE
The 5th Tee was renovated at the beginning of 2014. The completed Tee is now on one platform and at forty meters across  has a wide shot variance in Tee shot angle from one side to the other. The overall size has been enlarged from 430 sq m to 490 sq m which is the recommended size for a par three Tee taking into consideration divot damage through the year.
The work involved was as follows:
Level the surface into one platform, extend to the right hand side by four meters.
Install a main drain along the rear of the Tee.
Upgrade of the irrigation.
Rotovate and de-compact the Tee, add necessary infill material and level off.
Re-turf using a Fescue/Bent  mix turf.

1st TEE
First impressions of the golf course are important, the newly developed 1st Tee and shrub bed areas now have a good impact on the course.
The work involved was as follows:
The Cherry tree and shrubs were removed from the left hand side of the Tee.
A block retaining wall faced with natural stone was built down the left hand side of the Tee extension.
New irrigation fitted into the Tee supplying eight irrigation heads.
Infill material and rootzone imported into the Tee extension.
The old Tee was rotovated and de-compacted.
The whole of the Tee was levelled to a finish.
The Tee was re-turfed using a Fesue/Bent turf mix.
The shrub beds have been developed around the MGC box hedge and will be planted with low growing shrubs.

The Tee has been developed from 300 sq m up to 460 sq m allowing play from it for the whole of the year.

Below are photographs showing the development of the Tee.



The photos below show the building of the block retaining wall dressed with natural stone and the completed Tee and new shrub bed.



For a second year running a contract hire company were employed by the club to carry out verti-draining aeration to the Fairways. The contractors supply and use two 2m wide verti-drain aerators fitted with 25mm diameter solid tines working to a depth of 200mm. The action of the tines produce heave and fracture the soil profile relieving built up compaction. Surface drainage is also improved with air and water movement down through the soil.
The contract is carried out during the September maintenance week. This year the ground was particularly dry allowing excellent fracturing of the soils. The improvement to surface drainage was very noticeable during October when the weather broke. Carrying out this process yearly will improve conditions greatly.

Fairway divot protection has been carried out again this year with artificial mats being placed in designated areas. The two main Fairways protected are the 6th and 8th with other areas protected periodically. The beneficial results are there for everybody to see.

The last quarter of the year has seen fairly damaging pecking to areas of turf from crows. The crows have been digging for chafer grubs, the larvae of the Chafer beetle.
The climate conditions during 2014 have been ideal for chafer grub larvae to thrive. Most of the pecking damage has occurred throughout the sandier sections of the course eg, bunker surrounds and some of the sandier soiled Tees. The chafer beetle prefer sandy loams to lay their eggs which in turn allows easier movement of the larvae. The turf is further weakened by the larvae feeding on the grass roots.
Replacement of the sandy loams with a richer growing medium has been carried out with the areas re-turfed.
The development of the chafer beetle laid egg into the larvae stage can be controlled using an insecticide containing the active ingredient Imidacloprid. This insecticide is supplied as a granular systemic and is applied preventatively as the eggs are laid in late Spring/early Summer. Working within our budget an application of the insecticide will be applied at the appropriate time.

From a Greenkeeping perspective the weather patterns of 2014 have been favourable with lower than average rainfall and decent sunlight hours during the Summer. The last few Springs have been quite dry with fairly low Spring soil and air temperatures.
The Board of directors have supported the golf course most favourably this year. The operating budget has been kept the same, the development of the golf course has continued with the improvement works to the 1st and 5th Tees and the capital expenditure on maintenance machinery has continued.


Thursday, 5 March 2015

Spring time aeration

February and March are always good months to carry out aeration maintenance on the course before the golfing season begins.

Greens aeration
During February the Greens were verti-drained, (one of two passes each year), using 12mm diameter solid tines to a depth of 150mm. This was then followed by surface solid tining using the John Deere aercore aerator with 9mm diameter solid tines to a depth of 75mm.

The Green surface following the two aerators.

The photo below shows the tractor mounted verti-drain and aercore in operation.

The verti-drain produces heave and compaction relief from the end of the tine, both operations allow air exchange, improve surface drainage, encourage root development and aerate the beneficial bacteria within the Green profile.

Tee aeration
Next up the Tees will be verti-drained using the 12mm diameter solid tines. This process will open up the surface and begin to encourage the Spring growth.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Annual golf course report

The Course Manager's annual report for 2014 is now available to read on the Greens Management noticeboard situated in the link corridor at the clubhouse. The report will also soon be available through the club website.
 The report gives an overview of the maintenance practices carried out on the Greens, developments on the golf course and capital expenditure acquired.