Friday, 26 June 2015

Hillside Golf Club

Being a member of BIGGA and our local Lancashire Turf Club has its benefits. I have recently had the pleasure of walking around Hillside GC with fellow greenkeepers and Hillside's Head Greenkeeper, Martin Twist. The photo's show a few of the holes and vistas which help to make this a magnificent golf course. The club a reaping the rewards for hard work and a positive attitude to change and development. The club are one the final qualifying courses for the 2015 Open championship.


Refining the Tee surfaces

The new replacement verti-cut blades are proving to be very effective at refining the Tee and Apron playing surfaces. Several passes across the Tees has removed some of the coarser plant growth, monthly verti-cutting will further help to improve grass quality and presentation.
The photo below shows the 17th Tee after a double verti-cut and a pass with the mower.

Friday, 12 June 2015

STRI annual agronomy visit.

Alistair Beggs from the Sports Turf Research Institute carried out his annual agronomy advisory visit on Thursday 11th June. The purpose of the visit is to review prevailing course conditions and to offer advice on on-going management and project work.
The day comprises an initial talk where the Course Manager discusses and provides information on management practices that have been carried out since his last visit. There then follows a course walk where playing surfaces and recent project works are looked at and discussed. Following the visit a report is compiled on the findings of the day with recommendations and comments.

During the course walk soil samples are taken for sampling of organic matter levels and the nutrient status. Photo's are taken which often help to make a point.

Managing moisture levels within the Greens.

Now that summer looks like it has finally arrived my thoughts (and the members) turn to the management of the moisture levels in the Greens. Once temperatures rise towards 20 degree centigrade and there is a rain free period then the moisture level within a Green needs to be controlled. This is done through the use of our irrigation system comprising of the irrigation heads and hand hose pipe watering on the high spots and hot spots of the Greens.
To ascertain whether irrigation needs to be applied a moisture meter (photo below), is used to determine the percentage of moisture within the pore space of the Green rootzone. Ideal conditions are readings of between 15 and 20% moisture. Any lower than that for anything longer than twenty four hours and the grass plant will begin to suffer from wilt and lack of turgidity. This would eventually lead to summer dormancy where the grass plant shuts down its functioning and growth would completely stop.
 On the flip side if moisture levels were consistently kept around 30% and above then other problems would occur. The objectives and management practices at the golf club are set around the establishment and development of Fescue/Bent Greens which are medium to fast in pace, firm and playable for twelve months of the year. Consistent heavy rainfall or over watering through the irrigation system would have a negative effect on all of the above, creating soft, spongy, thatch riddled, annual meadow grass dominated Greens. These Greens would have poorer playing characteristics over the twelve month period, be prone to more disease and cost more money to manage.

A probe is inserted into the playing surface which computes a reading on the screen.

Two of the four irrigation heads running on the 8th Green.

The majority of the irrigation is applied through the irrigation heads which run on an automatic system through the night. Certain parts of the Greens sometimes need extra hand watering to keep the moisture levels required.

Hand watering with a wetting agent applicator attachment.