This week the team employed the help of Ken and Jacob Siems of Siems Turfgrass to Dryject the greens. Dryjecting is a process of high powered water injection that aerates the soil profile and simultaneously back fills the channels created with sand. The benefits of Dryject are the ability to target organic matter build up at specified depths, increased root zone oxygen diffusion and increased infiltration rates which in time should contribute towards firmer, healthier surfaces.
The video below created by Assistant Greenkeeper Darren Burton gives a great insight into the process of Dryjecting the greens at Royal Cinque Ports.
25 tonnes of sand was incorporated into the rootzone without the need to heavily topdress the surface and the process took two days to complete. The photo below shows the results achieved, with sand channels created down through the soil profile to a depth of 60 – 80 mm.
The Club and Greenkeeping Department are delighted to welcome Lee Campany back to the role of Deputy Course Manager. Lee rejoins the team from Princes Golf Club where he held the position of Irrigation Technician. Lee is a fantastic addition to the team and I am sure everyone will join me in congratulating Lee and welcoming him back to the club.
For the second time this winter the team have focused their attention on refining the native rough areas. The prolonged dry spell at the beginning of the new year allowed for controlled burning of hard to reach areas. Controlled burning is carried out with approval from Natural England as part of the clubs land management plan.
Prior to the second round of flail mowing the team utilised a tractor mounted rake to stand up any dead, decaying plant material from the initial flail mowing procedure before Christmas. The tractor mounted rake also helps too thin out the rank, coarser grasses in the sward. The photo below illustrates the effect of rough raking prior to flail mowing.
The combination of burning, raking and flail mowing helps to minimise nutrient return to the soil. Controlling nutrient return in this way helps to promote thinner, more playable rough areas throughout the playing season.
This week the Greenkeeping team welcomed a new course mascot into its ranks. Bryn Williams is the latest recruit and is settling in well. He already seems to have taken a shine to the halfway hut and hopefully everyone will have a chance to meet him out on the course soon.
In recent weeks the Tees, Greens Surrounds, Flow Areas and Pathways have all been topdressed at a rate of 20 tonnes per hectare with native dune sand, that has been excavated and screened on site using the clubs new Herbst Screener. The photo below displays an aerial image of the 13th Green Surround following the application of sand.
Topdressing is an essential cultural practice carried out to help dilute organic matter, which in turn helps to improve infiltration rates and root zone porosity. The benefits of healthier root zones in the long term translates into a healthier turf grass plant and subsequent improvement in playing surface conditions.
The club has appointed Ben Williams as its new Course Manager. Ben has been employed at the club for the last 4 ½ years where he started as an Assistant Greenkeeper, gaining promotion to First Assistant Greenkeeper and then onto Deputy Course Manager. Ben was successful following a lengthy interview process and is looking forward to building upon the excellent work of James Bledge previously.
Royal Cinque Ports Course & Estates Manager James Bledge spent his last day at the club today before taking up the position of Links Manager at Royal Liverpool Golf Club. James has spent the last nine years at the club, the first two as Deputy Course Manager, the next five years as Course Manager and the last two years as Course & Estates Manager.
In this time, James has transformed the golf course culminating in the course entering Top100golfcourses.com World Top 100 at number 95. James’ list of achievements at the club are endless and it is with a very heavy heart that he is leaving. The opportunity to host an Open Championship in 2023 and the closer proximity of Royal Liverpool to his native Dumfries meant it was too good an opportunity to turn down.
Not only did James transform the golf course, he also transformed the greenkeeping team and its culture. A number of James’ staff have gone on to gain promotion in house and at other golf clubs and this is testament to the time and effort James put into his staff to help them excel and succeed.
Last Friday the greenkeeping team organised a surprise leaving party for James where he was presented with a photo album full of memories from his time at the club. James was also presented with an honours Board by the Secretary and Club Manager James Leah. Anyone that knows Bledge will know how proud he is to have his name up on the honour’s boards in gold leaf.
On behalf of the greenkeeping team and club we wish James, Jenny, Fletcher, Jesse, Stevie & Siouxsie the best of luck on their new adventure at Hoylake and look forward to following their future successes.
It’s been 9 years since the greenkeeping team embarked on a journey to improve the native long roughs, the start of which was logged in only the 3rd ever blog post. A link to the beginning of the journey is below.
9 years and 427 blog posts later the benefits of the native long rough management plan are clear to see. A combination of flail mowing, graminicide applications, raking and controlled burning has resulted in the removal of a large percentage of rank, lush grassland. The thinning of these areas over time has improved species composition and diversity, whilst also improving play ability.
A variety of wildflowers have been spotted in various locations around the golf course this summer. A number of different wild orchid species emerged including the Southern Marsh-Orchid and Pyramidal Orchid.
Yellow-Rattle is now a common sight in the roughs. Its semi parasitic characteristics mean that it feeds off nutrients from the root system of nearby grasses. Its ability to out compete rank grasses for nutrients results in a thinning of the sward and less competition for finer leaved grasses. This contributes to greater play ability of the native rough areas.
Crimson clover was found on the course for the first time this summer and gave a vibrant red look to the areas in which it established.
Everyone at the club is extremely proud of Golf Course and Estates Manager James Bledge’s recent success in the Excellence in Communications Awards. The British International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) run the award alongside partner sponsor Campey Turfcare Systems. The award is presented to individuals who have promoted the work of greenkeepers and highlighted current discussion topics in greenkeeping, through submitted Greenkeeper International articles. James was presented with the award recently at BIGGA’s summer Festival of Turf event.
BIGGA’s news article about the Excellence in Communication Award can be found by following the link below.