September 16th 2021 – Throwback Thursday

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.

https://royalcinqueports.wordpress.com/2012/10/

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.

Southern Marsh-Orchid.
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.

Yellow-Rattle.

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.

Crimson Clover.

September 14th 2021 – Excellence in Communications Award

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.

https://www.bigga.org.uk/news-listing/james-bledge-excellence-in-communications-award.html

September 10th 2021 – Helping Hand

The last month has seen the club host The Boys Amateur Championship, Deal Week, The South East of England Links Championship and the rearranged Halford Hewitt competitions.

The greenkeeping team were extremely grateful to receive voluntary help from Daniel Fisher (Canterbury Golf Club), Jake Hill (Princes Golf Club), Sam Mason (RCP Member) and Matt Login (RCP Artisan Member) over the course of The Boys Amateur Championship week.

A special thank you must be given to volunteer Mark Chaplin who assisted the team during The Boys Amateur Championship and The South East of England Links Championship. Mark was on hand to help out with hole changing and fairway mowing duties over the course of both competitions. Mark’s efforts over the two weeks were invaluable and helped the team out immensely.

September 8th 2021 – Greenkeeping Team Update

This summer has seen a number of new faces join the team. Tom Morrisey has joined the team as an Assistant Greenkeeper from Kolner Golf Club in Germany. Tom lives in Dover and completed his apprenticeship at Royal St. Georges Golf Club before moving to work in Sweden.

Kai Appleby began his apprenticeship at the club in March and has slotted seamlessly into the team in his first summer. Kai is a keen sportsman, playing as a Wicket Keeper / Batsman for Minster Cricket Club in Sheppey and plays golf to a handicap of 7.

Kai Appleby

Jamie Kennedy has joined as the youngest member of the team. Jamie recently turned 16 and started his apprenticeship following the completion of his GCSE’s. Jamie has been thrown straight in at the deep end getting to grips with a wide variety of equipment and jobs on the golf course. Jamie is pictured below with Siouxsie Bledge helping to change the holes on his first day.

Jamie Kennedy

John Hockley and Dan Fisher have both moved onto to new jobs in recent months. John secured the Course Managers position at Poult Wood Golf Club in Tonbridge after a successful year at the Club. John had a diverse skill set and a wealth of greenkeeping experience which Poult Wood are now lucky to benefit from.

Dan Fisher has moved to Canterbury Golf Club as Deputy Course Manager. Dan worked tirelessly during his 3 years at the club and returned recently as a volunteer during the Boys Amateur Championship. Dan was a very popular figure and is sorely missed by the greenkeeping team.

September 1st 2021 – Cutting Edge

Course Manager James Bledge recently visited Northern Ireland to play two of the world’s best golf courses, Royal County Down and Royal Portrush. An area of big improvement at Royal Cinque Ports in recent years has been the evolution of the paths and flow areas between greens, tees and fairways. That being said, the greenkeeping team is constantly striving to improve all aspects of the course further and it was a trip to Royal County down that highlighted how the definition of the paths and flows could be enhanced further. Royal County Down have an intermediate cut of rough fringing between the closely mown paths and native long roughs pictured below. The intermediate cut defines the paths spectacularly and also acts as a buffer to ensure pathway irrigation heads do not become overgrown.

In recent weeks path edges have been cut out at 1 ½” height on all paths and flows at Royal Cinque Ports and definition of these areas has improved as a result.

August 23rd 2021 – Outside Seating Area

Following the successful establishment of the short game area the practice bunker adjacent to the putting green had become redundant. This presented a perfect opportunity to create a lawn to the rear of the clubhouse for outdoor seating. The revetted bunker was filled in and the surrounding area was levelled in late March. The area was then prepared for seeding and was sown with Barenbrug Medal. Medal is a combination of 60% Perennial Ryegrass and 40% Chewings Fescue and is ideally suited to areas of high foot traffic, due to its high wear tolerance characteristics. The photos show the seeding, establishment and completed stages of the project.

August 23rd 2021 – Brooming Marvellous

In recent months the team have switched to using soft bristled brushes on the smoothed sand faces of the bunkers. A soft bristled brush only redistributes the top layer of sand meaning the smoothed sand edge remains compact, minimising the risk of balls plugging. A spring rake is then used to lightly fluff up the base of the bunker. It is a technique commonly used on golf courses in Australia to great effect and is already paying dividends out on the course.

August 20th 2021 – Front Lawn Irrigation Installed

The decision was made to install 54 Toro Precision Rotating Nozzle (PRN’s) sprinklers on the front lawns during February 2021. Historically, the front lawns have suffered from drought stress during the summer months. The PRN’s were chosen as they feature multi stream technology, applying water at differing trajectories. This ensures water can still be applied accurately in windy conditions.

Since installation a combination of overseeding with a blend of Fescue and Dwarf Rye grasses coupled with irrigation as and when required has resulted in a significant improvement in the appearance of the front lawns and overall first impression of the clubhouse grounds. The picture below shows the newly installed irrigation in action directly after overseeding and the improvement in the lawns appearance this summer.