2nd September 2019 – Putting Green Maintenance Time-lapse Video

Following an outbreak of anthracnose ( a disease that attacks the base and leaf on annual meadow grass ) which on our course is classed as an undesirable grass for the following reasons, it produces a lot of thatch which takes a lot of management to provide firm surfaces all year round, it is susceptible to disease which is no good with fungicides disappearing off the market each year, and the plant produces a seed head which is unsightly and leads to slow greens ,

This disease can be seen as natures graminicide, getting rid of grasses we would rather not have. by letting it run its course we can fill in these gaps with better grasses and create a better environment for them to develop and spread.

 

Advertisements

13th August 2019 – Summer Bunker Blues

After a weekend of 60 mph winds almost every bunker on the course was destroyed, sand spilling out onto fairways and up faces leaving no depth of playable sand and only natural compacted sand underneath:

IMG_1480

The team were out in force on Monday morning repairing all of the sand levels and did a fantastic job only for them to be destroyed again during Monday’s deluge:

IMG_1481

The team then started from scratch once more and in 12 hours managed to get the bunkers back to scratch just in time for ladies day.

 

e2f7a924-d160-4d65-aa0f-074aed7f5184

The photo above L-R is new apprentices Finlay Hyder and Harry Smith being shown the ropes by experienced and soon to be qualified apprentice Tristan Martin, missing from the photo is Danny Fisher, Ben Williams and Chris Clark who were also responsible for the fantastic repair work, an absolute credit to the club.

 

12th August 2019 – Media Day

Today was an exciting day for the club, various members of the media were invited down to attend a Q&A with our course architect Martin Ebert.

IMG_1448

This was hosted by life long member of the club and Golf Channel presenter Cara Banks. They discussed Martin’s involvement with the club and the work carried out on the new Short Game area and 3rd + 16th holes.

IMG_1454

Martin also gave everyone a very interesting insight into his projects at Royal Portrush and Hirono in Japan which opens in October. Publications such as Golf News, Golf Monthly and Golf Course Architecture as well as the top100courses.com website took great interest in the upgrades and many questions were answered.

IMG_1455

Everyone then ventured out to sample the new holes when……

IMG_1462

There was a spot of rain! Anyone who plays at Deal will understand the beauty of this photograph as it as taken from the half way hut which could not have been more popular at that moment in time! Many thanks to everyone who took part in the day.

 

 

9th August 2019 – Anthracnose on Putting Green

Anthracnose is a very common disease that quite often occurs during prolonged spells of heat and mostly attacks  Poa Annua (Annual Meadow Grass) , in this instance we have foliar blight. the other strain is basal rot which occurs during wet spells, this will most probably kick off too following extreme rain showers this week.

Disease on the putting green is most evident as it has the largest percentage of Poa Annua, many of the other greens have small signs. Although many courses create beautiful putting surfaces out of Poa, it doesnt fit in with our links philosophy so in this instance it is a good idea to let the disease run and take out these poa plants so we can overseed these areas with fescue. It is nature’s graminicide ( A graminicide is a chemical that kills selected undesirable grasses).

IMG_1497

The picture above was taken at the worst affected area. each year we decrease poa percentages and the greens get firmer and slightly faster as a result.

The reason we wish to discourage poa is mainly because of its susceptibility to disease (each year more fungicides are banned so we need to maintain grasses that are less susceptible to disease)  There is also the fact that poa produces thatch which can make the greens soft, unlike fescues. The plant also produces a seed head for a considerable part of the year which makes the greens slow and bumpy.

Lets take nature’s helping hand and decrease numbers even more, way may never be completely clean as its such a persistent grass but every little helps. This is certainly nothing to worry about and happens each year, with less and less fungicides available it is wise to try and let the turf build up its own immunity and only ever spray when completely necessary.

2nd August 2019 – Turf Business Question Time

Last month, Course Manager James Bledge was asked to form part of a panel representing golf greenkeeping for Turf Business TV. Also on the panel was the CEO of the Institute of Groundsmanship, CEO of Mysercough, CEO of the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association and the Head Groundsman of Arsenal Football Club.

Capture.PNG

It was held in front of a live studio audience at St Georges Park which is the home of England Football. They covered subjects such as what the industry needs to do to encourage youngsters, Greenkeepers and Groundstaff’s pay, The role Automated mowers  will play in modern turf management along with answering questions from the audience and questions coming in on text.

Greenkeepers and Grounds keepers have a lot in common and we can learn a lot from each other. Please click on the link below to watch Question Time:

Turf Business Question Time Planting A Seed

 

1st July 2019 – Danny Works At The Irish Open

For quite a few years now we have run a volunteer program where RCP Greenstaff are sent to other courses to help out and we receive help when needed also. This is massively beneficial on both sides. Many tips and tricks can be picked up from other courses and applied here, we do this on an every day basis when we steal instead from fellow turf managers on the likes of Twitter. Not only is this valuable tournament experience but it also is a great opportunity to network with fellow Greenkeepers and friendships for life are formed.

Assistant Greenkeeper headed out to Ireland to help out at this year’s Irish Open. Below Danny has written about his week:

Irish open – Lahinch 2019

This was my first ever taste of tournament experience, and what an experience it was.

The tournament was sponsored by John Deere. This means that they provided extra equipment, machinery, their mechanics and also clothing for all of the greenkeeping volunteers. Lahinch Golf Club certainly weren’t short of machines or staff during the week. John Deere provided 20 extra machines to Lahinch on top of what they already had meaning that tasks could get done quicker to avoid time pressures in the case that anything went wrong. Luckily, nothing went wrong the whole week so credit to Brian McDonagh for organising the event so well. We should also mention Lahinch’s mechanic Pete and also the John Deere guys for spending their time servicing the machines so that we could go out trusting that everything was set up correctly.

The town completely transformed for the week. Host Paul McGinley said that he wanted to make it a sort of festival vibe rather than just about the golf which is exactly what he did. It really helps that the town is a two minute walk from the golf club so that the whole of County Clare could get involved, and get involved they did. Every building was spruced up especially for the Irish Open, all newly painted, some pubs opened up just for the week that had been closed for a number of years.

01

09

On top – Lahinch 2018 after the drought last summer.

Below – Lahinch 2019 this year.

What a difference a year makes. Lahinch lost half of the grass on their fairways last year and with a lot of work from all the Lahinch staff and a fair bit of over seeding, they managed to get the course looking amazing and green again ready for the Irish Open.

Upon arrival on the first day, I was taken to a B&B where I would be staying for the next week along with 13 other greenkeepers, some Lahinch staff and some volunteers. We were told to be down at the club for 4.30pm for briefing. When we got to the club we were given uniform and told what our jobs would be and I was told I would be cutting greens. As there was no need to do any work that evening, we were given an introduction into the mower we would be using and then went on a walk around the course. This was good as it gave us a chance to familiarise ourselves with the course and the route we would be taking the following mornings. We were then able to meet everyone else cutting greens.

04

‘The Greens Team’ –

From L to R – Paul Collins, Damien Coleman, Colm Lawlor, Brian McDonagh (Course Manager Lahinch GC), Me, Padraigh Haugh.

After finishing for the evening, we then went back and got acquainted with everyone else staying in the accommodation, a few of us then went for a bite to eat and off to bed ready to get up at 3.30am to be in work for 4.

08

 

Our general day consisted of getting to work for 4 greeted with soft drinks and a muffin to start the day and out on the course for 4.30am. We would go off and complete our morning jobs and then re convene about 7.30-8 ready for our breakfast at 8am. We would then shoot off after breakfast and maybe go back to bed to catch up on sleep for a few hours and then maybe watch a bit of golf before reconvening at 5pm ready for dinner. The spread was amazing, we would not go hungry. Lahinch organised breakfast and dinner for all the greenkeeping volunteers. This was provided by The Sherwood Inn based in Ennis. Breakfast consisted of cereals, yoghurts, muesli and a cooked breakfast. Dinner would be a choice of 2 meals, some of which were lasagne, roast dinner, chicken dishes…etc, complimented by choice of potato, veg and a sauce. After dinner, the greens team would split into groups of 2 and go and hand water greens, approaches and pathways to keep them going to deal with the heat, traffic and evaporation rates.

07

Brian McDonagh claimed he wanted to get 3 things right. Food, accommodation and uniform. I personally think he smashed all 3 of them.To finish, here are a few pictures while at work.

Me cutting the 7th green.

L06

Me watering the 18th green.

05