During lockdown a new member of the team was introduced to keep legendary RCP pup ‘Stevie Bledge’ company. Please welcome Siouxsie Bledge. (Suzi) She is Stevie’s niece and can sometimes be found sneaking out of the shed round to the horsebox where she will woof at a member if they do not offer any sausages.
Her behaviour is generally good and she is already a popular part of the RCP Greenstaff. As you can see from the phot below… Stevie is less than impressed with this!
If you see her out and about please feel free to say hello to her!
When constructing the wetland to the right of the 2nd in 2019, we intentionally created a few islands to encourage nesting birds. You can imagine our delight this year when we found a family of Coots taking up home on the edge of the larger island.
These wetlands are absolutely thriving with a diverse amount of wildlife, from birds to butterflies, insects and dragonflies. We have even heard a chorus of croaking frogs!
For many years we have looking to install an artificial range mat at the back of the range to take some pressure off the turf and allow it time to grow back after busy spells and especially following spells when seed won’t germinate.
We wanted to make an impact with presentation and create something really special with the furniture in this area. An idea (Stolen from Sunningdale) was to create range separators. We sourced some beautiful teak and with the help of Mike Perry , we cut the wood into shapes. We managed to source a branding iron and when heated up in a BBQ it forms the club crest. They are then oiled.
The yardages have also been readjusted and a new yardage post has been introduced. The range balls only fly around 80% so please bear that in mind when practising.
For a bit of fun before opening the course back up we decided to cut in a tartan tee!
With so much disappointment this year regarding tournament cancellations due to Covid-19, it was great that we managed to get Deal Week up and running and present the golf course and the clubhouse to the best of our ability, showing her off to all of our members and guests.
The weather for the week was a little temperamental however. One of the days we witnessed 34mm of rain fall on the course in 1 hour, during which time a lighting strike on the car park disabled the communication cable on the irrigation system.
Amazingly the course was playable again 3 hours from when this photograph was taken and we managed to get golf finished more or less! This is testament to all of the aeration, topdressing and wetting agent work carried out through out the year, water pulled through the profile, and also lets not forget the main factor! The incredible infiltration rate of natural pure sand, the reason Links Courses can provide 12 months play.
Some fantastic photos were taken of the storm by member Paul Craven.
All of the bunkers were badly washed out, they were rotovated and tilfed using the Toro Sandpro and left to dry out for a day before returning them to play on the final day.
All things considered, Deal Week was a huge success, It was great to see so many members safely gathering on the putting green, enjoying Dennis’s BBQ and the bar run by Carol.
We have been looking for a better way to ameliorate topdressing in to the profile when topdressing greens. Every so often something pops up on eBay that fits the bill and at £300 this implement could be the solution! A new version would have cost around £4000.
This roller spiker is made for the Toro Sandpro that we purchased this spring. it is fairly easy to fit and very efficient to use.
Although this unit is old it is in good working order and after it’s first outing gave us the result we were looking for. After the green is topdressed we run the spiker over it and then another machine brushes and fills the holes with sand, by doing this less sand is left on the surface and it drops into small channels in the profile, the organic matter is replaced with sand and there for diluted. The picture below is a great example of this.
This will ensure the greens are firmer, truer and in time less prone to disease or surface waterlogging. There are a number of other benefits that coincide with this.
The picture above is what we are left with after a brush. The greens are then treated with a wetting agent which coats the sand particles before a good soaking from the irrigation system sends the sand deeper in to the canopy. This operation occurs monthly during the main playing season.
One of the great aspects of this industry is having the ability to surround yourself with fantastic people, these people are quite often the key in your personal development and success and in turn the success of the Golf Club.
I met Dan Lightfoot 8 years ago when I started at Royal Cinque Ports. I was looking for someone who I didn’t know to mentor me during a time in my life where I wished to transition between Deputy and Course Manager, Dan was Course Manager at Bearwood Lakes then and offered a load of advice. Since then Dan has taken on a top role as Business Manager at Syngenta, who are the largest chemical company in the world.
Dan is one of the most respected figures in our industry and has served his time as a Course Manager, college lecturer, Master Greenkeeper, he has a degree in agronomy and is currently working on a business degree. Nothing like setting the benchmark high eh Dan!?
Today we walked the course, looking at ways in which we could improve turf quality and discussed how well the products we use are working and how we could make them work more effectively.
Having a mentor, having a few mentors or being a mentor to others is extremely important in this industry. I am also very lucky to act as mentor to others and it is a role I take very seriously.