One of the remaining machines due for upgrading in the next few years is the aeration equipment. The club currently own two vertidrains with a combined age of 30 years. The large vertidrain is used for all areas of the course and is currently needing a lot of money spent on repairs before next winter. It is also too large to be used on greens and tees. The smaller vertidrain does not physically work on our firm surfaces as it is too light so the decision was taken to look around for a machine that will fulfil every purpose.
The first demonstration was a Weidenmann GXi8 Terraspike. This machine fits on our smallest tractor which makes manoeuvrability around the course fast and efficient. This machine is faster and quieter than our vertidrain and can be used all year round as part of our summer aeration programme. 8mm tines were demonstrated to a depth between 3″ and 9″.
The most attractive feature of this machine is the finish it leaves. There is no need for cutting or rolling afterwards, no disruption, and if we have this working along side our small Toro Procore we could finish all 20 greens in 1 day as opposed to 3 days.
Aeration plays a vital part in turf health and these modern machines ensure all of the work can be done whilst keeping in front of the golfer and little disruption to ball roll.
A few months ago our oldest tractor retired when maintenance costs outweighed its value. The Massey Fergusson was used for all loading work, pulling large trailers, along with other mechanical works. It was essential that it should be replaced in order for the green staff to carry out day to day activities. The decision was taken that both the Massey Fergusson and New Holland should be traded in together and we could function with 2 tractors as opposed to 1.
After a great deal of investigating we decided to go for a Kubota 6060. It excelled in every single area, Power, lift capacity, visibility, cost, company backup, trade in values and reliability. The tractor comes with a full 5 year warranty which was also very attractive.
The club continue to invest in the greens department and it not only makes our job more enjoyable and easier but we can work more efficiently and this reflects on the course.
Last year we purchased 24 old and tired bins from The RAC Club in London. The idea was to start from scratch and refurbish the bins, change the colour from green to black and paint a club crest on the top. Artisan members Barry Barnsley and Sean Skirrow helped painting while Gary Skirrow did a fantastic job of painting and applying the club logo.
When on the GIS Bernhards Delegation in San Diego I met Sean Sullivan, A Superintendent from Montana and we discussed how to apply quality logos to pretty much anything. Sean was very kind and sent the club 24 stencils with a tutorial on how to achieve the best results. We are all delighted how the bins have turned out and have now made their way on to 6 holes with the remaining holes finished as soon as possible.
I would like to thank all of the Artisans who helped make these bins while green staff were busy on the course, and Sean Sullivan for all of his help. He will receive a very warm welcome should he ever visit the club.
A few weeks after spraying Praxys on the greens, there has been a significant kill. Prays has 3 active ingredients, Florasulam, Fluroxypyr and Clopyralid. The chemical is systemic and kills from the leaf right down to the root. There are now many bare patches left that now require growing in, overseeing will take place to try and keep poa (annual meadow grass) out however I’m afraid this may be inevitable as the poa seeds at this time of year and will invade any bare space. There is already a great deal of poa in the greens and its by far more desirable than pearlwort so i am positive about recovery. Greens 1,2 and 18 are the worst affected especially where there are areas of high traffic.
Topdressing applications will raise any bare levels ensuring we maintain good ball roll and speed through this spell. I am delighted with the results and the fact that we acted sooner rather than later before the greens were completely infested. Another application if a similar chemical in the Autumn should kill any potential weeds that may grow strong over the winter of 2016/17.
I apologise for any inconvenience at this time and every step will be taken to ensure the green surfaces remain as fast and smooth as possible until we get 100% recovery