In a weeks time we will be spraying Rescue on the chipping green and approach. This green contains a lot of Highland Bent. this grass grows very stalky and woody which leads to an uneven surface.There are also huge unsightly clumps of ryegrass on the approach which are in need of control.
The green has been overseeded, so much like the tees there should be a disintegration of underirable grasses as the fescue comes through.
This area will change colour, there will be an orange tinge to the entire green and more overseeding work will have to take place in order to bring bare patches back to full strength. Pictures shall be posted from the same spot of the progress each week.
This week we have been overseeding our tees to prepare them for an application of Rescue next week, by seeding before we get a head start, the seed should start to germinate when any bad grasses start to diminish.
The seed again is drilled to a depth of around 10mm and at a rate of 13g/m2.
10 days after overseeding there were the first signs of the new seed ‘popping’. This photo was taken 15 days after. There have been applications of Zinc, a seed booster and Seaweed to bring the seedlings on. One more single pass will be carried out on the greens on the 14th of October before Winter. The height of cut has been raised to 5mm now to give the new grass the best possible start. As a result the greens will be slow, cutting low to achieve speed at this time of year would be of huge detriment to the future of our surfaces. We are seeing more and more good grasses year after year and hopefully one day we will be in a strong enough position to chemically control all of the grasses that make our greens slow.
The bottom rows of the front right bunker were severely damaged and as a result the entire bunker caved in. An emergency repair had to be undertaken which involved a full strip and re build. The bunker was also moved to point to the center of the green. Turf from the ladies 14th tee was used to finish the rim, this ensures instant quality and establishment from native turf.
In order to speed up the cutting of heavy roughs we turned to a farming contractor who could cut the same amount of rough in 16 hours than we could cut in around 3 weeks. The first machine was a drum mower that cut the tall roughs down to around 6″ and left rows of grass
It was evident by last years rescue work that there is an incredible improvement in the roughs as the yield had decreased by a considerable amount. The farmer took 1 round bale off the area to the right of the first, last year that would have been at least 3 times more.
In total there were around 30 round bales, these will be burned in the winter or left to rot on our compost heap.
After the 1st of September we are permitted by Natural England to clear any vegetation from the 1st and 18th Dykes. The remaining vegetation was planted in baskets to prevent the banking from falling in.
The 18th dyke was also trimmed and the reeds were collected. There are plans in the future to excavate all of the vegetation from the base of the 18th dyke so the crossing is kept cleaner. However due to Natural England legislation only so much of this can be carried out each year.
With temperatures each day exceeding 30 degrees it feels very strange to start autumn renovations. The Royal Cinque Ports diary is very full and planning a large operation like this means we have to be very particular when choosing the days to do so, there is also a lot of luck involved to make sure everything runs smoothly, thankfully this year everything came together nicely and we managed to complete all of the maintenance in just over 24 hours. The RCP calendar starts to get busy again next week until mid November, so by doing this now we get a good chance of germination and recovery, it also means we can finish tees and fairways overseeding sooner which will most definitely put the course in a very strong position going into winter.
The first stage was to verti drain the greens with a tine that would give us a hole diameter of 13mm. This would push down to a depth of around 8 or 9″. Verti draining creates space in the soil structure for water to drain through as well as allowing gas exchange and also promoting good, deep rooting. The machine below is a Weidenmann GXI8, very fast, very clean and very reliable. The club wishes to purchase one of these in the near future, in the meantime our friends at Royal St Georges were kind enough to loan us this machine. There are great benefits to having clubs like RSG and Princes next door especially when the pressure is on and more machines need to added to the inventory to allow larger operations like this to run more efficiently.
After vertidraining cones overseeding. Fescue seed is drilled in lines in 2 directions to a depth of around 3mm, 12g per square meter each pass (24g/m2 in total). For the last week the greens have been prepped to take this machine, they have been watered each night to raise moisture levels so the disks can penetrate the surface with ease. The approaches were also sewn but only with one pass. When doing this the vertidrain holes are closed shut on the surface, leaving the channels underground open.
A double roll then closes up the drill lines and smooths the green so the golfer has a decent surface to putt on. The roller also pushes any seed into grooves or holes, any seed left on the surface is sadly wasted as fescue needs soil contact in order to germinate, hence the reason that it is drilled.
The green is then topdressed with straight sand at a rate of 11 tons per hectare which is a fairly heavy dressing. The sand caps off the seed in the lines and as long as its not left to dry for prolonged spells then there will be no problems. The greens will be watered every night and sometimes through the day if needed to keep the seed moist.
Finally the greens were drag matted twice to push the sand into the canopy. After an evenings watering the sand will be far enough down not to pose a problem. The next stage will be to give the greens a hand cut at 5mm when it is dry. In around 10 days we should start to see signs of fresh growth. It is then a case of nursing on these seedlings with great care, no aggressive procedures, a lot of rolling and applications of seaweed. We will also be trialing a new liquid feed that is specially designed to promote growth in new seedlings.