July Greenkeepers Blog

Superintendents Report – July 2018

During the month of July, we received just 7mm of rainfall and recorded rainfall on 2 days. 2mm on the 2.7.18 followed by 5mm on the 12.7.18.

The minimal rainfall and lack of irrigation was compounded by consistent strong winds throughout the month, the consistent rainfall we received in June was quickly removed from the turf surface and areas of the course have again shown signs of drought stress.

Two very heavy frosts in a row made for a cold start to the mixed foursome’s championships and some buggy and cart damage is evident on the early fairways where the grass has “snapped” due to the ice, this results in yellowish tire tracks across the course. The two frosts were the heaviest frosts I have experienced in the 9 years I have been here at Kiama Golf course.

The delivery of our recycled water supply continues to be on hold due to some final requirement to be met by the Area health association. The requirements include the addition of course signage in some areas.

Our main focus has been debris removal from the playing surfaces due to the strong consistent winds.

Greens

As I write this report we are in the middle of a “light” greens renovation that involves the use of the verti drain machine with 8mm mini hollow tynes, followed by a 4mm deep verti-cut to remove excess thatch from the playing surface and to smooth out the effects of the coring, after the two processes are complete the remaining vegetation is blown off the green and the playing surface is back in play with minimal surface disturbance for the golfer.

Stuart has applied a selective herbicide to control the encroaching Kikuyu into the greens surface, all greens were treated and the process only took 1 hour with the use of a 50 litre walk behind sprayer, this treatment will be ongoing every 3 weeks and is the best cost-effective control for the kikuyu.

The greens have played firm and true throughout July and this is consistent with previous years. To quote one of our members in the recent 3-man Ambrose event in early August “The greens are hard and fast US open style.”

Tees

A light application of fertilizer has helped maintained good color and tees are in good condition for this time of the year.

We have removed 3 soil bins from par 3 tees due to damage, these will be replaced when a suitable cart can be purchased.

Fairways

The fairways are a bit off color due to the recent heavy frosts, dry conditions and consistent strong winds.

Fairways such as 5, 13 and 15 have shown the greatest signs of prolonged drought stress and will require a favorable spring to improve.

Machinery

The trouble shooting continued with the Jacobsen greens mower over a consistent steering fault, our supplier tried numerous scenarios and finally had a victory with the fault appearing to be fixed at this stage, the mower has been used recently without the fault re appearing.

Bunkers

The bunkers are consistent across the course and are raked 3-4 times a week.

The bunker edges are showing the greatest sign of prolonged drought stress stemming back to March when we greatly reduced our water applications, some of the damaged edges will be removed, this is just a natural process the happens to the bunkers through erosion caused by the wind, rainfall, irrigation and general maintenance practices.

I placed 3 bobcat buckets of new sand in the bunker on the 5th to improve the playability and structure of the bunker.

Trees and Gardens

The second part of the removal of the large dead pine on the practice fairway has been undertaken with only the stump and part of the trunk remaining, this will be finalized over the coming weeks. We will continue the tree removal program throughout the winter and early parts of Spring when time and staff are available.

Pathways 

We have installed the plastic “GEOHEX” grids on the greenstaff access track to the top of the 3rd tee box, this was identified as a serious WHS issue and we were no longer using ride on machines to maintain the turf area, with the use of the grids we now have a stable base with adequate grip to now drive a ride on mower up to the top tee, this has all but eliminated the risk and will be a valuable time saver in the summer months. Thank you to A+ plastics for their continued support.

Regards Mark Yates