Questions have been received asking – why hasn’t the ‘Rolling’ watering system been in use during the prolonged spells of dry weather.
There are a number of reasons so the answer is divided into two parts –
Part 1 – Watering System
a) The ‘rolling’ unit is over ten years old and some of the valves have seized up. We also do not have the pipe connectors any more and due to age it would be difficult to source replacements;
b) It is unable provide a structured watering system that is conducive modern agronomy techniques – see Part 2 below;
c) Over watering will kill off new ‘fine’ grasses and encourage the wrong grasses (broad leaf);
d) It is not generally a golf course method of watering. It is more intended for farms and open area sports fields, therefore not fit for purpose;
e) It might be regarded as unacceptable to use watering during a drought when we are all supposed to cut right back. We are on public view to people who walk across the course;
f) Our water comes direct from the mains supply so the costs to the Club are prohibitive;
g) It is intrusive to players on the course if it was in operation and there are no controls if it was left on overnight;
h) It would have made little difference to the fairways and the overriding factor is, we did not want to upset a carefully planned programme of developing our new grasses which are now making good progress – refer to Part 2.
Part 2 – Fairway Seeding
We have continued our work on improving the grass coverage on the fairways through overseeding, using pure fescue seed. We have chosen a mix of 3 fescue species each of which provide different beneficial characteristics.
• Festuca rubra ssp. Musica (Chewings fescue) – Very high wear tolerance, high resistance to disease and adapted to drier, infertile soils.
• Festuca rubra ssp. Herald (Strong creeping red fescue) – Due to its larger rhizomes an excellent grass for colonising barer areas of fairway.
• Festca rubra ssp. Helena (Slender creeping red fescue) – Medium rhizomes which enable this grass to spread and cover barer areas whilst maintaining a high wear tolerance.
The optimum time for overseeding is mid September, while the soil temperature is still high but the chance of heat stress is reduced. The early morning due will produce enough moisture in the ground to enable seed germination and the odd shower will also help. A common cause of failure or unsatisfactory establishment of seedlings is “damping-off”. This is a seedling disease which is usually most common when the soil is too wet, too cold and a deficiency in plant nutrients. Again the weather in September “should” be ideal.
Improving the sward on the fairways is an on-going process through introducing more and more desirable grass (Fescues) that are much more wear and drought tolerant. This will not only improve the quality but also reduce the need for watering through wetting agents implanted into the ground. This overseeding programme coupled with the hollowcoring work in early April are essential to top high quality playing surfaces year round.
We have made a significant investment in new modern technology when it comes to seed and fertilisers. It is also the reason for carrying out tree work as part of our tree management programme to give more light and air flow to encourage these grasses. It takes a little time to see the real benefits but you can be assured the fairways will recover and continue improving.