Course Up Date

Fencing along 9th

As we head towards the end of February we have experienced yet more wet weather (40mm Rain) which has led to the course being closed. Despite this work has continued as we gear up for spring. The area in front of the 9th tee has been stripped to allow heather to regenerate from seed. The addition of the fence is essential in protecting and stopping traffic (especially from trolleys) entering the area. This has worked well, is in-keeping with the surroundings and utilises the wood and chip bark left over from the tree work carried out this winter. Trees to the left of the 9th hole have been removed by Southern Electric as part of the safety management of the over head power lines, which in turn has opened up the view through to Heath lake. On a positive note all turfing is now complete around the 10th green surround, 11th fairway bunkers and the area to the right of 17th green. Members are asked to keep off the new turf where possible, and use the ball scoops provided. Sand will be added to the remaining bunkers when ground conditions allow. Elsewhere the greens have been sprayed with a folia soil feed/wetting agent which has helped to keep driving the water down through the profile. There have been several comments about the number of worm casts especially on the tees and fairways. This is a common complaint at this time of year with other Course managers reporting similar conditions. The recent wet weather has seen an increase in worm activity and compounded the problem. Following a change in European legislation there are currently no products that control worms effectively. We are trialling a natural product derived from garlic which irritates the worms forcing them further into the soil profile. We will monitor results to see how effective and successful this has been. Despite the milder weather of late pushing up temps (high of 14 degrees) the forecast for the coming week is for colder weather with the possibility of frosts. This will check soil temps and knock back growth however, with no rain on the horizon the course should start to dry out!. Despite an ambitious programme of work this winter we are further ahead than at this point last year and remain on schedule to have the course fully open by the middle of April.

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3 responses to “Course Up Date

  1. Well done Matt and the team. The end is in sight.

  2. I would like to know the criteria that is set for closing the course. It has been closed for the last 4 days and it is a surprise it is still closed this Monday 28th.
    If the greens are puddling other courses will sqeegy them to a playable state. If parts of the fairway are wet most club members would take advantage of the casual water ruling. Not many would willfully wade through water and hence would not cause the imagined damage. When can we start playing again?

    • Alan,
      The course has been closed for 2 of the last 4 days (Saturday and Monday), as a result of the 10.5mm of rain experienced since Friday. There are many factors to consider when closing the course; primarily the playability of the greens, but also the condition of the golf course in general. The greens here at East Berkshire are clay soil ‘push up’ greens, which were built to hold on to water through the summer months and hence do not have great drainage capabilities. By its very nature clay is prone to compaction, which results in poor soil structure. As the soil structure deteriorates pore space is reduced and this has direct consequences on air/water movement and root growth. Damage caused through the winter takes much longer to recover and will have an impact on the quality of the surfaces.
      In general, courses with larger numbers of staff only squeegy greens for competitions and not everyday play. Consideration must be given to the damage caused to all parts of the course, with many areas needing ropes and stakes to manage traffic. Despite these measures damage still occurs (e.g. walk off area 3rd green, start of 11th fairway).
      A total of 42mm of rain have fallen since the start of the month combined with 72mm in January; in what has been a wet winter the golf course has reached a point of saturation. Sacrificing a few days of golf in winter helps ensure the course is in good shape as spring approaches and the golfing season gets underway.

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