It is vital to get the greens off to a good start following winter. The greens here at East Berkshire are over 100 years old and built from clay, which is slow to warm up compared to a sand based U.S.G.A spec green. At this time of year the differing grass species begin growing at different stages which can be seen from the slightly molted appearance. The greens have been verti cut and top dressed, this operation removed around a 1-2 box loads of material from each green and really tidied up the surface nicely, with many positive comments having been received about the condition of the green thus far. The plan will be to repeat this work in a fortnight’s time and continue throughout the summer. Regular scarifying, top-dressing and aeration are key in reducing thatch levels and providing smooth consistent playing surfaces. A soil folia feed was sprayed on Friday which will help even out the growth as temps increase throughout the coming weeks. All sprinklers have now been trimmed and the irrigation system successfully turned on and primed with just one sprinkler needing attention. Another important job has been clearing the back of the 7th green complex. What was an untidy area of gorse, holly and undergrowth less than 6 metres from the green, has been transformed improving the playability of the hole. Wood felled from the winter tree work has been utilised with a new fence erected along the path. This is natural and in-keeping with the environment of the course and compliments the bark chip path (as demonstrated on the 9th hole). This week the tees will be over seeded with a new variety of seed which is able to germinate at much lower temps than conventional seed. The over-seeder is mounted on the back of a tractor and drills the seed directly into the soil creating a vital soil/seed contact which is critical for germination.
It is important to remember that the work carried out now ensures the golf course is in good shape throughout the summer, equally we are seeing the benefits of work at the end of last summer and through the winter. It is often said that we are ‘growing tomorrows turf today’. The forecast looks set to remain largely dry with little if any rain expected and a chance of frost at night. Over the last couple of years we have seen winter followed by a dry, warm spell with little in the way of ‘spring’ growth or April showers. It is possible we may need to use the irrigation to encourage growth!