As we approach the end of July and with the years ‘major’ championships completed green speed and condition remain good, running at 9.8ft last Friday. Our focus now turns to the Charity event this weekend. With this is mind and taking advantage of the forecast the greens have been top dressed with a further ‘dusting’ of sand today (Monday). This heavier dusting will ensure surfaces remain smooth and consistent in the coming weeks before Course Maintenance. The greens have also been pencil tinned to a depth of 4 inches last week which is essential to relieve compaction from the increased mowing and rolling over the last month, as well as promoting root growth and aiding drainage. Elsewhere it has been a case of preparing and presenting the course to a high standard each day. The main ditch running across the 7th, 13th, 14th and 15th has been left to grow longer. This follows advice from the National Trust and ties in with the risk assessment carried out along the ditch line. Leaving the edges/margins longer promotes an important habitat for wildlife while also deterring golfers from attempting to climb down the steep bank and look for lost golf balls, thus speeding up play. The ditch will be cut down in late September as part of the management of longer areas of rough. Following the recent rains and warm temps we have seen a surge in weed growth. An important job this week will be to spot spray weeds with a herbicide. The timing of application is crucial as the chemical requires a 4 hour drying time in order to be effective.
The forecast looks set to remain warm and dry with little rain expected. This will allow us to dry the greens out in the run up to the weekend, which should see speeds pick up nicely. Looking at our records we have received 96% of rain compared to last year however E.T. rates (evapotranspiration) have been considerably higher. As a result of this fairways and rough dry out quicker following warmer temps despite some rainfall. This has placed an even greater stress on the sward and once again challenged the management of the course. In effect we still have a net 4 inch loss of moisture in the ground.