Ben Archer, Brailsford’s Head Greenkeeper is delighted to to take this opportunity to give you all a quick update with the progress of the scheduled course improvements as we exit winter and lockdown.
January was a very wet month here on the course with 194mm (8 inches) of rain. This quantity of water meant that some of the scheduled work had to be pushed back. This also coincided with the furlough of the assistant greenkeeper due to lockdown 3.0. In spite of these challenges, we have made good progress.
Clearing the copse
We have been clearing out the copse behind the 10th green, the copse left hand side of the 11th hole and the copse between the 1st and 2nd holes.
Aeration of the greens
We continue to aerate the greens, by using the Mulitiner, which creates a 100mm downward hole which allows the water to drain away from the surface faster. We will also be continuing to use the slit tinner on the fairways as a way of keeping the surface open and allowing water to drain away efficiently.
With a gap in the weather, as well as adequate soil temperatures we decided to make hay whilst the sun shone. We cored to a depth of 50mm removing a sod of turf and top dressing of sand. Regular coring will help to reduce the buildup of thatch which harbours disease and retains moisture increasing overall stress on the plant. The sand will create fresh channels to aid water percolation through the profile as well as diluting the thatch.
With the increase in footfall across the course during the winter we have decided to start top dressing greens surrounds and tees with straight sand. Increasing the quantity of sand in the profile will help create freer draining soils. This process will take several years to create a significant difference however, we’ve got to start somewhere.
3rd Beech Hedge
Work has been completed on the 3rd beech hedge. The hedge is now a controllable size and had widened the path back to its proper width. The hedge will look bare for 12-18 months however, it will grow back and create a thick dense hedgerow again. The back of the 3rd greens is already reaping the benefit of having more daylight on it. During the recent snow you could visibly see the snow line where the sun hadn’t reached the bunkers and snow was still sitting, yet the green was clear. Clearing the beech hedge has now exposed more of the path which requires some attention, we are looking to renovate it in the near future.
Drainage on the 12th
The drainage work on the 12th is slowly coming together, the bridges are completed and the ground is slowly starting to heal, we won’t see significant gains with grass growth until the spring (which is just around the corner!)
8th Tee Renovations
The 8th tee renovation has begun. All of the groundworks have been completed on a dry week and the work went very well. We are now allowing the ground to settle and dry before contractors come back to laser grade the tee and seed. We hope to have the tee seeded for early March, however this is weather dependent.
The woodland next to the 4th green and 5th tee has been and continues to receive some much needed TLC.
As is always the case in greenkeeping all of the planned work is with the cooperation of mother nature, so certain projects may have to be re-prioritised or take slightly longer than expected.