All areas of both courses need attention. Sprinkler heads are checked and trimmed round, as are tee distance plates that are also cleaned. Greens are mowed daily, tees and approaches twice a week, fairways once a week, semi rough once a week, tee divoting is undertaken at least once a week, whilst rough and the surrounds on a constant roll along with the strimming.
The regular top dressing has taken its toll on the greens’ mowers and they need to be re- sharpened. The work on each mower takes just over a day to complete so the team will be using a reserve machine fitted with a spare set of re-sharpened cutting units with exactly the same settings. David Mitchell is going to be very busy in the workshop as he still has the day-to-day adjustments to make on the rest of the machinery. The last thing needed at this time is a major mechanical breakdown!
The fescue grass over sown into the greens in the spring is now established enough to start vertical mowing of the greens with verti-cut units. These units pull out the horizontal stolon (a creeping horizontal plant stem) of the bent grasses and give a more open surface to the greens. This will be undertaken a few times over the summer months to improve the roll of the ball across the greens as well as preventing a build up of thatch.
A question frequently asked at the moment is about the brown patches appearing on the greens. These appear every year in a prolonged dry spell. It is a condition known simply as ‘dry patch’. This where a waxy coating, caused by a fungus, sticks to the soil particles making them virtually waterproof. In the early part of the season a wetting agent is applied to the greens to help prevent it getting too bad. Dry patch does not kill the grass but just turns it brown. As soon as we get some rain we will punch holes into the greens to get the water in and apply some localised wetting agent if necessary.
One or two weeds creep in on the approaches and fairways that spoil the look of things, so they are being dealt with. As there are not that many, rather than covering the areas with lots of expensive chemicals, these weeds are spot treated with a small hand held sprayer. They then die off over a week or two giving the grass time to grow back in. Pictured at the top of this page is one of the most common, Cat’s Ear (Hypochaeris radicata) and, below, Broad Leaved Plantain (Plantago major.) Fortunately both respond well to a herbicide!