Sodden Nuisance

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OF THE TOP 50 British traits talking about the weather invariably comes out at number one, pushing a general excellence at queuing, sarcasm and a love of bargains into minor positions in the league table.

So the last two months have given many of us a great deal to talk about. The average rainfall for East Sussex in December is 90mm or 3.5” although by the end of the month we had had double the usual amount with a full 7” falling.

Work on the courses over the next few months will be dictated almost entirely by how much more rain we get. To date it has been full on maintenance of ditches and drains with some previously unknown ones suddenly bursting to the surface under the almost ceaseless onslaught of so much water.  Nearly all of December’s rain fell in the last two weeks of the month.

And January continued in the same vein, with just under a foot of rain falling during the four weeks over Christmas and until there is a dry spell some of the tee construction work and routine aeration work will be delayed.

One project on hold because of the weather is the repair to the crossing at the top end of the 4th fairway on the Old Course. A clean track of Coxwell gravel is to be laid to stop course machinery wearing away the turf. Either side will be levelled out and grassed over. In the meantime further clearing of scrub and spindly trees on the first and 18th of the West is continuing allowing more light and air to reach the fairways.

 Current projects include clearing a part of Vanguard Way, which is a public footpath running from Croydon to Seaford. The section of it that runs behind the 13th green of the Old Course has completely overgrown and the boundary ditch shared with Broadstone Farm has become silted up, causing water to run onto the Course. Clearing this area will have three positive outcomes: less water onto the 13th green and surrounding areas, more air and light to the same areas and, of course, walkers diverted away from play.

On the brighter side it is not a bad time to get some paperwork done with supplies of materials, fertiliser, seed and machinery being priced and ordered. Carole King once sang, ‘It might as well rain until September,’ but greenkeepers and golfers alike would be a great deal happier if it stopped in February.

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