Greenscene

Skelmorlie Golf Club

June 2017 – Latest Greenkeeping Update – Summer Period

GREENS  All of the greens have been sprayed with liquid iron (to help kill the moss) and seaweed soil conditioner, we then double verti-cut them to help remove the moss and any dead thatch material. All greens were then top-dressed with a medium/coarse sand and sprayed again with liquid iron, rootphose plus (to help improve root and shoot density), and a wetting agent which helps retain moisture in the soil.

The greens are being cut more regularly now as growth improves, on Friday 26th May we applied a granular fertiliser to the greens, happily there has been enough rain to wash this in. As the fertiliser starts to take effect and growth increases, the remaining moss will start to disappear and the greens will fill in.

TEES   The tees are being cut more regularly now, and they have all had the divot holes filled in with soil and seed. The tees have still to be sprayed with a selective weedkiller.

FAIRWAYS   The fairways are now being cut on a regular basis, and we have filled in divot holes wiyh soil and seed on 6 of these, we will work our way around the others soon.

The filled in bunker on the 7th hole will be finished this week and seeded. The areas in front of the 2nd and 6th holes have been fertilised, this will help stop balls running down the hill. The area at the new bridge on the 13th hole will be soil and seeded soon.

Two more bins have been put out on the 2nd and 10th holes. Sheep have been getting onto the course recently, I phoned the shepherd and he said he will remove them and try and find where they are getting in.

I have tried to keep spending to a minimum, and so far mechanically at least things are going well, all major servicing is now complete, so fingers crossed we can get through the season without a major breakdown spend.

 

Greenkeeping Update – Winter Period

Winter work is already ongoing, all fairways have been slit-tined, some drainage work has been done on the 7th hole, this area was very wet. Future work we’re hoping to complete includes, drainage work on the 9th hole to the left of the green and on the 4th hole halfway up the hill. An astroturf path renewal on the 6th hole and the 13th as you cross the ditch. We’ve also started to strim open ditches, we will complete the rest and some of these will need cleaned out in places. The bunkers will also be tidied up and sand added where needed.  We will try and trim the trees in the quarry at the 7th hole as well.

 

Previous News For the Year

As we have now moved into end of season autumn conditions the greens were scarified using our thatch-away units. Thatch is organic fibre material which builds up through time due to dead or dying grass, which builds up between the soil layer and the grass plant. If there is too much thatch on the greens it will lead to problems such as wet, soft water logged greens. A small amount of thatch is perfectly acceptable, our greens are absolutely fine.

The greens were all verti-drained to a depth of 10″, again a good annual aeration programme lets air into the greens helping to combat thatch and keep the greens dry and playable all year round, and helps with good strong root development.  We then top dressed the greens with sand for the same reasons as above. The sand is brushed into the greens as part of this process. In the following weeks we will apply potash granules to the greens, this helps with plant vigour and disease resistance, it also makes the turf more resilient to constant wear.

All of the greens are always lightly scarified and then top dressed with sand as mentioned above. Top dressing helps lessen the thatch layer, fills in any imperfections on the surface and gives us faster, firmer and smoother greens.  I know it is not particularly popular at the time as it it noticeably effects the greens short term, but it is essential for good quality greens during the main playing season.

All of the fairways are now cut using the new fairway mower, the difference in the quality of the cut and even the accessibility to previously uncut areas is fantastic

Summer conditions this year have been very mixed and somewhat testing at times to say the least.  The course and especially the greens eventually reached an excellent standard once again this season and the club has received many complements from members and visitors alike, regarding the quality of the course in general and the greens in particular.  As always, keeping the course growth under control, especially the primary and secondary rough has been demanding work for the small greenkeeping team here at Skelmorlie and at times personally frustrating for them in just not having time to address areas of the course they would like to get at, because of just how much time was spent simply cutting fairways and greens. However, regardless of all that the weather has thrown at the course this year, it has generally held up very well and rarely has the course been uplayable due to ground conditions.  Hopefully the rest of the golfing year will be relatively mild and allow golfers to continue to enjoy the golf course here at Skelmorlie.

Finally, the rains have eventually arrived, the greens have had a good soaking now, panic over, and they are really starting to look good and play well. The course has been tidied up around the tees, mounds and bumps, however, the rough as you would expect is as penal as usual after all the rain and sunshine, and along with everyones friend – the ever irritating midge, are to be avoided if you can.

We are still upgrading all of the existing astroturf pathways for visual improvements to the course but also for safety reasons.  The newer astroturf was a great purchase by the club, it’s non slip and of a much higher quality.  We’ve just finished the path at the third tees, and will get as many done as time allows.

 

As we move into the middle of June the course has suffered somewhat because of a sustained period of very hot and unusually dry conditions and thus we are still waiting for the course and the greens especially to develop some steady growth.

Early in the year a lack of rain has made it especially difficult for green growth and some of the greens are not to the quality they are usually presented.  Hopefully the next few weeks will bring some good steady rainfall to encourage growth on the greens and allow them to return to their normal standard fairly quickly.

The growth has been slow due to lack of warmth and cool easterly winds.  However, all greens have now finally been fertilised and some rain and extended sunshine have improved them greatly.

 

The new fairway mower is working a treat, and gives a great finish. All the holes have had the semi-rough cut, although as we move into the main growing season the rate of regrowth is substantial and time consuming to keep under control.  All the greenside banking has been flymowed and strimmed and been applied with a growth retarder and selective weed killer.  Just a case of devoting time to cutting the greens and fairways, tidying up around the green and tee edges, and attempting to keep areas of the rough under control.

 

VERTI DRAINING THE GREENS

All golfers hate playing on greens that have been verti drained, so to give members a better understanding about it, I’ll explain why it’s essential for better golf course greens.

Verti draining allows the exchange of gases in the soil, allowing carbon dioxide out and oxygen in.  It encourages healthier deeper roots, helps greatly with drainage and relieves compaction.  We try to verti drain our greens three times over the winter months to a depth of ten inches. If we didn’t verti drain the greens they would become waterlogged, soft and spongy, and they wouldn’t be playable all year round.