Monday, 3 February 2014



Lake Edge Before
It’s difficult to remember a time when we have been so consistently wet. The last time I can remember a similar period is back in 2000/2001. So 2013 was another strange year with unpredictable and irregular weather patterns which seems to be following a trend of recent years. A late winter and exceptionally cold spring, with unseasonably late snowfalls, lead into a warm and sunny summer. So 2013 started flat, however the course performed and grew better in January than it did in both February and March. The winter of 2012-2013 was long and hard, but in reality, winter didn’t really start until the end of January 2013, (not a good omen for this year then). We experienced prolonged cold periods, with ground frosts and snowfall culminating unfortunately in the rescheduling of The Red Cross Cup. In April we experienced the coldest ever Easter period on record, and it wasn’t until mid-April that the weather improved, curiously enough, it changed at exactly the same period it changed for the worse in 2012 when we experienced the opposite and a very wet summer indeed. In June we were flying, the new tees that were re-levelled and increased in size were back in play, including with the new 15th tee, and the revetment of the 18th lake edge to prevent erosion was completed.

And After
Two newly shaped bunkers on the 14th also opened and were in play for their first unfortunate users. In July we experienced a prolonged period of dry and very hot weather causing many areas on the course to dry out. The fairways suffered severely during this period, which resulted in us changing our plans and diverting funding to address the concerns by overseeding and fertilising later in September. August saw the introduction of a new aeration technique called ‘Dryject’. The process was completed in two days and the disruption was minimal in comparison to other greens maintenance activities. September was an average month with warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine. Sadly this all changed in October to December when we experienced Atlantic storms bringing in rain and at times very high winds, causing widespread disruption all over the course. Not only was October very wet, it was also very mild and putting the two together created perfect conditions for disease development. From October 2013 to now the risk of disease developing has been very high. Very few windows of opportunity between breaks in the weather have arisen to apply fungicides or other products of control. These conditions also encouraged high worm activity which certainly hasn’t helped.
So according to national statistics March was the equal second coldest March for the UK on record. Easter was the coldest Easter period on record and both March and spring overall were the coldest since 1962. In contrast July was the third warmest, and it was the warmest summer since 2006. The July heat-wave was in marked contrast to the run of recent poor summers we have had from 2007 to 2012. It was also the sunniest July since 2006 and the third sunniest July since 1929.
Tree Transplanting in Action
Overall 2013 was yet another chaotic year for upsetting best laid plans with a little bit of warmth and some decent sunshine somewhere in the middle. The fountain in the lake became faulty and needed replacement after several salvage attempts. The algae in the lake developed rapidly in high UV light periods, and on top of that a major leak on the irrigation mains was discovered by the maintenance compound. Every oak tree on the course had to be treated for Oak Processionary Moth by outside contractors and the unusual problem of standing water by the 16th tee was eventually identified as a leak from a local property. The maintenance compound had to have security increased following thefts and a fire alarm was also installed under Health & Safety recommendations. The first machinery lease period expired and a new period begun with a group of new modern machinery arriving. Eight trees were transplanted from around the course to the 15th tee as part of the improvement project and the old monolith tree trunk between 14 and 15 fell over after finally succumbing to disease and old age.
Trees re-planted and anchored

  All this made for a very entertaining and challenging year. 2014 hasnt started any better and January was horrendous totalling 216mm of rainfall. This period of poor weather has also created a lot of extra work due to foot traffic around the course with the unstable ground conditions.
I would like to experience a settled, uninterrupted and proper seasonal year; however I am realistic enough and certainly not insane enough to appreciate that’s just not going to happen. Wouldn’t it be nice to experience a year with no weather statistic records being broken or equalled?
December 23rd 2013

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all members on behalf of the greenstaff for their continual support and understanding in such an unpredictable environment.
Course Manager - Chris Toop

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