Thursday, 20 November 2014


All the things we normally associate with this time of the year are well and truly here; saturated soil, worm casts everywhere, leaves and grass still lush from a late October growth flush.

October was a very mild month and a stark contrast to last October. This represented extremely high disease pressure throughout October and particularly towards the end of the month. To highlight just how mild it has been; October gave us a new weather statistic with Halloween being the warmest on record.

The combination of high GP (growth potential) and high relative humidity creates ideal conditions for both fungi spore germination and mycelium growth of Microdochium Nivale (Fusarium), and highlights why October and November are now recognized within the industry as ‘THE MONTHS’ for disease. This is why we have to remain protected with preventative fungicide applications and yet to be ready to apply additional curative applications to combat outbreaks at the first visible sign. We cannot afford to be complacent during these periods and failure to take the window of opportunity to spray when conditions are favorable can therefore not be missed or ignored. Another consequence of an increasing GP is an increase in clipping yield; when removal of the fungicide in the plant leaf is quicker due to mowing more frequently to keep up with growth. Therefore new growth emerges that may or may not be protected. This is one of the reasons why the height of cut is raised during the winter period and why frequency of mowing is reduced to increase better fungicide contact to the leaf surface area and to prolong the active properties of fungicide applications within the grass plant.

The leafing process is well underway and follows the guidelines as detailed in the leafing procedure. This activity now takes all priority over any other tasks or projects as keeping the main playing surfaces clear is paramount for both golf and agronomic aspects.  This will unintentionally generate wheel marks as machinery needs to access areas otherwise avoided. The use of golf buggies has been limited in recent weeks and the protection of the course will remain the priority as we head into the real winter period.

The recent unsettled weather has created a lot of soft mushy areas around the course. Attempts to protect these areas and to direct traffic have been put in place with white lines, hoops, stakes and rope. The wet weather has also generated a lot of worm activity which is being treated with various products to try and alleviate some of the problems. This is a wide spread problem throughout the country with worm control products currently in short supply due to demand. Rainfall figures show we have now had more rainfall than last Novembers total. It is expected that if conditions continue to deteriorate, unfortunately a long trolley ban will necessary until conditions underfoot stabilize.
On a positive note; the 11th fairway drainage completed several weeks ago appears to be proving a success and has coped well so far with recent rainfall.

In between leafing when conditions have allowed we have managed to undertake some other winter projects. Pruning down and removing the overgrown broom and gorse along mounds on the right of the 14th has now been completed. This maintenance practice will help promote growth of young, fresh plants and tidy the area in general allowing balls to be found more easily.

The large Oak Tree directly to the side of the 9th main tee has also been removed to improve air and light to the tee and to stop the continuous amounts of tree debris from covering the fine turf playing surface. Some additional tree work has also been completed in this area in favour of tee shots played from the rightside of the tee.

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