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Course Report April 2015
Following the Winter/early Spring Course Management Programme and the current condition of the course, expectations are 2015 will see a further improvement in quality and performance over that accomplished in 2014. However, Turf-grass development and especially the recovery of the greens, after linear aeration and top-dressing, has been very slow due to the low temperatures experienced in recent weeks. As soon as the temperature rises above 7 degrees C. all part of the golf course should see substantial turf-grass growth.
The main objectives for the course in 2015 are:
To reduce further the quantity of nutrients/chemicals in use while at the same time enhancing the turf-grass performance. Since the Course Management Programme was introduced a number of years ago there has been major reductions in fungicide use through reduced disease incidence and major reduction in nutrient inputs while increasing turf-grass performance.
Control and therefore reduce water usage. This is to be achieved by the introduction of regular monitoring of the root zone moisture content of the greens (every14 days). This will determine whether a green needs a root zone penetrant or requires water and in what quantity.
Possibility of over-seeding of the greens. This involves trial work (not on the greens) to see if it is possible to change the greens from meadow grass to predominately Velvet Bentgrass. This grass is very dense, smoother surface, more disease resistant, better ware resistant and requires lower nutrient input.
Many members have voiced concerns over the state of our waterways and ponds especially at particular times of the year. The biggest problem by far during the 2014 season was algae growth throughout the water system. Algae growth is triggered by a combination of light, nutrient and heat. In 2014 Algae first appeared in the system at the start of March. The main feed stream to the water features is highly enriched with nutrients from off site. This high nutrient level combined with light makes for explosive algae growth in the ponds. In ideal growth conditions a pond can become choked with algae in as little as four days. The pond management programme commenced in 2013 and was implemented so as to cause minimal impact to the resident wildlife and to enhance the environment where possible. The objective was to enhance and manage rather than achieve total eradication. This can mean that sometimes results take a little longer than if control was achieved through hard chemical application. We are assured this method will give better results long term with little of the damage. Following a review meeting last November it was agreed this season’s treatments would begin a little earlier in 2015 and be applied a little more frequently and monitored closely.
Finally I would like to congratulate all the members who have added greatly to the upkeep of the course by the use of the sand bags to repair divots especially over the winter. Well done and please keep up the good work.