Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Practice Ground Project Update May 2018

Hi All,

I thought I would do a quick video blog about the Practice Ground Project after I have been asked a couple of questions about it.

Please see the link :- https://youtu.be/iKb2pIXv9ng



Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Old and washed out

Hi All,

I know the title of the blog isn't an attractive one and it could some up how I feel following the never ending winter but is not.
The old bit comes from a visit we have had from an Ecologist for BIGGA (British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association) James Hutchinson who was the Ecologist for the R and A. James is a bit of tree geek (sorry James) and was looking and prasing our woodland management. One tree in particular court his eye and that was the oak between the 3rd and the 1st by the 3rd green. He asked us to measure the base at approximately 1 metre high to age the tree. This came back at around 866cm meaning the Oak Tree was over 800 YEARS OLD! Making it one of the oldest Oaks you will find and dating back to when the site was a deer park.
James was also impressed with our natural wildflowers including Bluebells, Primrose and Wood Anenome in our woodlands along with the Deers, Buzzards and Owls.

Old Oak tree

Wood Anenome and Bluebells

The washed out bit comes from all the rain we have had lately with an eye watering 10 inches of rainfall since March 1st. 10% of it fell on 21st April in about an hour and caused us many hours of labour. You can see some of the pictures in our video blog. Link at the bottom.

149mm in March followed by 119mm in April

A better looking forecast now but we are still 20 days behind 1st May 2107

 We have managed to get all the Tees, Aprons and Surrounds Hollow cored ahead of the season and have applied fertilisers to all areas to help repair winter damage and get us going for the season.

Fertilisers added to the course 

Here is the link to our latest video blog :- https://youtu.be/QL1YfbuZIgk

This will explain a little bit more about whats been going on.

Lastly I would like to thank the team for the hard work the winters are part of the job but this winter has been particularly challenging especially with the high level of down pours meaning reinstating of bunkers, paths and pushing water off greens has been a daily task. It would be easy for them to get disheartened and fall behind with our schedule but the haven’t given up and on while we haven’t come out the winter in bad condition. Thank you guys! 

The forecast now is for better weather, even if is short lived again. To me its like an old car trying to start in the mornings... a couple of miss fires and few revs before we get going. Whatever happens, we are still getting closer to the summer months, which means more golfing.

Happy Golfing 


Monday, 16 April 2018

Playing the waiting game!

After what feels like an eternity of rain and snow, I finally sit down to write a blog with glorious sunshine and the first real feeling that spring is coming.

One of my questions is ‘how far behind are we?’ 
Well compared to last year a lot or 28 days to be precise. Looking at the GDD (growth) magic number we hit 85 on the 9th April. Compare that to last year and we hit that figure on the 12th March! Just for your information we consider 150GDD as the magic number when grass is fully growing and the season has started.

2018 87 GDD 9th April 
2017 87 GDD 12th March

This coming week we will see a surge in growth, we will have more this week than the whole of February and March put together. This is great news for us as this will bring with it dry days. To the end of April last year we had 245mm of rain compared to this years 335mm of rain so far. The biggest issue had been rain days - March 2017 we had 13 days compared to 26 days in March 2018...

Okay Matt, what does this mean to us and our golf course as we already know the weather has been awful like you say! 

This week we will see a flush of growth, these warm days and night (nights being the key part) mean the grass will explode and the greenstaff will be out mowing and trying to keep up with it. We will also use this to our advantage by carrying out some maintenance to the tees, aprons and surrounds. We will be hollow coring these areas and getting some topdressing on plus the spring fertilisers to also aid recovery.
Micro coring 9th

Brushing Topdressing in

Today we managed to Micro core (small hollow core) some of the greens that we know require a little bit more thatch removed and All greens got a light top dressing onto them, this will help smooth them out and maintain speed as the growth flush kicks in (Note:greens get slower when grass grows quicker). 
Talking about smooth greens... I also need to remind you that in the spring when the grass is waking up from its winter, some grass species take longer than others to ‘wake up’ meaning we get differential growth if you look at the rough this is exaggerated out in these areas. This can mean greens get a bit bumpy for a short period. I have done a blog on this in the past if you wish to read this again the link is here :
But we doing all we can to minmise the impact to the golfer.

  • Cutting with brushes to help stand the grasses up before cutting so they are all cut at the same height. 
  • We are rolling to give smoother greens and help maintain green speed. 
  • We have also lowered the height of cut back to a normal height as we slowly bring the heights down for the summer months ahead. 

Getting the rough cut?
We will be attempting to get some of the rough cut in the coming weeks but some of these areas are still pretty wet and will require longer to dry up before we can cut them. 

Catching up on work!
As you can imagine we have a lot of work to catch up on as a team mainly due to us waiting for Mother Nature to play ball. Fertilisers haven’t been applied to areas yet due to the maintenance work being delayed for example. Topping up bunkers and pathways has also been set back due to the ground conditions being to wet to move anything.

Work postponed due to the wet conditions

Just take a look at the practice ground project which came to a grinding holt, as two machines got stuck in and had to rescued over a two day task. They decided it was to wet and postponed work for two weeks. Hopefully this should be up and running again soon.  
What has felt like a daily task lately 

We like all the golfers have had a hard winter. Possibly the hardest Winter I can remember. Please be patient during this period as Mother Nature and the greenstaff try to play catch up! 

So what have we been up too during the wet and snow period? 

Every weather has its down sides and upsides to it. For us as a team this is part of the challenge. Getting other things done while we play the waiting game.

Cutting as soon as possible after the thaws
The new bunkers were finally opened for play

End of pathways and high traffic areas have had honey cone mats and turf added
Out with old broken Irrgation boxes

In with the new
Lots of brush cutting old ditches has also been carried out. This will allow us to maintain them but better and to improve ashetics

Old Temp 1st tee could not cope with the weather and wear

Wacker plating the base for the teeing mat

Better looking Temp 1st Tee. The banks will also now grow in

During the snow days we had chance to catch up on furniture painting ahead of the season

Refurbished bins and boot cleaner

The team also took advantage and edged the old school way with edging irons on the old style bunker to give them a fresh look.

Old tree stumps were added to the overflow car park at the top of the carpark to make it safer for cars parking near the bank

Leveling our greenkeeper pathways has been on going during the wet period

Woodland management has been on going to with the removal of scrub and Rhodie. We have also spent many man hours lifting tree crowns up to improve tree health and improve light and air flow. This may also allow for a full swing...

The Greenstaff also got chance to attend the BIGGA South Coast Conference with talks on Weather, Practice ground design! The RAC Club and Boundary Lakes story so far. This was very educational and gave a lot to think about.

The snow also gave us chance to catch up on some Staff Meetings and college work for those guys that are doing work based learning.

Charlie (Chaz) was finally presented his gifts and caricature on his retirement after the greens forum which was well attended. Graham and Levi also spoke about the last year along with myself. A version will be added
to a blog soon. Thanks to all those the attended.

So as you can see, the weather may not have been kind but there is always work being done to the course.
One thing I have learnt about Mother Nature, is that she always like to even things up throughout the year. My money is now on a good summer that extends into October with lack of rain being my future blog moans:-) 

Enjoy the spring and remember, please be patient we are doing everything we can for your golf course! 


Monday, 2 April 2018

Rain, rain go away... come back on another day

Hi All,

Just a quick video update from the Course.

Link is here


Well March has been and gone with just under 150mm of rain making this the wettest March I have had. This plus the two hits of the ‘Beast from the East’ and very little in growth. We are currently four weeks behind last year growth wise!
I think we have all had enough of this rain but let’s be positive, the summer is around the corner.
We just need to be patient (especially me) and ride the storm out (bad weather).
We look like we are going to get warmer now, this should mean the start of good growing conditions and a chance for us to catch up with work on the course but in the short term we face some typical showery days.. Let’s hope not to many April showers...

I for one cannot wait to get going and I am looking forward to the season ahead.

See you all soon, hopefully without waterproofs on!


Sunday, 18 March 2018

The Beast from the East 2!

Hi All,

I cannot believe we are writing this again especially in March but the snow has come again following 80mm of rain in the last 12 days. This winter has been really testing and some greenkeepers are calling the toughest winter they can remember on social media. We certainly not getting a break.

Clubhouse 18th March 2018

This time last year I held my first BBQ and have picture of me sat in shorts!!

Below is a link to a quick video from the course this morning.


Deep snow again
 The team arrived this morning in testing conditions. Even the motorways were not cleared.

Before the team arrived

View from the cab

Snow shovels and Tractors required

Salting of Carpark

Lets hope for a quick thaw and a spring soon!



Monday, 5 March 2018

The Thaw

Hi Everyone,

Monday Morning
I thought I would do a mini blog and let you know why we have been unable to Open today.
We still have some snow and ice and wet areas around the course.
Sunday Morning

The snow has moved fast but we still have it lying in areas and a lot of this is frozen over.

Please see video attached:-

We experienced a week long frost before the snow. This now means the water from either the rain or the snow melt has nowhere to go. Also another danger from this is Root Shear. This is happens when the surface is soft and the frost is still in the ground below remaining hard. When this is walked on the roots of the grass plant can rip and cause damage to the green. See diagram below.  

I hope we can open tomorrow but we will have to watch how the weather pans out in the coming weeks. Our main issue is getting the snow melted and frost out of the ground. This luckily for us being on the south coast is never an issue so I expect us to be playing golf soon!  

See you soon


Sunday, 4 March 2018

2017 Review

Hello Everyone,

I wanted to do a blog and review 2017 as a year. The trouble is this could have taken me weeks to write and edit the pictures and videos. So instead I have made a video for you all to watch. Just a couple of things, firstly get yourself a cup of tea as this about 9 minutes long and just make sure you are going to watch it at 720hd as this gives the best view when watching. You might not have this issue but thought I would mention it.

Please find the link here:-

Lets hope you are as proud of 2017 as we are and we can now look forward to 2018 and finally get some golf played!

See you soon