The team have now completed their end of season maintenance programme and are looking forward to seeing the benefits on the recovery process if complete. The maintenance week went extremely well from the off, the team did three straight 14 hour shifts Sunday/Monday/Tuesday. In these shifts they managed to do the bulk of the essential work.
The greens team would like to begin by saying a massive thanks to all the members who volunteered to help us complete the clean up of the cores. The members were helping from 07:30am until 17:00pm. The volunteers section led by greens chairman Keith Brown and Ronnie Sanderson followed a plan set out by the greens staff to perfection. “unbelievable effort guys thanks”.
Sunday, the team of three men had 15 greens hollow cored to a depth of 3 inches ready for collection by the volunteers section. All 18 greens had been scarified to a depth of 1/2 inch, this process helped remove masses of unwanted organic matter and undesirable grass. The team left work at 22:30pm.
Monday, by Monday night the team and the volunteers had cleared all 18 greens, spread and brushed 30 tons of Mansfield top dressing into the surface. “An excellent effort by all”.
Tuesday, we had 12mm of overnight rain which helped us by washing the top dressing into the surface perfectly. Tuesday afternoon/evening the team managed to top dress and over seed all 18 greens again whilst doing a little cutting along the way.
In total there has been 60 tons of topdressing worked into the greens in the last 3 days by 3 staff, it was hard work but the team are delighted as they look forward to seeing the benefits. Two applications per year religiously for the future will hopefully help Morpeth become more playable 12 months of the year.
We hollow cored to a depth of 3 inches to make sure we were removing the maximum amount of organic matter from within the turf surface. We currently have on average between 2-3 inches of organic matter within our greens which is a big problem. Once we address this problem and maintain it to a manageable level we will be able to produce much better surfaces, far better than anything we had this season even when they were at their best.
Above is a core taken from one of the greens, as you can see beneath the surface we have compact, anaerobic conditions with very little root depth and a deep layer of thatch. If you look to the layers at the top of the core its like a time line, you can see the years where no aeration was carried out for various reasons, this is now causing us problems and limiting us with what we can produce quality wise. The team are all enjoying their jobs immensely and they are enjoying working hard, making and seeing the improvements out on the course.
Above shows the depth of the organic matter this is from the first green, looking at this coring to a depth of 3 inches has been perfect for us. Not only removing organic matter but creating channels for air, water and nutrients to pass into the surface.
Above is one of the cores removed from a green during the maintenance week, this shows the depth and constancy of clean cut holes due to the perfect weather.
As you can see in the picture the core has been removed and nicely filled with top dressing.
The greens are recovering well, although a little bumpy for golfers they are coming along nicely with signs of germination appearing. Assistant green keeper John Scurfield came in to work a bit grumpy on Monday after a string of three puts on Saturday, the lads just think he needs to practice more haha. Thanks to all the golfers for understanding the process and supporting the team with their efforts.
In the coming ten days the team will be spreading many light dressings to level out the putting surfaces, we also plan to apply an application of liquid feel to encourage growth. Then in the coming weeks we plan to vertidrain the greens/tees/surrounds/fairways to a depth of 10 inches to relive compaction beneath the surface.
In the picture below you can see holes in the core removed from a putting surface, the holes have sand in and as you can see creates channels for root growth to go deeper into the surface.
As the season drawn to a close we look to start reshaping the fairways and surrounds, the 10th/12th/14th greens will be shaped slightly different to be more pleasing on the eye. The 14th green will be reduced in size as for the length and playability of the hole its far too big. The green is also sitting in the shade most of the day due to the overhanging trees to the left. This is causing us problems with moss grass species and grass coverage. We look to reduce the green in size from the front and left, the new green will be more than adequate for the length of the hole size wise.
Below is a picture of the front left of the 14th green during maintenance week.
The greens team are currently working with General Manager Steven Johnson on a course development plan to be presented at at a later date, also a winter works programme focusing on improving the health and looks of the course.
Thanks the Greens Team.