It’s been an effective week on the course, despite the miserable weather at the end. The grass is still growing quite strongly because of the unseasonably mild weather but the depleted team have managed to get it all cut - except the rough where the ground is too wet. Worm casts (greens and tees) are a major problem: they have to be brushed off the greens before we can mow. If they are not they build up on the rollers, lifting the cutters and creating an inconsistent cutting height. They also smear over the grass unattractively The chemical widely used to suppress worms - not kill, just deter - was banned in 2017; there are no effective replacements.
Deep solid tining (vertidraining) has been completed, as has rotoknifing. The restructured bunkers have mostly been returfed, with just the 11th (photo above) to be finished on Monday. They will now remain out of play until they can finally be reshaped next March and returned to play.
The grit for the rebanding work has been delivered. Gavin has been able to source ‘reclaimed’ material - it’s recovered rail track ballast that has been crushed to 6 mm and washed clear of fines. It’s £6 a tonne cheaper than ex quarry material - a significant saving when we need up to 60 tonnes per fairway. We will probably unfurlough one or more of the team to get this work done - the job takes at least 3 men on the machines.
We are working on ideas that will allow us to relax some of the winter constraints e.g. trolley bans. In part this will rely on members being marshalled round the softer areas by roping off. It would help enormously if players could spread out rather than hugging the ropes as they tend to do, meaning that in no time at all muddy tracks appear. There will be more to say on this by the time the course is back in play: we need a Course committee Zoom meeting to review.