Gavin brought the 3 furloughed staff in on Tuesday. They were delighted to get out of the house and Gavin, Callum and Jamie were equally pleased to have others sitting on the mowers. The trio who looked after the course had to work very hard just to stay on top of the mowing, and fully earned the praise (and thanks) several members have passed on.
This week has been all about bringing the course back to normal summer conditions, but it will take a few more days. The greens had been kept at their winter height of 5 mm were taken to 4.5 mm on Wednesday and to 4 mm on Friday - that’s our usual summer height. Members who have been commenting that the greens are slow will just have to be patient (understanding would be nice, too!). Growth is strong because we are having to water every night - we have a major problem with ‘dry patch’, a fungus which exudes a waxy substance which prevents water penetrating the greens. The new moisture meter is reading 25% moisture on most areas, which is the target, but under dry patch it can fall to below 10%. Untreated, the grass will suffer - water just runs straight off these areas and into the hollows. The only way to deal with it is by hand-watering with detergent; 1 or 2 men have been doing that since they came back to work - with only 3 men in, that’s a job that just was not getting done. It will take time but it will be sorted. Next week Gavin will spike the greens to help get moisture under the surface.
Elsewhere we are catching up with the general mowing and tackling the bunkers, which are an issue in their own right. They have not been touched all winter because we have not had the resource to ready them for the summer. They need edging out with a bit of reshaping and the sand loosened and redistributed from the ‘panning’ caused by the continuous rains in the first quarter (remember that?). The sand also should be topped up, but supply is a real problem. Although we were promised new deliveries early in the week that did not happen; it turns out that our main supplier is changing quarries and now might not have suitable sand for 2 or 3 months! Bunker sand is a complicated topic. Maintaining a consistent particle size distribution (and ideally colour) is important. Better players in particular notice the difference. There may be possible alternatives, if we can get it, but we are in a bit of a bind for now. We are not alone - several courses in the area are committed to the same sand, but perhaps they don’t have 4 completely empty bunkers to restore. We did have enough to fill the 6th; it will need water and compaction before it can be put into play.
One of the justifications for our extra man is to be able to give the bunkers more attention. As soon as they have their spring tidy-up (this week) that should be visible,
The tees are due a weed and feed spray next week.