We are now into autumnal weather, with around 35 mm of rain week to date and more to come over the weekend. Nothing like enough to soften the course to allow some of the main drainage improvements to start - we couldn’t get a mole plough or slitter into the ground at the moment. Much of our ideas about playability improvements entail either or both techniques.
The main work this week has been vertidraining the greens and tees. Solid steel pins are pushed 10" into the ground down to the gravel base layer and then angled slightly to 'heave' the root zone. This relieves compaction and aerates the lower levels, letting water down to the roots. For fine grasses these go down almost a foot - that’s what creates durability. Greens surrounds and approaches will also be treated. The pegboard effect will soon fade; we’re not rushing to roll them - it's good to keep the holes open as long as possible to let air and water in.
We did stimp on Friday but the work has left the surface uneven, slowing them down by around a foot, so did not incorporate the result. That was the last stimp of the year.
We have now ordered an all-electric greens mower. It’s vastly more quiet than the diesel equivalent, and although appreciably more expensive than the diesel version its running costs are going to be at least £1000 a year cheaper to operate - even more if we can recharge it when the solar panels on the shed roof are generating. We expect the overall cost of ownership will be less. We also plan to replace the petrol Turf Iron (greens roller) with an electric equivalent - mainly for noise reasons. It’s important to try and stay on good terms with our neighbours, as long as we don’t compromise the club’s operation in so doing.
Although we can invoke Preferred Lies from October 1 the course is playing well so 'play as it lies' will remain for the time being. The issue is kept under frequent review, but once we change we’d like to stay with the decision - we do not want repeated changes - it's far too confusing.
3 October 2021