Course open preferred lies no buggies (updated 19 January at 06:31)

The most significant feature of the past week was something over 80 mm of rain, including 45mm last weekend, which led to a 24 hour trolley ban.  Vicar’s Cross was closed on Monday; Chester went to temporary greens with 2 holes closed.  The course recovered remarkably quickly, indicating we have not yet reached the tipping point after which it needs more protection following heavy rain.  I have no precise idea what causes the switch-over; some winters we never get there, others (like last winter) we are in it from early days.  It’s to do with cumulative heavy rain and our thin soil and heavy clay subsoil, but in a complicated way. 

 On course we have cut the greens and approaches - very little coming off - and prepared winter green holes (which we rarely have to use).  The weekend’s heavy rain meant that we have had to rope off various areas (it’s notable how many players hug the ropes rather than spread the load a bit, thus causing messy problems we are trying to avoid).  Many bunkers needed to be restored from the wash-down.

 The 16th pond surrounds have been pruned back.

 The putting green was deep verti-drained, depth, to 10” - down as far as the gravel foundation.  The green was showing some signs of ‘black layer’, which is caused by anaerobic decomposition (= rotting) of dead root material, which in turn is due to compaction and lack of air.  The black layer interferes with drainage, which in turn facilities more rot.  The answer is to punch holes deep into the green’s root zone to get air in.