Trying to catch up on time lost in December has been the main focus this month, before the grass really starts growing again we have had various drainage issues to address in several areas including bunkers and ditches as well as installing a bunker liner in one of the bunkers on 16 which should reduce washout out and eliminate sand contamination from soil washing off the face into the bunker.
April will see us gain a member of staff with David Hay returning to work with us before we take on another 6 seasonal staff in May.
The greens are in reasonable good condition considering the winter we have been through, with much less disease damage than we would have anticipated considering we were under snow for over seven weeks. The product we used on the greens last October really helped keep the grass more healthy than in previous years and we have had much less moss than before. The grass coverage is good and following a couple of top dressings we should see the surfaces and green speeds really improve in April.
The height of cut on the greens is still at 5.5mm and will come down to 5mm then 4.5mm in April.
The approaches are currently being mown 2 times a week at 12mm and will be due to be fertilised in April.
The tees are only being mown once a week at the moment but once the 4-0-10 fertiliser kicks in they should improve quickly and more frequent mowing will be required. Some of the tees which generally suffer from wear badly have been hollow cored to relieve compaction and allow more air into the soil structure, we will continue with this as required a few at a time. There are 96 tees on the course/practice area so this can be an extremely time consuming task.
The mat which was on the 3rd tee to protect it during the winter has now been removed.
The height of cut on the fairways is 14mm they were vertidrained twice over the winter with 25mm tines and they have been quite heavily top dressed over the past couple of months. Top dressing will now cease over the summer months and we can get the fairway units sharpened for cutting again without blunting the reels on the sand. The fairways will also be fertilised in April
THE MONTH AHEAD
April should see the warmer temperatures really get the grass growing again but we are mindful that the temperatures can still be cold in early April especially if we get a cold north or east wind.
The greenstaff will be attending the Scottish Golf Show at the SECC representing The Duke’s, this will be the 3rd year we have been on the stand and gives us valuable feedback from golfers as well as an insight into Sales and Marketing.
The team are due to go on a trip to G West in late April. We started this a couple of years ago to do a bit of research into what other clubs do and how they achieve results. It can be very easy to keep your head down and only see your own course but these trips have seen us go to Loch Lomond and Gleneagles in previous years for what have been extremely valuable days for the team for witnessing first hand, other courses operations as well as building relationships which has seen us have the opportunity to volunteer for the Scottish Open.
Good luck to Steven Horsburgh (Assistant Greenkeeper)who is waiting to become a first time father in April, hope all goes well and he isn’ too sleepy when he returns to work!