Hi folks, thanks for joining me in our new blog home. As you can see we’ve moved the blog on to our website and spruced it up a little. Don’t worry; I’m still here to keep you up to date with everything going on at The Duke’s – around the course and the clubhouse.

I can’t quite believe it’s the 2nd of May already, April passed so quickly! It’s time for the April Report, a brief chat about all our activities in the last month, as well as a bit of technical discussion to explain exactly how we keep the course in such fantastic condition.

I think we have all been a little surprised at the fantastic weather we have had recently, no one more so that us Green Keepers! What happened to the ‘April showers’?! We had a little rain couple of weeks ago but since then it’s been very dry and warm despite a couple of mild morning frosts.

Earlier in the month four of our team members attended a seminar at Elmwood College, presented by Stanley Zontec of the USGA Green Section. The seminar looked back to the 2010 US Open as well as looking forward to the Congressional this year. It gave great insight into the preparation it takes to host a major championship – beginning years in advance.

We’re very excited about our new toy; our new reel grinder arrived this month! Well, we’re excited! We’ve put our shiny new reel grinder to good use sharpening the fairway and approach units, the quality of cut have improved greatly.

And now for the science……

The greens are filling in well although the Poa was producing seed heads. To combat this we have reduced the height of cut to 4mm and team have been out grooming and brushing the grass to remove the seed heads.

The greens were fertilised with a specific mix (8-0-16 for all our Green Keeper friends!) This has definitely kicked in – we can already see improved growth.

The tees and approaches are currently being mown 2-3 times a week at 12mm and were fertilised with a 23-2-10 product.

The height of cut on the fairways is 14mm and have been fertilised with a granular 12-6-6 which could really do with some rainfall to wash the product in. I think Green Keepers might just be the only people secretly wishing for rain right now!

May is shaping up to be a great month – we have a team of seasonal staff starting in the next few days who we very much look forward to welcoming and we’ll be busy with them going through our induction programme.

One last thing – Many congratulations to our Steven Horsburgh, Assistant Greenkeeper here at the Duke’s, who became a dad this month to baby Amy who weighed in at a healthy 8lb 5oz. All going well with Steven and he is due to return to work for a break soon! I’ve attached a picture of Steven below, before the sleepless nights take hold!

Speak soon