The process of caring for a golf course is long and complex. Through this page we hope to keep members informed on a regular basis of what is going on so John has everyone's backing and understanding.
John's doing his rain-dance again!
June 25, 2020
Today was, according to the projected forecast, the optimum time to apply a batch of fertiliser (summer feed) on the greens. It rained through the night and stopped as I started at 0530 this morning - perfect damp conditions to apply any form of fertiliser. Now, where are my forecasted showers?!
Fine turf, like golf greens, needs four keys things to sustain itself: oxygen, light, food, and moisture. Very much like humans! In NW Scotland, water is normally in abundance. We do get long "summer" days & nights. We also have lots of airflow around the greens which is ideal. What we have to do is provide the greens with food. This keeps them healthy and limits stress and disease. When mowing heights are so low and having lots of footfall, it's essential that greens are kept in as good condition as possible. This in turn provides a better putting surface.
This morning I applied what's called a granular fertiliser. It's exactly as it sounds: really fine circular granules that are coated with different components. Once applied, these slowly dissolve, each layer of the granule working its way into the soil profile, providing the required nutrients. Hopefully, they're then washed in with a shower or two! It's applied using a fertiliser barrow. This has to be calibrated to give the correct dispersion rate as per the supplier's instructions.
You may previously have seen me apply a liquid fertiliser. It's good to have both forms in supply. Some weather conditions or on course circumstances require spraying over granular applications. All applications are to provide you with the best playing conditions and keep our greens nice and healthy.
June 06, 2020
A few more words of wisdom from John, this time about what work he is currently doing on our greens...
Our new Infinicut electric greens machine really is brilliant. I gave all the greens a very light verticut on Thursday morning using the new machine. Not only does it cut the greens extremely well, it also has interchangeable heads (cassettes). This allows me to carry out different jobs using only this one machine. The photos show the machine set up for verticutting.
Verticutting is exactly as it sounds: cutting in a vertical motion rather than the conventional horizontal motion. This cleans the green’s surface of dead grass and matter (thatch). In turn, that allows the healthy grass to breathe and water & nutrients to pass through the profile. The blades actually cut into the surface level. I set the depth accordingly, depending on ground-conditions and the recent or impending weather.
The process stands the grass up vertically, so the next conventional cut is clean and crisp. This increases the green’s speed as there is now less drag on the putting surface.
I would really like to use it more aggressively but at the moment the greens are very firm. Once the greens soften I can become more aggressive. The tiny channels the blades make can be over-seeded and then top dressing applied - ideal for reducing the size of the dead (black) areas of moss.
Hole Contraptions - mark2!
June 02, 2020
Since last Friday we have been putting into holes made shallow with old CDs so we can pick the ball out without touching anything except the ball. They proved successful for the short term, though we've probably all had a few "bounce outs"!
However, due to a mixture of the elements and human interaction, the "discs" are no longer proving to be viable. They were needing fixed or replaced regularly.
Welcome to John's hole contraption, mark 2! This new implementation is two sizes of PVC pipe. It allows easy retrievals of golf balls and its robust structure should withstand the elements. Fewer bounce-outs too! The same rules apply: members are reminded not to touch the pin or flag at all.
What has John been up to in our absence?!
May 25, 2020
We asked John for his opinion about the moss in our greens. This was his answer...
"On my first walk round the course, before my interview, I immediately noticed we have a high moss content on the greens. Moss is invasive, and when it's green, like last year, it's not overly noticeable to the majority of golfers' eyes.
"It's also stubborn, and it's a slow process to eradicate it but well worth the effort. Regular applications of iron-based products kill the moss, then it's continual coring, scarifying, overseeding, and top dressing. Moss sucks up rainfall and moisture, then spreads horizontally into spaces in close proximity that it's slowly killing off by starving them of sufficient moisture.
"Prior to starting around this time last year the season was already 'panned out' for me in a way. Get to know the machinery, the course, make it look as good as possible & use the fertiliser that had already been paid for and delivered. This year it's different. It's operation 'annihilate moss'! Long term it will be great."
So, when you visit the course and you see black areas on the greens, know that this is for our long-term benefit.