Greens Director update – 15th July 2018

Course Conditions – It would seem that the weather has adopted its own system of “extremes” over the last few months.  Was it only at the beginning of May we were looking at flooded bunkers, rough inconsistent greens, many areas of the course being inaccessible to machinery and of course buggies not yet in use.  Yet here we area now with most of the course looking brown and fairways running like tarmac roads.  Our best estimate if that the last serious rain fell around the middle of May since which we have had a virtual drought and consistent sunny days to enjoy playing unlimited golf.  NGC has as jet not introduced a “no smoking policy” which I s in place at many course around the area.  Last week I saw such signs at both Alwoodly and Bradford Golf Clubs.  Please be careful with your cigarettes on the course particularly when in the longer grass or amongst trees.  Brown from the sun is better than blackened after a fire.
These warm dry conditions have brought their own concerns particular in relation to the effectiveness of our irrigation system.  Installed when the course was first build it has now lived up to its 25-year life expectancy and fortunately give or take a few bursts at joints when under pressure it is still doing a relatively good job.  It is after all an older system which does not provide the flexibility of spray patters and control which modern versions offer and hence the odd brown patches on some greens where we are being forced to hand water during the daytime rather than spray during the more suitable cool of the night.
Many of you will have noticed the leak to the rear of the 14th tee which we have deliberately elected not to dig up and repair at this time.  The main factor behind this decision is the fear of generating an alternative leak in a less hidden location.  Our existing irrigation system has 6 meter pipes joined at regular intervals. It is these joints which become the systems weakness.  Fixing a minor burst at one location has the serious risk of the raised water pressure finding the next weakest point and spurting forward at that location.  This could be near a green, near a tee or like the current leak in a none golf area.  We will therefore only consider repairing the leak after the main summer usage.
Further work has been undertaken on the new paths which were topped with road cuttings, heavy rolled and then topped with crushed red tile.  A further 29 tons of crushed tile is now on order which will be used on the remaining paths in the near future. Additionally, you will hopefully have seen the replacement of our warning bells on the 5th and 6th along with other Health & Safety notices about the course.  Please take note of these warning signs as I am sure we would all agree golf balls can cause serious damage when hitting someone and in these more litigation friendly times it is better to be safe than sorry.

Greens - Our greens are now perhaps in as good a condition as they have been for a few years running smoothly at a frightening 11.6 on the stint meter the other day.  Faster than the US Open !!!.  A bit of a challenge for some but on the whole something we can all be proud of as we enjoy putts running true on the lines we hit them. Unfortunately, as with everything that is good there are also downsides.  In this case the number of available pin positions has to be reduced as we are unable to use locations too near those nasty little slopes which take our balls yards and in some cases almost bus rides away from the pin.
Looking to the future we are keeping a close eye on industry developments to combat disease.  As yet there are no environmentally friendly solutions on the market to assist.  Golf clubs across the country are looking at alternative solutions to minimise “stress” on greens which is a major factor in the onset and establishment of disease.  We remain optimistic yet need to be realistic in the expectations of what greens can deliver in winter if we wish to play on quality surfaces in the summer.

Finally – In many ways we get the golf course we as members create.  After all it is us as members who make the most use of the course complying or disregarding etiquette and it is us as members who play with others who we allow to or challenge when treating our course irresponsibly.
Our Captain has recently highlighted his concern re foot steps in bunkers not being raked which is again an issue of etiquette.  I would add to Mr Captains concerns that of unrepaired pitch marks, unrepaired divots, dropped litter and my monthly request to keep trollies and buggies at least 10 meters away from greens.
If we could all follow the basic premise of leaving the course as we would hope to find it then we can all enjoy the same playing conditions and our course can only get better.

Enjoy your golf

Andy Booth
Greens Director