Date – Thursday 17th May 2018
Attendees Andy Booth - Dave Crampton – Gary Pritchard - John Whiteley
2. Previous minutes discussed and Actions Schedule updated.
3. Green keepers update:
Dave C outlined how this winter has been one of the most challenging in all his 40 years as a green keeper. Exceptional weather conditions have delayed much of the planned course work which is still not up to date. We are similar to many other courses in the area and across the UK who have suffered as much as 18 inches of extra rain, through the winter and irregular temperatures. Even today at 6am the course had a “white over”. This once more stops grass growth and the necessary recovery on greens in particular.
Only within the last 2 weeks have we been able to access all areas of the course with machinery and start to get to grips with essential cutting. Greens have already been fertilized twice this year which ordinarily would kick start growth. However cold conditions have necessitated a third application again costing £900
Greens are to be again top dressed and verti cut next week and where necessary hand filling of bare patches will be undertaken.
Fusarium patches remain on many greens which cannot be addressed through contact fungicide treatment as these have all become unlawful. Systemic fungicide treatments, which will become unlawful in the very near future, are still available but only affective during good growth periods which we are now entering. I anticipate an improvement in the near future.
Sand based greens such as ours prove advantageous over soil based alternatives particularly in winter when drainage is essential however temperature variation in sand affects grass growth more than soil. For example, on a beach you cannot walk on hot sand but you can on soil. Conversely soil remains warmer when sand cools down. Solutions to consider in the future include more spiking, possible locations for “temporary winter greens”, less play in adverse conditions, course variations away from the customary 1-13 plus 18, or an acceptance of less favourable greens as we come into summer play.
In the future we know fungicides will be banned across the board at golf courses. This is already the case in some European countries such as Denmark. We will be required to balance the demands of summer golf and the dangers of over play during winter condition. Our greens on 14-15-16-17 are the healthiest of the course due largely to limited use over winter. Footfall in frosty conditions damages the root structure as do unrepaired pitch marks and heavy wear areas around pin positions.
4. Professional update
Gary advised the meeting that preferred lies are to be removed from Friday 18th May in all competitions.
Concern had been expressed from some members that the long grass before the new fairway bunker on 6 was more difficult to play from than the old bunker. This was discussed and agreed to cut at normal rough levels to address these concerns. Dave C to implement
Concern has been expressed re long grass lying around after cutting and the difficulties in locating balls. Dave C identified the difficulties arose as machinery access has been restricted due to soft ground allowing these areas to become longer than normal. Once cut the lush and longer grass will take time to disperse. To address this for example the rough on the 9th has been cut TWICE today seeking to help break down the buildup.
Concern has been expressed about some pin positions being close to slopes and very challenging. Dave C explained that in many cases the locations of pins are being dictated by where there is a suitable area or good green. Often these are the areas less used over winter such as the challenging positions near slopes. Ideally the next application of top dressing, verti cut and fertilizer will improve this and pin positions will be more available across the green.
5. John W update
John expressed concern over the damage trollies and buggies create around green fringes and aprons. Creating compact areas of soil prevents consistent grass growth and generates tufty patches.
Discussion took place in respect of white paint line use, plastic tape lines, communication and education to members etc. TEN meters being the preferred sterile zone around greens
Dave C to employ white paint in the first instance. Andy B to again address education of golfers
6. Greens Director Update
Concern was expressed in respect of the putting green and practice bunker which have been less maintained whilst work on the course demands staff time. This is recognized and will be addressed as soon as staffing levels permit.
The semi rough cut against the new left right fairway cut has not as yet been undertaken. Both fairway mowers are currently focused on the fairways however once these are acceptable one will again be changed to a semi rough cut and used in this way.
The availability of rakes and knock on effect of bunker conditions was discussed. Several are being “stolen” or misused by youths playing on the land during lighter evenings. On Wednesday night this week I dealt with around 20 youths who were riding mountain bikes on the 11th green and through the greenside bunker. It was agreed that unfortunately this is inevitable on occasions and new equipment will be obtained.
7. Course Health & safety Report
The outstanding issues list from the recent H&S inspection was discussed and updated. Some signage, the life ring and bell have arrived and will be installed in the near future.
8. Budget update.
Figures for the current year spend are not available until the last week of May. These will be reviewed against budget at the next meeting.
9. Verbal requests from members.
10. Emails from members
Two emails were discussed
The first focused on the long grass allowed to grow on the 4th Hole. It was agreed that there are some who like the change and others who do not and that the issue warranted further consideration with all sections in the club. Andy B to email all section heads and arrange consultation.
The second concerned the uncut area within the trees to the right of the 14th hole and two areas of the 18th not marked as GUR; the old winter tee and buggy bridge.
Dave C identified that the area on the 14th has always been left uncut and that he had stated this would again be the case once lower branches had been removed. However it was agreed that where possible this area would be manually strimmed to assist golfers searching for balls. The two areas on the 18th would be marked GUR immediately.
A discussion took place in respect of the continuing deterioration of the practice nets. This it was agreed is inevitable due to the high usage and costs for restoration should be found. Dave C to obtain cost of replacement Baffle Net and flooring options.
12. Date and time of next meeting.