As the golfing season begins to slow down on the Links we are now able to focus our attention towards the winter work programme as well as begin phase 2 of our course amendments.
The work that the Greenkeepers have done this year has been phenomenal but the job itself never really slows down as we have gone from one of our busiest seasons straight into an intense winter programme of works.
The focus for the greenkeeping team this winter is the bunkers as most of the existing bunkers on the Dunluce Links shall be rebuilt as well as re-turfing of all worn areas throughout the courses.
Rough management is also one of our main projects, of which we plan to complete the main part by early November but rough management will be ongoing throughout the winter. New areas must be cut and collected before topdressing.
Dunluce greens have recovered well from over-seeding and topdressing with good germination seen throughout the course. It must be one of the most satisfying jobs for a Greenkeeper to see more fine leafed grass establishing well and improving the botanical composition.
The 18th fairway has been reshaped with the right hand side brought in to encourage players to drive down the main part of the fairway. We plan to hollow time the new rough area tomorrow and over-seed with a seed rough mix which will create some better definition.
The 5th ladies tee was lifted on Tuesday, rotovated and screened level before re-turfing today. The tee looks as it was before but as the surface is now level we can use the whole teeing ground for marker placements thus better spreading the wear.
A great effort was made last week to solid tine, sand and seed all Dunluce greens and practice greens.
This was a brilliant effort by the team as work was done throughout the week avoiding visiting players and putting surfaces were true again by the time visitors approached. 300kg of fescue seed was worked into the surface so the mild spell of weather at the moment is very welcome.
Some 115 tees were hollow tined, sanded and seeded and localised areas of fairways were also seeded.
All paths on Dunluce have been slit tined
Retaining walls by the irrigation storage tank are now complete with only some finishing work remaining. The pipes have been left on the surface of both retaining walls to allow for installation of the railings to finish the job.
As the daylight hours are reducing the turf growth begins to slow and recovery of turf wear slows down also. To reduce excessive wear to localised areas we plan to rope off grass paths and other localised areas in early October, adding more ropes towards the end of the month. This is a really important job and the benefits will be seen through next season.
In spite of the some fairly dreich weather for September our Greens team are still making good progress on the course. We have been busy hollow tining, topdressing and seeding tees, working on Dunluce in the morning and the Valley in the afternoon.
Rough management work has begun on the Valley which is a month earlier than last year. We are hoping to complete the Valley this month before work commences on Dunluce in October.
Dunluce greens 2, 3 & 10 have been over-seeded with fescue, fingers crossed for some dry weather next week to complete all greens. Surfaces shouldn’t be affected as 2, 3 & 10 still roll well.
Other small presentation jobs have been done such as changing hole cup inserts
Lee Shaw brushing in some sand and seed on Dunluce 3rd.
Over the course of this week the green staff are carrying out some refinement work throughout the Dunluce and Valley links by applying graminicide.
Graminicide is applied to the leaf of the turf and selectively removes coarse grasses. Our turf is predominantly fine leafed fescue but this treatment assists in improving consistency, especially when putting from surrounds.
Areas to be treated include;
Dunluce fairways, semi rough and green surrounds.
Valley greens and surrounds
Some slight thinning of turf will be apparent through the Valley surrounds but overseeding will be carried out tomorrow to allow germination and establishment of new seedlings to coincide with removal of rye grass meaning that fescue will fill the gaps left in the sward as rye grass dies.
Some members may have noticed the increase in growth on the course and green speeds reduce slightly over the last week.
This is, in part due to mild temperatures and increased rainfall but also due to a release of nitrogen in the atmosphere caused by the recent lightning storm. This is a natural process which frees up nitrogen in the atmosphere and the whole golf course benefits from recent rainfall.
“The high temperature of a lightning bolt can break the bonds of atmospheric nitrogen molecules. Free nitrogen atoms in the air bond with oxygen in the air to create nitrogen oxides, which dissolve in moisture to form nitrates that are carried to Earth’s surface by precipitation.”
Picture courtesy of the BBC
After a 6 hour long lightning storm last night and over 2 inches of rain we were extremely relieved with our diagnostic test showing no electrical damage to the irrigation system. Although we have lightning earth rods throughout the courses it is still a concern when we experience this kind of storm.