Showery and windy week in Portrush!

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.


Graminicide applications

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.

Valley 4th

Fertilisation FOC

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 

Lightning storm 

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. 

Goodbye 17th Championship tee 

The Championship tee for the old 17th hole has been removed today to allow for construction of the new retaining wall surrounding the irrigation storage tank. This will create a larger area behind the 18th green for grandstands and spectators. The work is expected to be complete by early September.

Some of the turf has been salvaged for small repair jobs on the Valley and rootzone can be used as divotting material.

Aeration work

Solid tining work has been carried out on all greens over the last 2 days. The work has been done using our Toro Procore machines, using 8mm tines to a depth of 3.5″.

This work causes very little disruption to the greens surface and once surfaces are rolled, cut and rolled a second time the greens then putt as before. Below are some photos of the process.

This work is vital to maintain healthy turf for a number of key reasons

Improved air exchange 

Improved surface drainage

Reduction in soil compaction

Improved nutrient uptake through soil

Increased microbial activity thus a reduction in thatch

Stronger rooting
A similar treatment is being carried out on our grass paths which enevitably are more likely to become compacted.

Pathways are being aerated with 1/2″ tines to a depth of 5″.

Course Update

It’s hard to believe that Tuesday will be the first of August. This time next year we will be preparing to host the Boys Amatuer Championship.

Both courses have continued to improve this year and improvements can be seen through all of the new areas throughout the links as these greens and tees mature and blend well with the original links.

Over the last 2 weeks all 53 greens throughout the links were dimple seeded with fescue and topdressed, germination of seedlings can be seen below.

The greens will receive a light application of nitrogen this week to encourage establishment of new seedling fescue.

This week we plan to spike all of the grass paths and overseed worn areas. Some fertiliser may also be applied to new paths.