The greens are wintering well in spite of the very wet weather. The sward density is much improved on last winter and this is down to a number of subtle treatments which we have implemented.
The mowing regime was reduced last November and some additional rolling was done when weather permitted. This reduced mowing means less damage to grass leaf and also less damage to surrounds of greens where the mowers turn. This reduced damage allows the turf to thrive in a stress free environment and this eases disease pressures and also prevents thinning of the sward.
We have applied large volumes of sand over the course of last season and have been able to ease off that programme a little for the winter. We applied our first dressing of the year (6tons of sand per hectare) this week and will make a similar application in 2 weeks time.
The greens are smoother than this time last year also as they have been deep tine aerated but with a less disruptive smaller tine. This operation was carried out twice and surfaces remained relatively smooth throughout. Mowing has been done almost exclusively with hand mowers during this time to prevent any wheel marking which make surfaces uneven.
Pitch marking is I believe less apparent than last year but still an issue and we would encourage players to repair one or two per green.
With the recent frost and really the first prolonged spell of cool weather the turf has become dormant and cutting heights can be raised further to protect the desirable fine leafed fescues. We currently mow at 5.5mm but will be increasing this to 6mm. This will not effect ball roll as our turf iron will be used on dry days to maintain playing quality.
The new greens are settling down well now and we’re all top dressed by hand this week. Dry weather will allow more of this to be done. Once roots establish shallow spiking and rolling will improve smoothness before overseeding in the spring.