Round up of winter works

Now that the weather is finally improving and temperatures have reached double figures it seems as though spring is here. Over the course of this week and some of last week, we have completed our greens over-seeding, and also some tees and grass paths. The new Valley 15th green is on course to open at the end of the month, and at last there is some growth.

Germination should be relatively quick now, and with rain forecast for next week, this will be of benefit to the seed if nothing else.

I would like to say that I am proud of the team for all of the good work completed over what has been a difficult winter in terms of weather, but also workload. We set ourselves a very busy winter schedule with lots of turfing work, bunker re-builds which is all heavy work. We carried out extensive work managing roughs and also removed more sea buckthorn bushes as part of our ecology plan with the STRI.

Lots of irrigation repairs and alterations have been carried out “in house” which has also been a great effort.

Here are a few pictures of some of the works carried out.

Final brushing of sand during Overseeding work this week

Greens last weekend, still showing good density of fescue despite the difficult winter

Our new trailer designed and built by Stephen Walker

New Valley 15th green after first cut

Digging in the pipe for new borehole on the Valley 2nd

Peterson Drill rig on the Valley

New path added on Valley 3rd and new bench on 3rd tee

Smoothing of new roughs and bunker on Dunluce 7th

New roads, ducting and some of the irrigation pipes encountered throughout the courses.

Here are a series of pictures showing some of the great levelling work done on tees this winter. I do like this one!


A summary of Links improvements and Phase 2 works

After the first weekend closure in a number of years, both courses are now back open for play. The strong winds blew powdery dry snow into bunkers and hollows so some snow still remains. Due to the strong winds we also had some severe sand blow from bunkers and construction areas so the clean up process starts tomorrow.

Representatives from the R&A braved the elements last week to view spectator routing in the snow.

The 14th greenside bunker had become soft due to moss and the ball would occasionally stop on the face where we felt that it should continue into the bunker. The whole bunker was stripped and the face re-shaped very slightly. We are really pleased with the result.

An unusual easterly wind removed some bunker sand which we plan to tidy again tomorrow.

Snow had to be removed before the 2 remaining bunker bases could be shaped. Bradley and Conchobhar though that another pair of hands would be beneficial. ☃️ use your initiative I said….

Winter Work and Phase 2 Update

Phase 2 works have been moving along nicely as well as our winter work programme which has meant that the course staff have been as busy as we would be mid summer, as a result, apologies for the lack of posts recently.

Despite wide spread frost through the UK and Ireland we have remained relatively unaffected.

The courses have been very busy throughout the Christmas period which has resulted in additional wear to the links.

The new Dunluce Greens 2 & 10 have been rested and as a result have strengthened and density has returned.

We have concentrated on bunker repairs, re-turfing work and tee levelling. Also the Valley 15th green was lifted, re-contoured and re-laid using the old Dunluce 17th green.

Here are some pictures of the recent work ;

Work still to be completed include greenside bunker on Dunluce 14th, 2x greenside on Valley 15th and some removal of bushes.

New steps to new tees on Dunluce and the Valley.

Completion of new drinking fountains and completion of spectator villages before road surfaces are finished with tarmac.

Works on the new roads are likely to be complete for May but all sections within the course will be done first.

Christmas course update

Although the very wet and windy end to the year has not been ideal golfing weather, this has given the golf course a rest.

Mats will again be in play from the 1st of January for use on fairways and semi rough.

After another busy year and with some good progress made we look to 2018 when we host the Boys Championship in August.

The course setup requirements are the same as the Open Championship, so for us, the greenkeeping team this will be a great chance to set up and present the course in a similar way to 2019.

We have made good progress with our winter work programme with most of our larger re-turfing works completed January and February will allow time to build some steps and re-level and enlarge Championship tees on Dunluce 4 & 12 and also Valley 16th ladies tee.

Here are a few pictures from the December works.

Phase 2 works and Winter works Update

Another productive week on the Course has seen more bunkers rebuilt on holes 4, 11, 13 and 17.

Levelling work has continued well on the old 18th and the dry weather this week was a real bonus.

Greens 1, 2 & 10 were today solid tined with a larger than normal 19mm tine to a depth of 7 inched before holes were filled with dry sand. This will improve firmness, dryness and general turf health by breaking compaction and creating fissures and channels for new roots to develop.

See below, some of the before and after pictures of bunker work this week.

Dunluce 17th greenside.

11th greenside

The green surround on Dunluce 4th was lifted, reshaped and re-turfed with better quality turf, making the levels flow better and also improving the quality of grass there.

There is a large area between the Dunluce 13th and 15th greens which was poor generally. The shape of the ground was disrupted by mole ploughing work and as it is close to both greens we decided to lift this and repair. The area will be re-turfed using the Dunluce 17th fairway with will knit with the surrounding area well.

Sunshine at last!

Greenkeeping must be the best job in the world when the weather is, as it has been this week.

The sun has shone for most of the week and yesterday some of us were working in polo shirts, unusual for this time of year.

Even though the weather has been so good, we plan to switch play to some of our winter teeing positions from Monday next week, which will give our summer tees some much needed rest.

Bunkers on the 1st have all been either re-built or edged. 

Bunkers on the 2nd hole are to be done next week.

Greenside on the 15th has been revetted and turfed, the base of the bunker will be dished next week before adding sand.

Most of our repair work has been carried out to grass paths and the remaining areas which have been stripped of turf will be finished using a harder wearing imported fescue/rye turf.

Construction work is going well with all of the bushes now removed between old 17th & 18th. The pile of earth which you will see is to be re-spread once sub grade levels are achieved.

Simon and Trevor have been working hard with our rough management, cutting and collecting and also completing our last bits of seeding work on Dunluce. The weather has been so mild that soil temperatures remain warm enough for good germination so instead of having seed stored over the winter we have over-seeded all of our new fairways and green surrounds using our dimple seeder.

Phase 2 work and winter work programme underway.

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.