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.

Open Championship

We had a brilliant 2 days at Royal Birkdale viewing course setup in the mornings and evenings. 

Andy Barr, who is one of our full-time, qualified Greenkeepers has travelled over to Birkdale and worked for 2 weeks to assist and also gain valuable tournament experience. Andy is on Rickie Fowlers right.

The Course is in super condition and I’m sure all of the team are proud of their efforts. 

All the very best of luck to Chris Whittle, Rob and the team for the remainder of the week. 

North of Ireland Amatuer Championship

Players couldn’t have asked for better weather conditions this week for the North of Ireland Amatuer Championship.

Qualifying scores over the Dunluce and Valley links have been quite varied but Caolan Rafferty was best qualifier on -10 par for the 2 rounds and carded a magnificent -7 par over the new Dunluce layout. 

Both courses were played from the medal positions but for the remainder of the week Dunluce is set up from all Championship tees, bar the new 7th.

Green staff have been working hard from 5am preparing the courses for play this week.

All surfaces have been mown daily with greens also ironed. 

Dunluce greens were stimping at 10′ at the beginning of the week and 10′ 5″ this morning.

The weather forecast is favourable for the rest of the week with some light breeze for the final on friday. 

Irish Open

Beautiful day for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Portstewart Golf Club. 

Justin Rose pictured walking down the 18th.

Best of luck to the players and to all involved at Portstewart Golf Club for the final day tomorrow.

Newly refurbished half way hut

The halfway hut will re-open tomorrow, following a complete renovation. 

Wilma has had contractors working evenings and weekends to get everything finished in time for Captains day on Saturday.

The renovation has been completed in less than 4 weeks with all but the 4 walls replaced. The tin roof has been replaced with a rosemary tile roof to match the clubhouse and starter building, mains power has been added and a complete refurb inside the building to update but still retain character and tradition.

Here is the work in stages

Causway Stones

The Causway stones will start to go back out on Dunluce again tomorrow after re-engraving with new hole information. These all had to be changed due to new holes, new tees and change of indices.

Work can now start making adjustment to the Valley stones which will be quicker to complete.