Dear Members

I’d like to start by wishing you all a very happy new year. I hope this horrible wet spell is not getting you down. Speaking for myself and the Greenkeeping team; it’s safe to say that we are battling hard to keep our heads held up high! I will provide you with some weather data later but as you are all aware there has been little let up since September! Looking forward to the latter part of January the forecast is looking drier albeit a little colder but that for me is most welcome.

So with all things considered I hope you would agree that the course has held up remarkably well. As mentioned in previous newsletters, the greens with the newly installed rope drainage seem to cope with any amount of rain thrown at them! This is of course very satisfying and gives us a clear direction and strategy for the future. With that said it is extremely frustrating that we have to close the bottom section of the course during these extreme wet periods. The greens remain playable; however the other playing surfaces such as fairways and semi-rough do not. The experts predict that these weather patterns will become the normal. It is now very evident that we need to focus our attention on drainage. I firmly believe that given time we can take the appropriate steps towards providing our membership and guests with a perfectly playable course all year round.

One of the challenges for me is the decision making regarding the use of buggies and other four wheeled powered aides. It is understood that people rely on such aides to be able get around the golf course. Please understand that when we impose such bans it is for your safety and also the wellbeing of the course. In recent weeks you may have heard from the phone line that I have asked people to use carry bags if they are fit to do so. Powered trolleys are very heavy and when you combine the weight of your bag and belongings they have the potential to cause much damage to the course. Unfortunately there has been evidence of this. To try to combat this damage I have implemented rope and stakes in specific areas of the course. The rope is there to divert trolleys and buggies away from wet areas. I feel compelled to mention my utter dismay at the sight of blatant disrespect for our efforts!!! Many clubs impose trolley bans. This is not a route that we wish to go down! I would like to thank those that do use carry bags and also thank those that adhere to the traffic management routes around the course.

For those who are now completely fed up with my weather dominated newsletter you may want to exit now as I’m going to hit you with some weather data!!



All measurements are in millimetres

For those who still work in inches; 976.6mm is the equivalent of 38.5 inches. That’s just under a meter!! Apart from the unusually high figure for June, you can clearly see that wet spell started in September. It is important to remember that during the growing season the grass utilises the water and any excess is taken away by a process called evapotranspiration. During the cooler (autumn/winter) months the plants do not require anywhere near as much water and there is little to no evapotranspiration! Therefore the ground becomes saturated. Anybody building a new golf course or sports pitch would without doubt plan for the installation of an irrigation system. Golf has now become a sport where participants want to play all year round. Go back twenty years or so and golfers were seldom seen between the months of November and March. With this in mind, it is clear to see that drainage is now as important as irrigation! The recent course closures are very unfortunate but to give you an idea of where we currently sit; January of 2020 has already seen 94mm compared to 29.2 of 2019 and we are still counting! This week we have had 67.4mm which is just over 2.5 inches hence the reason for the course closures.

Our wonderfully exciting weather station is a very valuable tool! All joking aside the data collected is extremely useful. An absolute must for any professional within the sportsturf industry and I have you to thank!! This was the first purchase we made from the sale of split logs!

Changing the theme a little; you may be pleased to know that we will not be carrying out our greens renovations this January as we did last year. You just cannot depend on the weather!! We will revert back to our former date in the month of March. A comprehensive up-date will follow nearer the time.

I would like to finish by asking you all to give a well-deserved pat on the back to our wonderful Greenkeeping team. They brave all the elements and continue to produce the goods no matter what! We are lucky to have them.

Warm Regards

Christopher Ball

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