Course Update June 2019

Course Update for June

The Golf Course is progressing well into the season after the most difficult 12 months I’ve known here at Dunstanburgh. With possibly the most difficult spring weather and other ‘slight’ problems too, the course has struggled to grow out its 2018 summer scars. In this edition of the Course Blog I will hopefully explain some of the challenges the Greens Team have had to face, and my mini course report of how I think we are heading into the main playing months.

Course Update

Short Course Report generated for the Course Forum

Greens -  The Greens have been how we expected and we are extremely happy with how they are performing through the early part of the season, very little fertiliser has been applied and the greens team have opted for a more traditional Seaweed and Sand to promote growth and true out the surfaces for play. Over the next few weeks more sand will be added and our height of cut will be lowered to our summer HOC of 4mm (unless adverse weather conditions become more frequent you may see a difference in HOC)

Tees – We have worked hard on the tees this winter and the condition of them is showing what a great job we did. In 12 years at Dunstanburgh I’ve never seen the tees in such good condition and considering we played from them all winter it’s great to see how well the greens team have managed them over the last few months. Later on this month you’ll see plenty of sand on them as we look to maintain thatch levels throughout the season.

Approaches - The approaches have progressed immensely over the last few weeks, and are now at our summer HOC of 10mm. In places they still require a little more love, which you’ll see the Greens Team overseeding and fertilising in the next couple of weeks.

Fairways – OK the interesting bit, with grass coverage suffering through last summer and then a tough spring to say the least we still have some work to do out on our fairways.

We have been managing moisture levels to recharge the soil from last summer, but by adding fertiliser as well we have created a slight problem for ourselves in that any grass that has recovered is lush and healthy leaving the bare patches more visible and prominent than before.

We have now lowered the height of cut to help smooth out the surface.

We have scheduled the following work for the next 2 weeks, • Aeration & Scarification

• Wetting Agent & Fertiliser

• Sand & Seed

Another investment into the recovery of a costly 2018 summer!

Rough - Rough is becoming, as it always does here at Dunstanburgh, tough to say the least, but an overview of the rough condition on the whole is much better than in previous years.

Struggling fairways in the heat of the summer and a poor spring means one thing, the rough has struggled as well, meaning the usual matted growth hasn’t yet became much of a problem.

Bunkers - Bunkers are always a topic of conversation, Sand levels to rough faces etc.

Honestly speaking our time has had to be focused on other areas of the golf course, but on a whole they aren’t too bad. We know we need sand in some and are working to try and improve bunker conditions.

Arrived today fertiliser for fairways!

Arrived today fertiliser for fairways!

17th showing rough bunker edges, and improved fairway conditions!

17th showing rough bunker edges, and improved fairway conditions!

The Interesting Pictures side!

You can see above picture dating the the 11th of May - Days after a heavy fertiliser application to promote growth and recovery on approaches, They visually look better.

You can see above picture dating the the 11th of May - Days after a heavy fertiliser application to promote growth and recovery on approaches, They visually look better.

New shed coming on great, some machines have been brought up from the farm, our new facility won’t be fully functional until the middle of July. Great steps only 13 weeks on from the fire.

New shed coming on great, some machines have been brought up from the farm, our new facility won’t be fully functional until the middle of July. Great steps only 13 weeks on from the fire.

Although the fairways aren’t where we need them, the recovery has been great in some areas of the golf course. Here above is a picture of our 17th approach to the green taken 8th of June this year, below is the same picture taken 8th of May last year, pretty much everything is dead with still a summer of scorching heat to go! 13 months & the hottest summer on were looking slightly different. Although its not perfect out on 17 its certainly better than it was.

Although the fairways aren’t where we need them, the recovery has been great in some areas of the golf course. Here above is a picture of our 17th approach to the green taken 8th of June this year, below is the same picture taken 8th of May last year, pretty much everything is dead with still a summer of scorching heat to go! 13 months & the hottest summer on were looking slightly different. Although its not perfect out on 17 its certainly better than it was.

Proof there has been recovery!

Proof there has been recovery!

Fire Updates

Without playing our violin, these last few months have really taken its toll on our resources here at Dunstanburgh.

Overall I can’t be more proud of a group of people who work within the business, especially Course Supervisor Sam Thompson & Deputy Course Supervisor Cameron Thorpe. When the light at the end of the tunnel was temporarily switched off they made sure they got it put back on again, a sterling effort by these two lads for their determination and skill in keeping the course in great condition.

The whole process of claiming has up to now gone to plan [even though there wasn’t a plan] and we have reinvested our money extremely well in new and second hand machines.

Currently we are looking out for some extra pieces of equipment before completing the replacement and having our fleet back to normal.

Spinning something positive we now have a facility fit for purpose. Clean, light & modern this facility will lead the way in Northumberland and will be certain to be a great hub for our greenkeepers in years to come.

We aren’t completely finished the process yet, we’ve learnt so much along the way and gained invaluable experience and contacts throughout.

When we get to the end we will be sure to invite all the members of the course along to have a look around our new facility .

We have had a few questions recently regarding work out on the golf course. I hope the following helps answer or clarify any of your questions or understandings of the work on the golf course.

  • Why are the preferred lies no longer applied? - The preferred lies will remain on for all CASUAL and VISITING golf for the month of June after which this will be reviewed by the Greens Team to determine further action for July. Competition golf is completely up to the Club Committee who I have advised to readdress the preferred lies issue with Northumberland County as I cannot do so. If you have any comments on this matter they should be directed to your Club Committee.

  • There’s only 2 Greenstaff? - In actual fact by Monday the 17th there will be 4 full time greenkeepers, 1 seasonal, and myself. (the healthiest number of greenkeepers in the history of the course)

  • Long “Hairy” Bunker edges? - The Bunker recently redesigned on the 14th that has edges adjoining with rough grass will remain as rough. They will be maintained as and when they are to thick to find a ball, these areas aren’t to make the shots more difficult they are to add character and definition to the golf hole they are on.

  • Why are the fairways so Patchy? - Unfortunately due to last summer we took a great hit on fairway play-ability and condition. Not only has this spring been tough, key pieces of machinery were lost in the fire. Yes we could have rushed out and bought replacements immediately but our approach has been to buy wisely to ensure the equipment we buy lasts us a long time. Following on from the extremities of last summer and winter the soil has needed recharging with moisture and nutrients, in fact up until 3 weeks ago we’d hardly had any rain. The last 3 weeks have seen a huge jump in growth and recovery, these next few weeks are crucial for the greens team and their fairways. You’re going to see conditions get worse then improve, as we look to scarify and rake the dead material out then seed and sand new material back in. This will follow with a granular fertiliser and providing the weather man delivers us some rain we should then see a dramatic improvement

 

I hope this has all been helpful and a good insight into what is happening out on the links, we have a great few weeks ahead as we prepare to improve and maintain conditions throughout the golf course. Finally we ask all members and visitors to respect the works going on.

MORE SUN, MORE RAIN not much to ask for is it?

Until next time,

Best Wishes

Stuart Imeson

Golf Course Manager