Contributed By: Eoghan Buckley, Head Greenkeeper
As May ends our weather has returned to some cooler days and nights. It has been a very similar May to last year with only 4mm in total rainfall recorded on the golf course. This has allowed us to test out the partly refurbished irrigation system. It has thrown up some problems, but all in all, it is in a much better place than it was this time last year. With such a dry month we have been able to get some decent dry cuts on the short grass. This helps greatly with presentation as mowing wet grass early in the morning can be very messy, leaving clumps of clip around. Hopefully, we will be trading up soon to a newer fairway mower with rear brushes on the units which should help disperse a lot of the clip.
We treated all fairways, tees and approaches with selective herbicide in the middle of April. The most common weed on these areas is daisy. We also managed to get a few areas around greens done. As you can see from the photo, two weeks after application there is a significant difference between treated on left and untreated on the right. Its hoped to get a second application on fairways later in the summer to try shut them down before the winter. Currently, we don’t fertiliser all our surrounds due to budget constraints. If we were able to increase our fertility in these areas, we will provide a much denser turf with far fewer weeds. And as a result, far less pesticide used. In a few years’ time, the hope is that we would be just spot treating areas for weeds.
Herbicide treatment on 1 green surrounds
We are continuing with our irrigation audit and upgrades. As you can see in the photo, the hunter i-30’s on the soil greens are well past their sell-by date. We have fixed up what we can with what few parts we had, so now it’s a case of waiting for the replacement heads and to start installing them when they arrive. It’s possible when we do a few greens we may salvage enough reasonable heads to do some tees in the future.
The path up to 14 main tees was overgrown for years as players used wooden steps at the front to access the high tee. The steps had to be removed over the winter as the sleepers were rotten and the decision was made to not replace them. A few days of hard graft and a few tons of fill and the path is back in service. If we could get all the paths into this kind of shape over the next few years it would really help with presentation around the course.
To try to maximize our budget it has been agreed that we will try to reduce the areas of rough we maintain weekly. These areas are all well out of play, so it doesn’t affect the pace of play. This saves on diesel and labour but also allows the natural flora and fauna to return to these areas. An example of this would be the wild orchid in the photo below. In late Spring and early summer, these areas would normally be maintained weekly. Now that they are not on a regular mowing regime we are starting to see great diversity in species here. It’s hoped to establish a few areas of pollinator-friendly rough late this summer or even to just start in the clubhouse flowerbeds.