We are now two weeks on from my first course update and what a difference in conditions I’m sure you will all agree. The torrential rain stopped and we have had a few cold frosts that have hardened the ground which has reduced damage and the muddy conditions, I can’t remember a worse wet weather after the Christmas break for quite a time. Since being able to get back on to the course we have had a chance to fully slit and spike greens and tees and fairways, this will undoubtedly relieve the waterlogging in some areas for the time being and provide better playing conditions.
Over the years I have noticed that it has on average been better weather during January than the mid into late winter weather in February although most years have a surprise and last year was no exception with warm start to the year then cold late spring temperatures that got the golf course off to a very late start. A golf course is very much artificially produced area with products to make grass grow and to stop and a variety of other products for various different procedures but they are only as good as the positioning and type of grass on the course in the first place and depend frequently on temperature. The predominant species of grass is across the course is Poa Annua (annual meadow grass) we also have Perrenial poa and bents and fine grasses. It’s not an unusual mix but it does cause problems for the early season with the greens generally having good grass growth until early spring when suddenly the Poa re seeding starts and the greens are little late in getting to their best. Over the years I have researched other similar courses and some will openly say that their courses really are not getting going in full until June! Climate is changing and its clear we are very dependant here on what the weather throws at us and that is mirrored in the discussions I have with consultants and reps that visit many courses, some obviously fair better than others but generally we are all experiencing challenging conditions that will rethink the traditional way that we have managed courses.
Over the next month we will be increasing the grass maintenance but this will depend on the weather and the grass growth. Getting a clear definition of specific areas is always difficult until grass growth is in full swing and all the areas can be cut at their summer height. The worm casts on fairways have been detrimental to the mucky conditions and hopefully a full cut will be made over the next month when the casts are dry and there is no chance of them picking up on wheels and boots. In February we will be doing the first of the greens dressings to smooth out and fill holes and depressions and in March if the ground temperatures are up we will re dress and seed greens and bunker surrounds but only when there is a chance that it will grow.