A month has passed since my last newsletter, and the large volume of rain we experienced was replaced by freezing conditions which presented some challenges. With the water frozen below the putting surfaces, and in order to protect the greens, we made the decision to move the greens onto temporary surfaces for a total of 11 days. As soon as the temperatures warmed up, we were able to needle tine and roll the greens, getting much-needed oxygen into the playing surfaces and the quality of greens at the moment is very promising for the season ahead. Aeration work will continue to key to maintaining, firm, fast greens as the season progresses.
Whilst the conditions have been cold and the course a little quieter through January and early February, the team and I continued our focus on tree and shrub management. Our philosophy with this project is to ‘restore’ Coombe Wood to its natural design and we think the early feedback from members and guests has been really positive. As part of our ‘green initiatives’ and to deal with our green waste better, we hired a wood chipper to deal with all of the branches and self-seeded trees that we had taken down. A stump grinder followed suit shortly after and dealt with the ‘protrusions’ which in time we will seed and prepare these areas, allowing the rough mowers to move freely over these areas. The most noticeable locations of this work are in front of the 9th red tee box and to the right of the 13th green.
Along with the vast amount of clearing we have undertaken, we also tackled the fence line between the 15th green and 16th tee boxes. This of course shows how much space there is back there and we will initially be using the cores from the greens maintenance week (commences Monday 13th March) to fill in these paces and letting grasses grow before considering the correct planting plans. In fact, we will be using the cores from the maintenance week to fill in a number of bare areas to allow ‘good grass to grow’. We are also thrilled to be making some great headway into the 13th tee box project. At the time of writing this message, we have completed the sleeper wall, levelled the areas behind the space and only have the weed barrier to put down before the gardeners come on-site and start planting away. This tee box will be a lovely colourful area in the years to come as the plants establish themselves and look forward to member feedback in due course.
It won’t be long before it's March and time for greens maintenance. Our focus has started to shift through to bunkers and mown surfaces and tidying areas of the golf course ready for the season. We also have some maintenance planned for several tees and some new course furnishings to go out in the coming weeks which again will elevate CWGC appeal further. There is still so much to do and the team and I are excited for the year ahead and the golf course is in, I believe, a very good position heading into the spring. A lot does depend on the weather, but having had the irrigation main installed last year already puts us at an advantage, in comparison to a year ago. The investment and the support the club has shown the greenkeeping team is now starting to show as the new golf season approaches it really is a step in the right direction for the golf club.
GREENS MAINTENANCE WEEK - 13th MARCH - 17th MARCH