New starters on greens team set to arrive & update on course conditions for winter
We are glad to announce that two qualified greenkeepers have accepted positions recently advertised designed to strengthen the team. They are James Faulkner and Robert Harris. Both have been employed as part of the greens team here at Hagley in recent years. In the meantime James and Rob have continued to gain relevant experience and skills that will make an immediate positive impact on the course. James has been running his own landscaping business whilst keeping his golf game in order, playing off 14. Rob has been Deputy Head at Kings Norton GC where he has led development programs for tees and bunkers. He has been certified by EcoBunker in their method of bunker renovation and plays off 7. Both Rob and James are looking forward to playing here also. Our two younger members of the team, Sam and Harry, will be leaving us this month. We thank them for their service.
We will have a team of 6 full time staff plus part time assistance for two days a week from Joe, who you may have seen working around the Club House these past few weeks. Joe will soon be helping out on for one day a week on the course too. More detail on the structure of the team and planned course development works will be shared once Rob and James have been formally appointed later this month.
Winter course preparation
Areas for the placement of temporary greens and to rope off where we expect it to become particularly wet this autumn/winter have been identified and you will see the ropes and temporary greens being marked out across the whole course in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully the weather is kind and we will be playing on main greens as much as possible this autumn/winter.
The Greens Chairperson and greens staff have also agreed to trial ‘flogs’. These are being considered for use when conditions make it difficult to reach temporary greens due to saturated ground. This concept has been used successfully at many GC’s and we hope it will be preferable to the situation that we found some temporary greens in during the wet weather last winter. The ‘flogs’ will be ready for you to view w/b 9th October.
If the trial proves that the ‘flogs’ are usable this will leave us with with 3 options if the some of the main greens are deemed unplayable during course inspections:
1. Frost hole at front edge of main green
2. Temporary green on apron
3. ‘Flog’ positioned on area that is suitable for play and traffic due to saturation of ground closer to main greens
The expectation is that every green will be inspected thoroughly and a variety options between 1,2 and 3 will be in play as conditions determine.
With the recent wet and mild weather we are receiving a number of comments about this and its affects upon the course. We are equally frustrated and we are not alone. In 2019 worms were classed as a protected species because of the benefits they bring to soil health in general. This led to the removal of a key pesticide, carbendazim, which has left greenkeepers across the UK with no equally effective means to deal their effects. Although swishing areas affected may sometimes work it often smears the casts and amplifies their presence.
Click here for useful information from the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA)
Our greens team are trying their best to deal with the issue. As a means of ensuring putting surfaces are given the best opportunity to be cleared we have just purchased a specially designed brush that will attach to our greens mower and hopefully minimise the appearance of casts as well as improve the quality of cut all year round.
See the link attached for more info on the brush and its benefits for greens maintenance. If the trial is successful we will invest in another for the tees and aprons mowers.
Bunker liner trial on 14th hole and short game area progress
Many of you will have noticed the new material on the face of the RH greenside bunker on the 14th. This is a trial of a liner that is specifically designed to retain sand on bunker faces whilst allowing water to drain properly. Sand will be added to the face next week and we will look for your feedback on it from then onward. The short game area is bedding in well with regular over seeding, dressing and mowing by the greens team.
The bunkers on the short game area have given us an opportunity to trial another liner and we plan to add sand to these soon to test how well they drain using different types of sand. We will keep you updated on the progress of this very important process as it will help us to determine how we set about improving the bunkers across the entire course.
Good luck to Ashley and Tom this weekend!