WRIGGLY WIGGLY WORMS
Well, Summer has gone away rather quickly !! Whilst the Course is holding up very well and the greens are playing nicely I thought you all might appreciate learning about some of the issues we have to deal with over the last few weeks and going into Autumn. We have had over 60mm of rain in the last 2 weeks , 40 mm in the last week! with more forecast.
This very wet and humid weather has caused us several problems .
For the record these problems are not special to Abridge! Those of you that play elsewhere will have seen all or some of the same issues at other courses.
Worm casts have suddenly gone crazy on all areas of the Golf Course. Owing to chemical restrictions there are very few, ( that work and are not stupidly expensive or illegal!), products we can spray to deter worms from casting . Whilst the aeration they provide the sub surface can be seen as beneficial the soil casts they leave on the surfaces are an unsightly pain! We are next week trying a new turf conditioner which whilst quite expensive is being reported as doing a great job. So fingers crossed ?
You also have probably noticed everywhere these little critters ! especially on our Greens. Bless them ……….not !
These have been hatching out all over the place and once they have they just fly around looking for places to lay there eggs which become ‘Leatherjackets!’ The damage Leatherjackets do is well documented as is the fact we no longer have legal chemicals we can spray anymore . Until 3 years ago we could spray the whole golf course with a pesticide that worked brilliantly for about £500. Now we have a pesticide from USA that is only allowed to be used only on Greens and tees under an emergency licence . It has to be heavily watered in, ( which does not help other issues!) , to get the pesticide deep into the soil. And it cost’s about £1200 just to spray the Greens !
The above picture shows a disease called ‘Dollar Spot‘ we have areas of this on some fairways and approaches. Dollar Spot occurs when there is additional moisture present on warmer days and the cool nights of spring and autumn. Such conditions have been very prevalent the last 4 weeks . Dollar Spot disease appears as small (dollar size) spots of pale, bleached turf. The spots may be slightly sunken, causing an uneven surface, and can merge to form large areas of affected turf. There are a few fungicides that can help stop it but it does just recover itself after a while. At a approx £750 per hectare it would cost in excess of £6500 to spray all fairways and approaches we let it recover itself !
This warm wet weather also encourages the development of Fusarium disease on greens.
The best analogy I can give you is its like a human getting a cold or virus. Often caused by stress and especially during damp conditions. Ask yourself how many people you know at home or your workplace that are presently suffering at the moment with some kind of cold or virus? And to use the Human analogy again strains of viruses are getting more and more resistant to medicines and anti-biotics. Well the same applies to Fungicides. Add to that that most fungicides that actually worked have been banned from the uk it makes our job even harder. Measures we do take to try to prevent Fusarium is to make the grass plants more hardy, by use of iron, potassium and Silica. Also we try to keep the surfaces as dry as we can, not easy when we have damp days and clear nights creating heavy dew’s in the mornings. Hopefully we will get a few hard frosts soon as this normally stops the disease in its development.
Finally the other issue we are having at the moment is the deluges of rain coming in large quick quantities. this makes cutting surfaces very difficult without leaving either brown water marks or grass clippings. Although we have the luxury of our Irrigation system which, has kept our course in great condition all summer, it only keeps the top levels moist. A few inches below ground the mainly clay soil is very dry and so sudden deluges of rain either rus off onto certain low lying areas or just soaks the top few inches with no where to go. On that note though you may have noticed the first 3 fairways are particularly wet , well, some dipstick! and I am always big and bold enough to admit a mistake ! made an Irrigation computer error and did not switched off an automatic programme ! So those areas received a good soaking by mistake early this week ! I’m sorry for that but hopefully people except we all make mistakes ?
So…….. these are some of the issues we have to deal with as GreenKeepers! We are not moaning about our lot , just really trying to educate everyone that times are changing and making our jobs harder.
As a golfer its good, I believe, to understand these issues and to then appreciate that when things are not always how we want them on the Course , you know that myself and my staff are doing all we can to prevent things, (legally that is !), though as often said we cannot control the Weather .
On a brighter note we are getting along nicely with the construction of the back 9 holes paths. We hope to have 11,12,16 and 17 finished in the next couple of weeks .
The new practice area on the field opposite the Driving Range is also now fully open for you.
Finally I, and on behalf of my Team, would like to welcome all of our new members that have joined Abridge over the last few months. And also to wish Stanley and Carole all the best for their year as Captains starting this Sunday
Sorry about such a long update but hopefully you have found it an interesting read or I have helped solve your lack of sleep issues!
Enjoy your Course Enjoy your Club…………………… Remember it’s yours !!!