Periodically during the growing season the Greens are vertically mown to a depth of approximately 1.5mm. Verti-cutting is a light form of scarification where rotating blades scratch at the sward surface. Coarse growth and dead/ dying grass plant material is removed which would otherwise contribute to the thatch layer. Lateral growth is also pruned encouraging a more upright finish. From a playing perspective verti-cutting improves the ball roll improving the smoothness and trueness of a putt.
The vertical blades throw the clippings into the grass box
The bank surrounding the rear of the par three 5th Tee has been overseeded with varieties of fescue and two x 1Kg of wild flower seed.
The long term goal is to create a grass feature with wild flowers during the Summer months.
back right of the Tee in complete shade
back left of the Tee in dappled shade
Prior to seeding the bank was strimmed and raked out to expose the bare soil. This created a seed to soil bed that will aid germination. The irrigation at the rear of the Tee has been set to 360' which will allow watering of some of the bank.
The problems that have to be overcome are that the bank is sheltered from the direct sun for part of the day and the pine trees to the rear of the Tee prevent rainfall from wetting the bank.
The fescue and wild seed chosen will grow in dry sandy soils so hopefully the seed will germinate and establish.
The last three days have seen the Lancashire Ladies County Golf association play their Spring Northern womens Close Amateur foursomes Competitions at Morecambe golf Club.
Apart from some drizzly rain on Wednesday morning the weather was set fair for the matchplay competition. Congratulations on home players Christine McGrath and Julie Cheung on reaching the semi-finals.
It looks like we will have to be patient for a little while longer yet before Spring kicks in properly. Two weeks ago it seemed like the new season was going to be upon us. Although the day length times have improved the temperatures are still in the low teens at best. For general growth patterns to improve the temperatures must consistently be above 12'c. This will then warm the soils up and lead to consistent growth.
First signs of Spring
The Hawthorn is one of the first trees to come into leaf at this time of the year. As you can see from the photo above the leaf is only just pushing through !!
Well worth a read, the article below gives an insight into what it takes to prepare the Augusta National golf course for one of the biggest golf tournaments in the world. Completely out of touch with reality, but interesting to read.
Inside the Ropes: The Life of an Augusta greenkeeper
Augusta National was a Leeds greenkeeper's office for six months
Headingly greenkeeper Andy Stanger told his careers advisor that he loved cutting grass. Twelve years later he earned himself a six-month
internship at the most famous corner in golf in the run-up to the 2009 Masters.
“I got the internship after a three- hour phone interview with three different people. There were 14 of us interviewing for one job. I began in late October 2008 and was appointed to work on holes 8 and 9. Then Amen Corner came up so I spent 15 hours a day working on 11 and 12. It was a dream spot, where else would you want to be as a greenkeeper?
“They have 45 full-time staff on turf, 35 on horticulture and eight to 10 interns on hole care. There are also four full-time mechanics. The greenkeepers’ prefab is immaculate. They will sand down all the paint on all the walls and paint it all again brand new every year.
“The site is huge. To get from Amen Corner from the maintenance facility would take about eight minutes to drive to. The trees go on for quite a way before you get to the edge of the site, it’s like a fortress.
“I have always fancied caddying there. The caddies say the 11th is the hardest hole, if you go left from the tee you’re dead, and it’s the most difficult to putt on. In the morning, with the dew on it, you can see really subtle breaks and the nap goes down towards the pond. Pros will drop 50 balls to find a way to run one down to the pin.
“The 12th can be deceptive, there is a hole in the trees where the creek runs and that can act like a funnel for the wind. The green is tiny. If you go long there is no up and down from the bunkers.
“They have a bunker technician there every single day; depth checking, cleaning, topping up, edging. I can guarantee and the depth of sand will be exactly the same in every bunker. When the course shuts they get a black liner and peg it all in so any bunker can’t be contaminated or get blown away. Then they clean them out and freshen them up.
“The course opens again in October and they have all new grass every year. The Bermuda grass in the summer basically holds the soil together and looks terrible and that’s why it’s shut. In October they scalp all the Bermuda grass down to the soil and plant new Ryegrass everywhere. And then the clock starts ticking and the countdown goes up on the wall. There is no ‘we’ve got til April’, the intensity is then ramped up from that point.
“You will get weak spots, bits that are in the shade we will be working on. We were throwing seeds two weeks before the tournament – anything that can be picked up on a camera will be painted green.
They get the green speeds to around 14. No club golfer will ever understand that. And that is on firm and undulating greens
“Members aren’t expected to be out there playing every day. A busy day might be four rounds; most days there would be nobody. Two to three weeks before the tournament the players start arriving. Two weeks before that is the members’ tournament – The Jamboree – and that is the big deal and where you can get your name on the boards.
“Jack Nicklaus said if you put a 10-handicapper in the middle of every green he still wouldn’t break 90 and he is spot on, they are like putting on my desk. It is the sheer firmness. How they stop their balls on 15 is beyond me.
"They have chalk points on the greens that are 10 feet apart and they roll between them. They get the speeds to around 14. No club golfer will ever understand that. And that is on firm and undulating greens.
“Three weeks before you start mowing morning and night. They will say to cut the 10th three times, the 14th four times and the 12th just once and that will keep changing. Every green will be exactly the same speed.
"It is different to the US Open where the greens are purple by the Sunday, it is 80 ̊ in April and they haven’t been trampled all year and are not stressing it as a plant plus everything is monitored.
“On tournament days we would meet in the shop at 3.30am for a briefing. The chairman would come down at 4.30 to gee everybody up and you would be given a number of a mower with instructions.
“I had 12 which I would only cut once. There was no grass coming off, just dust, so I would help on 13. There is as much food and drinks as you want and then you are free to watch golf or get some sleep.
“A lot of us sat in the shop and watched it on the big screens. It is the best networking time and where you would get your next job. By 2.30pm I was in a buggy by the 5th in case anything went wrong.
"Then after the golfers have come through you start mowing the course again.”
• Andy is now the head greenkeeper at another Alister MacKenzie-designed course – Headingley, near Leeds