Each year at this time, a significant amount of renovation work is done on our course playing surfaces.

A large amount of this work is undertaken on our renovation days, which are always the first Monday and Tuesday in September, when the course and all practice facilities are closed for the entire days to allow as much of this work to be carried out efficiently and safely for all concerned.

So, what actually takes place when there are no members and guests on the course for those days?

DSC05864Greens

The main priority on the first day is to get the greens completed so that play can resume as soon as possible with minimal interference and disruption. To do this, we utilise two coring machines (our own and a contractor’s) starting at 5.30am, ensuring the coring and harvesting of cores is completed by early afternoon.

DSCN0747Once the cores have been collected, the greens are blown to remove any remaining debris and then rolled to stabilise the surface. We usually then add a couple of specific amendments to the soil, using pedestrian spreaders.

Next a heavy top dressing of sand is applied to fill the core holes, dilute any thatch in the greens, and re-establish putting surface levels.

The sand is then brushed into the surface, filling as many core holes as possible, and the greens watered to incorporate the sand and amendments even further. Some follow up top dressing is usually required in the following weeks to ensure coverage has been uniform.

DSCN0732This results in long days, with work usually not finishing until 5.30pm.

Whilst disruptive for a few weeks, the benefits of heavy greens renovations early in spring are felt for the remainder of the year. With a large amount of traffic on the course throughout the year, soil compaction can result in turf roots effectively “suffocating”, and rainfall and irrigation simply running off the surface of the greens. Given our climate, this can make summer very stressful for bent grass greens, so the ability to aerate and relieve some of the compaction towards the top of the soil profile by coring is invaluable.

DSCN0736Renovation coring targets the top 75mm of the soil profile. When combined with our routine, less disruptive deep aeration throughout the year, we are providing opportunities for new, young roots to penetrate deeper into the soil, making the turf more stress tolerant as it can access more water and nutrients.

Fairways & Surrounds – 3 photos

Whilst all this is taking place on the greens, the opportunity is also taken to continue working on the fairways. Fairway renovations are time consuming, so we aim to finish within a week of commencing.

Ideally, it is still a bit early in the season to be renovating couch, as the soil temperatures are still a bit low for the couch to grow actively. However, we overcome some of this through the fertility program we run throughout the year, and by retaining some good turf colour and density throughout winter, ensuring recovery is as quick as possible.

We then take the opportunity to hollow tine (core) the fairways, and then either “mulch” or rub the cores and produce a light top dressing. This is ideal, as we are recycling our underlying sand, bringing some organic material and nutrients to the surface.

The benefits of this work on fairways are the same as the greens, and since we commenced this work over 10 years ago, it has assisted in improving the efficiency of water and fertiliser use through the growing season as more water is able to reach deeper into the soil. When you consider the total
area of fairways, these efficiency improvements are very valuable.

This photo shows the accumulation of organic matter in the upper section of a fairway profile over years. Renovations help to prevent this area holding excessive moisture, which can restrict air movement and root system development.

Tees & Surrounds

These are some of the most intensively trafficked areas on the course, so renovations (hollow tining and top dressing) are vital leading into spring and summer. These areas are generally completed on the two days of course closure, but due to the slower couch growth will require preferred lies for
several weeks until recovery is complete.

Renovation days are a great opportunity for us to prepare our turf for its most stressful time of year, but also plays a big role in the condition of the course throughout winter as well.

So whilst we appreciate it is an inconvenience to have the course closed for two days, we trust the benefits for the remainder of the year are understood.

Thank you once again for your cooperation and understanding this year, and we look forward to returning the course to great condition in the coming weeks.

Daryl Sellar                                                    Simon Grieve
Consulting Superintendent                        Course Operations Manager

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