september 2020 update

Greens renovations have been completed now and recovery is well underway. Firstly the greens were scarified -8mm, this brought out around 1 trailer load of debris. On the Wednesday we hollow tined using 12mm tines, going down 2″(50mm). We took 12 trailer loads out of the greens. Over 35 tonnes of sand has been brushed into the holes/ surface and 70kg of bents grass seed sown. You can see the new growth already. Because of the stress this causes to the grass plant we have raised the height of cut to 5mm, this will help combat some of that stress. We have put a feed on but will also be putting further soil conditioners on next week, this will aid the recovery, help keep the greens firm going into winter and also help keep disease away. We have had a couple of meetings regarding the winter programme, this is near to being finalised now. The aim is to level up 3 tees and sort out an area of the 6th tee that has sunk a little, we will also look at opening up the trees so we can use more of the left hand side of the 6th tee. Some more path work improvement will take place, mainly raising the 7th path to the fairway to stop it flooding. We are also enquiring about draining the left hand of the 12th fairway, this will depend on cost and ground conditions. There is also a lot of tree work that needs to be done, removing dead trees, low branches and a few trees that are not indigenous to the area. We have had a couple of complaints about the course recently mainly regarding as to what the greens staff actually do and how we have done less this year than previous. This has upset and annoyed all the greens lads, as we have worked as hard this year like we did in any previous season. Briefly, the greens get cut every day , usually 5;30am-8;30am. Tees/fways/surrounds all get cut minimum twice, like every year previous. The rough gets cut all week, because of how much of rough there is it takes all week, the only way around it is growing more long rough therefore making the area we have to cut smaller. The weather plays a big part of how the rough plays, usually the complaints about he rough start mid may, this is usually when we have the first decent amount of rainfall during the warmer temps. This season we had 23mm during the whole of April/may, no moisture for the grass to kick off, now we have had 100mm+ for the last 3 months with decent temps the rough does not stop growing. Because it takes us all week to cut it some areas at the weekend have had 3-4 days growth. We are looking into purchasing a new rough machine, keeping the old one, and maybe another machine to cut in between the trees, this should hopefully speed up the process. The greenstaff would also like to grow some areas longer, this would also speed up cutting. Another massive problem the greens staff see with people looking for their balls is that you have no idea how far the ball has gone. We see people looking for balls 30 yards further than where the ball actually landed. Please pay attention when on the tee so you have a better idea as to where your balls have gone. Unless you work outside you would not know how much an impact the weather/ rain has on your plans/work. The difference between a dry cut compared to a cut when it’s wet is like night and day. The summer of 2018, (June/July/Aug) it was dry 49% of the time, with Thurs/Fri being dry 62%/42% of the time. Compare this to 2020. It has been dry 29% of the time, Thurs/Fri dry 15%/23%. Why do these figures matter? Thurs/Fri are the main days we cut to present the course for the weekend. Not getting a dry cut makes a massive difference, absolutely out of our control. We have had 152mm more rainfall in the period than 2018, 58mm more than 2019. Wednesday/ Thursday when cutting rough have both been wet 85% of the time, 2018 was 62%,38% wet. Massive differences. Thanks for reading, please follow us on twitter @ashtonleagreens, this will give you daily reports on the state of the course and updates of what we are doing. We also have a facebook page, search for Ashton and Lea greens. Please like the page and ask your golfing friends to like the page, make them aware of the good things we are doing and producing. Any concerns or opinions on what we are doing please contact us directly on greens-ashtonlea@hotmail.com. Thanks for reading, Mark Shuttleworth ( Deputy Head Greenkeeper)

Welcome back

The only right way to start this blog is with a couple of thank you’s from the greens team. Firstly to the board of directors and General Manager at the club that kept all the team together during lockdown, where nearly all courses in the area used the furlough scheme, our directors had the foresight to use the time to invest and push the course forward. All this was done with our safety paramount, making the team happy and relaxed.

Secondly, the backing we received from the members was incredible. It is a lot easier to do your job in these strange and troubled times when you know the membership is 100% behind you. Thank you, it made our lives during them 8 weeks stress free.

Anyway, it wouldn’t be a greens blog if I didn’t have a moan about the weather. Since lockdown started we have had around 30mm of rain (10 weeks). This is coming of 6 months were we averaged 4mm A DAY!!!!!!

The average rainfall for the previous 15 years in May is 61.5mm, this year we had 7.4mm. This has meant we have had to change our usual cultural practices on the greens. Usually we would be cutting daily by now, currently we are alternating between cutting and rolling. If this wetter weather continues this weekend we will go back to cutting daily.

 We have been putting water on the greens nearly every day to keep them alive. Just a few facts about how we irrigate and the system,

  • Our tank hold 36,000 liters of water, this is used daily. 
  • We are running the system for 5-6 minutes per green.
  • Our irrigation system is around 30 years old.
  • It takes the tank 16 hours to refill, so can only be used once per day.

We are on our 2nd applicaton, 3rd going out this month of wetting agent. This is applied primarily to prevent dry patch and ensure that every drop of water that goes on the greens is used and doesn’t run off the surface. It also maintains a uniform surface, so there isn’t soft and hard spots.

In my previous blog I had put that we was going to target wet areas on some greens. There has been no chance of that so far this season due to the weather. I’m uncertain how much of this will be done this season due to how busy the course will be. You can have the best plan in the world but the past 10 weeks has blown a hole in that!!!

Anyone who’s played recently will notice we have installed around 500m of new paths on the course, we’re really pleased with them, we will see the benefit next winter.

The height of cut on the tees will be reduced next week, if we had lowered them during last month there would be no grass left!!! The height on the fairways has another 2mm to come down also, but this will be only be done if the weather allows.

Working on the course over the past month it is good to see nearly everyone sticking to the rules. Please use the ball remove contraptions on the flags please, i’m seeing a lot of people using their hands to retrieve balls. Also DO NOT walk or drive over the new path edges that have been soil/seeded.

Thanks for reading, please follow us on twitter @ashtonleagreens, this will give you daily reports on the state of the course and updates of what we are doing.

We also have a facebook page, search for Ashton and Lea greens. Please like the page and ask your golfing friends to like the page, make them aware of the good things we are doing and producing.

Any concerns or opinions on what we are doing please contact us directly on greens-ashtonlea@hotmail.com.

Thanks for reading, Mark Shuttleworth ( Deputy Head Greenkeeper)

Moist

The view looking down the 18th today, we’ve had an unbelievable run of rain recently, the average rainfall for Feb is 60mm, this month we’re on 90mm already.

Anyway, we’re only a few weeks off the rain becoming warmer so there’s lots to look forward to!!!

This coming season we will be using a similar plan to what we have used for the previous two season. The one big change we will be doing this year is targeting small problem areas of the greens when we have a opportunity to do so.

One thing all this rainfall has highlighted is where the greens hold water, areas like

  • Front of the 1st
  • Left hand side 4th
  • Front left 5th
  • 9th green
  • 3 areas on the 10th green
  • Front left 13th
  • Front 14th
  • Front 15th
  • Back 17th

These areas, mainly small spots on the greens are softer than we would like. This is due to these areas historically holding more water, thatch build up has increased in those areas, therefore these areas hold more water.

The plan is to target these areas sporadically during the year, it may be doing a light scarification or micro hollow tine of the green extra to our usual maintenance. Disruption will be kept to an absolute minimum during the season. The results of this extra work should become visible towards the winter months.

The spring renovations will take place on the week commencing 9th March (weather permitting). The plan is to start with a double scarification -5mm (5mm below the surface), followed this by a 8mm hollow tine. Finished with a sand top dress. The idea of this plan is to remove any organic matter build up we have had during this wet spell ( the wet spell started in July!!!!!!).

If we can’t complete all the tasks we have planned then we will try the following Monday. Once we have top dressed we will follow with a roll and feed.

If you’ve not been down to the club recently or seen our social media you may not have seen that we have completed the build of a new bunker on the practice ground. We used a company called Eco bunker https://ecobunker.co.uk/ , It’s a system that uses old style astro turf. The base is generation1 astro, the walls are generation 2 astro. It’s ecological because all the old astro would have to got to landfill. Another plus on this system is maintenance will be reduced.

We had some of the astro turf left over so we are doing the bunker beside the 10th green. We will reconstruct the bunker closer to the green so the that we cut around the back of the bunker.

Obviously we are still on with the new paths, unfortunately we are struggling to get on with them at the minute. These will be completed as soon as the weather allows us.

It is the time of year where fences are out on the course, It frustrates the life out of greenkeepers seeing members,

  • Walking along side paths. Please use the pathways.
  • Taking trolleys under ropes. The ropes are there for a reason we DON’T want trolleys in that area.
  • White lines around greens. Also please keep out of these areas with trolleys, the line isn’t a tightrope that you must keep your trolley on!!
  • Roped off areas. If you have to take out a post to take a shot, please put it back.

There are some greens without white lines around, this is not an invitation to take your trolleys in-between bunker or on the surround. Please use your common sense. All the course protection measures are that we have a good course as early as we possibly can next season.

Thanks for reading, please follow us on twitter @ashtonleagreens, this will give you daily reports on the state of the course and updates of what we are doing.

We also have a facebook page, search for Ashton and Lea greens. Please like the page and ask your golfing friends to like the page, make them aware of the good things we are doing and producing.

Any concerns or opinions on what we are doing please contact us directly on greens-ashtonlea@hotmail.com.

Thanks for reading, Mark Shuttleworth ( Deputy Head Greenkeeper)

Moist

The view looking down the 18th today, we’ve had an unbelievable run of rain recently, the average rainfall for Feb is 60mm, this month we’re on 90mm already.

Anyway, we’re only a few weeks off the rain becoming warmer so there’s lots to look forward to!!!

This coming season we will be using a similar plan to what we have used for the previous two season. The one big change we will be doing this year is targeting small problem areas of the greens when we have a opportunity to do so.

One thing all this rainfall has highlighted is where the greens hold water, areas like

  • Front of the 1st
  • Left hand side 4th
  • Front left 5th
  • 9th green
  • 3 areas on the 10th green
  • Front left 13th
  • Front 14th
  • Front 15th
  • Back 17th

These areas, mainly small spots on the greens are softer than we would like. This is due to these areas historically holding more water, thatch build up has increased in those areas, therefore these areas hold more water.

The plan is to target these areas sporadically during the year, it may be doing a light scarification or micro hollow tine of the green extra to our usual maintenance. Disruption will be kept to an absolute minimum during the season. The results of this extra work should become visible towards the winter months.

The spring renovations will take place on the week commencing 9th March (weather permitting). The plan is to start with a double scarification -5mm (5mm below the surface), followed this by a 8mm hollow tine. Finished with a sand top dress. The idea of this plan is to remove any organic matter build up we have had during this wet spell ( the wet spell started in July!!!!!!).

If we can’t complete all the tasks we have planned then we will try the following Monday. Once we have top dressed we will follow with a roll and feed.

If you’ve not been down to the club recently or seen our social media you may not have seen that we have completed the build of a new bunker on the practice ground. We used a company called Eco bunker https://ecobunker.co.uk/ , It’s a system that uses old style astro turf. The base is generation1 astro, the walls are generation 2 astro. It’s ecological because all the old astro would have to got to landfill. Another plus on this system is maintenance will be reduced.

We had some of the astro turf left over so we are doing the bunker beside the 10th green. We will reconstruct the bunker closer to the green so the that we cut around the back of the bunker.

Obviously we are still on with the new paths, unfortunately we are struggling to get on with them at the minute. These will be completed as soon as the weather allows us.

It is the time of year where fences are out on the course, It frustrates the life out of greenkeepers seeing members,

  • Walking along side paths. Please use the pathways.
  • Taking trolleys under ropes. The ropes are there for a reason we DON’T want trolleys in that area.
  • White lines around greens. Also please keep out of these areas with trolleys, the line isn’t a tightrope that you must keep your trolley on!!
  • Roped off areas. If you have to take out a post to take a shot, please put it back.

There are some greens without white lines around, this is not an invitation to take your trolleys in-between bunker or on the surround. Please use your common sense. All the course protection measures are that we have a good course as early as we possibly can next season.

Thanks for reading, please follow us on twitter @ashtonleagreens, this will give you daily reports on the state of the course and updates of what we are doing.

We also have a facebook page, search for Ashton and Lea greens. Please like the page and ask your golfing friends to like the page, make them aware of the good things we are doing and producing.

Any concerns or opinions on what we are doing please contact us directly on greens-ashtonlea@hotmail.com.

Thanks for reading, Mark Shuttleworth ( Deputy Head Greenkeeper)

Early update

Happy new year to all our members for 2020, this blog will just put you up to date with what we are doing on the course in the next few days/weeks/months.

Just a quick refresh on last year, we were very happy with how the greens performed from January to mid August, personally I thought they were the best they had every been for a prolonged period.

This photo was taken in the week between Captain round 1 and 2, a picture of a plan coming together. Unfortunately since this picture was taken it has hardly stopped raining!!! Although to be fair I believe the greens are in a decent condition considering the rainfall and in a healthy place going forward.

We will be using the same products that we have trusted for the past 2 seasons from https://www.terralift.eu . We only sprayed 1 fungicide in 2019, that has never been done before here, 2 were used in 2018. Before that we have had as many as 5 sprayed, and at £700 a time that is a significant saving. I put that down to the quality products we are using.

This forthcoming season we are going 1 step further into the Terralift program and getting a product https://www.terralift.eu/the-quadrop-system that will improve the irrigation water we put on the greens. It may sound strange to a layman but water isn’t just water!!! The water we currently use is abstracted from the 18th pit, after testing results confirmed that it is not ideal to be putting onto the greens. The 2 main issues were the pH of the water and the levels of bicarbonates. Bicarbonates stop water movement through the soil profile by blocking up pore spaces. By moving to quadrop we are hoping that the greens will become firmer, better colour for longer and the products we apply to the greens lasting longer.

Other areas on the course we are currently working on are the pathways between 1,2 &3.

We are putting a path on the right hand side of the 1st green that will link up with the 2nd tee complex. To the left of the 2nd green and out to the 3rd tee is the next phase. Then the path from the 3rd tee towards the fairway past the ladies tee will be extended. Work was started on these last week, unfortunately the weather has hindered us slightly so a track dumper will be onsite from Monday so that we can continue work. We have a 5 year plan to sort out and extend paths on the course were needed.

It is the time of year where fences are out on the course, It frustrates the life out of greenkeepers seeing members,

  • Walking along side paths. Please use the pathways.
  • Taking trolleys under ropes. The ropes are there for a reason we DON’T want trolleys in that area.
  • White lines around greens. Also please keep out of these areas with trolleys, the line isn’t a tightrope that you must keep your trolley on!!
  • Roped off areas. If you have to take out a post to take a shot, please put it back.

There are some greens without white lines around, this is not an invitation to take your trolleys in-between bunker or on the surround. Please use your common sense. All the course protection measures are that we have a good course as early as we possibly can next season.

Thanks for reading, please follow us on twitter @ashtonleagreens, this will give you daily reports on the state of the course and updates of what we are doing.

We also have a facebook page, search for Ashton and Lea greens. Please like the page and ask your golfing friends to like the page, make them aware of the good things we are doing and producing.

Any concerns or opinions on what we are doing please contact us directly on greens-ashtonlea@hotmail.com.

Thanks for reading, Mark Shuttleworth ( Deputy Head Greenkeeper)

Feels like November

Just going to do a quick blog about what we have planned for maintenance week starting the 2nd September.

But firstly i’d just like to moan about the weather (again). Anyone who has played recently will have seen that the some of the wetter greens are looking a little tired, the reason for this is down to the fact that we went 19 days solid without a dry day!!!!!!! from the 4th-19th it rained everyday. On top of that we was coming out of a wet end to July which had seen rain in 10 out of 11 days. Thankfully it has become a bit more normal this past week.

To help the greens that are struggling slightly we have put a little granular feed on prior to the work taking place to give them a perk up.

Work will start on Monday. The air2g2 machine will be used to provide some deep aeration. Temps will be in use when the operator is on that specific greens. It’s a non disruptive procedure so greens will be back in play straight away.

Tuesday we are scarifying the greens down about 10mm. This will be followed by a light topdressing then power brushed in. This will be time consuming, temps will be in play a lot during the day.

Wednesday is hollow tining, this will target the top 25mm of the green. This will be followed by a heavier dressing and power brush in. There will be a lot of disruption during the day with temps in play most of the day.

Thursday will be overseeding. 60kg of seed will be put into the greens, a light top dressing will be applied if needed.

During the week give way to greens staff at all times, it is a stressful time for us when we need everything to work and go right for the plan we have. We won’t be waiting for anyone to be taking a shot, we need to get on with what we are doing.

To finish off, the amount of pitch marks we are seeing recently is an absolute disgrace. We know the greens are softer than usual for the reason stated above. Every shot that comes into the green from 40 yards plus will make a indentation. REPAIR THESE MARKS, THESE ARE YOUR GREENS.

Thanks for reading, please follow us on twitter @ashtonleagreens, this will give you daily reports on the state of the course and updates of what we are doing.

We now also have a page for the driving range, follow @DrivingLea

We also have a facebook page, search for Ashton and Lea greens. Please like the page and ask your golfing friends to like the page, make them aware of the good things we are doing and producing.

Any concerns or opinions on what we are doing please contact us directly on greens-ashtonlea@hotmail.com.

Thanks, Mark Shuttleworth ,(Deputy Head Greenkeeper)

September work

Just to give you an early warning of the work we annually carry out during the 1st week of september. The planned work will commence on Monday 2nd and hopefully be completed by the 5th, we have kept Friday the 6th just in case we need it. Although we will be feeding this day if the weather allows. The plan is, Monday 2nd. The air2g2 machine will be used on the greens
We have used this machine before, it is the best way for some deep aeration with little disruption to the surface. Tuesday 3rd, this day will be a scarify down approximately 10mm to remove organic matter in that area. This will be followed up by a top dress and then power brush. Wednesday 4th, will be the day we hollow core the greens. We will only be going down 25mm. This will be again followed by top dressing and the power brush. Thursday 5th, 50kg of bent seed will be put into the greens, this will be followed by a light dressing and then drag matted in. After the work on tues/ weds/ thurs the water will be put on at night to get some of the dressing into the surface. Friday will be left as a reserve day just incase we need it. It will also be feeding day. It would be extremely helpful for the greens staff if the course was quieter this week. Although temporary greens will be inplay when needed during the week for those wanting to play. Give way to greens staff at all times during the week please, it’s a very stressful week of the year for us. Back to the current. We are extremely happy with the way the greens and the rest of the course is playing. I feel that every product we have put on the greens this year we have had real value for money out of, this has not always been the case in previous seasons. We had a question as to why the greens can’t be like they were for President’s day all the time. The simple answer is staff levels and staff hours. As a staff we all usually put in an extra 5/6 hours per man during the week before a major, with the course also being shut on a Friday/ Sat afternoon from 5pm. All this time allow us to roll extra, cut areas again etc. For example we roll on a Thursday, Friday, Friday night then again Saturday morning before Presidents. We have made a portable divot tree that we are going to move around the course. There are the usual fairways on the course that suffer with divots, 8th 9th, but usually when people are around that area people have used all the divot mix in the bags. If we sited a divot tree permanently it would no doubt get vandalised, so we think a portable tree is the best option. Please use it and RETURN the divot bags!!!! Please continue to repair pitch marks, keep trolleys away from greens and in between bunkers. Also when raking bunkers push the sand back towards the middle of the bunker, don’t drag it to the edge. Please don’t practice on the course, the club policy is one ball in play at anytime.

Your golf course

Sorry it’s been a while since the last blog, we’ve not had much to tell you about through the winter months. Nutrition and aeration on the greens have kept them playing well all winter. Renovations went well, we double scarified (-10mm) to remove organic matter, we then solid tined using 12mm tines to s depth of 100mm, this was followed up by around 15 tonnes of medium coarse top dressing. This was all brushed in using our power brush. Recovery has been very good, with good reports coming back regarding the putting surfaces. We are alternating between cutting and rolling greens on a daily basis. This is because the greens have yet to start growing strongly enough to warrant cutting more. This time of year is an absolute nightmare for greenkeepers, cold nights followed by windy days are not good, throwing in the odd warm day, the grass doesn’t know where to come or go!! Hopefully with the temps rising this weekend, soil temps will warm up and the grasses will kick off. Like last year the greens will be following a programme using products mainly from https://www.terralift.eu/ , i have chosen to go down this route because it’s a more organic way to go, trying to get the soil to work on it’s own to create a healthy rootzone that can build up natural disease suppression rather than banging on fungicides on regularly. Fungicides do a great job in stopping fungal disease (fusarium) but whilst stopping the disease they all kill any healthy bacteria in the soil. We have the soil tested every year to ensure we are going in the right direction. Base saturation is a test to show how well the soil can keep hold and utilise nutrition. Poor base saturation will mean fertiliser being wasted and having a shorter life span.
2017 soil results
2018 soil results
The greens were very good throughout last year, in my opinion we had only one bad week, the first week of June. We got done by the sun and wind during the bank holiday weekend. Going down the more organic route is a way that golf will have to go. This year the EU has withdrawn the licence for two very effective fungicides, they withdrew one the year previous of another effective product. Going more au natural has helped us, in the previous 2 seasons we have only used 3 fungicides, some years previous to that we had used 6!!!! at roughly £750 a go!!! https://www.greencast.co.uk/news/product-update/propiconazole-based-fungicides-be-withdrawn-eu-use
As you will all be aware a lot of our time since Christmas has been spent on the new driving range. This will be opening this Saturday. Please only enter the bays from the back, keep off the seeded area. I believe members will be receiving 25 free balls per day for the short game area . Unfortunately i am going to finish on a negative. The amount of pitch marks found on a daily basis is very very frustrating, the greens are in good condition, imagine how much better they could be if all the pitch marks were repaired within seconds of being created. Please keep trolleys away from green, surrounds and in between bunkers. We have had two sad incidents in the last week, firstly a visitor took a chunk out of the 12th green and then on Monday someone walked straight through an area that had just been soil/seeded. Please remember, this is your golf course, the more time we have to spend on repairing unnecessary tasks the less time we have to spend on positive things. Also when you go to other courses, treat them like you would like visitors to treat our course.
Near the 4th green
Thanks for reading, please follow us on twitter @ashtonleagreens, this will give you daily reports on the state of the course and updates of what we are doing. We also have a facebook page, search for Ashton and Lea greens. Please like the page and ask your golfing friends to like the page, make them aware of the good things we are doing and producing. Any concerns or opinions on what we are doing please contact us directly on greens-ashtonlea@hotmail.com. Thanks, Mark Shuttleworth ,(Deputy Head Greenkeeper)

End of year update.

As we are coming to the end of what has been a very good year on the golf course I will keep you updated with how things have progressed since my last blog.

The weather has been fantastic through autumn, allowing us to present a good standard of course. This time last winter we had been shut around 20 times from Oct, thankfully we have had 80mm less rain this back end compared to last year.

The greens have been in fantastic condition. We have had a strong outbreak of fusarium this past week, the climatic conditions were ideal for it. A fungicide was applied yesterday in the hope to keep on top of it.

We are hand cutting twice weekly. Next week there will be some disruption early in the week as it is vital that we verti drain them. We will be using the 19mm tines hopefully going down 10-12″. To get the smoothness back we will cut the greens as usual but also roll, if conditions allow.

Please be aware there are still a ridiculous amount of pitch marks on the greens. Every shot you make into a green will leave a mark, please repair the damage, and if you are playing with someone who doesn’t please pull them up about it. Un-repaired pitch marks only make a green worse, these are your greens.

We haven’t really had any tests for the new drainage on the 2nd, 6th & range. Today is the first really. Good news is that they are all pulling decent amounts of water from the course.

It is the time of year where fences are out on the course, It frustrates the life out of greenkeepers seeing members,

  • Walking along side paths. Please use the pathways.
  • Taking trolleys under ropes. The ropes are there for a reason we DON’T want trolleys in that area.
  • White lines around greens. Also please keep out of these areas with trolleys, the line isn’t a tightrope that you must keep your trolley on!!
  • Roped off areas. If you have to take out a post to take a shot, please put it back.

There are some greens without white lines around, this is not an invitation to take your trolleys in-between bunker or on the surround. Please use your common sense. All the course protection measures are that we have a good course as early as we possibly can next season.

Thanks for reading, please follow us on twitter @ashtonleagreens, this will give you daily reports on the state of the course and updates of what we are doing.

We also have a facebook page, search for Ashton and Lea greens. Please like the page and ask your golfing friends to like the page, make them aware of the good things we are doing and producing.

Any concerns or opinions on what we are doing please contact us directly on greens-ashtonlea@hotmail.com.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, looking forward to a good season next year

Thanks, Mark Shuttleworth ,(Deputy Head Greenkeeper)

Drainage update

Just a brief update as to what we have been up to during this past month.

The planned greens maintenance started with a breakdown to the verti drain, so unfortunately we wasn’t able to complete any deep aeration. This will be done in the next two weeks, weather dependent. Once we’ve been over with the verti drain we will roll to get the smoothness back as quick as possible.

So once we had the breakdown, we decided we would solid tine followed by a top dress. This was brushed in on the Monday afternoon.

Wednesday, we used 12mm hollow tines, to remove as much organic matter (thatch) as we could. This was followed by another heavy top dress. This was brushed in using our own power brush, filling in most holes.

Thursday, we over seeded with 60kg of bents grass seed. Using the best over seeding machine in sportsturf (Vredo), we got a fantastic result. On the worst greens we did a double pass.

The greens were fed the week after. Recovery has been good. As I type, there is a little disease knocking about, which we will spray for once conditions allow. A feed is due on in the next two weeks. This will go on sooner if we feel it would be beneficial.

Going forward this winter we are already into our aeration programme with shallow slitting taking place this week. When ground conditions allow we will aerate if we feel it necessary. A liquid product called Rocastem https://www.terralift.eu/rocastem/ , has been applied. We have used this product before and had fantastic results from it, so we have a plan to apply this every month over winter.

You would have noticed the drainage work on the 2nd, we have installed 400m of primary drainage and over 1200m of secondary drainage. There is two systems therefore two outlets. The system around the 3rd tee runs into the ditch on the 3rd, as you can see in the photo it is already running, opposed to the old system installed that obviously didn’t work.

20180911_065855[1]

The other part of the drainage, that runs to the left hand side and in front of the green runs into a main that goes under the 2nd tee and into the ditch at the top of the practice ground. We will be installing a man hole in the rough on the 2nd so that we can jet/ inspect the drain anytime we want.

There has also been major drainage work on the practice ground. The main area has been drained from 50m from the bays until 175m. Done at 5m centers then sand slit at 2m centers. The chipping area has also been drained at 5m centres, followed up with sand slits at 1m centres.

A new main drain 176m long x 160mm wide pipe. This will take all the water from the area, this will take pressure off the system coming from the 1st,2nd and 15th. The water from the practice ground used to have to go down the ditch, not now. We had 20mm on the 20/9, the manhole to the right of the 1st f/way would usually be fully underwater before the work, on inspection the chamber was only half full, and was completely empty 36 hours later.

We have also put some sand slits down on the 6th to help dry that surface out

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The are doing them at 1m centres so should take any water into the drains that are already in the area. The hole will be closed 5/10.

Ideally the areas of the course that have been drained/ sand slit would be closed to speed up recovery, unfortunately we can’t. Please could all members do their best not to stand on the trench lines, we are aware this is quite hard but recovery will be hampered whilst people are standing on them.

We are still noticing a unacceptable amount of pitch marks on the greens. If your ball pitches on the green it will nearly always cause an indention that requires repair, especially as we go into the wetter months.

We are also noticing numerous people taking their trolleys between the green and bunkers. Please refrain from doing this as it makes the area bare of grass and compact, making it hard to play off and sometimes unsightly.

Thanks for reading, please follow us on twitter @ashtonleagreens, this will give you daily reports on the state of the course and updates of what we are doing.

We also have a facebook page, search for Ashton and Lea greens. Please like the page and ask your golfing friends to like the page, make them aware of the good things we are doing and producing.

Any concerns or opinions on what we are doing please contact us directly on greens-ashtonlea@hotmail.com.

Thanks, Mark Shuttleworth ,(Deputy Head Greenkeeper)

Greens info @ Ashton & Lea G.C