April update 2017

Spring renovations have been and gone, with the greens coming out of the other side in very good condition. We did things slightly different than planned, with a last minute decision to go with 18mm tines instead of 9mm.

We decided to do this because of how healthy the greens were going into the renovation weeks, we felt they were strong enough to cope with a more aggressive routine.

In total we tined them once and got a total of 45T of sand into the profile. Last year we tined 3 times getting 36T of sand into the profile.

In hindsight there are a few things i would do different to get an even better result, hire in a power brush and have all the sand on site prior to work commencing. This will happen in the autumn renovations (1st week of sept)

During the work we applied a feed to the greens to keep them strong, we used a product called ‘cold start’. It’s the 1st time we have used this and I was extremely happy with the response we got. 10 days ago we put on a second feed, this was a liquid that we used last year, like last year it is giving us good results.

Its been a strange start to the season weather wise. Although April is traditionally one of the driest months of the year, we are currently going through the driest April we have had in the last 10 years, 10.8mm!!! this time last we had 38.4 with only 4 dry days in April.

Even though we’ve had little cloud cover temperature have been average for this time of year, with night time temps 2deg higher than this time last year, this has helped with growth. We have had steady growth to start with, although we could do with a little more!!

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This chart shows us where we are against last years growth. According to our data we are tracking around 3 weeks ahead in terms of growth potential, from a personal point of view I would say this isn’t far off. In fact we are roughly where we were on the 7/8th of May last year. We are taking off a good box of clippings every cut this year.

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This chart is purely April growth potential, this year we have a cumulative figure of 5.11 opposed to 3.86 last year, a figure of 0.4 would give you good growth in a day.

We are aware that the greens a a little bobbly at the minute, mainly because of the different grass species in the sward growing at different rates. The Poa, which is dominant in the greens has yet to ‘kick off’ properly. We are brushing when cutting to stand the grass up giving us a better cut, the little and often top dressing will also even out the surface. Height of cut is currently at 4.75mm, this will be taken down further to 4.5mm this week. Summer height will be 4mm.

The long range forecast we receive shows us that the cold spell will last until mid next week, then on Tues/Weds (2nd/3rd May) the temperatures will improve greatly to late teens early 20’s, just like last year.

The only moan we have is the number of pitchmarks we see on a daily basis, please repair your pitchmarks as they have a detrimental effect on the putting surface.

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Our summer aeration plan will kick off this week with solid tining and a light dressing this Tuesday, this will help smooth out and bobbling. Hopefully weather dependent we will spray the greens Weds with seaweed and a wetting agent.

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.

We are now also posting pictures on Instagram, search for ashtonleagreens, you should find us.

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 plan next few weeks

Just a brief blog to let you know what will be happening in the next month leading up to the start of the season.

Greens renovation work will start next, Mon 13th. The plan is to solid tine (19mm tine) to a depth of 100mm at spacings of 50mm x 50mm. The holes will then be filled with sand then brushed in. We are hoping to put around 12 tonne on.

This will occur 3 times over a three week period, we are doing exactly what we did this time last year. We are planning to complete the task in one day. The weather will have a roll to play so although the plan is to do it on three Mondays, we may be doing it other days also. During the task there will be some temporary greens in play, we will keep disruption to a minimum.

Next week we will also put on the second feed of the season on the greens to help them trough the work and also get them ready for the start of the season. We are all extremely happy with how the greens are currently  performing, both play-ability and health.

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The data we are getting from our weather station is telling us we are about a week ahead in growth terms from last year, so hopefully we might get a decent growing start to a season, something we haven’t had for a long time.

Hopefully the bunker base will be completed this week, the weather has been a complete nightmare for us and the contractor. The stone must have a low % of moisture and the polymer must set, so it needs to be dry.

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The graph above shows what we’ve had since 13/2. Hopefully we are coming to the end of 19 consecutive days of rain. This time last year we had 272mm, this year we’ve only had 122mm, yet the course is absolutely saturated.

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.

We are now also posting pictures on Instagram, search for ashtonleagreens, you should find us.

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

Thanks, Mark Shuttleworth

 

Woodland Management

Woodland work has been continuing throughout the month of February. Trees play an extremely important role on golf courses offering strategy, aesthetic and ecological value. All three aspects are desirable but have to be maintained within a wider golf course plan. Tree work is now being carried out to the woodland in between the 7th and 12th hole. These trees were planted over 15 years ago and have matured to the stage where selective management is vital to the health of the stand.

Trees which were initially planted only metres apart have started to crowd one another out to the detriment of both. The weaker of the two trees are now being removed to the benefit of the stronger specimen (see photo)

 

This selective tree removal will also aid the maintenance of the turf by allowing a machine into areas that were previously maintained by pedestrian methods such as strimming. This labour intensive activity can now be replaced by a faster more efficient approach.

The thinning of trees will also have a positive agronomic influence over the 12th green allowing a greater flow of air and increased light penetration to the greens’ surface. Changes to these environmental aspects should decrease the time the surface remains moist during times of heavy dew. The result of which will be a healthier turf more adept at resisting disease instance such as Microdochium patch (Fusarium).

A less dense stand of trees will reduce the penalty of an errant golf shot. A ball that lands only a few metres from the semi-rough could result in a player having a having to play out sideways due to the number of densely planted trees. The thinning of the stand will allow a golfer to advance the ball more easily thus reducing the penalty incurred. An additional benefit to this should be a speed up in play.

Whilst very much an ancillary benefit to the removal of trees but one that shouldn’t be overlooked is the use of the timber to extend the log wall to the rear of the 5th  green. This feature has been extremely well received by members and visitors alike. It has also caught the eye of the STRI Golf Environment Awards and contributed to the highly commended award in this years competition. A big thank you to all the hard work put in this year and especially to our volunteers who gave up many hours of their own time.

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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.

We are now also posting pictures on Instagram, search for ashtonleagreens, you should find us.

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

Many thanks

Tom Jacques

Update Jan-Feb 2017

Anyone who has been on the course in the past few weeks will be well aware that we are cracking on with our winter programme.

Firstly the 6th. We have been able to verti drain the area nearest the green twice since Christmas, unfortunately ever time we think we could re open the area we have another down pour that knocks us back. The area has always been compacted so we need to get on with our aeration equipment all year as soon as we can, ideally, any drainage work would be completed in the summer months!!

The bridge steel is now with us, so that will be sited soon, then it will be a case of hoping the weather is in our favour.

We have targeted 5 of the bunkers that we believed are the poorest performers. Theses are R/H/S 5th, all 11th and R/H/S 12th .

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As you can see from the photos above there has been some major re-shaping done. All the old contaminated sand has been removed, with us getting down to the clay bottoms. In some areas we had to go down 45cm (front 11), others was already clay (RHS 11 near the top).

All the bunkers have been reshaped to mimic a bowl shape so that any ball the rolls into them should end up near the centre of the bunker, this will also help with drainage.

All drains have been re done, either additional drainage or made deeper.

We are using a system in our bunkers that is called Better Billy Bunker. This method is commonly used in the U.S, it is also in place at Gleneagles.

https://www.billybunker.com/

Once the bottom is shaped we spread 4-10mm pea gravel all over the base to a depth of 50mm. The installer then sprays the whole area with a heated polymer glue. This takes a few hours to go off. The area will then be bonded together so that no contamination can travel upwards but water can quickly filter away.

The installers will be on site on the 20th Feb so unfortunately the affected hole will be closed that day. The weather has to be dry so it may be the 21st or 22nd. The bunkers will be fenced off so that no one can enter them for a period after to help them settle.

Just a quick reminder that spring renovations will take place in March for 3 consecutive weeks, usually Mon & Tues. Solid tining down 100mm then top dressing is the plan. We intend to get on around 35T of sand on.

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.

We are now also posting pictures on Instagram, search for ashtonleagreens, you should find us.

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

Thanks, Mark Shuttleworth

 

Rainfall figures 2007-2016

We have been collecting the rainfall amounts at the golf club now for over 10 years. In this blog I will detail the findings of the data.

We started collecting the data when I was studying at Myerscough, the tutors informed us on how important the figures were as they can help you with nutritional input, they also give us a guide with course conditions.

I’ll start by showing you a chart of yearly rainfall totals (mm) from 2007-2016

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The average for Preston is around 1030mm a year. Our wettest year was in 2012 (1267.5mm), our driest year was 2013 (827mm).

Last year 2016, we had 831mm, we only had 1 month of 100mm+, that being January.

I think the most important figures are the month-month totals, this gives us and idea when we are more likely to have the wet spells, although British weather is very unpredictable!!!!.

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As you can see from the figures in the chart over the past 10 years August has been the 3rd wettest month!! It also gives us an insight as to why often the greens are slow to get going because of the lack of moisture early season, it would also suggest lack of temperatures also due to minimal cloud cover.

On reading the data we are looking into a few things that we do on the course. We often feed a few times in spring to try to ‘push’ the greens on, but if mother nature is against you it isn’t going to happen. They also helped in the decision to refrain from aggressive renovations in spring, because we never get the recovery.

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.

We are now also posting pictures on Instagram, search for ashtonleagreens, you should find us.

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

Thanks, Mark Shuttleworth

 

 

Last update 2016

We have had an extremely busy last 4 weeks progressing through our winter programme of works.

Firstly the largest of tasks was the construction of a ditch in front of the 6th green. This was contracted out to Dixon Drainage to carry out the excavation, shaping and laying flags in the base. The greens staff installed the timber stream edgings and the outlet.

The ditch took 4 days to dig out and shape the sides, we have put the finishing touches to the bankings and also sorted the outlet with a slide valve so we can control the flow out of the ditch..

The banks will be turfed 15/12, the only problem will be washout after heavy rainfall. Hopefully the grass will root in before the next big heavy down pour.

Whilst the weather was good we installed 350m of drainage in between the 6th green and 7th tee. This was a notorious boggy area so hopefully we have solved a problem. We aim to site a new temporary green there in the spring.

During the drainage there was heavy plant on the area, this has compacted the area severely. Unfortunately the day after the diggers and trenchers left there was 10mm of rain that has saturated the area before we could get on with the verti drain. We will have to wait for the soil to dry to a point that is beneficial to aerate. We have had rain every day since.

There is no set date for the re-opening of the hole, it is all weather dependent. As soon as we have a dry spell we will get on with our aeration equipment to aid the water to get to the new drains. We are hoping very early next year.

The other drainage project on the go is the practice facility. The drains we have found have all been jetted, the amount of water coming into the main outlet is immense. Sadly though the main outlet has had a ash tree planted above it, with the roots finding their way into the pipe. The outlet has been re-routed 5m away from the tree in solid pipe. This runs into a main 200mm drain that runs into the brook.

The main and all the other drains are being jetted again on the 16/12 to remove any trace of silt to ensure they are running at maximum rate. My only concern is that the main outlet may not be large enough to cope with the amount of water coming into it, we will monitor this.

Onto the greens, we are extremely  happy with the way they are performing. They have had the last feed of the year 10 days ago, we will also be applying some seaweed next week to give them a little boost before xmas.

Disease pressure has been immense this ‘back end’ with night time temps in Dec as high as 9.7deg, day time 15.2. We have kept the disease mainly at bay, only with small flare ups. A fungicide will be applied before xmas to keep them clean going in to the new year.

Some members will have seen the clubs new purchase in action. 20161026_1054361

The Toro pedestrian pro core has been bought by the club. This is the best aeration machine on the market. It will be used on the greens, tees, surrounds, approaches and walkways. It will allow us to aerate in conditions that wouldn’t be possible using a tractor. The time it takes to change a set of tines over is about 5 mins, on our old tiner it was 1 hour.

We are hoping to aerate the greens every 2 weeks , tees every 4 weeks.

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

 

 

6th Ditch

 

A & L Greens Committee and Board of Directors have approved a programme of extensive Drainage groundworks – STRI, BIGGA and other recognised experts have been consulted for advice on these matters and a working scheme for the area developed.

Dixons Drainage Ltd have been selected as the preferred choice for this work

Prior to the commencement of the excavations, Dixons supported A & L Staff in taking the ground “Levels” to ensure the proposed systems would provide adequate “fall” and achieve required flow-rate for all system water.

The proposed System / Network comprises of :-

Combined “Open” and “Closed” main drain-way (ditch) with crossing access points for both players and equipment

Existing submerged pipework to be linked into both of the proposed network of Drain-way & Systems

Main Drain-way (Ditch)

The Closed “Outflow” section – Completed by A & L greens staff consists of:-

Submerged 30m solid drainage pipe routed through to the adjacent brook

Non-return valve fitted to avoid “Flood” backwash from the Brook into the drain-way

Existing perforated pipework linked into new outflow section

The “Open” Main ditch section – to be completed by Dixons Drainage Ltd consists of:-

Excavated 60m long ditch, base laid with 3’ x 2’ Concrete Flags on a 20mm stone bed

The “Open” Main ditch banks section – to be completed by A & L Staff consists of:-

Banked sides laid with 8” x 2” Tanalised timber blended into Turf banks

Existing Submerged perforated pipe “connected” into Drain-way timber banks

Work commences subject to ground conditions & availability

Current forecast Monday 28th November 2016

Installation of Astro-turf covered player access walkways (NO trolley or Buggy Access)

The Closed “Inflow” section – Completed by A & L greens staff consists of:-

Submerged 30m solid drainage pipe routed through to the adjacent brook

Weir (Sluice) installed to control input water levels and flow-rate through the “drain-way” section – manual control.

The hole will be closed whilst the work is taking place. The hole will only reopen when the area is deemed fit.

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, Greens Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greens info @ Ashton & Lea G.C