As a team we were well glad to see the back off 2017, it was the hardest year weather wise that any of us had been involved in during our time as greenkeepers. The actual amount of rain that fell during the year was 850 mm, the third driest year in the last 10!!, the problem we faced was during the whole 365 days there was only 140 of them that were dry. The problem was that out of 225 wet days over 50% was 2 mm or less of rain, therefore just topping up the ground every time. I’d rather have an annual total of 1100 mm with 200 dry days, that would be a lot easier to work with!.
It’s been very difficult at times for us to get machines out on the course so we have spent time thinning out plantations on the course.
There are three reason why we carried out the removal of the trees,
1, We took out trees that were weak, other tree’s were stunting their growth. Only the strong survive.
2, We removed the dead trees.
3, Most importantly for us, we removed any trees that didn’t fall into the category’s above to make it easier and quicker to cut rough. Due to the placement of some trees it was impossible to get close leaving large areas needing cut with another machine.
It does annoy the greens team when we get comments about cutting trees down ‘again’. Over the past 17 years we have planted probably in the region of 20-30 times more trees than we have took down. We must remember that being a golf course must be priority number 1. Below are photo’s from 2000,2003 and last year. I think they back up my claim.
Since we have returned from the christmas break we have begun work on turning the two large bunkers on 18th into 4 smaller bunkers. We took 15 house bricks out of the one on the left during re-shaping!! We also found in that bunker that the drainage pipe was 6″ higher in the middle than at the start, water doesn’t run up hill!!!
We had a meeting today (Monday) with Ryan from Dixon’s Drainage, he came to finalise the plan for the area around the 2nd green. In total there will be 410 m of new sportsturf drainage installed, the picture shows where,
We will also be installing sand slitting, this will be a band of sand 10″ deep every 1 m, the area being sand slitted will be an area of 510 m2, the picture below shows the area we are targeting in blue,
We also discussed the short game area on the practice ground. The plan is to finish of the ditch, this has changed from an open ditch. we will now replace the 6″ pipe with a new twin walled 12″ pipe, this will take 4 times the volume of the old pipe. We will also lower the height of the ditch that runs along the 1st fairway.
The chipping area will be drained with land drains then sand slitting will be done on the surface. We will also be constructing some chipping greens and installing some mats to play from.
I will be doing a blog closer to renovation time to go through the detail of exactly what will happen in March. I have got concerns regarding the fronts of some greens. We will be targeting small areas where we will be hollow coring with jumbo tines and running over some areas with the Graden.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks, Mark Shuttleworth ,(Deputy Head Greenkeeper)