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Grounds Update

Published on 9th September 2021 in Members News

Grounds Update

Dear Members

A quick update with what is happening out on the course and what you can expect over the coming months.

We are eagerly awaiting the return of the good weather, after what was the wettest winter in over 20 years we looking ahead to welcoming in some better growing conditions.  Although for us the winter time is generally the time the team can take time off as playing commitments and the pressure of summer doesn’t generally allow us to escape until things slow down.

With staff either taking annual leave or the apprentices attending TAFE in Perth we generally run with a reduced crew for the majority of the winter period.

Pump upgrade & Irrigation

The last 12 months has seen a lot of upgrades take place with the course irrigation system, this winter we turned our attention to the upgrade of the pumping station with the replacement of the 30+ year old pumps and the old rotten, termite infested shed/snake habitat.

Last year when we upgraded the course irrigation wiring and software we saw a reduction in our watering time. Previously with the old system in the peak of summer (dec-feb) we were averaging 12-14hrs per night to water the course, last summer due to the irrigation programming and the in built flow management we were averaging 8-10hrs per night. The ability to reduce our watering window allowed us to predominately do the majority of our irrigation in the off peak power tariffs and to date for this financial year has netted us a $9.5k saving in electricity. With the advances in technology and better pumping efficiency we should now see our irrigation window drop to 6-8hrs giving us further savings as all our irrigation will now fall within the off peak power tariffs.

Whilst we were doing the upgrade we took advantage of the situation and lowered the pipe that was coming out of the old shed. This pipe housed our hydrosmart system – which uses magnetic pulses to alter the chemical balance within the water and therefore keeping the iron suspended within the water so it doesn’t block sprinklers or builds up within the pipes. There is quite a bit of conjecturer around that these boxes have been direct buried, that is not the case these are housed in underground pits where neither the hydrosmart box itself or wiring loops come in contact with sand or moisture. All work done on the pump upgrade is under warranty so any teething issues we experience are repaired by the contractor quickly and at no extra cost to the club.

Greens Renovations

This year our renovation period is coming up quickly, generally we get excited for this time of year as it usually kick starts the season. This year our greens renovations are booked in for the 19th -21st of September. This year we won’t be so aggressive on the greens…. Greens will be verticut prior to coring to remove some of the excess leaf, greens will then be sanded prior to coring in an effort to keep the weight off the freshly cored greens, we will then core the greens with a 12mm hollow tine and instead of physically removing the cores we will instead drag the greens with a mat to break up the core and separate the grass and the soil leaving us a grass husk which will be then blown away. This year we don’t intend of burying the greens in sand as the weather at this time of year can still be a little fickle and will open us up to poor growth and recovery and added disease pressure. Soil tests were taken on greens last month – soil pH remains good as does the majority of the nutrients although Calcium levels are relatively low as is potassium which is slightly under on where we want it to be. These deficiencies will be addressed through soil amendments added during renovations and over the course of the growing season.

Staff

Barry McGill will be leaving us shortly has he is about to embark on his 2nd retirement. Barry has been with us for 5 years now and you would generally find Barry on either his rough mower or fairway mower. He has been such an important member of the team and will be missed although he is rumoured to be joining the sod squad as “special projects coordinator”. BGC member Shane Schwarze will be taking over from Barry in a similar part time roll. We look forward to working with Shane and having him as part of the team.  Along with Shane coming aboard we will also be welcoming a new 1st year apprentice to the team who will be due to start around November.

Upcoming maintenance & works

19th – 21st September                   Greens Coring

22nd – 23rd September                  Solid core  – Greens collars and approaches

28th – 4th Sept/Oct                         Fairway Scarifying

11th – 15th October                        Tee Scarifying

18th – 22nd October                       Hollow core tees

On top of the annual renovation period we will be adding additional irrigation to rough on the RHS of the 5th fairway.

End of November we have also pencilled in a green replacement, more information and a scope of works will be provided closer to the date.

Kind Regards,

Dave Brennan

Golf Course Superintendent

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