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Head Greenkeeper's Blog at Richmond Park | Oct 2019

Head Greenkeeper’s Blog | Oct 2019

It has been an extremely busy last few months of the golf season. July, August and the first half of September were very dry, we lost a lot of the grass coverage on the fairways as a result. The final week of September coincided with the greens maintenance week, and gave us over 130mm of rain. And it feels like the rain has not stopped coming down since, resulting in some of the courses becoming very wet. It’s a difficult time for greenkeepers and a lot of golf clubs nationwide are also suffering from these extreme weather conditions we are having.

The greens have now recovered fully after maintenance which saw us scarify, 5mm pencil-tine to a depth of 8”, topdress with 40 tonnes of sand, over-seed and apply a granular fertiliser

Disease pressure has been very high, with the warm temperatures and wet surfaces. I’m very pleased with how the greens are performing at the moment and we will continue to keep improving the playing surface through the autumn and winter. We have some exciting things happening this week, with the arrival of some specialist machinery on hire called an ‘Air 2G2’ which will inject high pressured air directly into the compacted rootzone and create large air spaces to aid surface drainage and root development. Hopefully we will see some instant results on the greens that suffer annually from heavy compaction and sit wet for large periods of the winter.

We have also aerated all the tees to a depth of 7” with solid tines, top-dressed with 20 tonnes of sand, over-seeded and applied an organic granular fertiliser. These practices will help us to ensure the tees are in good shape going into the winter.

Some great news is we had our new irrigation tank installed in August and have had our 3 phase mains electricity cable replaced to supply the greenkeepers compound and irrigation pump house in September. I must thank my team for their patience during this difficult time and commend them for their continuing hard work through such adversity. I would also thank each member and guest who played during the installation of the cable for their patience and understanding.

Some of you will of noticed a large number of rope and posts placed across both courses, this is to prevent high traffic areas through the autumn and winter from being ruined from buggies, trolleys and excessive foot-fall. Protecting these areas will help to ensure they are in the best possible condition for next spring.

We have also begun path renovations and have completed the Princes 1st greenside, 4th and 13th tee sides already. We plan to complete 1 path each week (weather permitting) and keep all current paths topped up with fresh stone.


  • Slit to a depth of 4”
  • Sarrell rolled weekly
  • Seaweed applied every 4 weeks
  • Organic fertiliser applied for maximum nutrient uptake
  • Height of cut raised to 4.5mm
  • Animal damage continually being repaired
  • Temporary greens dressed and seeded


  • Regular marker rotation
  • Overseeded & topdressed
  • Slow release autumn fertiliser applied
  • Aerated to 7” with 10mm solid tines
  • Height at 12mm
  • Kept clear of leaves and debris
  • Organic  fertiliser applied to aid wear recovery and seed germination


  • Brushed to stand up grass and encourage regrowth
  • Organic fertiliser applied to help thicken sward
  • Height at 12mm
  • Kept clear of leaves and debris


  • Brushed to stand the grass up and encourage regrowth
  • Slit to 8” to aid surface drainage and root growth
  • Cut direction has changed to prevent lateral growth
  • Half & Half cutting
  • Kept clear of leaves and debris


  • All quicker growing areas cut regularly
  • Carries in front of tee’s being grown to add more definition and character to each hole
  • Unwanted vegetation and weeds being removed


  • Raked twice a week
  • Edged & weeded monthly
  • Sand levels replenished when possible

Future plan

This autumn and winter our main focus will be on keeping the presentation levels on the course to a maximum and improving the finer details, such as removal of unsightly vegetation in rough, increased traffic management and clean course signage. If anyone wants to get in touch with me or my team regarding course conditions, recommendations or just to say hello please don’t hesitate to approach us out on the course or get in touch with me at

Best regards

Joshua Thorley


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