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Head Greenkeeper's Blog | January 2022 | Richmond Park

Head Greenkeeper's Blog

January 2022

Welcome to 2022!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, who received coal in their stocking? Well, I was treated to a nice new weather station for home, however we don’t need a weather station to tell us it’s wet out there.

Sticky start to the new year with challenging conditions for us, however nothing will stop these projects I keep mentioning in my recent blogs. Path and bunker renovations have begun and this month, new timber steps will be going into some tee banks. The soft ground conditions mean we are managing footfall as a priority so more areas don’t wear. We shall also be adding some nice rubber grip mats to help stabilise your journey from hole to hole. Like most greenkeepers at this time of the year, we are aware it’s very unpleasant underfoot and it doesn’t take long before that mud leaves golf shoes and ends up over the greens. We are cleaning off the greens every morning, but please help us by following the traffic management signs, and avoid taking trolleys across fine turf surfaces.

The graphs below demonstrate how difficult winters are here in this part of the world. The blue shows 2020 rainfall and the orange 2021. You can see that October, December, January and February present high rainfall. This is exactly the time when we need to be undertaking projects, but we also have to spend time roping off areas and protecting the course. Novembers in both years has been fantastic for the time of year – we were still mowing right up to the start of December. While it was great to have a good looking course then, the unseasonal grass growth led to us having less time to get these projects underway, but nothing will stop us!


[Ed: 5am starts, 7-days a week in cold, wet weather… but they’re still smiling! Golfing conditions may not be ideal right now, but every greenkeeper in the country is doing an amazing job to keep their courses open. Roll on Spring!]

It’s great to be part of such a supportive team here at Richmond. Last Friday it was all hands on deck. We even had clubhouse staff moonlighting as greenkeepers, all working together to get bunkers reinstated after Christmas rainfall. It was such a shame that Saturday brought more rain as they haven’t looked that good for a while. Huge thanks to all those staff that helped out!

As part of our winter bunker project, all bunkers will either be renovated with new turf, or their edges cut out so we hit the spring season launch with crisp edges and a new feel to them. Following that, they will be topped up with fresh sand. We can’t top up in winter as sustained rainfall washes the new sand out and we’re back to square one. Using tractors and dumpers to access the bunkers would also be near impossible as the ground is so soft. This is why this task is on the greenkeepers’ calendar for spring, once better weather is drawing in.


Turf disease is also making an unwelcome appearance again. This will be down to the heavy rain and frosts followed by sunny afternoons, which creates a micro climate on the surface that encourages disease. This will be controlled later this week once we are clear of the previous applications 2-week buffer period. This stops the turf being overdosed and disease building up an immunity to the products, just like us humans. Now the winter solstice has passed we are gradually getting lighter earlier in the mornings and staying lighter later into the evenings. Natures help in this way will aid recovery of scars, and once into spring we can over seed some greens to speed up the process of getting coverage back.

As this month’s blog has been weather focused I shall end with this –

“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”


Mike Budd

Head Greenkeeper

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