Since my last report, it’s done nothing but rain! We recorded 90mm for October, which is 20% above the average, and so far, in the first three weeks of November, we’ve had 124mm, which is 75% above average with a week still to go and with the forecast, I can see us hitting the 100% mark. Nature, indeed, is correcting the balance left from the summer.
The long-range forecast is more settled, so fingers crossed that’s the case. We are noticing that the ground is drying out a lot quicker than normal for this time of year. That is because the water table is so low still. There is plenty of space within the root zone for water to fill. This means we have still been able to get buggies out on the course.
We have cleared all the drainage outlets so water can be moved away from the surface more quickly. We have installed a new drain alongside the path outside the clubhouse, which has flooded on many occasions this winter (not anymore). You’ll notice plenty of roped-off areas on both courses, so please stick to these as they protect vulnerable areas from becoming muddy, which causes poor playing conditions (especially around the greens).
As we are based on London clay, we have a higher-than-average worm population. These worms come to the surface to cast during wet periods. This causes a big maintenance headache for us, and in order to brush or sweep the worm cast up before mowing, they need to be dry; otherwise, we just smear the mud over the grass plant, effectively suffocating it and losing turf coverage. Through October, we managed to do this as we had plenty of dry days, so the courses looked well presented still.
Through November, we haven’t had those conditions thanks to continuous rain events, which equates to a golf course which is lacking definition, but at this time of year when the grass isn’t growing, the last thing we want is to smother it in mud. The grass is better than no grass, so bear with us. Once we have the right conditions, we will be out there brushing and mowing again.
Before the recent wet weather came, we managed to slit the greens, which helps move water laterally off the green. Disease pressure has been very high recently due to the mild temperatures and long periods where the plant has remained wet, but thanks to well-timed chemical and fertiliser applications, we don’t have any disease on the greens. We have recently renewed the pathway on the 18th Dukes ditch crossing and upgraded the pathway over the ditch on the 1st Princes tee. Most of the ditch crossings need to be renewed as they are a pinch point for traffic, so they often become wet and muddy. The next area that will be addressed is the 3rd Duke’s ditch crossing. Once we have sorted these out, we will be installing the Huxley tee matting on the 17th Dukes white tee.
If the forecast behaves and doesn’t change, we will also be out-slitting fairways which will help keep them dry by moving water laterally so it can find drains quicker. The tees will also benefit from a solid spike to help water move and roots to grow. I have found in the past that aerating surfaces helps with the worm cast, probably as the worms cast in at the bottom of the hole rather than the surface, this is only a short-term positive, but it will allow us to present that area better during that time frame, if that works we’ll move onto the approaches too.
Glendale Golf Area Course Manager
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