This page has been created to give members relevant updates on the golf course in between Sam's fortnighly video updates. The team will endeavour to include information which they think members would like to know on everything from course maintenance to the latest small project.
R&A Agronomist reports
Please find below the link to the most recent agronomists report. Please note that the report mentions the course development projects being approved, which is not currently the case. We have issued a letter of intent to MJ Abbott to carry out the irrigation upgrade in October 2024, subject to contract. Approval for the remaining masterplan works, including upgrading bunkers, is pending member feedback, the necessary funds being raised, and final board approval
Trees felled between 14th and 16th holes - November 2023
You may have noticed that trees have been felled between the 14th and 16th holes. The area directly below these trees has very little, if any, heather coverage, and this is due to the tree canopy shading the area. Now that these trees have been removed, we should start to see heather regenerate. The stumps will be removed before the start of next season, along with other stump ginding requirements which get carried out at the end of the winter project period. Please refer to the local rules for details on relief (or not) should your ball land in this or similar areas.
Access steps on the driving range - October 2023
As you may have noticed we have undertaken work to the back of the driving range. We are installing some access steps to the transfer pump inlet which feeds the reservoir. This is to ensure we can safely maintain this and we can prevent the pump or/and inlet from becoming blocked. Now the bases are in situ, steps will be installed over the next couple of weeks. Please stay clear of the area and any work machinery. Thank you.
Dollar Spot Takes the UK by Storm - September 2023
You may have noticed that on several tees and approaches we have lost some grass coverage. The image below is the 1st approach which is probably one of the worst. This is called dollar spot. This has been much more noticeable across many courses in the UK this year due to our changing climate and abnormal seasons.
You can see from the image of the 1st that our disease prevention on the greens is really working and there is almost a perfect line from treated and untreated areas. As you can imagine our disease prevention on 1.5Ha of greens is not cheap and therefore, extending this to 1.5Ha of Approaches and 1Ha of tees will nearly triple the cost.
There is a lot of research going into products and micronutrients to reduce the dollar spot infections, along with more tolerant grass species. We will be looking to grow these scars out after renovations in October with a granular fertiliser on tees and approaches.
Lots of research has been done into rolling of surfaces to reduce dollar spot, but as you can imagine resources to roll approaches and tees on a regular basis is not feasible right now.
Hydraulic Leak July 2023 - 1st approach
On Wednesday 26th July the team went out to cut the approaches. On the 1st approach the hydraulic pipe burst. The operator noticed the leak after only 2 lines, however as it is the first we will turf these lines from the chipping green approach. Going forward, from April 2024, the club has invested to replace our aging approach mowers with electric motors, which removes the hydraulic oil and the potential for leaks. We are returfing the damaged area and apologise for any inconvenience.
Heather Growing Strong - July 2023
The heather on site here at North Hants is developing well and the footprint has increased over the past three seasons. This image is between 11th and 17th fairway and shows the two varieties of heather we have on site. The ‘Bell’ heather or ‘Erica Cinerea’ flowers now (July), while the ‘Ling’ heather or ‘Calluna Vulgaris’ flowers later in late August.
13th Fairway Trial Success - 5th July 2023
This year we have trialled a new wetting agent for the fairways. This is to ensure water utilisation and efficiency is maximised. You can see from the image the 13th (top) and 12th (bottom) fairways. The idea of the wetting agent is to ensure the grass plant survives periods of drought and when natural rainwater does come, the bounce back of the surface is improved and quicker. This image was taken on 5th Jul after 16mm of rainfall on 4th Jul. As you will notice, the 12th fairway is a control fairway and has had no application of the wetting agent. It is obvious to see the uniformity on the 13th fairway is greatly improved from that of the 12th. Both fairways have had the same irrigation over the season to date. The idea of this product is not to have lush green fairways, as that does not suit our traditional heathland characteristics, its purely about water utilisation and plant survival. Some positive results to protect some of our reservoir water in future.
In order to efficiently stay on top of weeds in bunkers we are spraying those worst affected. We use dye in the spray mix for this so we know where we have sprayed and do not walk the product onto the playing surface, which would kill the turf. You may see some footprints from our spray operator, however, we are trying to rake in between sprayed areas.
New Drainage Planned for 18th and Practice Green - 25th May 2023
Update 26th May 2023 Due to limited contractor availability this work is now scheduled to take place 19th - 21st July . 3a and 3b will be utilised on some days over this period. The 18th and putting green will be back in play quite quickly following the work. Below is an example of how the greens are left immediately following the work.
One of the weaker areas on the golf course is the 18th green and its susceptibility to flooding. This green sits much wetter than the rest of the greens and, like others, has no existing drainage to speak of other than a possible gravel layer dating back to 1904. The centre of the 18th green holds onto much more moisture than the others and has proved an issue, in particular during the winter after constant rainfall or in the summer following a short heavy downpour. The putting green is also susceptible and has lots of standing water on it after rain, which has started to affect the turf coverage at either end of the putting green.
Having considered possible solutions to this issue we plan to install Rope Drainage. Rope drainage (Hydrowick Drainage) has delivered successful results around the country and has been done in the U.S for decades. Conventional drainage is the alternative; however, it has a much longer grow-in period and will affect playability. Rope drainage installation causes minimal disruption and each green can be back in play much quicker.
We are pleased to inform members that the management board has approved spend to install this drainage system on the 18th green and the practice putting green. This This work is planned for the first week of August during course maintenance (TBC). We hope members will see a vast difference in the performance of both greens.
Hydraulic fluid leak 15th May 2023
Last week our approach mower had a hydraulic pipe burst near the practice putting green. Luckily the operator realised after only 3 lines and it has now been repaired. Sam and the team are going to core, seed and topdress these lines to encourage new growth and over time the lines will fade.
Top Dressing Update
Sam and the team will be carrying out regular top dressing on Mondays and Tuesdays throughout the 2023 season. This is an important process that helps the greens roll more consistently. The dates of the top dressing are noted in the online club diary. You should not experience any negative impact on how the ball rolls on the greens on these dates.
Bunker Maintenance - May 2023
As we enter the season bunker maintenance has started again, this includes strimming, weeding, and moving sand around. We do 9 holes each week, so every bunker gets this overhaul every 14 days. When we are struggling to keep on top of the weeds in bunkers, we will spray these off in the mornings, ahead of golf, but are unable to rakes the bunker as this will affect product efficacy, so if you see regimented footprints in the bunker when you get to it one afternoon, feel free to rake over them.
Thinking outside the box - May 2023
The growth on the fairways has really started to pick up, and between First Assistant, Rob Schofield and Mechanic, Craig Thaysen, they have attached the blower to the fairway mower to enable 1 man to do 2 jobs. Great work gents!
Sward Coming along nicely - May 2023
Sward density has really improved recently on the greens with conditions. Much of the winter damage is filling in and ball roll will improve daily. A couple of greens are a little behind the others, for example 8th, and these are on their own bespoke programme to bring them inline. We are also giving the approaches a kick of nitrogen to also help fill in winter damage and increase sward density. Poa seedheads will appear this time of year, and can affect ball roll, but our job is to try and prevent these from getting too large, with regular grooming and keeping them as micro as possible. But nature often wins the battle.
Pot seeding success - May 2023
Some of the bare areas on the greens and approaches from the summer of 2023 have recently been pot seeded by the team and results are really promising. We overseeded these areas with brown top bent grass, and now we will develop this seed to fill in the bare spots and create good coverage.