The rain has returned to Bush Hill Park as we all knew it would, the dry 7 week spell we had from mid-January to Early March had been most welcome and whilst I was trying very hard not to say we needed a drop or two we most certainly did especially with in excess of a 1000m of newly turf laid over the autumn and winter period.
It was also good to get some of our members who rely on buggy usage out on the course after they had been extremely patient during the wet winter months.
We have had 33mm fall in the last 8 days which has started to make the course wet in places again but will also make recovery from our maintenance works much quicker than cold dry conditions.
Many will have noted that we had planned to carry out our greens renovations from Monday 20th March.
Leigh and myself made the decision to start our maintenance work a couple of weeks ago before the weather had changed. We did this as the ground conditions were very favourable for us and allowed us to the work swiftly without causing any disruption.
In fact we have to date:
On Monday we will finish the final 5 greens that are in need of solid tinning and top dressing, we will have applied 45/50 Tonnes of sand when finished which will have a massive impact on the health and root depth of the greens.
One major bonus of completing these works is that we can now get the greens recovered much quicker than if we had started these works next week and with the weather forecast not too pleasant it also means we have got more work done and sand applied than we would of by starting Monday.
A huge thank you to our membership who have allowed us to get these essential works completed.
Now, you may ask what are the benefits of this work we have done?
When I started at Bush Hill last March I did notice that whilst the greens were in reasonably good shape there was a real issue with shallow rooting. This was highlighted during a very hot and dry summer in which we had to use more water than we’d ideally wanted to as we had to continuously water the top inch of the surface to prevent the greens drying out drastically.
The thousands of holes that we have punched into the greens over the last 2 weeks and the fact we have got sand into these holes means that air, water and roots will move deeper into the rootzone much easier.
From a golfers perspective firmer and drier surfaces result in a quicker and truer greens, from a greenkeeping stand point by making the greens healthier means less disease, less water and the greens become more naturally sustainable.
Tees and Approaches
The presentation of the tees and approaches had been to a very good level because of the dry weather in February, the wet weather over the past week has meant we have had to take a step back. At this point of the year being patient with our cutting regimes means less damage and that we get into the season in better shape.
The tees have been fertilised to encourage them to recover from a long winter of play, we will be fertilising the approaches in early April.
Like the tees and approaches we have been able to get out and regularly mow the fairways over the past month, something which is not always possible this time of year. The weather has slowed us down this week but they are in good condition heading into spring.
We will be fertilising all fairways this year with a slow release granular fertiliser to strengthen them up and hopefully help them survive better during dry spells this summer.
All the bunkers on the course have been hard edged over the last month, once the new bunkers are complete we will be looking to top up the remaining bunkers to improve the sand levels.
We have completed the new front lawn and shrub beds over the last month, we will be looking to give it a mow in the coming weeks and start the planting in the beds.
We have put in the first layer of sand in the new 3rd bunkers.
This will need to be compacted and then another 2 inches of sand added before it is brought into play. We will be doing the same with the bunkers on the 2nd in the coming week.
It is vital that golfers don’t play out of the bunkers until they are complete, to play out of the bunkers without the correct level of sand would damage the base of the bunker and mean contamination of stones in the fresh sand.
The majority of the new course furniture is now installed around the course, we will be adding the brand new divot boxes in the next couple of weeks and as soon as I has sourced some permanent yardage discs we will add the new yardage posts, I hope you all agree that they look superb and really add something to one of the most beautiful courses in Middlesex.
New Member of Staff
We are now back to a team of 6 with the addition of Bernie Ashman as our new First Assistant greenkeeper.
Bernie has had previous experience at Theydon Bois Golf Club in Essex and spent a summer at T Golf Palma in Mallorca.
Bernie has fitted in very well in his first 2 weeks with us but has also brought the rain as it hasn’t stopped since he started!
A big thank you to Leigh, Bernie, Tyler, Charlie and Sam for the hard they have done over the past few months to set us up for what looks to be an exciting and successful year ahead on the course.