Course Superintendent's Blog
July has been a busy month for the greens staff, with the club hosting some great golfing events. The month started with the Wollongong Open Amateur Championships and the Junior Open Championships before finishing off with the Ladies Foursomes Championships and the Subaru State Championships. The greens staff have worked hard and have done a great job in preparing the course for both members and guests for these events and we hope the golf was enjoyed by all. The colder weather has really kicked in now and this has seen the Couch turf go into dormancy and lose a bit of its colour and growth. All other turf surfaces are now in a slow growth stage but the consistent showers throughout the month have seen the turf hold its lush green colour.
For the last week of June, we spent our time preparing for the Jack Newton Subaru State Championships which were held from the 30th June to the 3rd of July. It was great to see such young talent testing their abilities here at Wollongong Golf Club.
Last month we applied a herbicide to the greens to eradicate Kikuyu and Couch. The application has been successful and the Kikuyu and Couch is starting to die off.
Tupersan taking effect on the Couch (left) and the Kikuyu on the edge of the green
The past month has been good for the greens staff. After all the rain we received it was great to see the Westerly winds pick up and dry everything out. With the Ladies Club Championships and Wollongong Open Amateur to prepare for, all the staff worked extremely hard to produce the best possible course for competition. The cold overnight temperatures have resulted in a slow growth rate of all turf surfaces which now gives us the opportunity to concentrate a little more on the finer details of the golf course. We have applied a herbicide to all the greens edges and selected areas of the greens to eradicate Kikuyu and Couch from entering the greens surface. This will require a few weeks to take effect.
Tuppersan application on the 4th green
This past month has been a challenging one for the greens staff. So far the golf course has received over 255mm of rain and damaging winds. Over 150mm falling in just one week. Prior to the bad weather the greens were performing very well. As planned, we commenced with a small renovation to all the greens except for 1, 7 and 17. This included a verti-cut, a solid tine and a light dusting with USGA spec sand. This will ensure us that we carry the healthiest possible greens into the cooler months of winter. I appreciate the patience shown by all golfers during the time we spent renovating the greens.
Above: Images showing the water taken on during recent extreme weather events and the condition of the course in the days following these events.
Above: Assistant Superintendent Dan Guerin solid tinning the 5th green
The heavy rain has caused some damage to the golf course. The 18th green took on a lot of water and as a result of water sitting in the soil layer, it caused a water-bed effect on the turf surface to occur. You may notice the front right corner of the green has an uneven surface caused by the heavy rain. This is currently under repair and again I thank you for your patience. Because of the amount of rain in such a short period of time, the greens have become quite soft. This is being rectified with consistent rolling of the turf surfaces.
Above:The 18th green (floating turf visible in the water)
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the volunteers for all their help during this time. They have been a great help to the staff in preparing for all of the events over the last month and during the recent storms.
This Past month we have received 88mm of rain fall with 46mm falling in a 3 hour period on the course just days before the finals were held of all the local pennants. All the greens staff put in a great effort to return the course to play and we have received rave review on the course condition.
Selective herbicide Arena MSMA has been applied to the 1st and 18th fairways and will continue to be applied to all couch grass fairways as part of our Kikuyu suppression program over the coming months.
Images of Buffer area around 18th Green.
We are coming into the cooler season now with grass growth and recovery rates slowing down in preparation for this all the par 3 tees have been over sowed with Rye seed to give them a bit more protection throughout this time.
Irrigation trouble shooting and repairs have been completed on the left hand side of the 18th hole with a faulty length of communication cabling needing to be replaced.
On a sad note Jake Gibbs Course Superintendent has finished his time with the team and has taken up a role as Assistant Golf Course Manager at Bonnie Doon golf club. All the staff wish him all the best in the future.
Dan Guerin, Keenan Hobbs
Over the past month we have received more than 90mm of rainfall across 13 days, which has provided the turf with plenty of moisture resulting in a very lush and green golf course.
The frequent wet weather along with warm temperatures has meant that the grass has been growing around the clock and we have been mowing constantly, to try and keep up with the demand created by this excessive growth. We have also applied a regulator to the tees, greens and approaches to assist in controlling the rapid growth.
Along with the mowing demands of the golf course, the maintenance team have been focusing on applying herbicide to the kikuyu runners which are encroaching into the edges of greens surface. This process involves painting the individual kikuyu runners with an artist brush to ensure an accurate application of the herbicide. We have had some good results with this process (see photos below).
It has been a fast start to 2015 with the maintenance crew working tirelessly to keep on top of the mowing demands from the golf course. The amount of mowing across all turf surfaces has been increased to keep up with the rapid rate of growth we are currently experiencing.
We have had a mixed bag of weather over the past month, with temperatures ranging from maximum day time temperatures of 18’C through to 35’C. This has made managing the requirements of the turf challenging through this period. The greens require frequent applications of fungicides sprayed in a preventative manner to protect them from fungal disease outbreaks.
Another product which we use to help manage the golf course through the summer period is the use of growth regulators to assist in restricting excessive growth. Growth regulators are a good cost management tool that produces savings through reduced mowing time, clippings and machinery wear.
The Monday volunteers continue to be a great help with the golf course maintenance. Work by the volunteers over the past month has included maintenance of the car park and clubhouse gardens and helping with course trimming and mowing duties.
We have only received 13mm of rainfall throughout November, continuing with the pattern of warm north westerly winds resulting in dry conditions. Our rainfall is down 500mm from last year’s total rainfall of 1300mm with only one month of the year left. The green keeping team have continued to work hard with managing the moisture levels around the golf course through manual and automatic irrigation to help maintain the health of the turf as much as possible.
Solar powered light box
We have been approached by Syngenta (Chemical manufacture) to install a light trap to monitor turf damaging insects. The light trap has been placed on the far right hand side of the 9th hole. The light trap is powered by solar power which lights up a fluorescent bulb drawing in the insects during the night. The insects falls into the basket under the light and get caught.
Once a week we will empty the basket and count the quantities and species and send a count of the different turf damaging insects via email back to Syngenta. The data collected will help us to better understand flight patterns and insect numbers. It will also provide greens staff with a good indicator on when to spray during periods of high insect pressure.
I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!!!
Work has now commenced to the car park gardens where we will be taking the opportunity to renovate and replant in accordance with the Wollongong Golf Club vegetation management plan. Work is currently underway, with the removal of all vegetation from the garden that separates the entrance and exit of the driveways to the car park. All vegetation removed has been replanted around the golf course gardens where possible. This process is being undertaken by the maintenance staff led by our Horticulturalist Matt.
I am really looking forward to the development of this project as the gardens start to take shape and mature.
This month started off with our greens being renovated over the 8th and 9th of September. Thank you to all of our volunteers, whom ensured that this was a successful renovation.
Due to the greens renovations, we have had to raise the cutting heights slightly and apply more water to the greens to ensure a quick recovery.
Our tees, greens and fairways have been fertilised and sprayed with pesticides in preparation for the upcoming growing season to ensure we have healthy turf surfaces. We have added some extra watering points on the 9th, 14th and 16th fairways to ensure we have a more even coverage in these areas.
Wallaby Grass seed has been introduced to the mound between the 1st and 18th fairways. During the weeks there have been hoses and sprinklers set up to assist with consistent watering of this area.
So far in the month of September we have been fortunate with the weather. We have had sunny days but still managed to get some much needed rain.
The greens staff are all excited to see the golf course really starting to green up now leading into the growing season with this wonderful weather we are having. The course is shaping up well for the upcoming Club Championships which we are all excited for!
August has been an extremely wet month with over 204mm of rainfall recorded. We have been encouraged with how the golf course has handled the wet weather over the past month.
Ironically the maintenance team have been focusing on our irrigation practises and efficiencies, to ensure we deliver the best conditions possible during the summer months.
We have performed a full irrigation audit of all components within the irrigation system, starting with the pumps through to the individual irrigation sprinklers to check the pattern of the sprays.
The audit has been extremely beneficial, allowing us to discover sprinklers that are faulty, sprinklers not communicating with the controller and worn rotors.
The team have been working through the list of maintenance jobs that we need to carry out on the system to give us maximum efficiency in these dry conditions.Despite the recent wet weather, greens maintenance was successfully carried out on September 8th and 9th. We would like to thank all golfers for their patience and understanding throughout the maintenance period.
The weather has continued to remain dry and cool with no significant recorded rainfall over the past two months. As a result we have been irrigating frequently to provide good soil moisture for the turf.
The practice nets have progressed well and are nearing completion with all structural work now finalised. We are waiting on delivery of the impact nets, and the installation of the hitting mat before the nets will be available for use. I would like to say a big thank you to all volunteers involved in the construction of the nets.
We have recently taken delivery of a new greens mower from Toro. The new mower has been purchased to replace our current greens mower, which will now be used to mow tees and approaches. This capital purchase will offer the maintenance team reliability, quality and efficiency that we can pass on to the membership and social golfers across all of our putting greens.
The weather has remained dry over the past month with no rainfall recorded. The grass is continuing to grow slowly due to the cold overnight temperatures.
The construction of the practice nets has progressed well over the past few weeks. The levelling and forming of the site, along with the pouring of the concrete slab has all been completed. Work has also commenced on the construction of the bays.
During this period of slow growth, the maintenance crew along with the volunteers, have been continuing to invest a large amount of time in management of vegetation along the riparian corridor. The work carried out through this area continues to look fantastic and is a credit to all involved.
The other focus of the maintenance team has been the shaping and levelling of bunkers. This process involves relocating sand within the bunker and adding additional sand where required. The focus has been on greenside bunkers and will continue until all bunkers have been addressed.
The Indian summer has continued with clear sunny conditions, and an average daytime temperature remaining in the the mid 20’s through to late May. This has made ideal conditions to play golf. The growth rate of the grass has now slowed as the soil temperatures fall, due to the overnight temperatures.
We have now turned our attention to focusing on the management of the course vegetation. Full time staff, along with the Monday volunteers, have been focusing on the riparian corridor with selective removal of vegetation. This has enhanced the ascetic appeal of the corridor by showcasing pockets of vegetation compared to mass planting. The removal of vegetation has also opened up and exposed the water way as it meanders through the property.
The construction of the practice nets has now commenced after the successful submission of the development application through council. The nets are being constructed on the northern side of the clubhouse with the project being led by Adrian Johnson. A big thank you to Adrian and the financial contribution that the Veterans Association have made, for the fees of the development application.