Thursday, 1 December 2016

Leaf Clearance

During the main leafing period, the process of keeping the main playing areas clear takes priority over any other tasks. The leafing policy follows a set procedure. The first part of the policy is to identify the main playing surfaces and list them in priority order.

1.       Greens
2.       Aprons
3.       Around Greens
4.       Tees
5.       Fairways
6.       Rough

Leaves are either blown straight into woodland areas, or blown into areas of rough and piled for collection. The leaves are collected in two ways. One is a machine with a giant hose for collecting static piles, and the other is a sweeper machine used more on fairway edges/rough. The direction and place the leaves are blown to for collection is dependent on many factors such as ground conditions, wind direction, machinery used and machinery access, etc. This may involve blowing leaves across a whole fairway, green, tee, or through a bunker. The leaves become more difficult to move when wet and even more so when they build up in quantity. Heavy rainfall, wet and soft ground conditions restrict what machinery can be taken onto the course. Frozen conditions also restrict efficiency with potential damage to the grass plant from machinery and leaves being frozen to the surface. The nature of each specific task on each hole when leafing, and the time taken means that the piles of leaves are not collected as quickly as they are created. A large area like a fairway can sometimes take several hours to blow, so it is therefore impossible to clear all fairways on a daily basis. Clearing all fairways can take several days and can appear untouched within hours of completion.  During periods of high leaf fall the Greenstaff will spend eight hours a day trying to deal with the leaves, on windy days this process can be immensely challenging.  

Due to Vibration white finger (VWF), also known as hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), the exposure to using hand blowers also needs to be limited to prevent HAV occurring. This comes under The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005, created under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

At weekends we are not permitted to use machinery until after 7am, due to noise issues with neighbouring houses, leaving us only a very small window to clear leaves using leaf blowers. This unfortunately means that only greens and aprons can be cleared before play begins.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Tree and Course Safety

On your travels around the course, you may have noticed some markings on large trees.
See pictures below.


These marks highlight possible defects in the trees structural integrity. Any evidence which may pose a risk to safety is marked for reference and observation. Trees in close proximity of high traffic areas like pathways close to greens and tees, present a higher risk of danger. 
The marks are also made to clearly identify the reasons why particular trees are to be removed which are outside the general woodland management plan.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Woodland Management Proposals 2016-2017

The next stage of woodland management is focusing on the wettest corners on the course, holes that suffer the most from closures due to wet conditions and where conditions have a limited opportunity of improving, due to the heavy vegetation and shading that surrounds them.

This work is all part of the long term plan to improve sustainability, by reducing costs and the need to apply chemicals which are harmful to the environment and wildlife.

Please see the Map for reference.

T311: The plan is to thin this area of woodland to improve sunlight penetration and air circulation across the 11th green and 3rd carry.
T911: to thin this area of woodland to improve sunlight penetration and air circulation across the 9th green, 10th hole and the 11th carry to the fairway.
T114: to thin the woodland to improve sunlight penetration and air circulation across the 1st green and apron.
T15b: to continue the work undertaken in this area by removing three trees identified for creating the most shade nearest to the green on the east and south side. Further canopy reductions will also be undertaken.

Other work will focus on improving the line of play where trees have grown wide and tee shots in particular have become very tight in recent years.  These trees will only be decreased in size and not removed.
All this work has been agreed for implementation by Bromley Councils Arboricultural Officer.
Any large specimens or veteran oaks will not be removed unless they pose a risk to safety, or agreed upon for removal by Bromley Council. General pruning reducing canopies and raising low branches with continue as part of the normal tree works program. Other trees under the 30cm limit (agreed by Bromley Council), may be removed where necessary. 
Plans to re-stock in practical places will also be undertaken. Some locations have already been 
identified as suitable.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Course and Habitat Management

In response to a few concerns about certain areas on the course, here is a detailed explanation as to why this approach is taken. Lakes, ponds, streams and ditches are a regular features found on most parkland courses, and contribute to the diversity of species on the golf course. Larger ponds and lakes will often support breeding waterfowl, but also provide much wider ecological benefits for birds. Wetland areas such as these will provide habitat around the edges of the water feature for many types of prey insect, particularly dragonflies, damselflies and craneflies, as well as giving cover in which birds will nest. To ensure maximum ecological benefit from such wetlands, it is best not to cut the fringe of reed, grasses and other vegetation which grows at their edges. If it is necessary, it should be done in the autumn, after breeding birds have left. In addition, a buffer zone should be left between the wetland margin and the mown and sprayed areas of the course, so that polluting run-off does not reach the wetland areas.

Recommended Habitat Management for birds and other wildlife on parkland golf courses
1. Reduce the extent of frequently mown areas of grassland, to create carries and areas of rough or semi-rough, thus improving course definition and increasing areas of habitat for birds. Avoid fertilising – and minimise other inputs into – these areas to encourage diversity of habitat and species;
2. Allow the development of discrete and managed areas of native scrub within areas of rough grassland;
3. Consider planting native berry-bearing trees such as rowan, wild cherry, blackthorn and holly in small groups in areas of rough grassland. Mix species randomly and plant at irregular spacings;
4. Avoid planting of non-native tree species and species not characteristic of the area 
5. Consult with the local authority tree officer, Natural England or English Heritage (as appropriate) before undertaking any management works on veteran trees. Minimise the amount of dead wood removed from or beneath old trees;
6. Leave fringes of reed, grasses and other vegetation around the edges of wetland features (lakes, ponds and streams) to provide cover for breeding birds and to buffer against runoff into the wetland;
7. Maintain, restore or replant hedgerows within the course or along its margins, leaving a wide buffer strip (at least five metres) between the hedge bottom and the mown areas.

Please note, it is due to this policy of management that the club was asked to enter into the STRI Golf Environment Awards.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Greens Maintenance

On Tuesday 9th August work will commence on the greens.

The work will consist of veritdraining across the putting surfaces creating holes 9-12 inches deep and 16mm in diameter. The holes will then be filled using a straight sand mix, brushed into the holes using a specially designed brush/sweeping piece of equipment. Weather permitting this exercise should only take 2-3 days. This may however change if conditions are wet.

This work is being completed earlier than usual in the hope that conditions will be far better than later in the year to aid in a much quicker recovery of the playing surface. 

This work is necessary to improve and maintain firmer and better draining putting surfaces. It also helps to reduce organic matter which contributes to softer surfaces, more susceptible to disease. 

Monday, 14 March 2016

Greens Maintenance Week March 2016

Greens Maintenance during this period is to focus on removing organic matter in the upper 15mm of the soil profile.
This will also include two passes using pencil tines to a depth of 4-5 Inches, one pass before and one after the scarifying and a straight sand top-dressing.

This process creates very little disruption to the playing surface, which is the preferred current policy the Club have adopted for Spring Maintenance in recent years.

Also during this week we are verti-draining the aprons, around the greens, tees and fairways. 

This form of aeration will help improve drainage, rooting, and generally improve the ground conditions after the long wet winter.

The tees are also being overseeded ready for the ground temperatures to rise for germination and grass cover, moving into the summer period.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Woodland Management

Work continues around the 3rd Tee/11th Green area. As agreed with the Bromley Council, work has begun to improve both sunlight penetration and air movement, and to encourage and retain the features of the veteran oak trees, while improving the general presentation of the area.