Friday, 10 March 2017

Positively Happy - Hello Spring

As we head into the spring of 2017 the overall condition of the course looks very healthy. Fortunately we have had a very mild winter which has produced some very good conditions, but also some not so good conditions. The mild conditions gave us very aggressive and almost unstoppable disease outbreaks, yet the relatively dry weather has prevented vast amounts of damage developing from machinery and golfer traffic.
This has also been assisted by the recent introduction of new paths to help limit damage, particularly for staff machinery and buggies. 

Some of the older paths are looking a bit tired and some attention will be made on these in the future. 

The fusarium scars are now starting to shows signs of recovery as grass has begun to develop and spread. This is positive news and is far better than was expected so eary into the new year. you can see from these pictures that the grass is slowly growing through the scars.

lets keep our fingers crossed that the wet and cold weather is behind us.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

New Pathways

During the week before Christmas two new paths were constructed by contractors SPEEDCUT.

A new path was constructed from the 4th tee to the edge of the 3rd fairway.

This area is prone to sitting very wet and becoming boggy during pronlonged spells of wet weather. 

This new path will help alleviate some of the problems this area has suffered from in the past.

The path around the 12th lake was also reconstructed. The path was made much wider to accomodate the use of buggies and to alleviate the problems of standing water. 

It was also improved to maintain the initial first impressions as you venture out onto the course.

Leafing ahead of schedule

Due to the very dry winter with very little rainfall, leaf clearance has progreesed far better than in recent years. The drier the conditions the easier it becomes to move the leaves across the surface and over further distances. This also speeds up the process of sucking them up as the Trilo Vacumn leaf collector is less prone to blocking as the leaves are not soaking wet and heavy, and are less contaminated with mud and other debris. Leaf clearance has gone so well this winter we have even started clearing the ditches far earlier that expected.

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.