Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Very wet times


Some areas of the course are suffering more than others, I have documented that we have had the worst winter for some time but the issue at this time of the year is the grass isnt growing to recover from any damage. The greens are a real point of contention at the moment, understandably so as golfers are keen to play golf and take advantage of the lengthening days. Play on the greens has and is heavily restricted at the moment due to the incredible amount of wet weather we have had. There are several points to consider when deeming the greens fit for play and the factors which effect the condition of them during wet weather.

Drainage- Drainage is one of the most important areas for consideration when trying to maintain and present good playing surfaces, good drainage gives firm and dry surfaces which are easier to maintain but also satisfy golfers demands and expectations. The greens at Malton and Norton have no drainage installed, are built of the natural soil and are irregularly shaped leading to collection points. When the course was built, the demand for a 12 month golfing season was less, there would have been less demand for quality playing surfaces during winter and therefore the maintenance needed was less. Unfortunately the current weather patterns, coupled with the demand for golf at this time of year is not a great combination for over used, wet soils. To improve the general use of the summer greens during poor conditions we could install a comprehensive drainage system to each and every green on the course, unfortunately this would be very expensive, and something that is simply not affordable at the current time. Some greens are blessed with more free draining soils from the site, such as the 26th, however some like the 16th and 17th are constructed of very heavy soils which will not drain at all well. These greens are only 40 yards apart, however their characteristics are very different.

Shape-Shape has less significance than drainage however can be a factor which leads to detrimental wear if the wrong conditions prevail. Such as the 10th green, it is shaped poorly, leading to collection points where water tends to sit. Excess water and high frequency of 'wetness' will deteriorate the turf, if wear from maintenance or foot traffic was added to the equation the turf would be damaged permanently Other factors, such as access to and from the green/ tee has to be monitored, traffic management aids are used help us spread wear and increase safety.

Weather patterns- The weather obviously is what makes or breaks the condition of the course, the staff plan and implement the maintenance as best practice on an annual basis, however we often have to adapt our strategies to suit the weather. The weather will do what the weather will, annually we monitor the condition of all aspects of the course and focus on the areas which need priority. The greens are of highest priority and have the most money and time spent on them. If the weather is wet we need to protect them from long term damage. The soil needs to have a balance of moisture and air for the grass to grow healthily. Too much moisture during winter the soil reaches saturation point ( where there are no air air spaces and physically cant hold any more water), leading to surface puddling. Foot traffic on the turf at this point would create instability and damage to the root structure. This is why we use the winter greens. If that moisture in the soil then freezes, there is a high chance of permanent root and/or tissue damage, caused by root shear or crushing of leaf tissue during play.

I appreciate this means very little when when golfers simply want to get out on to the course to play and enjoy Malton and Norton. However the decision whether to play on the greens or not is not taken lightly, we more than anyone want the course to be at its best. The decisions are based on the long term playability, and plans are in place to improve the drainage characteristics of certain areas. In the meantime we are going to continue to use the winter cups when necessary. As these are being more common we are putting more work into improving the areas where they are placed. This is going to come at a cost. Time and materials will have to be used, as we do on the greens and surrounding areas. Aeration, sanding and fertilisation will be needed to ensure the turf can withstand the winter wear that they will face. This will not change them dramatically this winter however we hope over the next few winters they will show some improvements. I will stress and reiterate previous comments I have made on this blog, the winter cups are only a means to keep the course open.

There are some areas on the course which are really deteriorating due to the poor conditions, fortunately these are well out of normal play areas, generally between tree lines and at the outer edges of tees and green complexes. The time and money that would be needed to improve these areas isn't an effective use of the resources we have, when the areas I have previously spoken about, need work first. Below are a few examples of areas we are struggling with the most.










Hopefully the weather is heading in the right direction for an improving golf course.

.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

13th hedge replacement


Since the last update we have made great progress on course work, especially the hedge changes, the weather update is sounding like a broken record, more rain, wind with the occasional dry spell in between.
We had to pick our moment to start the 13th hedge removal, as the area around the 13th tee and the 10th green is saturated and working during poor conditions would only deteriorate the ground further.
Finally we had our chance, the forecast was frosty and dry for two days, this could of been our only chance for a while so we took it. 


Access to the area was limited as we were only taking out one side of the double row. This was to allow the new hedge row to establish before removing the second side, the hedge in this particular area of the course serves a purpose, visually protecting the 13th tee from the 10th green which is very close, it also directs traffic from the 12th green to the 13th tee.

We protected the grass by laying boards which were old drainage boards that were due to be burnt anyhow. The amount of work that would have been done in the area would have soon have damaged the turf once the frost started to come out of the ground. Once set we removed the tee side leylandii.

Once removed the stump grinder we had on hire removed the stumps from the area and then we brought in soil to fill in the remaining holes. The excess dead limbs were trimmed and we lowered the remaining section to allow the new hedge to grow as healthily as possible.


29 new leylandii plants were purchased and have been planted and staked. The new plants will be watered using the sprinkler system on the 13th tee during dry conditions. Leylandii aren't the most suitable of choice for a golf course but they do serve a purpose in this instance. They are quick growing, evergreen and will make a reasonable hedge. If time of establishment and cost wasn't such a factor then ewe, box or laurel would be more subtle options.


Other work has also continued on the 7th tee area where the leylandii was completely removed. The leylandii was removed a couple of weeks ago, so all was to do was remove the stumps and tidy with soil. Trying to get soil up to the 7th tee has been an issue due to the wet ground however we have had a couple of hard frosts which has allowed us to travel with a couple of loads of top soil. We have also started planting 2 pine trees and 2 laurels near the 7th tee just to fill in a couple of areas where we felt it would benefit from more separation from the 6th hole, without compromising the line of sight issue we previously had. The remaining area will be turfed, as will the soil area at the 13th.

Elsewhere the team have been busy with the stump grinder, we have done a lot of tee work over the last 2 months, which have left a number of stumps. We hired in a stump grinder from Beaver Plant Hire and ground down all the stumps, these will then need some soil and the in play areas will be turfed. The other areas will be seeded.
One large tree that needed removing due to poor health was the large ash tree to the left of the 18th hole. The tree showed signs of dieback in summer and we were monitoring the health of the tree for the rest of the year. Unfortunately the tree showed no signs of recovery and was becoming dangerous. It was agreed to remove the tree, once we cut it down it was obvious that the tree had issues for some time, with a large amount of rot inside the main trunk, a lot like the ash near the 15th ladies tee that had to be removed. Once down the tree was cleared, with the hole left to tidy and turf

We have also put out the first application of sand to approaches, worn areas and some surrounds, this is in an attempt to improve the presentation and quality of the approaches where the winter cups sit. Topdressing, fertiliser and aeration is needed regularly to get them in better condition. The winter cup areas then will be able to be made more playable.
Lastly I bring disappointing news, our Deputy Head Greenkeeper Adam Newell is leaving the club after 15 years service. Adam will be a great loss to the club and also to the team, as he has been passionate about his job, dedicated, a great friend and will be difficult to replace. He says 'its been the hardest decision of his life but is now looking forward to a fresh start'. Adam will be leaving on the 9th of March.

Monday, 5 February 2018

STRI info on course closures

Below is some information provided by the STRI which can help understand the challenges turf professionals face and why each course is different.


by @striturf_paulw

For part three of our series of “Golfers’ Grumbles”, I will be looking at the practical issues surrounding course closures and inspections. A significant headache year-on-year, however particularly relevant during the autumn and winter.

Once again if you’ve got a comment about course closures and inspections, feel free to drop me a Tweet or post on STRI’s Facebook page. I want to hear your opinion.
If you missed part one of Golfer’s Grumbles, where I discussed top dressing following aeration, it’s still available if you click the link. You can also access part two on bunkers. For now let’s get on with part three.

golfer grumbles part 3

“The course up the road is open so why aren’t we?”

Managing a golf course throughout the last few years has been a challenge to say the least. Periods of extended closure due to prolonged snow coverage often tests golfers’ patience to the limit, let alone the frustrations and annual debate of whether to use the main greens during frost.
Perhaps the only thing we can conclude from climate change is that the extreme weather patterns witnessed in recent years will become more of a regular occurrence, including unpredictable, localised weather and flash flooding.
Assessing whether the course is fit for play is most commonly in the hands of the course manager or trusted senior staff. They will have a whole range of factors to consider. Most importantly the course should be safe to play. It is rare that a course will be closed for safety reasons other than in poor visibility, lightening or extreme high winds, but conditions should be inspected throughout the course and no judgement calls made from the comforting view of the club house window!
Perhaps the worst scenario for the greenkeeper is when the course has been subjected to heavy rainfall just before dawn and the sun is shining brightly when the golfers pull up at the car park. Yet again the view from the club house presents a wonderful vista, but on-course conditions require a period of closure while surface water drains and greenstaff repair key areas.


icy-green-closures


Frustrations run high when snow covers the course and as soon as a thaw sets in golfers expect to be out. Remember snow is water and all of that water needs time to drain away. Sub-surface freezing may very well restrict drainage and extend the closure period.
Managing frost conditions is however the most difficult one. Clubs come under increasing pressure when a neighbouring course decides on a policy of playing on main greens during frost. The winter of 2016/17 has seen numerous frosts and several before Christmas, which has been against the norm in recent years. Frost policies have subsequently become a hot topic in Clubhouse and Committee room discussion.
Many Clubs have boxed themselves in to policies using the main greens for longer periods, solely on the basis that this is what the course up the road does. And the course up the road does so because their neighbour does. These policies are driven by business models and financial requirements. It does not necessarily make them correct.
The most common policy seems to be to allow play on greens when frozen solid but to restrict play at times of white frost and when thawing is taking place. The latter situation is when most damage is likely to occur as roots can be sheared under the pressure of feet on a soft surface with frozen soils just below. The trouble is that not all greens will thaw at the same point so returning greens to play is a difficult policy to implement.

hail-on-approach-to-green


Periods of extended frost have caused some concern at courses of late. Especially when the hole cup cannot be moved because the ground is too frozen. Concentrated doughnuts of wear around the hole cup has damaged sward and soils. This will recover but the green could be weaker heading into the spring.
A clear policy needs to be written by the Club and communicated to the members in an understanding manner. The policy also needs to be practical. Just because one green starts to thaw it doesn’t mean that all will. The depth of thaw is also critically important as most damage occurs if play resumes too early and only the surface has thawed.
The course should not be wrapped in cotton wool for the winter. Clubs need to maintain play whenever possible because essential income is generated, but sensible decisions must be taken. The following points therefore need to be considered when formulating a plan for winter play:

  • Courses cannot be compared against each other – issues such as construction, and topography will be different
  • Understand your ‘economic threshold’ of expected damage (short and long term) when considering opening your course or greens
  • Inspections should not be carried out in the dark even with the aid of a torch
  • A thorough inspection may take at least 45 mins to an hour to complete
  • Consult the weather forecast for the rest of the day
  • Policies are there for a reason – communicate them effectively



Friday, 26 January 2018

Hedge work update

With no more improvement in the weather the work to the hedges is well under way. As mentioned in the last blog the 19th tee and the 7th hedge had been started. They are now finished, the 7th area has been tidied, however we will need to stump grind the remaining stumps before we can add a little soil and turf the area. The hedge along side the 18th green has also been lowered and is finished. Just removing the top 40-50 cm of those hedges around the greenkepers building has already saved a lot of time as we no longer need platforms or steps to work off. This time saving will be carried forward year on year.

If the ground conditions are still wet next week we will start reducing the height of the leylandii hedge at the rear of the 10th green and along side the 13th tee. There is some of the hedge that will need to be removed completely next to the 13th tee but this will be down to the weather as to when we can start it.


As the weather has been poor we have been unable to cut any grass, at this time of the year there is not a great deal of growth but the greens are usually cut fairly regularly to keep them tidy and encourage dense growth. This winter we have struggled to cut them at all, as we had a couple of days of drier weather we took the opportunity to start cutting them with the hand mower. Not all the greens are dry enough to cut but we have cut the better ones and have managed to cut 75% of the summer greens this week. We may get the opportunity to cut a few more next week if the conditions improve.


Thursday, 18 January 2018

Hedge changes


With the weather still not playing ball, we are starting the winter hedge changes across the course, just to remind all the reasoning behind all the changes, below is the agreed proposal which has been communicated to all members via email, minutes and on the information board.


Hedge Management Work


Following a recent visit from our health and safety contractor, feedback from staff, and concerns raised by members, the board have agreed to make changes to some of the leylandii hedges on the course.
Experts in golf course/woodland management also advise that certain trees can be inappropriate on golf courses. Leylandii are non-native and short lived with a lifespan of 30-40 years. As well as looking contrived and offering minimal wildlife value, they start to degenerate, split and can blow over after 25-30 years.
Access to many of the leylandii hedges is limited, therefore the contractor we use to cut all hedges on the course can’t cut some areas using the large tractor and flail, which are then left to be cut by hand using petrol hedge trimmers. Due to the position of some of the hedges access is restricted by slopes, fences, and uneven ground conditions.



The height and width of some of the leylandii also makes cutting difficult and dangerous. The greens staff use trellises and scaffolding boards to create a safe platform on which to work, which is acceptable if the ground is even, the platform is stable, at a safe height and reach is not unsafe. The safety advice given is that all hedges should not be excessively high, excessively wide or in areas where line of sight for golfers or staff, compromises safety. When hedges are excessively wide or high staff are more likely to over reach. From a platform of no more than 1.5m a member of staff should not be cutting above waist height, nor should the width of the hedge mean the member of staff is unduly reaching to cut across the top surface. We are advised that all hedges need not be more than 2m high and no more than a meter wide.
We have assessed all the hedges that are cut by hand and have agreed on the following course of action:


7th tee leylandii to be removed


This is the worst example on the course and it will be fully removed. The hedge stops clear line of sight for golfers on the 6th tee to golfers on the 7th tee, in a report written by our Health and Safety advisor he has stated that this hedge serves no purpose in protecting golfers from balls hit from the 6th tee, it stops line of sight from both tees and is something he would like removed for improved safety of golfers and staff.
It is located close to the 7th tee banking which makes it difficult to build a safe platform in which to cut the hedge. The hedge is excessively high at over 3 m and excessively wide at over 1.5m. Previously this hedge was cut from a ladder which was dangerous; it also took two people a week to cut. From a maintenance and cost saving point of view, removal of this section of hedge would save the club valuable time and money in the long term.
Once the hedge is removed low level shrubs (eg Portuguese laurel as we have behind the 11th green) or additional pines/ birch or hardwoods (with respect of the long term quality of the 7th teeing area) would be planted for extra screening. The trees that were planted to the rear of the 7th tee several years ago, were designed to create separation and screening from the 6th hole, which they now do. The additional trees will create the additional separation required.


12th hole leylandii, rear to be cut back


This stretch of leylandii would be left, as it is a great screen from neighbouring properties and an unsightly fence which separates our property from the Coach House property. The only hand cutting required on this hedge is the rear of the hedge and a small section on the top where the contractor can’t reach. To solve this and reduce time and risk, the rear of the hedge could be cut back to the stem, leaving no cutting to be done on the rear (leylandii will not grow from old wood, only from green growth). This would effectively narrow the hedge and the contractor should be able to cut the entire top section. The height would also be reduced by around 30 cm, this would reduce cutting, make cutting easier, however still screen the fence to the rear of the hedge.


13th tee leylandii, reduce height and width, remove sections


The leylandii around the 10th green/ 13th tee has been planted at 2 different times and therefore is in two different stages. The oldest section is double width and is around 4m wide and around 3.5m high. The newest section is single width and only 1m wide but is still 3.5m high. The newest section creates less of an issue, this is accessible for the contractor and can be cut relatively easily from the stone path side. We will however reduce the height of the whole hedge to no more than 2m, this would make any cutting easier on the green side and reduce risk, without compromising the effectiveness of that hedge.
The double width, older section is a real issue. The staff must hand cut all this section as due its position, height and width. The contractor can’t cut it due to the 13th tee and 10th green, as they would have to travel on the tee or greens surround to cut and would cause long term damage to the tee, bank and turf around and close to the green. Leaving the only option, to hand cut the majority of the hedge. Most of the top section is dangerous to cut by hand due to the height and excessive width, even reducing the height would not solve this issue. We can’t build a simple platform due to the tee banking, so must be cut from steps which we have been advised are not a suitable option for the amount of cutting required. The centre of the hedge can only be accessed by steps through the centre of the hedge plants, again this is not safe practice.
The solution is to remove the old, wider section of leylandii, due to its width, position and the fact it’s creating unsafe working conditions and to replant at single width and maintain to a safe height. Like the 7th tee, not only will it be then safe to maintain but reducing cutting will create huge cost savings to the club in the form of time/ labour saving.
To reduce the impact visually during transition to the new hedge we will remove one side of the current hedge (the 13th tee side), this would then look no different from the 10th green side, as that section would remain in the short term. Once removed we will replant the leylandii in single row to be like the newer section behind the remaining hedge, alongside the 13th tee, there is potential to reduce the length by around 10m near the 14th white tee and replanting using other plants (shrubs, trees), to maintain some separation between the 10th green and 13th/14th tee, but giving a softer visual feel when approaching from the 10th fairway.
As soon as the new section has matured the older section alongside the 10th green will then be removed. I would expect to have total transition to the new hedge within 5 years, sooner if possible depending on growth of the new hedge. Once fully changed there will be additional space around the 10th green which will only improve the playing surfaces in that area. Should the hedge remain the staff will not be able to cut any sections by hand.


18th green/ 19th path and tee, reduce height


This section of hedge is in an area of level ground. This allows us to erect a basic platform which is safe to cut from. The hedge is around 3m, we will reduce the height of the hedge to around 2m which would reduce cutting time but most importantly reduce risk to staff when cutting.


Cost of alterations would benefit the club to the equivalent of £2500 (time savings) approx. per year, significantly reduce the risk of litigation, and improve the overall playability and quality of the surfaces.


I appreciate not all members will agree with the advice or the changes, but we are obliged as a club to take the safety of golfers and staff seriously, and act upon the professional advice we have been given.

Work has begun on the hedge around the greenkepers building due to the poor ground conditions on the course, this area minimises travelling and can be done as and when conditions dictate.


Yesterday (17th Jan) ground conditions were remarkably improved due to a cold easterly wind and slight ground frost, therefore we took the opportunity to remove the 7th leylandii hedge. The team worked hard, with the assistance of our Greens Chairman Colin Webster, to ensure the work on the main sections were completed in that day. Fortunately most of the work has been completed with just some off cut branches to collect. Now this has been removed we will look to grind off the stumps and turf the area before planting a few more trees, in selected positions as not to cause similar issues. Not only will this solve any safety issues but the tee benefit from the increased light and air flow and the area to the left of the 6th hole will be easier to maintain due to less restricted access around the 7th tee.



We will hopefully continue with the 19th hedge and move on to the 13th when conditions are next suitable. As I'm writing this the course is once again covered in snow, ice and completely saturated due to 12mm of overnight rain and sleet thanks to storm Fionn. The weather certainly plays a big part in course playability, we have been incredibly lucky over the past 3 years to have such mild and playable conditions through December, January and February. This winter has been severe, wet and relenting, however I'm always optimistic that we are now heading in the right direction towards better weather.

During spells of drier weather we have been cutting other hedges around the course, these are the sections that cant be cut with the tractor flail. With the changes we have made to the hedges this task is becoming easier every year.

Bins, benches, and course posts, such as OOB, water hazards, fence and 150 yard post are all being stained and painted. Once again the team doing a great job to ensure the course looks its best come the playing season.


We have solid tined the greens with 13mm cross tines to allow air and water penetration and allow air to exit the turf when using the air2G2, which has been subsequently carried out. We will then move on to smaller 10mm tines nearer the growing season. Before spring the tees and surrounds will be solid tined with 13mm tines and sprayed with liquid iron to harden up the sward. Fairways are to be slit tined in two directions and solid tined in the worst and most compacted areas.




Wednesday, 3 January 2018

A Happy New Year



I hope all followers had a good Christmas and a Happy New Year. We start another year and hopefully a drier one than last. Over the Christmas period the weather continued to be poor and the course is really suffering because of it. It has been a few weeks now since the course was fully playable, there has been a mixture of holes closed and winter cups being used to keep the course open as much as it can be. However we are not alone, nearly every golf course that is comparable to Malton and Norton is in the same position and greenkepers around the country are toiling away doing there upmost to keep courses playable through what seems never ending poor weather.


It is at this point we have to be thankful that last year was the driest winter we have had for a long time and it coincided with the irrigation installation. I would not like to imagine the mess and chaos that would have been inflicted to the course if they were trying to install the irrigation this winter.

I'm fairly confident if we are patient and do not play on the course when conditions are not suitable we will be able to deliver a course in good condition come spring. I have witnessed many times at other courses and sometimes here when play is allowed during unsuitable conditions to see the long term damage come spring and summer. An example here at Malton is the 2nd green. A green with poor drainage due to the shape, position and soil used in construction, leading to saturated surfaces most of the winter. Last winter we tried to keep the green in play as much as possible leading to root and leaf tissue damage which was slow to recover in spring and not the surface we would like throughout the playing season. With no resolution to improve the drainage in the near future we have to take a more cautious approach this winter. Less damage when the grass plants cant recover should lead to a lot stronger plants come spring and summer when the greens need to be good. We have some work planned for the poorer greens but this will not address the bigger issue of subsurface drainage.

Drainage is still one of the biggest investments any golf course will need to make to battle against the weather in this country. Its an area which has no limits, at Malton and Norton we are aiming to continually improve all aspects of drainage and plans are in place to look at the most problematic areas to ensure we can remain playable in the worst of conditions. However there is a balance of what is affordable within the current budgets. The top championship clubs that aren't fortunate to be built on free draining land spend millions installing drainage and importing sandy soil which they construct the course out of, unfortunately we don't have that expenditure and therefore we need to be realistic about what is achievable on our site.

Looking back at the total rainfall last year we finished on 655mm, which is above average, but no where near the accumulations of 2012 when we nearly had 1000mm. As I mentioned last time it has been the timing of the rainfall that has been the issue this year. Around 75% of the annual rainfall has come in the Summer/ Autumn when the ground should be dry. Considering the wet conditions the course has only been fully closed 15 days. With 5 of those days due to snow. That shows the work we have done over the past 5 years on drainage and aeration has had some effect, as in 2012 we were closed 55 days.

Looking forward to this year we have very few big projects on the go, however we have a number of small but important tasks we need to schedule in to the next couple of months. Aeration is one of the key areas we will be focusing on, the greens will be micro tined, deep aerated using the air2G2 and slit tined to encourage new rooting. A number of small restoration projects will start including levelling out and removal of the old winter tees, these are becoming dangerous and are unnecessary. We will also attempt a couple of drainage improvements around the 14th and 16th. We will be continuing the tree work, pruning and thinning where needed, along with the hedge changes that have been approved, to the 7th and 13th tee areas.

Machine maintenance is high on the agenda at the moment, and is something that is good to concentrate on given the poor conditions on the course. all cutting units need striping down, cleaning and sharpening before the units are set ready for the start of the season.

Cleaning, staining and painting all bins, benches and posts has also begun, its a job that can be done inside when the weather is bad, however is also one that can be left when we are needed to get on with other course related maintenance.

All ditches, leaves and debris are continually being checked, its important to keep ditches running freely as any blockages will stop the natural drainage on the course. Most of the leaf litter is now collected from the course. Some areas are still too wet to access with vehicles and these are being done by hand. The clubhouse borders have been finished, most of the older shrubs have been cut back, to encourage new growth.


Friday, 15 December 2017

Testing weather


After the last serving of snow around a week ago we were treated to another very light covering, only a cm in total but enough to cause issues once again.


With the course being partially closed for the last week we have taken the opportunity to start pruning and removing dead and dying trees. Travelling around the course has been a real issue as we don’t want to cause any damage. We have been working around the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th holes, where we are near to the fire and minimises travelling. All trees are being assessed and pruned with maintenance and playability of the course in mind.



The team have worked hard to continue in some pretty bad conditions, however just as the course is closed it doesn't mean we take it easy. Sometimes the poor conditions on course can be used in your favour, for example the soil conditions are very wet across the course but after a severe frost travelling with heavy loads are not so much of an issue due to the frozen ground.



On the negative side, the severe frost has had a big impact on the condition of the course, the freeze/thaw pattern has left the greens waterlogged and covered in ice. The shorter the grass is cut the less insulation the sward provides to the soil. Greens for example have the least insulation, therefore after the recent overnight temperatures of -6 Celsius the frost went into the soil around 25-35mm, whereas the semi rough only penetrated down to 5-10mm. Any rainfall on top of frozen ground hasn’t anywhere to go, this is when the conditions deteriorate quickly. The surface water then refreezes creating sheets of ice and dangerous golfing conditions. It also poses a greater threat to the turf. As temperatures rise during the day the surface will begin to thaw slightly, with the lower profile remaining frozen, any play or maintenance on the turf during these conditions will create an issue called root sheer. This is when the top surface moves from the lower surface breaking all rooting from the grass. No roots = no recovery for the grass plant, resulting in long term and potentially severe damage. Obviously, the greens are the highest priority areas, and these must be protected during these circumstances, however we need to make a judgement regarding the playability verses long term damage for the rest of the course.


Normally at this time of the year we expect to see a little wet weather and even some closures through  the amount of rain, however the relentless summer rainfall totals have taken its toll.
The total rainfall we have had this year isn’t the highest I have personally recorded but it’s the timing of the rainfall which has had a significant impact to the playability of the course. The year started off really dry with only 175mm rain through to the end of May. From then on, we received the average winter’s rainfall throughout summer and into Autumn. This created several issues, firstly the grass growth through summer was at times uncontrollable, but secondly and the problem we have now got, the soils were saturated going into Autumn. Normally after a relatively normal summer the soils are dry and can absorb the rains of Autumn and Winter, this year they simply could not.
The information regarding the leylandii hedge changes is now on the website and in the locker rooms for all to see before work starts on those in January.


About Me

Im the Head Greenkeeper at Malton and Norton Golf Club. I began my greenkeeping career at Malton and Norton Golf Club straight from school as an Assistant Greenkeeper. Wanting to climb the greenkeeping ladder I gained my NVQ level 2 and 3 at Askham Bryan College. I continued with my education gaining a HNC in golf course management and took the position of Deputy Head Greenkeeper at Malton and Norton Golf Club in 2005.In 2008 I was promoted to the position of Head Greenkeeper, leading a team of 6 hard working and dedicated Greenkeepers. Our aim is to continue to improve the condition of the course year on year maintaining our high reputation within the area.