The warm season trial turf on the 20th continues to be extremely informative. This site was chosen because of the challenging nature of the location to manage turf grass, due to the excessive divoting from iron play on the par three tee, as well as the heavily shaded aspect of the area.
Before the turf was stripped and replaced in December with the warm season trial turf, I took a picture of the cool season turf which showed the tee surface was extremely thin and heavily divoted. I took a comparison photo on 1 July of the warm season turf as a comparison, which shows a similar amount of divoting at a period when warm season turf is not actively thriving. While the warm season turf is dormant and off-colour the surface is in fact not a deterioration of playing conditions that the cool season turf was providing at a time that it should be thriving in the Canberra climate.
20th tee cool season turf (photo taken November 2019)
20th tee warm season turf (photo taken July 2020)
I have drawn the conclusion that if the Club were to proceed with a warm season turf conversion all Par 3 tees and tees that have shade issues during the winter months, for example, the 1st tees would require a rye grass oversow to provide Members with a good standard of turf over the winter months. We will continue to monitor the wear of the tee over the coming months and the spring green up and recovery.
As I experience my first Canberra winter, I am observing how the golf course responds to the cold, shade, traffic and drainage that the winter period brings. One problematic area that has become apparent in recent weeks, is over the crest of the hill on the 15th fairway before the left hand side fairway bunkers. The valley at the bottom of the slope is exceptionally wet and has been for some time. A range of factors, including moisture from the slope feeding down towards this low area. The heavy shade from the adjacent trees on the left hand side of the hole and the lack of subsurface drainage. We are currently organising machinery to commence drainage work in this area for the week commencing 13 July to rectify the issue, and improve drainage on this section of the 15th fairway. We will also schedule tree removals of the radiata pines in this location to increase sunlight and help to dry out this area.
Wet area at the bottom of the slope 15th fairway/rough
The team are continuing to utilise the cooler weather as an opportunity to carry out annual maintenance tasks. This week Shane and Adam have commenced servicing the irrigation pump system. The service involves removing the pumps one by one and ferrying them up to the workshop, it should be noted each pump weighs over 130kgs. Once the pumps are back in the workshop, they are replacing all bearings, seals and diaphragms. A visual inspection of all visible internal parts of the pump is also conducted during the process.
One of the pumps being removed to perform a service
The team enjoyed an early mark on Monday afternoon to play 9 holes on the Westbourne course. It was great to be able to get out and enjoy the course. It was also a fantastic opportunity to appreciate what the Members are seeing when they play tee to green, as well as how the different surfaces are performing. The feedback was that everyone enjoyed the day but there was some good, bad and ugly golf out there!
Some of the team teeing off on the 6th