February News from the Greens

I get the feeling that Spring is just around the corner - although the first two weeks in February are traditionally the coldest, the sight of the sun, the early hawthorn breaking buds and the emergence of the daffodil shoots certainly gives you a good feeling!

I am at present constructing new pathways around the putting green which should be completed next week; I will then start the path on the 10th hole on the Lakes, which will take about two weeks if the weather is on our side. No guarantees on that, looking at the weather forecast for the weekend and beyond!

The wooden benches and tee markers have all been treated and are ready to go back out on the courses. We have repaired the sleeper bridge next to the 11th tee on the Valley. The new Ladies’ tee on the 12th Valley has been constructed and will be in play from the start of the season.

I will be treating the moss in the greens very shortly with lawn sand and give them a light scarifying. And then top dressing will commence ! This year we will be purchasing a new topdresser, which is able to apply very light amounts of sand in a very short time. It’s quite a large capital expense but it will enable us to apply sand on a monthly programme, aimed at helping to keep the courses in the best possible condition throughout the year.You will hardly notice that it has been done each time as there will be no disruption to play at all.

Enjoy this month’s golf!

Regards, Adi


Record rainfall at Greetham Valley

Hi all

Firstly just an update on the total rainfall for 2012: we had 992mm, which is a record amount at Greetham Valley in the 18 years I have been keeping records, so let’s just keep our fingers crossed that it is not repeated  through this year.
 
Well I hope you all had a good Christmas and were able to get out on the golf course for a few holes, at least it stayed relatively dry through the holiday period. There are still some very wet areas on the Valley course which is why there are buggy restrictions on there, but we are allowing buggies on the Lakes course.
 
We cut all areas of the course that we were able to get to last week, which has given me the feeling that spring is just around the corner, although there is now a total different feel this week, with snow now covering the courses! Hopefully it won’t hang around for too long to disrupt your golfing plans.
 
We have just about finished topping up the bunkers, but if you do come across one that has very little sand in then please let me or one of my staff know and we will replenish it.
 
Block paving has commenced and my aim is to complete around the putting green and then start the path leading up to the 10th green on the Lakes, this should keep us busy for several weeks once the snow has gone, but if we have time we will continue with more in other areas of the course.
 
Some of the benches have been brought in for refurbishment and will be returned as soon as possible.
 
Enjoy your golf in 2013!

Regards
Adi


News from the greens November 2012

Firstly I must apologise for the lack of postings since August, unfortunately I have no excuse!!!!
 
The weather in the past few months hasn’t been much better than the first 6 months of the year, we are now almost matching what we had for that period, so conditions out on the course are still quite damp, and some buggy restrictions are now being imposed on the Valley course, in order to preserve the quality the best we can.
 
The winter teeing areas are now in use, but these only consist of 3 artificial tee mats over both the courses, the rest being grass tees, so other than shortening the courses a little (which will please some), playability will not be affected.
 
The greens are entering into the winter months in good health, the preventative fungicide programme I use is working well, with the last application scheduled for this week. This should keep the greens free of disease up until Christmas.
 
The tees and surrounds have all been fed with a slow release fertiliser and this will keep growth ticking over gradually through the winter as and when the temperature is suitable. This allows us to present the course to the highest possible standard that Mother Nature will allow.
 
We have been replenishing the sand in the bunkers when we have had time and this will be ongoing throughout the next month. The more observant ones will have noticed a change in the sand that we are using, this has been forced onto us, as the “OMR” sand that we have used for the last 20 years is no longer available to the amenity market, so I have researched what is available and gone with the one that best matches what we already have.
 
We will be continuing with the path improvements this winter, and I intend to do the 10th on the Lakes course and around the putting green, then any others we have time for.
 
I am extending the tee on the 9th on the Valley course at present. I am making the tee wider in order to allow us to spread the wear a little more. It will also straighten the hole out a little . The work should be complete by the end of November.
 
Well I could go on, but had better leave there. I will post again in December to keep everyone updated. Happy winter golf!

Adi Porter
Course Manager


Greetham Valley golf course maintenance work update

The maintenance work on the Valley could not have gone better! The weather was as good as it could have been, with the sun shining from Monday morning right through to completion of the work. This allowed us to get all the sand brushed into the hollow tine holes along with the seed, which by the way, germinated within 6 days. You can see the sand mix on the greens on this photo, awaiting brushing in. So all those holes are now filled with sand and new Bent seed which will improve the overall quality of the putting surface. I am now just about back down to the usual cutting of the Valley greens.  

Work on the Lakes’ greens is due to start on the 15th August and will be completed for the weekend (in my absence I might add), with normal surfaces resumed by the end of the following week. This will then allow us to produce good quality putting surfaces throughout the winter with no major disruptive work being carried out.

I will talk about some of the improvements we intend to make to the courses during the winter in my next blog. In the meantime, enjoy your golf out there!


Wet, wet, wet

Well,  June has turned out to be another very wet month. Total rainfall for this year up until the 21st of June is 350mm, and the total for the whole of last year was 429mm, so at this rate we will have had all of last year’s rain by the end of August 2012, with the wet autumn winter months still to come!! Should be a good test for the new drainage on the 11th.

All this rain has meant that the grass hasn’t stopped growing since mid April. We had a nice flush of growth in the spring that we have missed out on the last couple of years and then it has grown and grown and then grown some more. So it has been a struggle to keep the grass at a manageable height and keep all areas playable, which hasn’t been easy as many of the days over the last few weeks have been wet.

All this extra cutting has made a big hole in my annual fuel budget!! As an example…. just one of our rough mowers is using £60 of fuel per day, so with that as a guide, I have estimated that to cut Greens, Tees, Fairways, and rough, costs us…(look away now Robert) £600 per week, and this has been constant since mid April.

Many people have been commenting that the rough is so punishing this year and have we raised the height? Well, I can assure you all that the height is the same as previous year’s (60mm), its just that we have had so much growth that it is really thick and lush. As soon as it dries up a little and dead grass is not an issue, I will lower the height to 50mm to compensate for now not cutting a perimeter cut at 35mm.

That’s it for now, so can everyone please pray that we actually get a warm, dry summer? As I write this the longest day has come and gone and I can already notice that when I walk the dog early morning, it is getting ever so slightly darker!!!!!   Enjoy your golf    Adi


Greetham Valley members’ feedback required!

Hello again all – it’s been a while since my last blog and quite a lot has happened in between, so I will do my best to keep it brief.
 
The feedback I received after the Anniversary weekend was all good. The courses were in excellent condition and I would like to thank all my staff for their hard work in the lead up.

But boy! Did we get a shock afterwards! It rained and rained and then rained some more! In April alone Greetham Valley had 172mm of rain, which is more than was reported on the national news as the max that they had recorded. Rutland rain rules! This obviously triggered tremendous grass growth and we did our best to keep the course cut and presentable when it was almost too wet to be on the courses. I had to introduce a buggy ban on the Valley course, which is a first for April - apologies to all whom this inconvenienced, but it really was necessary. We evaluated the situation on a daily basis and lifted the ban at the earliest opportunity.
 
May has been a bit kinder in the resepct that the rain eased a bit and allowed us to get a good dry cut on everything, which always looks better, although we could have done with a bit more sunshine! However, as I write this the forecast is indeed for some warmer weather this week.
 
The new sprayer which we purchased earlier in the year has been out on several occasions and what a difference it makes. It has speeded the job up and also enables us to be 100% accurate with volume rates etc. Unfortunately, the time we save in the actual spraying operation is taken up in the meticulous cleaning of the machine, as I am determined to keep it in showroom condition for as long as possible - (you could say “I love it”).
 
Your feedback please! I have currently got a trial going on on some of the fairways on the Lakes course.  The 1st  has been fertilised with the usual slow release, which is on the majority of our fairways;  the 5th  has been fed with an organic fertiliser and the 9th is being fed with liquids. Feedback from members would be extremely valuable – do you see any difference in the three fairways? There is quite a difference in cost and as long as we don’t compromise on the quality, there could be quite a cost saving if rolled out on to all the fairways, which could go towards, say…… a greenkeepers’ party!!!!!
 
Hopefully that’s brought you all up to date, I will try not to leave it as long for my next report from the greens.


Greetham Valley golf course maintenance update March 2012

Screening the 'homemade' compost ready for the coursesWith the snow well and truly gone, the greenkeeping team has been able to cut many areas of the courses to get a bit of definition back. The slow release fertiliser is now being applied to all areas to encourage some growth and I am starting to slowly lower the heights of cut.
 
The composting that we started last year has been a success; we are now screening all of last year’s decomposed leaves and kitchen waste, and will be spreading it on to some of the weaker fairways to improve the organic matter content, which will help to produce a thicker and heathier sward.
 
We have planted some 300 new trees (to be named Den’s Spinney in honour of the sterling voluntary work Dennis Millington performs on behalf of Greetham Valley and the members) on the right of the 9th fairway on the Lakes course; this will tighten up the hole and provide some protection between the 9th and 5th. They are very small at present but with some feeding and spraying of the bases and of course some wettish Rutland summers, they will soon grow into good size standards to create a hazard. In the meantime, all the trees should be treated as staked trees and relief taken to avoid damaging them.
 
I have now started to prepare the courses for
Enlarged 7th bunker Lakes course - beware!Greetham Valley’s 20th Anniversary in order to get them in the best possible condition that the climate will allow – please, no more snow! I will be topdressing the greens as soon as I can see a settled couple of days, this will only be a light dressing so will not disrupt golf in any way, but will improve the smoothness of the surface. The bunkers have been edged and banks will be mown in the next couple of weeks. The final tweaking will be the last week in March when everything will be cut to the regular summer heights, and I can assure you all that the courses will be presented in the best possible condition that mother nature will allow us to do.

Enjoy your golf this month! Adi


SNOW UPDATE

Tuesday 14th February 8.30am. COURSES ARE OPEN!!! Lakes,Valley and Academy are all open, on temporary greens as the main greens are still frozen. Adi will inspect Wednesday morning and will change to main greens if possible. If not, it’ll be main greens on Thursday. Get your tee time booked, get in the car and we’ll see you at Greetham Valley very soon!

Monday 13th February 9am. COURSES ARE CLOSED FOR GOLF. But Robert and Adi are convinced that, if the Rutland weather forecast  remains accurate (well, reasonably…),the courses will become playable on TUESDAY morning!!!  The greenkeepers have started work today to get the Academy course and Lakes front 9 open first thing tomorrow morning, followed by the rest of the complex as soon as poss. In the meantime, the Driving Range is open - who is getting underfoot at home?

Sunday 12th February 6pm. COURSES ARE CLOSED FOR GOLF. Because it’s night time again. But before it got dark, Robert and I went for a 4×4 trek across the golf courses to check out how the thaw is coming along. Snow bunkers galore still; the fairways are now showing patches of green but what really surprised me was how the greens and tees are holding onto a pristine duvet of snow at least 2 inches thick. Apparantly the sand mix retains the lower temperature for longer. OK. Robert and Adi the course manager will have a good prowl at dawn tomorrow and I will  post my next update as soon as I know the situation.

Sunday 12th February 8am. COURSES ARE CLOSED FOR GOLF. Oh joy – a burst pipe over at the Driving Range. Robert’s been up there since 7am with PJ Plumbing on speed dial! Warmer overnight last night (well, warmer than -15c anyway) and the weather forecast for Rutland is for a thaw to set in. So – how long to melt the 4 inches of snow lying on the courses? We’ll keep you posted!

Saturday 11th February 4pm. COURSES ARE CLOSED FOR GOLF. Been well below freezing all day and had our first burst pipe, quickly sorted by PJ Plumbing – thank you! Hopefully warmer tomorrow. Access fine for tonight’s Valentine’s Party Night – guests are arriving to check into the Hotel now. Have a great time everyone!

Saturday 11th February 9am. COURSES ARE CLOSED FOR GOLF. And at -15c this morning I suspect they’ll stay closed for a few more days….Bright but very cold for the rest of the day, but weather forecast is for warmer temps Sunday and into next week, with no more snow for Rutland. A few frozen pipes about and I’ve seen the first icicles of this cold snap – pretty but I’d prefer to see them dripping with a thaw. The lakes are covered in thin ice, with the ducks skating on Meg’s Lake. Have to keep an eye on Jazz as she’d like to join them. Are there any Golf Clubs in the Golf Club Network open? Some of our members are going stir crazy….

Friday 10th February 4.30pm. COURSES ARE CLOSED FOR GOLF. Although a thaw did set in this morning and it’s been slightly above freezing all day. No more snow forecast and it looks as though the thaw will continue during tomorrow and Sunday. No access problems for Freddie’s birthday party tonight or the Valentines Party tomorrow night!

Friday 10th February 9.30am. COURSES ARE CLOSED FOR GOLF. Because last night we had another 2 inches of snow dumped on top of the last lot. So the only sign of life on Greetham Valley golf courses this morning was Jazz, who thoroughly enjoyed herself dashing through the snow like Rudolph. Robert’s snowplough and the greenkeepers have been hard at work since 6am, the driveway and carpark are clear. The roads were also clear doing the school run from GV to Stamford and back this morning, the gritters have definitely been out and about. And yes, the log burner is glowing merrily away in the Lounge Bar at Greetham Valley - there’s a guest curled up next to it on a sofa with a hot chocolate and a book – might go and join her!

Thursday 9th February 8pm. COURSES ARE CLOSED FOR GOLF. Well of course they are, it’s night time. But on top of it being dark – it’s darned well snowing and has been since 5pm.  Robert has just started up the snowplough and has trundled off to clear GV’s drive. When he comes back it’s also his turn to walk Jazz – again.  I haven’t told him yet that the forecast is for the snow to continue for the next 36 hours. Yay. We’ll keep the lane, drive and car parks clear for easy access on Saturday night for the Valentine’s Party Night, though – fret ye not! And RCC will keep the main road gritted too.

Thursday 9th February 11.30am. COURSES ARE CLOSED FOR GOLF. We’ve been waiting to see how much thaw would occur today – but are now glum – not enough to make playing viable. And the forecast is a 52% probability of snow/sleet overnight tonight, with temps around or below freezing for the next 48 hours. Not good news for golfers or people who have to walk the dog at 6am. But it’s nice and cosy in the Lounge Bar at Greetham Valley!

Wednesday 8th February 7am. COURSES ARE CLOSED FOR GOLF.  Bizarre – crispy, crunchy refrozen snow and ice underfoot when Robert was walking Jazz, but no air frost. Completely clear windscreens for the school run this morning. So still no golf I’m afraid; forecast is for a slight thaw again this afternoon but then below freezing temps again overnight, followed by possible sprinkling of snow Thursday and Friday. Bleh. Still, it was nice and busy at lunch yesterday – who says you have to stay bundled up at home? Roads etc still clear to get to Greetham Valley for a ‘Turkey Balls’ winter meal deal!

Tuesday 7th February 12noon. COURSES ARE CLOSED FOR GOLF. Yesterday’s slight thaw helped clear the roads but then the freezing temperatures overnight froze all the meltwater again – now it’s even slippier out there! The roads nearby, Wood Lane, driveway and carparks are all still clear thanks to Robert and his trusty snowplough and the greenkeepers gritting and we’ve got some visitors for lunch - I just saw the ‘Turkey Balls’ hat being passed around! Currently we have a slight thaw again today – but the forecast is for temps of -8 overnight. Great. Not.

Monday 6th February 8am. COURSES ARE CLOSED FOR GOLF. It rained in the night at GV then froze on top of the lying snow. Black ice about on minor roads but our carparks, lane and beyond are all clear. Unlike the golf courses sadly, which are still covered, although a thaw has set in this afternoon. Forecast is for freezing conditions again tonight, then a thaw again tomorrow. Watch this space! We’ll open the courses as soon as we can. Meanwhile, a number of golfers have been in the Lounge Bar today, drinking coffee and gazing longingly across the valley…..

Sunday 5th February 7.30am. The B668 through Greetham village and to the A1 has been gritted, Wood Lane from the crossroads, Greetham Valley drive and the carparks have all been snowploughed this morning – access no problem for Sunday lunch. COURSES ARE CLOSED FOR GOLF unsurprisingly.

Saturday 4th February 11.30pm. Started snowing at Greetham Valley at 5pm and it hasn’t stopped. Currently about four inches deep – and it’s still coming down but slowing. Check back here for an update Sunday morning – but don’t expect to play golf!Robert is out on the snowplough right now clearing the drive and Wood Lane up to the crossroads for the 3rd time tonight. We have a party of 200 tonight in the Rutland Suite, so we’re aiming to get them all home. But some have booked into the Hotel last minute instead!


Winter golf course maintenance continues at Greetham Valley

Well, Christmas has come and gone without any of the white stuff falling, which has given everyone a chance to get out and enjoy the golf courses when in previous years it has not been possible.

The weather conditions have been favourable to allow us to continue to present the courses in good order, which will give us an excellent platform to start the new season. I am already planning the purchase of the fairway fertiliser and if these conditions continue I will be fertilising towards the end of February.
 
The benches are now back out on the courses after my staff have repaired and treated them; the tee markers have been painted and are ready for the start of the season; we just have the flag poles to do when the next inclement weather arrives.
 
We have started to replenish the sand in the bunkers, and still have a few more of the bunker faces to repair, which will be done throughout February along with bunker edging.
 
I have spoken to Robert about brightening up the car park, and we are looking at some sort of planting that will define the parking lines a bit better along with improving the aesthetics.
 
We are at present extending the 10th medal tee on the Lakes, which was made possible when we moved the path last year. This should be completed within the next two weeks. 
 
I was hoping to block pave some more paths this winter but we haven’t had time; maybe in March I will be able to finish around the putting green, and then we will plan to carry on with the remainder at the end of the year.

Enjoy your golf! Regards, Adi


Sexy new equipment for Greetham Valley’s golf courses!

New Toro fairway mower - Adi's latest pride and joyJust a quick update before the festive period begins…..
 
This has been the first year in my 17 years at Greetham Valley that we have had to cut the fairways in December. The only problem is that we sold the fairway mower last week and we had to cut the fairways with the tees mowers! Luckily, today we have taken delivery of a brand spanking new very good looking Toro fairway mower.
 
Sexy new Toro sprayerAt the same time we took delivery of a new dedicated Toro sprayer as well, so when you see it out on the course please take a minute to have a look at it, and I will happily explain the the all-singing, all-dancing, state of the art features on it. It is truly amazing! Although Robert tells me that it has only replicated what was available on his and Frank’s agricultural sprayers many years ago….
 
The greens are looking and playing well at the moment and I see no reason why this can’t continue throughout December and into January. We are, however, getting to the period when the preventative fungicide programme that I follow is coming to an end, so if the mild weather continues the greens will be vulnerable to an attack. So we will be carrying out all the usual cultural practices to try to prevent it. I will be keeping my fingers crossed for a frosty Xmas period!!
 
 I will be back with another update in January when I will explain about some of the changes and improvements to the course that we will be doing for 2012.

 I would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

Adi