I was pleased to be voted back onto council to continue to act on your behalf as Chair of Greens. Myself, the greens staff and the greens committee will do our very best to keep making improvements to our course.
September was a mixed month, it saw the final work completed for this years drainage programme with the sand slitting on the 3rd and 7th. It saw the first real deluge and I was pleased playing the day after to see that the drainage did seem to be doing what it was designed to do. The bottom of the 9th is still a bit wet but certainly better in most places.
Unfortunately it also saw us lose Jake one of our assistant green keepers who was tempted away to work at Wilmslow GC, disappointing but a demonstration that Jon had trained him well. We have advertised and continue to interview for the vacant post and I’m hopeful that I will be able to make recommendation to council in the next couple of weeks.
Now for a little reminder of what happens at Alderley during the winter when the weather turns and the course becomes wet. We are now losing light and after today’s heavy rain the ability to cut the greens on a Saturday morning before play begins is impossible. This coupled with being down to one member of staff means Jon and Adam are stretched as most work on our course during the winter is by hand and not by ride on machine. The team will of course judge each day and week on its merits in order to maintain the course in the best condition possible but not to cause damage. Through October and November the team will be heavily deployed leaf blowing as we can’t deploy mechanical means and most mowing on the greens and tee’s will be hand cut.
After closing sides we will be re-setting cut heights to winter settings and applying winter treatments. It is also likely in discussion with gents and ladies golf that we will be moving to fairway mats to add a further protective measure in the wetter seasons. I realise that this is always contentious but since their introduction the benefits through the summer outweigh the downsides.
over the next few weeks I will be convening a greens meeting where we will discuss and agree course priorities for the winter where possible and the spring as the weather improves. Just to remind you your representatives are, Andy Slater, Mark Walker, Celia Berent, Graham Moss and Harrison Peck who have all agreed to continue in their roles. Your feedback and suggestions directly to myself or to team are welcomed.
Neil Johnson, Chair of Greens
Greens Update August/September
Just a short update to let you know about some further planned work on the course over the next couple of weeks.
On Thursday 8th we will be deep scarifying the greens using Korro technology. This is the next phase of improving the health and consistency of the course greens. You may remember in an earlier update I mentioned we had an agronomy survey undertaken regarding the thatch levels. This deep scarification which we will do late summer and spring each year will help to reduce the thatch, improve drainage and make the surfaces much more consistent. The process is fairly invasive so the greens may not look as normal for a few days as we will also be top dressing and over seeding at the same time.
in addition to this the final element of this years drainage programme will be completed with the sand slitting on the 3rd and 7th which we deferred during the heatwave. We do not have a confirmed date yet but once we know the blackboard near the locker rooms will be updated.
The team will also be reseeding the trench slits plus top dressing and over seeding the tee’s which were badly affected due to the drought conditions. Hopefully the promised showers will arrive giving us perfect conditions for seed to germinate and allow the damaged areas to recover.
Finally a shout out to our assistant green keepers Jake and Adam who have worked really hard whilst Jon has been away with his family enjoying a well earned break. The guys have battled another dry spell mowing and watering the greens daily even over the recent bank holiday.
Enjoy your golf
Chair of Greens
I’m sorry to bombard you with emails but thought I needed to provide a further update on the course through this period of hot weather and drought.
Those that played last week would have seen the course and particularly the greens in really good condition. Unfortunately after 3 days of hot dry weather on Tuesday the green sward was weakened and we have had to take extra measures to protect the greens. There are examples if you search of very good courses losing their greens in the last week or so. To prevent this Jon and the team have:
- Hand watered, soaked each green every day this week and applied Tricure wetting agent to strengthen the grass particularly 1st and 2nd.
- Ceased mowing to allow recovery
- Started work at 05.00 in order to minimise disruption
The effects are that the greens are wet, they are woolly and slow but their health is being protected.
In addition drainage work on the 7th has been completed. The decision has also been taken because of the forecasted hot and dry weather to postpone sand slitting on the 7th and the whole of the 3rd including the approach. Without any rain forecast the chance of recovery would have been low. What we will undertake is de-silting of Whitehall Brook from the Bridge near the Oakwood as far as we can with the remaining budget. This will provide even more capacity along with the Clearance of the Black Brook.
Jon and the team will cut the greens on Friday but the mower heights will be increased to avoid scorching as the weather tops 30 deg from Sunday through to Wednesday. I’d again like to ask for your patience and understanding until this dry spell breaks.
Finally just a reminder to please repair pitchmarks which makes a huge difference to how they recover. I realise the odd one could be missed but the number evident is much more than the odd one. We can all do our bit as we get onto the putting surface to repair our own and any others that have not been attended too.
Chair of Greens
Greens/Drainage Update July
Greens Update-Drainage Work June/July2022
I do hope everyone is well and you are enjoying your golf? I’m really pleased to report that all planned work barring some final work on the 7th which I will explain later is now complete. The work has been done professionally with minimum interruption and most importantly with no accidents or incidents. This is a collective effort between the greens team, our sub-contractor led by Bryn and Rhys as well as the patience and goodwill of our membership.
Just to re-cap on what has been done since April:
I would at this point like to take the opportunity to remind everyone that what we have been doing is installing and improving the land drainage system and not installing flood defences. When monsoon conditions return, Whitehall Brook will flood, and parts of the course will be inundated. This work will allow water to clear more quickly once the flood water recedes and dry out quicker.
In addition to the drainage work there has also been extensive work around the 7th green and the 8th Ladies tee to de-limb, prune and cut down trees for safety reasons but also to provide more light to the 7th green through the winter months. The work was planned to coincide with the drainage work so that major plant movement was concentrated into this period.
In respect of work on the greens we have continues our programme of sanding, pro-coring and using wetting agent pellets to maintain the healthy sward. We have also booked in the Korro deep scarification plant for September which we had to cancel in April due to the wet weather at the time.
As I write this note we are in a period of hot weather which for our staff is a real headache. Our irrigation system which is temperamental only covers the greens so last week Jon and the team-initiated drought mitigation measures by reducing the amount of mowing, increasing cutter heights and more regular application of wetting agent. I would ask that you bear with us through this dry spell as the team endeavour to keep the greens as healthy as possible. The main points of issue will be the tee’s which will show more signs of wear and will bake hard in the hot weather.
So, work this week will be concentrated on the greens, conclusion of the drainage work and consolidation and seeding of the trenches.
Thanks again for your patience through this period of major work for the course.
Chair of Greens
Greens Update-Drainage Programme
Drainage Work-June 2022
I am very pleased to provide you with a positive update regarding the drainage work that we have been attempting to undertake for many months. As planned earlier in the year the drainage contractor has confirmed his companies availability to start work on Monday June 20th. Those of you who played over the weekend will have seen that excavation kit was delivered Friday in order that work can begin.
Whilst this is good news it's also bitter sweet as the course is in really good condition at the moment and continues to be presented well by the greens team each week for us all to enjoy. The work WILL be disruptive and dynamic to reflect progress and where possible to protect fixtures and competitions. The weather forecast for the week is good but lets me stress for our course and it's layout this is Major Work and there will be lots of GUR and even superficial damage as 10t to 20t dumpers and excavators move around the course.
The order the work is planned in as things stand is:
- The 3rd approach and to tie in the drainage work done on the 3rd green in April
- The 7th slopes and paths, 7th Fairway cross drains and clearing the pond adjacent to the fairway and 4th tee and clearing the outlet to the black Brook.
- The 9th fairway outlet running from the trees to the left hand side of the fairway the length of the semi rough into the Brook and cross drains above the lateral path for about 50 yards
- In and amongst this work the black Brook will be dredged and cleared to improve flow and water retention.
I have agreed with our Head Greenkeeper Jon that the best way to communicate with members and guests as the work progresses is to provide daily messages on the blackboard at the entrance to the locker rooms and a reminder notice on the first tee. On certain days there will be the need to move to temporary tee's and greens. The progress and restrictions will be communicated to the clubhouse team and Charles our pro so they can also inform those playing.
I would urge all members to please exercise patience and understanding for both our greens staff and the contractors as the work progresses. The work will be coordinated by Jon in close conjunction with the contractors. It will also require the greens staff to undertake other duties so again bear this in mind. Normal course maintenance and preparation may be done in a different sequence to accommodate the work too. I am away on holiday from Wednesday so I have asked Graham Moss to act as the liaison with the team in my absence, this should only be a watching brief.
It is hoped that the work will be completed in around 10 days. Please be aware that in those places where work has taken place the normal rules regarding GUR will apply. If there are any issues other than this then they will be communicated to gents golf who will issue guidance as necesssary.
Finally let's all remember that this work has been a priority for members for a couple of years now so we all need to grin and bear it until the work is finished and as with the work on the 5th the benefits will outweigh the disruption.
Thank you on behalf of the greens staff for your patience and understanding.
Chairman of Greens