Firstly, Happy New year to you all from the greenkeeping team.
The winter is proving very difficult for us. The mild weather that we have seen for the most part brings high disease pressure to the greens. Although the greens have coped well without any significant scarring there has been some discolouration and weakening to the affected greens, this should grow out as we move into the spring. You will have no doubt seen the extensive damage that we have been suffering daily to several of our greens. The damage is being caused by crows seeking out chafer grubs. This is the larval stage of the chafer beetle.
We currently have no effective control for chafer grubs, so we continue to be at the mercy of the crows.
We have been trying several distraction methods against the crows with varying degrees of success.
At this point I would like to thank my team for their hard work, persistence and perseverance through what has been and what continues to be a very difficult and demoralising time.
Although we have placed around 500 plugs into the greens, as we move into the spring most of these plugs will require time consuming individual top dressing to get them to the same levels and consistency as the rest of the green.
The damage that has been done to the greens surrounds will be repaired mainly by overseeding as and when the ground temperatures become viable.
Because of the prolonged daily crow damage we are now behind on finishing our winter schedule of works.
We have just completed the re-modelling of the 15th fairway bunker, which has now been turned into two greens facing pot bunkers. You will be happy to learn that the face angle of the new bunkers is 55* Your standard sand wedge is 56*
We are currently working on the 3rd fairway bunker. We are raising this bunker out of the ground by around two feet; this should help to prevent this bunker flooding out throughout the winter months. We are changing the shape to make it a little more visually interesting and the face of this bunker will also be set at 55*
Once we have completed this bunker, our eighth and final bunker or the winter works schedule, we will move our focus onto some much needed course cleanup and maintenance ahead of a very extensive spring renovation programme, which will include fairway and surrounds overseeding following on from last years drought. We also have a massive amount of badger damage to repair and seed. Hopefully the weather and animals play nicely and we can have the course in great shape again as we head into Bideford Bay.