Course Manager Report
I hope this update finds you well and enjoying the Course. I have to say since arriving at Pollok the weather has certainly kept the team on our toes! I can’t remember a 4-week period with so many damp, humid & overcast days during the summer months. This has led to a great deal of disease pressure over this period, with high overnight temperatures leading to a heavy dew. This unfortunately forms the perfect conditions for Fusarium to develop. With the removal of contact fungicides, it’s reduced the options on what we can now spray. As turf managers we’ve got to try striking the correct balance by using the fungicides at the right time. With the grass still actively growing, disease that has appeared will simply grow out unlike the winter months when there’s less recovery and it would be more noticeable with regards playability. Fusarium likes to take hold in pitch mark holes, so as ever please repair your pitch marks.
Over the last month we’ve carried out a couple of aeration procedures on the greens. Firstly, we had an outside contractor come in with the Air2G2 machine. The Air2G2 is an easy to operate, self-propelled machine which uses three probes to laterally inject pressurised air up to 12-inches beneath the surface of the soil to fracture the compacted layers that form as a result of foot traffic, mechanical traffic and nature’s daily wear and tear.
These laterally injected air blasts loosen up compacted soil immediately, but without any disruption to the surface of the turf or the roots below. With frequent use, the Air2G2 creates surfaces that are healthy, firm and ready for play immediately after treatment.
At the beginning of July, we used the Procore with a 6mm solid tine to reduce the surface compaction. Looking at the forecast it was showing we were in for some heavy rainfall so opening the surface allowed the water to filter through the rootzone.
The current irrigation set up we have at Pollok is not fit for purpose. It does not meet the needs of the Course, which is why we are reliant on hand hosing our greens. Hand hosing is not a credible method of delivery of water and should only really be used for hot spots on the greens. For example, greens moisture is recommended to be between 25-30% which is difficult to deliver with the use of a hose during the warmest part of the day rather than overnight with an automatic system delivering exact amounts of water replacing the moisture lost from evaporation during the day. The team regularly use a moisture meter to record the moisture content within the greens rootzone and recently we’ve had some low readings with only 4% being recorded in the 5th green. Another aspect is not being able to apply our agronomy products as a lot of these products need watered into a certain depth for them to work. Wetting agent is one of these products. It plays an important role retaining moisture within the rootzone. At present to apply wetting agent we’re having to hope we have rainfall as the programme requires it to be applied every 4 weeks with 2-3mm of water which is impossible to deliver with a single hose. It also takes up a lot of staff time which could be best used improving other aspects of the Course. With a proper irrigation system in place, it will allow the team to renovate all the in-play areas. If we look at the tees, for example, they’re not getting the chance to recover even after the team have overseeded and top-dressed on multiple occasions. The tees need water for seed to germinate and with the amount of play we’re now seeing, it’s important we can deliver water to aid recovery. The only opportunity we’ve had to irrigate the tees this year was while it was raining removing the need to irrigate the greens which take priority over all other areas during periods of warmer weather. Without an irrigation system the Course will not develop to its full potential.
At the end of June, we welcomed Adrian Mortram to the Club. Adrian is an independent irrigation consultant who we’ve approached to design a bespoke irrigation system. Adrian is regarded as one of the top consultants in this field having worked on all Open Championship venues and other elite courses. We are fortunate to have secured his services.
During his visit Adrian GPS mapped all areas that we’d be looking at installing irrigation, including greens, green surrounds & tees. As some of you may be aware, the Club has been investigating the installation of an irrigation system. Adrian’s work is a critical to this. It will look at the planning and installation of such a system and will shape the cost as well.
Alongside this we have been investigating the possibility of a bore hole for the Course. Currently we source our water from the River Cart. Our use is not metered but it is unlikely this will remain the case. A bore hole will allow an independent source of water for which is important for the future irrigation of the Course.
Once these investigations are complete the Club will provide further information to the membership with options for consideration.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve topped up some of the bunkers with fresh sand. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback on how these bunkers are now playing so over the next month we’re going to look at the remaining bunkers and top up with sand as required.
I’d like to thank you for your continued support.