week 25 /26 & 27 The Ugliness Part of Winter Arives

One task we have been doing more than we would like over the past few weeks is clearing fallen banksia trees and repairing washouts, cold fronts bringing rain and wind never ends well for the weak rooted banksias with 8 requiring removal over the past 2 weeks. The same can be said for bunker and path washouts.

 That said we much prefer clearing the big stuff as we are better equipped for the job to get it cut and out of the way rather than the small debris often left after a cold front pushes through, one such example was last week which covered all greens with small debris requiring clearing before we could mow and set up for the days play, 3 hours and 4 trailer loads of debris later the greens were cleared and then on to tees, bunkers and fairways, we lose the planed works we had intended to do cleaning up the mess instead.

The ugly part of winter has arrived and with it you will notice a few climate forced changes with the course. Our warm season turf surfaces will lack vigour, loose colour and generally be more susceptible to wear and injury, on top of this heavy rain events can leave water laying around and though most areas drain well there are areas that remain soggy specially where traffic occurs in low areas.  During winter it is vitally important for all players to follow all course care etiquette, the below are the more important winter ones to be mindful of -

* Repair your divots chop in the sides or replace the dislodged turf
* Greens will be soft after rain events, actively look for and correctly repair your ball marks and any others you may come across
* Cart users should stay as far from the greens as practicable, at east 15m or no closer than the blue line.
*Cart users should stay out of wet areas, continued driving through these areas results in mud that will neither recover when wet or dry
*Avoid taking divots during practice swings.

Tips on the correct method of repair can be found on the course care page
These are simple yet effective means each player can assist in preserving the course through winter when all turf surfaces are easily damaged and slow to recover. The staff can only do so much to repair areas particularly when the turf isn't growing, utopia is we shouldn't have to repair player damage at all, so please a little self regulation, if anyone in your playing group isn't doing the right thing tell them, after all it may be you, who has to play from the damage they cause next week.
One more noticeable condition you will have come across and part of the ugliness of winter I referred to is the development of the below bronze orange coloured patches with pinkish rings visible, mainly in fairways
This is a disease called Microdochium nivale, previously known as Winter Fusarium and as the name suggests occurrence is usually through winter, or more so cool wet weather.
All turf surfaces are susceptible to infection and injury, our greens are our number 1 priority and like Dollar spot in Spring and Autumn our main priority is prevention in the Greens, a lesser extent in Tees and no control other than cultural for all other surfaces. Fusarium disease incidence follow that priority with little to none in greens some infection in tees and fairways more so.
To look at the positive side, obviously our green prevention program is working, otherwise the greens would look like some areas of the fairways,

It is very costly (outside our budget) to treat in fairways as any applied spray would be short lived, the fusarium would return in a few weeks requiring further treatment. Turf may appear "ugly" but will recover when active growth returns.
We do implement cultural controls on all surfaces to many to detail here, implement programs to limit the injury and will undertake small area treatment in the worst effected areas where budget permits though we need to show restraint and ride the worst of the conditions out before it improves.

Graham and the boys are nearly finished the 12th path, staff have laid the tee turf and all is taking shape nicely, once completed they would like all cart users to use the path and not take the short cut...STAY ON THE PATH !! That's why they spent their time constructing it for.

Looking ahead and with regular fronts now passing through at least weekly, clearing debris repairing washouts and other  storm related activity will be built in to the weekly job list as we begin our winter works program and this year we are targeting tree pruning on the back 9 in a similar focus to that of the front 9 last year.
Other winter work on the hit list are Sand bunker base renovations with the 2nd and 12th bunkers given priority, unblocking / replacing sections of old irrigation pipe on the back 9, mainly 15 tee area and 18 ready for next irrigation season, some remedial drainage works 11th and 15th surrounds and maintenance for the front 9 fairway sprinklers which will include pulling the internal mechanism of the 300 sprinklers cleaning iron oxide build up and replacing which will be a major undertaking in itself, at the same time we will also be correcting the level of any sprinklers.

As you can see, our very small staff of 4 have a very busy winter period ahead of us, we have set high goals to achieve that in many ways may be a little too ambitious to think we will complete all of it through the remaining winter period however we are optimistic we can ,depending on the amount of clean up required each front that passes. 

We were forced to bring forward the 12th left side bunker renovations this week after another front caused severe bunker washouts on all bunkers (probably the worst I have seen here) but with the 12th bunker face totally washed out exposing old retic pipes the whole renovation was brought forward, at least its one down and ???? to go.  
 The bunker will be G.U.R. for a day or so to minimise plugged lies as whilst the sand settles.                                                                                                                                

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