Friday, 11 August 2017

Barn owls, kingfishers and orchids

After several years of owls using our barn owl boxes for roosting, two of the boxes were occupied this year, with two chicks in each box.  These were ringed for monitoring purposes through the Suffolk barn owl project.  Another first has been a kingfisher nest on the course, the adults are currently feeding young.  2017 has been a good year for bee orchids on the river course.

There were several bee orchids on the river course this year.

July course news

Record breaking temperatures and well above average rainfall during June saw strong grass growth and a maintenance programme dominated by mowing grass.  The warmer than average and very wet weather continued into July and we broke the previous rainfall record for July with 118.6mm in total.  The greens were top dressed during the last week in June and we’ve taken advantage of the strong growth to do some greens surface refinement through brushing, verti-cutting and occasional double cutting.  These operations help to improve smoothness, trueness and green speed.  The roller has been used regularly to counteract the slowing effect that the weather has had on the greens.  Selective weed-killer was applied to the tees and some fairways.  The annual ragwort pull is in progress, we’re just over half way round the course and will finish the job before the ragwort goes to seed.  The approaches and green surrounds have been verticut several times over the last few weeks to help fine down the coarser grasses.  We’re also boxing off the cuttings from these areas to help refine the sward.  Fertiliser was applied to the greens on the 17th of July.

Here is a summary of a typical week of routine course maintenance.
Greens 7x (1 or 2x by hand), tees 3x, Aprons 3x, Approaches 2 or 3x, Fairways 2x, Semi rough 1x, bunker surrounds 1x.

The bunkers are raked daily, the holes are changed twice per week or more often if there are major events and tee divoting is done weekly.

July/August maintenance work
We’re planning a light top dressing of the greens early next week if the weather is suitable or failing that the week after golf week.  We’ll also top dress green surrounds and approaches.  We’ve started cutting some of the areas of coarser rough around the course and this work will continue over the coming weeks wherever the rough gets too thick to be playable.  The greens renovation and over-seeding work is due to start on the 31st of August.

For members who would like to be kept up to date with course activity and anything of interest on the course we have a twitter account.  Follow the link below.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Weather summary for June and July

After matching our previous record average temperature in May we had a new record for June with an average temperature of 16.8°, about two degrees warmer than the average for June (The previous high was 16° in 2003).  The highest temperature in June was 27.2° on the 19th and the lowest 9° on the 30th.  Rainfall was a little below average with 44.2mm in total, with over half of it falling during the first week of the month followed by three dry weeks and then 20.6mm in one day on the 28th.

The record breaking trend continued in July, with 118.6mm of rain beating the previous high of 106mm (2012) by a decent margin.  (July average rainfall is 45.8mm)  82mm of the July total fell on the 10th, 11th and 12th with 51mm on the 10th alone, this made quite a mess of the bunkers!  It was also the second warmest July we've recorded with an average of 18.5°, a high of 25.8° on the 19th and a low of 10.8° on the 21st.  The record breaking rainfall and temperatures have resulted in unprecedented grass growth and a golf course looking much greener than we would normally expect during the summer months.

This is what all of our 100 bunkers look like after 51mm of rain in a couple of hours.