April Golf Diary
By Laurence Gale
Most of the tasks detailed can be undertaken within a limited budget. Local conditions and circumstances will need to be taken into account. If any members are undertaking any specific work not detailed, please let us know by adding a comment in the section below the diary.
April Maintenance Tasks for Golf Courses
|Aeration||When conditions allow||Greens. Spring renovation works will continue in April. All greens to be aerated using mechanical vertidrain / multi-core type aerators.|
|Tees. Spring renovation works will continue in April. All tees to be aerated using mechanical vertidrain / multi-core type aerators.|
|Fairways. Ongoing aeration works will continue on fairways using various types of aerators (varying depths of penetration to prevent the development of a soil pan).|
|Tidy up any flower and shrub borders around the club house and entrance.|
|Brushing / Sweeping||Daily / Weekly||Greens & Tees. Prior to mowing the surface should be thoroughly brushed. Continue to brush greens and tees daily to remove moisture from the grass surface, stopping the spread of disease and facilitating an improved quality of cut on the dry grass.|
|Bunkers||Daily / weekly|
|Course Inspection||Daily||Inspect greens, tees, flags and hole positions for damage or vandalism.|
|Diseases including Moss & Algae||Daily / Weekly||Greens , Tees , Fairways. Keep an eye on fungal disease attack, and use approved fungicides to treat infected areas.|
|Divoting||As required||Greens, Tees and Fairways. Repair any divots and scars.|
|Drainage||Weekly||Inspect drainage outfalls, channels and ditches. Ensure that they are working.|
|Fertiliser programme||If grass shows signs of stress (weak growth, discoloured)||
Fertiliser treatment and turf tonic can be continued in accordance with your annual programme. If you haven't got a fertiliser programme, have your soil tested; try an independent soil analysis company for an impartial set of results.
Most grounds staff will be applying a spring/summer N P K fertiliser, perhaps something like a 12/0/9 or 9/7/7 will effectively get the grass moving during April, then towards the end of April early May applying a slow release fertiliser to see you through June/July. However, the choice of material and how well it works can be dependant on many factors, soil type, weather, with moisture and and air temperature being the catalyst for growth.
|Footpaths||As required||Keep all footpaths clean and free from debris, check any step details and hand rails ( Health & Safety).|
|Frost and snow||As required||April weather is generally still very unpredictable, usually resulting in April showers of rain, sleet and snow. Keep people and equipment off playing surfaces when covered in frost and snow.|
|Harrowing / raking||When conditions allow||Fairways. Harrowing / raking helps restore levels and keep surfaces open.|
|Hole Changing||As required||
Most golf courses are changing their hole positions at least three times a week.
|Inspect Course structures||As required||The Course, Clubhouse, Car parks. Check and repair fences, seating, shelters, bridges, litter bins, boot and ball cleaners, signs, and tee boxes.|
Daily and weekly
Ensure that automatic watering systems have been serviced and repaired ready for the new season, check and monitor all sprinkler head controls/valves to see if they are working, and check the spray patterns and timing of each and every sprinkler head. Also check any manual systems, hose pipes, sprinklers and pumps.
There may be a need to irrigate during spring renovation programmes, as air temperatures and day light hours are getting longer, increasing the likelihood of the ground and surfaces drying out.
|Litter / debris||Daily / Weekly||Greens , Tees and Fairways. Inspect and remove debris from playing surfaces. Litter, twigs and leaves. Regularly empty litter bins/tee boxes.|
|Machinery (Repairs & Maintenance)||Daily / Weekly||Inspect and clean machinery after use, service and repair damaged machinery, prepare machinery ready for new mowing season.|
|Marking out||Weekly||Mark out trolley areas, out of bound site areas and range markings.|
|Materials||Monthly||Estimate and order seed, loams and fertilisers, fuels and other consumables.|
|Greens. Mowing height should be maintained at around 4-8mm.|
|Tees. Mowing height should be maintained at around 10-15mm.|
|Fairways. Mowing height should be maintained at around 15-20mm.|
|Rough, Semi rough grass areas. Mow and tidy up these areas.|
|Pest control||As required||
Worm treatments can be carried out if needed, but please remember to ask yourself why worms are present. Ph level, organic matter and your cultural practices on the turf surfaces need to be assessed.
Moles and rabbit damage, repairs as required.
|Ponds, lakes and streams||Weekly||Inspect all water features on course, cleaning out any unwanted debris and litter.|
|Scarification||As required||Green & Tees. April is still a very busy period for scarifying. Removing horizontally growing grasses and surface organic matter plays an important part in the spring renovation programme.|
|Seed bare & worn areas||When conditions allow||
Greens, Tees and Fairways. Over seeding of sparse or bare areas can be continued, the rise in temperature will help germination. Use germination sheets to aid this process but remove the sheets regularly to check for diseases. Remember that without good seed to soil contact the operation is useless.
Ensure you use new seed as old material may not give you the required germination rates. Remember, bents and fescue grasses require higher soil temperatures for successful germination, you may need to wait for favourable temperatures later in the year.
|Tee boxes, pegs||As required||All Tee boxes, tee pegs and competition markers should inspected daily, cleaned and moved to new tee positions as required.|
|Top dressing||As required||Greens & Tees. Ensure you have enough top dressing material for the spring renovation works that may still be carried out in April.|
|Wetting agents||As required||April is still a good time to apply any wetting agents onto grass areas, it's better to apply these products before the soil begins to dry out.|
|Woodland & conservation areas.||As required|
|Artificial Tees and Mats|
|Artificial Grass Systems||Weekly||
Keep surface clean, regular sweeping and brushing. Remove any algae and moss from surface.
Sand filled systems require regular brushing to maintain manufacturer's recommendations for sand levels and pile heights.
|Rubber Tee Mats||As required||Keep clean, all temporary winter mats to be cleaned and stored away.|