July Golf Diary

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By Laurence Gale MSc

July continues to be a busy time for all greenkeepers, who are trying to keep up with their day to day maintenance regimes coupled with the additional influx of golf competitions usually planned for this time of the year. Mowing and course preparation will be the priority, with the need to irrigate to keep the turf surfaces alive and growing, maintaining their colour and vigour. Mowing heights will now be down to the summer levels of 3-6mm, depending on the course and grass species being maintained.

Irrigation will now be a major consideration in maintaining turf surfaces. Evapotranspiration (ET) the combined water loss from both the plant and soil surfaces will now be rising due to the warmer weather. Watering will be essential for maintaining greens tees and fairways. When irrigating it is essential that you ensure the water is uniformly applied to prevent any dry patches forming.

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.

July Maintenance Tasks for Golf

Natural Grass

Task

Frequency

Reason

Aeration

When conditions allow

Greens. Generally from May through to September any aeration completed on greens is done with micro tines only so as not to disturb the playing surfaces.

Tees. Generally no aeration carried out on tees during July.

Fairways. Generally no aeration on fairways during July.

Amenity areas

Weekly

Tidy up any flower and shrub borders around the club house and entrance. Ensure all summer bedding displays and hanging basket and tubs are well watered.

Brushing /Sweeping

Daily / Weekly

may-diary-cardenparkbrush.jpgGreens & 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

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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. With the recent spells of wet weather many golf courses are experiencing outbreaks of Fusarium particularly on their greens. Scarring of the playing surface is normally reduced as grass growth is usually dominant and vigorous in June, reducing the need to use fungicide treatments. However, there may be a need to apply a preventative fungicide treatment in the event of important competitions or matches, thus reducing the damage or effects of this disease.

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 their summer fertiliser's to maintain vigour and colour, aiming to cut back on the (N) nitrogen input and (P) phosphate elements, and apply something like a 8/0/6 or similar NPK fertilisers. Generally USGA sand based greens tend to be more hungry for fertilisers compared to the pushed up soil greens. Most course managers would then look to colour up the greens with an application of iron and sea weed products prior to competitions and tournaments. Many course managers like to use straight compound fertilisers that act instantly to the conditions, rather than use slow release products that can initiate or stimulate growth when you don't want it.

The choice of materials and how well they work can be dependant on factors such as soil type and weather, with moisture and and air temperatures 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).

Harrowing / raking

When conditions allow

Fairways. Harrowing/raking helps restore levels and keep surfaces open.

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As required

Changing of holes should be carried out regularly, however frequency will be dependant on a number of factors, green size, greens construction, tournaments, amount of play and condition of the green. During wet periods it is likely the hole will wear more quickly, resulting in a crowning affect and surface wear. This wear is more apparent if the green has thatch problems. The hole will tend to wear quickly and form a depression caused by the placement of the golfers feet. You may be looking to change the hole positions more than three time per week during wet periods.

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, shoe and ball cleaners, signs, and tee boxes.

Irrigation

Daily and weekly

Check and monitor all sprinkler head controls/valves to see that 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.

Soil and air temperatures during July are likely to increase affecting the rate of evapotranspiration ET (water loss from both the soil and grass plants) increasing the likelihood of the ground and surfaces drying out.

It is very important that irrigation is uniformly applied to keep the grass plant alive and healthy and to prevent dry patch occurring. Further information about Irrigation of sports surfaces can be see on link. Irrigation

Most golf courses often have formal garden/ornamental areas that require watering especially when new summer bedding schemes have been planted.

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

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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.

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As required

Maintain the greens at their summer height (3-6mm). Other tasks that complement this work involve the use of grooming and verticutting units to remove unwanted thatch and side shoot growths. The frequency of grooming is fortnightly and verticutting monthly.

Mowing frequencies varying from daily to twice weekly operations dependant on the growth of the grass and the standards set by the course manager. Mowing heights may vary depending on local conditions, type of course, course expectations, sward type and mower type. The mowing heights are a guide, and will be subject to local weather conditions, but remember not to remove more than 1/3 of total grass height in each cut. The less stress that is placed on the grass at this vital time the better the results further on into the season.

Greens. Mowing height should be maintained at around 3-6mm.

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

Weed growth is very active during July enabling course managers the opportunity to use and apply selective herbicides. These are more effective when the plant is actively promoting growth.

Moles and rabbit damage; repairs as required.

Ponds, lakes and streams

Weekly

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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 be inspected daily, cleaned and moved to new positions as required.

Top dressing

As required

Greens & Tees. Ensure you have enough top dressing material for any renovation or repair works carried out in July.

Wetting agents

As required

If wetting agents are being used they are generally applied monthly throughout the season.

Woodland & conservation areas.

As required

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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.