Carden Park Update (20/05/02)
The Nicklaus course has now been open since the beginning of April, perhaps an earlier start this year because of the dry early spring, but a very welcome start nonetheless.
I say it's welcome because the Nicklaus course is usually very wet and almost unworkable as we lead up to the official reopening each year and my staff end up with a mad rush to get the grass down to manageable heights and the course looking reasonably respectable.
Last week we managed to get an application of 32:0:26 down on the Nicklaus fairways, this granulated slow release fertiliser will release 50% of the Nitrogen immediately to give the plant its colour, and then slow releases the 50% methylene urea gradually throughout the summer. The fertiliser was applied at 25 grams per square metre.
With the weekend rain, the fertiliser has been nicely washed in, so we are about to spray the fairways with 'Shortcut'. This growth retarder will help to thicken up the sward instead of producing length-and more mowing time!!
With the warmer wet weather and an application of feed, our team have been almost working around the clock cutting grass. The use of the growth inhibitor will help alleviate their workload, so we can concentrate on other maintenance procedures.
All of our fairways will be 'v-mowed' next week, to encourage more tillering, remove the weaker grasses and unwanted Poa seed heads.
The Greens on both the Nicklaus and the Cheshire courses were solid tined and top dressed last week although we only used about fairway. The nature of its design means that new springs suddenly appear now and again and we have to take remedial action. The drains that we installed around the course during this last winter though have worked extremely well, and the ground has dried out very well in these areas.
As I said mowing is the order of the day at the moment, we currently have our Greens mowers set at 5mm, the tees at 9mm and the fairways at 11mm. Off the fairways we mow at 25mm for the first two mower strips and then at 50mm for the rough.
We will also embark on our latest round of sand dressing the fairways of the Nicklaus course towards the end of next week. I would envisage putting down around 40-50 tonnes of sand per fairway. It doesn't sound a lot, but I try to fit this regularly into our annual schedules-so we put on a little, often as they say.
Fortunately we don't have the PGA Seniors Championship starting until July 31st on the Nicklaus Course and the European Tour qualifying school stage one from September 15th on the Cheshire course.
The members seem to be delighted with the Cheshire course, the Nicklaus course is a corporate pay and play course and I haven't yet had any adverse comments about this course, although it isn't yet at its best. Generally speaking the standard is reasonably good although hopefully in the next week or so, we will have got it back to the highest standards expected.In summary, I think we have had as good a start to the year as any in the last five to ten years.