Wet Spa Enhancements

The wet spa improvements will start from Monday 8th August, we expect the works to take four weeks while we completely replace the steam room, re-bench the sauna, refurbish the hydro pool and install a new feature shower.

Scenes from the Greens

A greenkeeping blog from The Warwickshire

Stay up to date with everything happening in and around the course during the 2022 golf season with our greenkeeper’s blog! We’ll be sharing news of upcoming projects, new team members and member notices to enhance your golf game.

June 2022

There have been some significant changes to both courses since my last update. Though it seems like ages ago, it’s actually only a matter of weeks since everyone was worrying about the greens following hollow tining, and I was complaining about putting cold water on the greens to keep them alive and further slowing recovery during a period of dry but cold weather. In the weeks since we have seen much higher temperatures, and suddenly everything has “sprung” into life.

May is usually the best time of year for growth and regeneration with all the trees coming into leaf, and in particular the rhododendrons coming into flower, giving an amazing splash of colour albeit short lived.

Greens

Out on the course, we have gradually reduced the height of cut on the greens and are now down to 3.5mm and using our cutting units with groomers which have a set of vertical spinning blades in front of the cutting cylinder which gently lift the grass prior to it being cut, removing seed heads and lateral growth to give a much tighter finish. We only have one set of these at the moment, which means we have to use them on alternate courses; however another machine is expected soon which will allow us to carry out this task daily on both courses.

Topdressing

Now that the Jubilee bank holiday weekend has passed, we will be starting our topdressing routine every Tuesday throughout the summer. “Not more sand,” I hear you say, but don’t panic - we have planned this around you and it won’t affect your golfing day as we will only be applying a very light dusting and brushing it in before play begins. This process will fill any blemishes left over from hollow tining and pitch marks, resulting in much smoother surfaces. We have also begun our regular spoon-feeding programme on the greens which is an application of liquid fertiliser every two weeks and allows us to use much less fertiliser in a more controlled manner giving more consistent growth.

Fairways

Elsewhere we have sprayed all the fairways with a very small amount of iron and nitrogen to provide some colour and a small amount of growth so as not to cause a huge surge. I should also mention that we have had to apply some weedkiller to the fairways to reduce the daisies and dandelions. It is something we try and avoid, however the large volume of weeds this year meant that we had no choice.

All in all, both courses are looking great now thanks to the hard work of the greens team with a lot of help from Mother Nature, and you should have an enjoyable summer.

May 2022

Why do we do hollow tining? How long will it take to recover? Why do you always do it just when the greens are looking good?

These are just a few of the questions we get asked following and during hollow tining. Grass needs air to survive just like us humans, and part of the hollow tining process allows air into the surface while also removing thatch and relieving compaction.

Golf is played all year round and this constant traffic causes compaction, which is when all the air pockets in the soil are compressed together reducing air in the soil and reducing the drainage properties. You as golfers expect cut and prepared greens to play on all year round, so we therefore must take our machines onto the greens to achieve this by daily mowing and rolling, which both cause compaction. As the grass grows the lower leaves die off and create what is called thatch. This in turn causes the surface to become spongy and waterlogged, as any water gets trapped in this layer which again prevents water movement through the soil causing the roots to rot, and a waterlogged thatchy green is especially susceptible to disease. Therefore. we need to do hollow tining to reduce this thatch layer - and over recent years we have been forced to leave out this process or not do it as frequently as we would have liked.

How long it will take to recover is very weather dependent, and as we try and carry out this work either before the start of the season or at the end of the season so as not to disrupt playing season, this has a huge impact on recovery times. For example, this year the ground temperature is still too cold to promote any meaningful growth and we have in fact had several frosts following springs maintenance which further slowed recovery. So the million dollar question is, do we do it in the middle of your playing season when we are likely to have better recovery or do we get it out of the way beforehand to allow you to have an uninterrupted playing season?

Despite all this, the team have worked wonders this year and managed to not only get the maintenance done in three days but during that time we also carried out a full fairway divoting session on both courses. We have over seeded the Kings greens with a new grass variety that should in time give us better winter colour and more resistance to disease.

The greens on the Kings course are obviously about a week behind the Earls but are making good progress and we will continue to work on them to get the best surfaces we can. We have invested in new ball washers and bins for the course which are moveable so we can place them in the most suitable places for all sections. Hopefully this means placing them away from dog walkers who insist on putting their dog mess in the bins, so if you think that there aren’t enough bins in certain areas, that's the reason why. We have also installed new numbered fairway discs (100,150 and 200) as well as replacing the nasty old wooden hazard posts with shiny new recycled plastic ones (we do still need a few more of these). All the tees have had fertiliser applied in readiness for the warmer weather and the Kings greens have had their first application of spring fertiliser to help boost recovery with the Earls planned for next week. We will shortly be putting out some very expensive new flags, pins and cups so keep a look out and let us have some feedback.

We’re all set for a good season with lots of new team members and some new pieces of equipment - all we need now is a bit of warm weather and an occasional shower of rain!