In this report, we analyse the state of the course, covering the different works we have carried out lately and the ones that are programmed for the future.
FRONT NINE HOLES
Greens and collars:
They are in a good and healthy state. The work conducted during this spring, including topdressing and aerification, has developed a healthy root system for the summer.
The grass variety used on these areas, bentgrass A4 (Agrostis stolonifera), is known for its fine leaves and dense growth. So maintenance should focus on reducing growth to avoid thatch accumulation, and its negative consequences. For this reason, fertilizers application should be kept to a minimum, and this is why greens colour is typically light. In addition, the application of hormones to reduce growth (known as growth regulators) is crucial to achieve this objective.
In order to keep greens and collars firm, a frequent and light application of sand will be part of our strategy.
The speed and true rolling on the greens has been consistent and positive this season. We remind you that green speed readings and mowing height values are weekly updated at http://elrincondelgreenkeeper.blogspot.com.es/.
In addition, salt levels from irrigation that may accumulate in the soil are periodically flushed and treated.
Finally, we are making a great effort to clean these areas from weeds like kikuyu and bermuda grass. Periodically we scout and clean, digging the area out, replacing with new soil and sod. This job should continue all year around to maintain bentgrass quality.
Figure 1 and 2: Bermuda eradication on collars
Since these areas are planted with the same species used on the greens and collars, the maintenance procedures are the same.
Fairway on hole 3 has been restored to finish the job we started last year. This fairway presented levelling problems, bad soil and kikuyu contamination. All these problems have been solved replacing the soil and sodding with new bermuda grass.
Figure 3 y 4: Fairway 3 restoration
On Fairway 9 that was completely sodded during refurbishment, kikuyu encroachment was becoming a problem; herbicide application during june and july is working successfully. This strategy opens a door of hope for kikuyu control in bermuda grass. However, it cannot be used in areas where kikuyu patches are too big, without any bermuda grass to cover the gap.
Figure 5: Kikuyu control on fairway 9
Coverage in the other holes is very good. During the next weeks fertilization and a solid tining program will continue to achieve an optimum growth for the bermuda grass.
During the spring, we have worked to endure our festuca roughs for the summer season. However, some areas have not achieved the right density or are starting to struggle, due to deficiencies in irrigation or drainage, or lack of soil. Many of these were dug out, filled with new soil and sodded. We will keep working in this way to make improvements.
Figure 6: Sodding patches on roughs
During these months, once successfully established, bunker edges are defined as designed by Kyle Phillips.
Figure 7: Edges defined on bunker
We are also working to prevent algae growth in the surface of the bunker’s base. This is caused by two factors; one is the organic matter brought in the irrigation water; and the other the low depth of the sand layer that remains saturated for longer. Our corrective measures include decompacting and scarifying the area with Sandpro plough, algaecide application, and adding sand where required. Results have been satisfactory.
Figure 8: Black surface on bunker sand
In July, we were honoured with Gerald Huggan’s visit, the landscaper and arborist during Las Brisas construction, to whom we owe the magnificent arboretum that the course embraces. We could share experiences and listen to his valuable advice to help define future actions, in order to keep his stamp in the course. Juan Macías, his ‘right-hand” person in the area, also joined the visit, since we would like collaborate in the near future.
Figure 9 and 10: Gerald Huggan´s visit
In the last months, we have planted several trees, some to replace some losses, some to fill new areas. We try to follow Gerald Huggan’s principles when deciding the species, always with the advice from our arborist, Alberto Díaz Galiano.
Figura 11, 12, 13 and 14: Tree plantation
Like last year, we resume program to control the insect Saissetia oleae on our Calodendros, our wonderful trees around the 5th tee. Palm trees are also protected from red weevil, both with regular applications of insecticides and tramps.
BACK NINE HOLES
As expected, green quality in these holes is not as good as those in the refurbished holes. Still they are presented in good shape, with a good speed and a consistent roll of the ball, but will always be compared poorly with the front nine.
Maintenance challenge deals with the lack of uniformity among them, weed encroachment (bermuda grass, poa…), worse overall state of the irrigation system, and more susceptibility to other factors – such as salinity, diseases… .
Our objective has been, and will be during the following months before the refurbishment, to follow the same maintenance program as in the front nine greens: fertilization, aeration, topdressing, and any other treatments.
Tees and Fairways:
They were fertilized and maintain adequately. Our objective is to bear up the irrigation and drainage problems to avoid puddles in these areas, a chronic problem in the course.
No doubt this is the most problematic area in the back nine. The reason is that there is not much bermuda grass, and as summer comes, the winter grass species dye back despite the efforts we make. Also, the irrigation system is old and deficient, which generates both puddles and dry patches in many areas. Maintenance will be reduced to basics until refurbishment. We will only work to improve irrigation management to get better water coverage.
Some sand was added to the green bunkers during this spring and drainage inlets were cleaned and corrected in all areas. With these measures, an acceptable quality has been assured for the rest of the summer.