A blog about golf course and heathland management at Aldeburgh Golf Club and the wildlife found there. Aldeburgh GC is a top 100 championship course managed using traditional low input greenkeeping methods. It is situated on the Suffolk coast within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB.
After several years of owls using our barn owl boxes for roosting, two of the boxes were occupied this year, with two chicks in each box. These were ringed for monitoring purposes through the Suffolk barn owl project. http://www.sogonline.org.uk/scbop/. Another first has been a kingfisher nest on the course, the adults are currently feeding young. 2017 has been a good year for bee orchids on the river course.
There were several bee orchids on the river course this year.
breaking temperatures and well above average rainfall during June saw strong
grass growth and a maintenance programme dominated by mowing grass. The warmer than average and very wet weather continued into July and we broke the previous rainfall record for July
with 118.6mm in total. The greens were top dressed during
the last week in June and we’ve taken advantage of the strong growth to do some
greens surface refinement through brushing, verti-cutting and occasional double
cutting. These operations help to
improve smoothness, trueness and green speed.
The roller has been used regularly to counteract the slowing effect that
the weather has had on the greens.
Selective weed-killer was applied to the tees and some fairways. The annual ragwort pull is in progress, we’re
just over half way round the course and will finish the job before the ragwort
goes to seed. The approaches and green
surrounds have been verticut several times over the last few weeks to help fine
down the coarser grasses. We’re also
boxing off the cuttings from these areas to help refine the sward. Fertiliser was applied to the greens on the
17th of July.
is a summary of a typical week of routine course maintenance.
7x (1 or 2x by hand), tees 3x, Aprons 3x, Approaches 2 or 3x, Fairways 2x, Semi
rough 1x, bunker surrounds 1x.
bunkers are raked daily, the holes are changed twice per week or more often if
there are major events and tee divoting is done weekly.
planning a light top dressing of the greens early next week if the weather is
suitable or failing that the week after golf week. We’ll also top dress green surrounds and
approaches. We’ve started cutting some
of the areas of coarser rough around the course and this work will continue
over the coming weeks wherever the rough gets too thick to be playable. The greens renovation and over-seeding work
is due to start on the 31st of August.
members who would like to be kept up to date with course activity and anything
of interest on the course we have a twitter account. Follow the link below.
After matching our previous record average temperature in May we had a new record for June with an average temperature of 16.8°, about two degrees warmer than the average for June (The previous high was 16° in 2003). The highest temperature in June was 27.2° on the 19th and the lowest 9° on the 30th. Rainfall was a little below average with 44.2mm in total, with over half of it falling during the first week of the month followed by three dry weeks and then 20.6mm in one day on the 28th.
The record breaking trend continued in July, with 118.6mm of rain beating the previous high of 106mm (2012) by a decent margin. (July average rainfall is 45.8mm) 82mm of the July total fell on the 10th, 11th and 12th with 51mm on the 10th alone, this made quite a mess of the bunkers! It was also the second warmest July we've recorded with an average of 18.5°, a high of 25.8° on the 19th and a low of 10.8° on the 21st. The record breaking rainfall and temperatures have resulted in unprecedented grass growth and a golf course looking much greener than we would normally expect during the summer months.
This is what all of our 100 bunkers look like after 51mm of rain in a couple of hours.
started out cool and very dry, giving slow growth and green speeds around
10ft. Later in the month it was warm and
wet which gave us a strong boost to growth which was much needed but slowed the
greens down to about 8ft We equalled our
warmest average temperature for May (13.4 degrees) and rainfall was well above
average (59.9mm) with almost all of the rain falling in the second half of the
month. The greens were top dressed and
later in the month we took advantage of the strong growth to do some surface
refinement on the greens through brushing and grooming to lift and mow off
lateral growth. The Poa annua seeding
has now finished and this has also boosted smoothness and trueness. The putting green extension was finished off
and the turf is already rooting strongly.
As the summer progresses we will top dress it frequently and gradually
reduce the height of cut but it won’t be cut at greens height until next
year. Selective weed-killer was applied
to the greens and most of the fairways and work has started on spot spraying
bramble and encroaching gorse.
June we will finish off selective weed-killer applications to the fairways and
continue with spot treatment of gorse and bramble. Both of these tasks are weather dependent and
require dry conditions and light winds.
Top dressing of greens is scheduled for the week of the 26th
weather permitting. Top dressing is a
very important part of the greens maintenance programme. It is our main tool for smoothing out putting
surfaces and is vital for keeping the greens firm and preventing organic matter
build up (thatch) at the turf surface.
We aim to spread a total of 100 tonnes of sandy top dressing (Fendress
90/10) on the greens each year over six to eight dressings.
May was a month of two halves as they say. The first half was cool and very dry with only 3mm of rain up to the 16th. The second half was very warm for May and very wet, bringing the rainfall total to 59.9mm for the month, well above average. The average temperature matched our previous record high of 13.4° recorded in 2011. The highest temperature was 23.7° on the 27th and the lowest was 4° on the 10th. So after six weeks of slow growth in April and early May the grass has been growing frantically for the last three weeks. This is great for recovery from winter wear and tear but not so good for green speed. Hopefully the boom or bust weather patterns we're experiencing will settle down soon.
a good growing month in March we’re back to normal with cold, dry easterly and
northerly winds putting the brakes on grass growth. This weather pattern is forecast to continue
into next week, with the possibility of some very welcome rain at the end of
the week. The flowering of annual meadow
grass in the greens and other areas is at its peak at present but this should
reduce over the next few weeks. The new
tees on the 1st, 6th and 8th holes are coming
on nicely, they’ve just been top dressed again and we’ll bring them into play
in the next week or so. The greens were
top dressed again last week bringing the total number of dressings for the year
to three. The next top dressing is
planned for the week beginning Monday 15th May. Top dressing is our main tool for smoothing
out the putting surfaces. Once we come
out of the current drought (only 89mm in the first four months of the year and
only 10.6mm in April) we’ll apply selective weed-killer to the fairways. We’ll also start the annual task of spraying
encroaching gorse and bramble seedlings.
Later in May we’ll do some renovation work on the green surrounds, this
will consist of hollow coring followed by over-seeding and top dressing. The extension to the putting green is nearing
completion and the turf will be delivered on the 23rd of May.