Over the autumn period we will be carrying out maintenance to some of our fairways. The main reason for this is to lower the amount of thatch in the fairways.
Work begins on the 9th fairway, weather permitting this week. We are focusing our resources on the worst fairways first such as the 9th and 1st where the thatch levels are up to 2 inch thick creating a fibrous mat over the surface.
Thatch has built up to this excessive level because the old irrigation system was poorly laid out with irrigation heads too close together which promoted over watering. There are many problems associated with excessive thatch, the one that has showed up the most through this hot period is localized dry areas. The thach restricts water movement turning the soil hydrophobic, preventing water, irrigation or rainfall from reaching the soil surface. The results are poor root growth and turf dieing off in periods of hot weather. The stressed grass plant is less able to deal with wear and tear and subsequently a decline in grass cover is seen.
To correct this problem we are actively checking moisture levels in our fairways and applying the correct amount of water.
Unfortunately the only way to improve these surfaces is through aeration. The type of aeration needed is hollow coring which removes a core of soil and thatch from the ground. The core is then left to dry, then gets broken up allowing the soil to fall to the surface thus providing a natural topdressing which slowly helps dilute the thach. The thatchy material left on the surface is then collected. This is a labour intensive job and we hope not to disturb play too much. The 9th will be played as a par 3 when work is being carried out and will be finished within the day and the hole returned to normal play by 2:00pm.