We have largely enjoyed an excellent summer and the growing conditions have been perfect, this is not without its downside. The Head Green Keeper and his staff have been treating some of the greens for a fungal infection called Anthracnose or ‘Basal rot’ as its commonly known.
Warm periods followed by periods of high humidity have proved to be ideal growing conditions for Anthracnose. Many courses in the area have been affected including the Celtic Manor. Our greens are predominately annual meadow grass that is very susceptible to anthracnose when stressed due to hot weather, low cutting heights and high golfing traffic.
The disease activity has been managed with three separate fungicide applications starting in late July when the disease was first diagnosed. Additionally, seed has been sown on the worst affected greens and liquid fertilisers have also been applied to aid recovery. To date the anthracnose is under control.
A small number of greens have been diagnosed with Sclerotinia homoeocarpa or ‘Dollar spot’, again this has been managed with the timely application of fungicide treatment and liquid feeds. Recent cooler temperatures will prevent any further infection of Dollar spot.
Fusarium patch disease will become active as grass growth slows and colder conditions prevail. Some activity is evident on some greens at the moment but applications of fungicides and liquid hardeners will stop its development.
The greens renovation programme which started this week will encourage a drier turf surface and help control the diseases.
The winter works programme was finalised this week and new winter mats for all holes will begin to be installed over the next 6 weeks, we will continue to use the grass tees for as long as possible weather permitting. In addition to new mats some additional access path work is scheduled this winter this will reduce the general wear and tear and the golf course but most importantly give all members access to golf during the winter months. Could I ask all members to use the paths provided for both trolleys and buggies.
We also intend to level and improve the drainage on the 5th and 11th tees this winter and begin a long term bunker renovation programme which should improve the general consistency and drainage of the green side bunkers. This bunker renovation will take several years to complete.
Finally, as many of you know we lost a member of the greens staff in August and we decided not to replace him given that we were almost in the winter period. I would like to thank all the greens staff for ensuring that the course has remained in excellent condition throughout the whole playing season. The feedback from Club Finals Day and the Baffie has been excellent.