With the success of the recent fairway renovations in Autumn, myself and the greens committee decided to continue with the program. It is important to bear in mind the fairways had not been subjected to major renovations for over 10 years. The timing of this recent renovation has been questioned, and I would like to explain the decision.
The timing is directly related to what we plan to do in October/November of this year as part of the broader fairway management strategy. Due to the high amount of summer grass and paspalum last year, we are implementing a preventive herbicide regime which will hopefully keep the fairways free from summer grass, and eliminate seed heads on any paspalum for over 6 months. We already had bare patches on the fairways due to the summer grass from last year, so it was deemed necessary that the fairways be topdressed, reseeded and fertilised. The seed that we are spreading in the fairways this week would be killed by any chemicals used to control the summer grass and paspalum if it has not had at least 6 weeks growing time. Furthermore, we had to wait to top-dress and seed the fairways until the ground temperature began to increase. We were very lucky to have had perfect days for about a week, although a couple of the frosts were a concern. What this all means is that there was a very small window of time to try and get the fairways seeded ahead of chemicals going out. We made a decision 3 months ago to top-dress and seed this week to potentially take advantage of the conditions to deliver healthier fairways this summer and beyond.
There are areas that have a lot of sand, which the greenkeeping staff have been working feverishly to thin out. Shane is turning on the fairway irrigation, and with a bit of rain on the way we are hoping that the sand will wash into the scarified areas and cores.
We are confident that the fairways will be better than ever in the not too distant future, but please remember that golf course management is a year-long project and a number of renovation projects must happen in Spring, unfortunately at the same time as our Open, but necessary for the long term health and presentation of the course.