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Reading The Green Part 1

Welcome to the first of many informative and open discussions on our golf course and all that is good about the maintenance process, which shall allow us to develop our course into one of the finest parkland courses in Ireland. The idea of a Blog came about over a number of meetings and discussions on how best to communicate our message on golf course maintenance, upcoming projects and additional information on all things golf. There are so many topics to discuss and over the coming weeks I will be updating you on our green and tee management, bunker programs, rough and native roughs, fairways and lake management, plus the many different species of flora and fauna.

We all have an opinion on what makes a great putting surface and surprisingly enough as your Golf Course Superintendent so do I. My belief is that a putting surface has to be fair to all levels of golfers. It is not about running our greens at the Masters speeds of 11 plus on the stimpmeter. Can you imagine having greens that are like polished metal. Try getting a putt on our first hole, most would probably 4 or 5 putt that one alone. So, it is with that in mind that we choose to keep our greens at a fair but good speed depending on the prevailing weather conditions and volume of golf on the day. Everyone has a guestimates as to what speed a green is running at but we should try to keep them firm and true. For enjoyment and to deliver a rewarding golfing experience its imperative that the greens have good pace coupled with a consistent true putting surface over the round.  We have a strong program to achieve these aims. They involve regular top-dressing, we like to go light and often with our sanding so we don’t interfere with the enjoyment of your golf. We maintain our greens height of cut to a level where we don’t induce stress to the grass plant which can effect your ball roll. The tighter the better is not always good as this may often lead to the ball bubbling or chatter as its is often referred to. Our greens roller is a favourite tool of mine, it allows us to reduce the stress of cutting our greens. However, the side effect is controlled speed and firmness and more importantly trueness. It irons out the creases if you will. Monitoring the moisture and the fertility needs are done on a daily basis to get the most out of our surfaces. We need to produce the best surfaces on the day for any member or guest. It is important to make all our golfers wanting more.

We have had some challenges with the 17th greenside drainage for a while so with this in mind we decided to take positive action. We called in a contractor to discuss the best course of action to address the challenges and have just completed the installation of a number of new piped drains. A new swale area was installed in front of the green to allow any surface water from the green to be directed into a gully. The green and approach surfaces shall be reshaped to give the complex greater definition and make the golfing corridor more appealing to our golfers.

I hope you found my first blog informative, I look forward to your feedback and if you wish to make any suggestions please do so. Till next time.

Yours in golf

Trevor Dargan
Golf Course Superintendent

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