May 2012 was a month of two halves very wet the first half and lovely and warm the second half, perfect growing conditions which has served the course well. It seems since the day the water authorities announced the hose pipe ban the heavens opened. Caution will still be taken with the supply to ensure we have plenty for the entire season. The abundance of good growing weather has meant the cutting machinery has been working flat out, inevitably the rough mower decided to break down on several occasions but fortunately we managed to obtain a variety of demonstration machines to give us cover.
Due to the wet start to the month this did hamper the application of products scheduled for applying as we unable to travel across the greens with the sprayer but we will catch up through out the summer. Fortunately the drier conditions arrived in time to avoid having to apply any fungicides which was looking possible. An application of a Bio-stimulant was applied later in the month which included silicon which helps to stiffen and stand the annual meadow grass enabling a cleaner cut to remove the seed heads. Operations on the greens intensified throughout May with Grooming, Scarifying and Rolling being carried out.
Monthly treatments of wetting agents applied to the greens reduce the affects of dry patch. The wetting agent soaks the profile of the soil, breaking down the surface tension which causes water to run off to the lowest point. The Fertiliser programme for the Galley hill course has been programmed to produce as little growth as possible for the major tournaments such as the Captains weekend and Club Championship and to increase greens speed and provide the best surface possible weather dependant. A monthly application of a growth regulator is applied to increase shoot density, restrict vertical growth increasing the speed of the ball on the surface.
The temporary greens have been grown out; no temporary greens will remain ground under repair to allow the course to be played as normal.
Tees and Fairways are at present cut twice a week with the semi-roughs being cut early in the week to allow definition between the semi and fairway by the weekends.
Rabbits populations have been reduced but will always be an on going problem. An application of a product aimed to discourage rabbits from grazing has been applied to selected areas.
Unfortunately vandalism is a very common occurrence at South Beds with course furniture going walk about, much of which is eventually retrieved but I would estimate in one year on average we would lose twenty flags, fifteen bunker rakes and thirty plus tee markers. History shows May and June are the worst months usually coinciding with the school leavers celebrating, the local police have been informed and have said that they will patrol when possible.
Tom Hooper - Course Manager