Crowborough Beacon Golf Club

Course Manager's Summer Update and August Maintenance Week Plans

I am sorry not to have updated you for a while, but the year seems to have got away from me with the usual busy early Summer rush. I will try and summarise where we are at and what we will be doing in August during the maintenance week.

The team and I have been very pleased by the positive comments from the members and in particular we are delighted with the sense of pride that seems to be flowing around the club. We had a tough year last year with a lot of challenges. The one challenge that is out of our control is the weather which is being much kinder this year. The problems we can control are being controlled this year, there is an emergency release again for Acelepryn which controls the leather jackets and we have managed to time our application well to get a good level of control. We have invested in a new and improved pump for the irrigation system which has allowed us to water whenever required. Thirdly, the dysfunctional rootzone that the greens sit on is starting to become more functional with regular applications of wetting agents that improve water efficiency and penetration, especially in the severely hydrophobic areas of the greens that have developed over the past few years when wetting agents were not applied regularly. We are pleased with the progress we have made this year, but we are just at the beginning of creating good all year-round putting surfaces.

I think the renovation practices that were completed last Autumn and twice this Spring are also having a tremendously positive impact on the improvement of the greens. We have our next maintenance week booked in for the week beginning Monday 5th August and will be closing the course on Tuesday 6th August due to machinery logistics. We appreciate your understanding whilst the course is closed for the day; the whole process takes 10-12 hours and the greens are in various stages of treatment which does make them fairly impossible to play on, in addition, allowing play to continue would not only cause a health and safety issue, but it would also extend the working time to 16-18 hours.

Please note that due to this closure, the Ladies Roll-Up and the SAGAs have both been moved to Monday 5th August.

The plan is to deep vertidrain the greens to a depth of 150mm using 25mm wide tines. This will be followed by an 8mm tine over the top to reduce the impact of the larger diameter tines and this will then be followed with 30-35 tons of sand topdressing. We will then overseed the greens and approaches with 40kg of bentgrass seed and then go over everything with a good brushing and a roll. We will start cutting again every two days after the works as well as rolling daily and hopefully after 7-10 days the greens should be back to normal. The benefits of this process are enormous and give the greens a chance to breath as well as improving the movement of water downwards. The application of sand topdressing smooths the surface and gradually builds up the sand profile which will in the long term improve the drainage of the greens and lengthen the playing season. If we combine the above practices with a rolling program of Shelton drainage in the late autumn, I believe we have the blueprint for achieving some of the best greens in Sussex.

Your patience and support in these processes is hugely appreciated and hopefully you will continue to see improvements year on year.

Stuart Cooper
Golf Course Manager

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