Friday 26th November 2021:
The contractors have made good ground up to now, with the majority of the new mains pipe and cabling having been installed. In the next week or so, work will start around the tees and the greens and this will mean hole closures will need to come into effect to enable the work to take place. Please keep an eye out for the signs by the putting green or on the tee of the hole being worked on to advise you which hole is out of play.
While the irrigation work has been going on, Matt and his team have continued to clear leaves and maintain the course as the winter sets in. For those of you who may have seen sand on some of the fairways, this is being done to help address the warm cast issue that has resulted from the various worm control chemicals being taken off the market. Over a number of years of top dressing, we are hoping to make the profile of the fairways sandier, which should make the worm casts more crumbly and less muddy, meaning that we can brush them away without smearing.
Friday 22nd October 2021:
The contractors broke ground this week and started laying new mains pipework along the 5th, 7th and 8th fairways.
Once all the new pipework has been installed, new electrical cable will be laid alongside all the existing pipework as part of the new control system.
As some of our bunkers have struggled to deal with the heavy rain seen in recent weeks, the team have started addressing them. The four main problem bunkers were the ones in front of the 3rd green, to the right of the 6th green, to the left of the 12th green and in front of the 16th green. The bunkers on the 6th and the 16th have already been dug out and cleared, with the 3rd and the 12th being looked at in the coming weeks. The pictures below show the work undertaken on the 16th bunker.
Thursday 9th September 2021:
As it is Course Renovation week we thought members might like some further information on the work that we have undertaken. The aerating of greens (removing cores from the playing surface) is vitally important to aerate the soil, remove thatch (dead organic matter), increase water penetration and improve the soil structure.
Stage 1: The greens were hollow tinned using an 8.1mm hollow tine to a depth of 65mm with a 50mm spacing.
Stage 2: The cores are then pushed off the greens.
Stage 3: Any remaining debris is then blown off the surface.
Stage 4: The cores are collected and removed.
Stage 5: The greens are then topdressed with sand. 20 tonne of sand was used on Monday & Tuesday and further applications will be needed to completely fill the holes that were created.
Stage 6: Once the sand is dry it is dragged and brushed down the holes as best as possible.
Stage 7: The final process is to roll the greens to settle down the surface.
In between the additonal applications of sand, the greens will also be overseeded using a 100% Bent mix seed at 5g/m2. The whole process will take a couple of weeks but the playing surface will be usable within a couple of days.
Friday 27th August 2021:
Due to the perfect growing conditions we have seen over the last few weeks, Matt and the team have spent most of their time cutting grass! Path edges have also been looked at and the hand watering of tee boxes has become more of a priority due to the recent drier weather. The next major work to be undertaken is the aeration of the greens, which will take place during the course renovation week which starts on Monday 6th September.
Monday 26th July 2021:
The hot weather that we have seen over the last few weeks has eased slightly, but the course is showing some signs of wear and tear and therefore the team have been handwatering some of these areas to help maintain them. Last week also saw the return of rakes in bunker and ball washers back on the course, all of which have been well received. As we head into the latter part of the season, any assistance members can provide by avoiding the high wear areas on the course would be most appreciated.
Friday 7th July 2021:
Tree surgeons were on site yesterday to reduce the canopy of the damaged Oak by the 17th green. Pictures of the work that was carried out can be seen below:
Wednesday 23rd June 2021:
The torrential rainfall that fell at the end of last week was incredible, with just under 4 inches falling in a very short sapce of time. Not only did this cause the River Hart to burst its banks and the ditches to overflow, but the Oak tree on the left hand side of the 17th green also lost a large limb. As soon as the water levels of the River Hart droped, the drainage kicked in and the course cleared very quickly. Our thanks to Matt and his team for getting the course up and running again so quickly.
The ditch running infront of the 11th & 12th holes.
The approach to the 12th.
The Oak tree to the left of the 17th green.
Friday 11th June 2021:
The warmer weather we have experienced over the last 3 weeks has had a significant effect on growth and the course is now seeing the benefits of all the reseeding and wetting agent work that was undertaken last autumn / winter. As things have now 'kicked on', most of the greenkeepers' time is spent cutting and therefore project work will stop for the time being. We are also hand watering tees, some of the weaker approaches and dry spots on greens to help maintain these areas and prevent drying out where possible. Greens are being top-dressed either every week or every other week; to help reduce the thatch, aid drainage and provide a truer putting surface. We will continue to leave ropes and posts out around some greens and approaches to protect the recently recovered surfaces and manage the high traffic areas, so we greatly appreciate your assistance with this.
Friday 14th May 2021:
Now that the grass is beginning to grow, the team are cutting more regularly to keep things looking tidy. The greens have been fed and further wetting agent has been applied to help the much needed rain penetrate down further into the soil. The plantations on the 4th and 16th holes have been strimmed, as have the trees to the left of the 13th tee. With the warmer, wetter weather likely to continue for the next couple of weeks, we expect growth to really establish during this time and therefore the cutting of the greens, fairways and rough will increase.
Friday 23rd April 2021:
The warmer weather that we have been seeing during the day has unfortunately no been hanging around overnight, with frosts being seen in the mornings. This means that there hasn’t been any real growth yet as ground temperatures are still too low. The growing season at HWGC usually starts in May, so we are expecting to see things start to happen in the next few weeks. The scrub to the right-hand side of the 16th fairway, after the 2nd ditch, has now been cleared and will be seeded with a fescue ryegrass mix, with it being left as 8” rough once it has established. You may also have seen some new wooden bins out on the course this week, replacing the plastic ones that have been out there for almost 20 years. We fee the new bins are a vast improvement, both aesthetically and in quality, so we hope you like them.
Friday 9th April 2021:
The slightly colder weather seen over the last 2 weeks hasn't really helped with growth, but things are definitely progressing and we will hopefully see things kick on when the warmer weather returns. Pitch marks are still being left unrepaired and this will damage and scar the surface of the greens. Matt and his team would greatly appreciate it if all members could check for pitch marks when they walk onto every green and repair any they find to help them maintain the best surface possible.
Friday 19th March 2021:
The Greens Committee met on Wednesday morning to walk the course and check on how it is progressing. We are very pleased with how the fairways have recovered and the repairs made to the bunker edges have bedded in well. There are still some areas that will require further attention over the next month or so, but Matt and his team will address these in due course. The greens are in pretty good condition for the time of year, but have been left mottled and scarred by the disease we experienced earlier this year due to the mild, damp conditions. This will soon grow out when the warmer weather returns and the greens kick on, but, as that is still a few weeks away, it will be a little while longer before they are looking their best.
Friday 5th March 2021:
The improved weather has enabled the greenkeepers to make good progress on the course. Fairways and tees have been cut, further reseeding has been undertaken, fairways have been verti-drained and the greens have been fed. The forecast over the next few weeks is not looking too bad so, hopefully, we will have a good run in before you return.
Friday 26th February 2021:
The much improved weather seen in the last week or so has meant the greenkeepers have finally been able to get out onto the course. The greens have been aerated and treated for disease, some tees and fairways have been verti-drained and further tidying work has been undertaken. If the weather stays favourable over the next 4 weeks, the team will be able to get a lot of work done in preparation for your return. Matt continues to improve day by day and is looking forward to getting back to work as soon as possible, which will hopefully be before the end of March.
Friday 19th February 2021:
The mild and wet conditions, combined with our inability to take machinery out, has seen some disease develop and we will be reinstating our fungicide programme as soon as ground conditions allow. When the weather improves, we will look to aerate greens and undertake further reseeding on the areas that require further attention. In the meantime, the team is continuing to tidy and clear the areas of the course they can reach.
Friday 5th February 2021:
The rather miserable weather we experienced last month has unfortunately carried over into February and is restricting what the greenkeepers can do. January saw over 100 mm of rainfall and therefore taking machinery onto the course is not a good idea. Such wet, mild conditions are also a perfect recipe for disease to develop and we will therefore be spraying greens as soon as conditions improve and we can get equipment out there. Even though the work we can undertake is limited at the moment, the team has been very busy clearing scrub and tidying the areas they can reach, specifically the area between the 9th green and 10th tee. As soon as the weather improves, the greenkeepers will resume their project work and look to aerate the greens and fairways.
Friday 29th January 2021:
The snow that fell last Sunday and the heavy rain that followed has not provided ideal conditions for our greenkeepers. Nevertheless, they have continued to do what they can this week; with tree pruning, scrub clearing and leaf collecting being the main activities. As soon as conditions allow, the team will be hollowing tining the greens, repairing more bunker edges and aerating fairways, as well as over-seeding any areas that require further attention.
Friday 22nd January 2021:
The wet and stormy weather has limited what the greenkeepers can do this week, however they are continuing to clear scrub and tidy leaves until conditions improve and they can continue with the winter project work.
Friday 15th January 2021:
The first 2 weeks of the new year has mostly been taken up by leaf clearing, the lifting of tree canopies and general tidying. The drier weather we saw last week also allowed us to get out to cut fairways, collars and approaches, as well as slit greens. Further bunker work is also being planned and, weather permitting, we may aerate the greens.
Monday 21st December 2020:
The persistent rain seen over the last 8 days has resulted in waterlogged conditions and made the course unplayable. Other Clubs in the area, such as Army, East Berks and Sand Martins have also had to close due to the rain and, unfortunately, the forecast is still showing more to come. We will need a couple of completely dry days before any sort of course will be able to open, so let’s hope the weather improves soon.
Thursday 12th December 2020:
All the bunkers edges that had been stripped back and prepared during the lockdown period have now been turfed. Leaf clearing is continuing on a daily basis and the pruning and lifting of tree canopies will continue over the winter period. The area to the right of the 2nd green has been heavily aerated and we have stripped back and returfed the area around the oak tree. We are trying to manage the worm cast situation as best we can but due to there being very few products on the market, and as the products have limited effectiveness, it is proving difficult. Moving forward, we are looking at a programme of dressing the fairways with sand, over a number of years, to help address this issue, but it wont be a quick fix.
Tuesday 1st December 2020:
The course reopens tomorrow and the renovation work that has been undertaken is recovering well. Although the recovery to the fairways and surrounds is very encouraging, these areas need time to establish themselves before they will be strong enough to withstand normal usage. For this reason, we are asking all those who can carry to do so and making trolley use for those with medical exemptions only. Although this may not be a popular decision for some, our aim is to ensure that the course can recover fully and be in a good condition next spring, in readiness for the 2021 season. We will be reviewing the situation regularly as the winter progresses.
Thursday 19th November 2020:
We have continued to verti-drain the fairways to further improve drainage and aeration. The pruning and raising of trees is continuing and we have now stripped and prepared 11 bunker edges for turfing. We have also gravel banded some areas on the 16th, after the 3rd ditch, to complement the drainage work that was undertaken a few weeks ago. Leaf collection will be an ongoing project for the forseeable future!
Thursday 12th November 2020:
Since lockdown, the team has been working hard on the course. All areas of the course have been verti-drained and we will now start a 2nd bout to maximise aeration and water penetration.
We have further overseeded the tees and the heavily worn fairways while the mild growing conditions remain with us.
Work has now begun to address the worn bunker edges, with the areas being cut away and new turf being laid. These areas will be taken out of play until next season to allow them to establish.
Now that the seeding has been completed, the team will move onto pruning and lifting some of the trees on the course.
Friday 30th October 2020:
Now that further overseeding has been undertaken, the team have been focusing on the thankless task of collecting leaves and tidying up the course. Due to the extensive overseeding and aeration work that has been done this month, we will be protecting the course while it remains wet and asking you to carry when necessary, so please check the website before coming down to play over the winter months.
Tuesday 20th October 2020:
The greens were sprayed today to minimise disease while the conditions remain mild and damp. With the rain forecast for tomorrow, we will undertake a 2nd application of wetting agent on the 1st, 2nd, 8th, 10th 13th 15th and 16th to help the water penetrate into the soil. Further overseeding is then planned for later in the week, specifically targeting some of the fairways, approaches, surrounds and tees. We are aware that there are two bunkers, one on the 6th and one on the 16th, which are not drainaing very well and these will be looked at in due course.
Friday 16th October 2020:
We continued vertidrainaing the fairways this week, but have now moved onto leaf clearing to tidy up the course.
We have also fitted some shoe brushes to the top of the grills by the shoe cleaner, so please let us know how you get on with them.
Tuesday 13th October 2020:
The Vertidrain is now in operation on the fairways to aerate the surfaces and improve drainage. The ditches are also being cleared, with the main ditch crossing the 13th and 16th being addressed today.
Friday 9th October 2020:
The drainage work on the 16th went well and is now complete. The 8th fairway and approach have been hollow tined, overseeded and dressed. Next week we intend to begin a programme of solid tining and overseeding to address the other worn areas of the course.
Tuesday 6th October 2020:
The significant amount of rain that fell over the weekend resulted in the River Hart encroaching onto the course and restricting play on the 5th, 6th and 16th. A 12 hole course is currently in operation and we will reopen the full course when water levels recede. This week we will be solid tining the greens before starting to vertidrain the fairways to improve water penetration. Once this has been done, reseeding and further wetting agent applications will be undertaken. The drainage work on 16 is going well, with the main drain line being installed yesterday and the lateral lines being installed over the next couple of days.
Friday 2nd October 2020:
The rain that came in today has allowed us to make the first application of wetting agent to the fairways to encourage the peneration and absorption of water into the soil. This, combined with aeration and reseeding, should help the fairways recover from this summer's extreme weather.
Thursday 1st October 2020:
Winter Rules and preferred lies are now in operation.
Wednesday 30th September 2020:
The greens were overseeded on Monday and fed today to aid recovery after the aeration work earlier in the month. The forcasted rain over the next few days should also help the course kick on before the growing season ends.
Friday 25th September 2020:
The current ditch clearing work has been completed and we will be overseeding the greens on Monday. The week commencing Monday 5th October has been pencilled in for the drainage work on 16.
Monday 21st September 2020:
A further light dressing was applied to the greens today and we will water this in tonight to gauge how they are settling after renovation week. We are continuing to hand water tees due to the arid conditions and will keep doing so this until the weather changes. The ditches on the 6th & 15th were cleared today and the team will be moving onto the ditches around the 14th tomorrow.
Thursday 17th September 2020:
The greens are recovering well after renovation week but we are not forcing growth through addtional feeding to reduce the risk of issues with disease later on in the autumn / winter. We are planning to reseed the greens in the coming weeks and will continue to hand water the tees while the warm, dry weather stays with us. The drainage work on 16 will hopefully commence soon and we will let you know a soon as a date is confirmed.