Course Managers most frequently asked questions & answers. 21/04/2015

News from course Manager, Jason Podris                                                                                                                                    

Throughout the year I am asked many questions about the maintenance programmes on the golf course. Here are the most popular FAQ’s with answers.

If you cannot find the answer to your particular question below, please contact me on the course or by email:




Q. Is it possible to lower the height of cut on the greens to increase the speed?


A. Yes, it is. However it does not last very long, when too much leaf is removed the plant can no longer produce enough food to live. Mowing at lower height for any length of time (even just a few days) creates excessive stress and the grass is more susceptible to die. The recognised way to increase green speed is to increase the height of cut to encourage the finer grass species and to regularly roll the greens. 

Q. How often are the greens rolled?



A. During the golfing season the greens are rolled 2-3 times during the week (Wednesday being one of the days) and on Saturday.  In the winter months the greens are rolled as needed or to alleviate heaving from frost.


Q. How often are the greens cut and at what height? 

A. In the main growing season from May until the end of September they are cut every day unless weather conditions dictate otherwise. For the rest of the year greens are cut when necessary. The height of cut year round is 4mm.

Q. How often are the holes changed?

 A. The holes are changed at least four times a week, more often if there is a competition.




Q. Who decides where the tee markers are positioned?

A. As with the pins the Course Manager and club official choose the positions for major competitions, for everyday play a qualified greenkeeper will choose.




Q. What height is the semi-rough and rough cut? 

A. The semi rough is a 12ft band around each fairway and green cut at ¾ inches , the rough is cut at 1 ½ inches.

Q. Is the rough here, higher than other golf clubs?

A. No, in comparison to Hilton Templepatrick (2 ¼ inches), Malone and Balmoral (2 inches), and Shandon Park (1 ¾ inches).



Q. Can more sand be added to the bunkers?

A. The simple answer is yes.  However, the bunkers are in need of a remodel with drainage being installed and contours added to the bunker banks to divert rain water from entering and washing down the sides.  When the sand is washed of the bunker faces the clay under the sand is also washed a way thus mixing with the sand.  This causes the sand to lose it’s draining ability as well as tarnishes the light tan colour of the sand.  Adding more sand to the bunkers in their current state would be a waste of money.  The green department staff tries to keep the existing bunker material to a uniform depth to provide consistent playing conditions in all the bunkers.


Q. Why do you top dress, how often, and what does it consist of?

A. Top dressing is a way of smoothing the surface, this helps to make the greens true. Over a period of time it helps improve the quality of the root zone. We aim to topdress the greens 3 times per year. There are many types of top dressing and different ones will suit different areas of the course depending on their construction. The top dressing used here consists of 100% sand.

Q. Will the weather conditions make a difference?

A. The best weather is dry and windy as this helps when brushing it into the surface, it can be done when wet but it can make the topdressing stick to the machines and it will take longer to do.



Q. How often do you aerify the greens and why is it necessary?

A. The goal is to aerify 4 times per year using different methods to work on different areas of the rootzone. The aerification equipment that has been used over the past three years is the hollow tining, Shockwave, Vertidrain and Drill & Fill and the hollow tining.

The hollow tining process only affects the top 4 inches of the rootzone.  The Vertidrain Shockwave and Drill & Fill procedures focus on the bottom layer of the rootzone.

The Shockwave slices down 8 inches and shifts the rootzone side to side.  The Vertidrain makes 10 inch deep holes as well as lifting the whole surface shattering the soil underneath.  We also use this machine in the fairways, approaches and select areas of the rough.

The Drill & Fill drills into the green’ rootzones at a depth of 10 inches with one inch drill bits, removing some of the poor draining heavy soils.  The machine will then fill the open hole with dried sand.  

The greens are sanded, brushed and rolled following aerification.

This combination of using different aerifying equipment has firmed up the putting surface by opening up channels for the rain water to travel down away from the top of the of the rootzone and down deeper into the rootzone.






Q. Why is it that the course is closed in frosty conditions?


A. Playing on a frosty surface can potentially damage the grasses. As the frost starts to thaw from the top the underneath remains frozen. Feet walking over the surface under these conditions will cause the roots to be sheared off causing severe damage. What also has to be remembered is the fact that not all of the course will thaw out at the same rate. Shaded places will take a lot longer.





Q. What is Fusarium?


A. Fusarium patch is a disease which is becoming very widespread on sports turf particularly during the winter months. Its symptoms can be seen on fine turf areas, such as bowling and golf greens. The disease appears as small orange/brown colour circular dead patches/spots. The disease is always present in the soil and will attack the sward overnight if the conditions are right. Its spores are spread by wind, water and traffic. Whilst the grass is in its dormant state the only control is to remove the dew and spray with a contact fungicide.



Q. Why do we see the crows/magpies pecking areas on the course? 


A. They are looking for the eggs/grubs of the Crane fly (Daddy Longlegs). The grubs are also damaging to the turf as they will feed on the roots of the grass.  This would only be noticed come the spring when the grass struggles to grow, and brown patches appear. The best thing to do is when the birds start to peck in areas, is apply an insecticide.







Q. How much maintenance does the course machinery require?


A. Modern turf maintenance machinery has become very sophisticated with on board computers and monitoring systems thus routine servicing continues throughout the season.  

During the winter each machine has to undergo a complete overhaul. All machinery is stripped to their component parts and checked for wear and tear. Cutting edges are reground accurately, parts are painted and worn items replaced. All fluids are checked and the machine is then reassembled.







Q. What do you do in the frost and snow?


A. We spend a lot of time progressing through our woodland management program, as well as painting all the course furniture. We also split the wood for log fires and woodchip branches to make mulch for the flower beds around the golf course and clubhouse area.


Q. Why do trees need to be removed?


A. There are a number of reasons why trees need to be removed. The first is to remove dead or diseased trees for safety to the golfer and to prevent the spread of disease. Second, trees prohibit sunlight and air movement for optimum turf growing conditions.  The turf in these areas is thin and weak.  With trees pruned and removed the turf will improve.



Q. How often do you water the course?


A. The greens are only done when needed and then only small amounts (1-2mm), the high spots on greens that are prone to drying out are done more often.



Many thanks to Jason for taking the time to answer many of the members questions, and if you have a question that isn't above you can always email him


See you on the fairways!