Captains day

So a successful captains day from the ground staffs point of view and hopefully from golfs as well. Here without bursting too many bubbles I’m going to explain why this standard isn’t sustainable all year, but at least you know it’s achievable without the variables I’m about to explain.
This week was mainly a free calendar from other sports, we had a the cricket to cut and the bowling green to still maintain but no football. This is something that is going to change shortly with football season upon us and this quality of golf course is no longer achievable, but that doesn’t mean we won’t push for high standards it just means captains day was a peak.
My first arrangement was to ask Ben, our Business Manager, for a few extra hours and extra staff at the weekend, which he was happy with.
Achieving a quality course wasn’t easy, although most of the rain that was forecast stayed away, what did come and the dewy mornings made the cutting messy, especially in the semi rough. So my decision was simple, I had planned to re-turf a couple of bunker tops/banks, mainly left of 15th, but this was not going to happen now and the semi rough needed the amazone collector on to clear the balled up grass.
The first job was to speed those greens up steadily as the week went on. I can manage peak speeds of 10-11 feet for maybe 2 to 4 days max then I have to release the stress from the greens and drop back to maybe 9 feet which is still quick and very acceptable. Firstly the water meter that was purchased this year was a vital tool. I wanted to push the greens down around 22% water content and I achieved this by turning off the irrigation for a few days and watering the dry areas selectively by hand. This season I’ve been applying a plant growth regulator (PGR). This stops the grass growing upwards so you take less grass off, helps roots grow and  pre-stress conditions the plant. I was keen not to lower heights of cut at this time of year due to anthracnose disease risk, so I lowered the Nitrogen input to slow the grass down even more and rolled a few times in the week and both Friday and Saturday mornings to really speed them up.
Unfortunately all this stress that I put on the greens needs relieving, the first thing was to turn the irrigation back on, then it’s out with the sarell rollers, verticut and sand Monday morning. They will need some oxygen after all that rolling. I will also feed with a seaweed, fulvic acid and liquid aeration Tuesday to also help with the stress and next week apply some nitrogen to up growth to more acceptable level to keep the grass happy.

So to conclude we produced a quality of golf course that in my opinion we have never had in my 19 years at Phoenix (but I could be biased 😂), but this is not achievable every week with the staffing levels and other sports we have to maintain. But I’m still confident this team can produce as good a golf course consistently week in week out than we’ve seen in a few years. I’m also confident that when needed I can push those greens to a tournament standard in the peak of summer for the bigger events like captains day.


  1. An absolutely in depth and easy to understand explanation of where we got to for captains day and where we are going.The course was fantastic,a pleasure to play ,greens the best i have known, credit to you and your team and artisans.Need you to keep spoiling us keep up the great work


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