As winter approaches and golf course traffic diminishes, the greens staff focus returns to getting the course back into shape for the next season. In addition, we are able to recommence our construction and renovation in terms of our 5 Year Masterplan.
By the end of April our rainfall was in line with the annual mean for Knysna which leads to optimism for the rest of the year. However, we will proceed with caution in embarking on projects that require additional water as that which we have available is earmarked for greens and tees. Total rainfall to end April was in the region of 210mm.
The greens have largely recovered from the summer stress and are running at a stimp reading of about 9.5 which is our target. There will be regular vertidraining and dusting to maintain consistent pace and true surfaces.
Tees have also suffered and are being topdressed sparingly to restore levels.
The bare patches on holes 3 and 11 have taken longer than anticipated to recover and Tienie will be experimentally seeding the areas with a grass to attempt to provide some cover. We have had many suggestions in this regard which are appreciated, however, simply transplanting or replacing salt tolerant grass with kikuyu will not work without irrigation. Unfortunately, we do not have adequate water to irrigate the fairways and our priorities remain the greens and tees.
Apart from the new bunkers, we intend to systematically rebuild all the bunkers on the course in line with the proposals in the 5 Year Plan. Over time the bunkers have “shrunk”, lips on all side have become raised due to play and wind action and our objective is to return the bunkers to their original size, to modify some for visibility and to achieve consistency. We have started the programme on hole 12 (ease of access to materials) and have renewed the base, installed new drainage, raised the floor and modified the mounds. The small bunker, which was adjacent to the original green, has been replaced with a small mound in line with the architect’s vision.
We are not satisfied with the quality of the sand that is available in the Knysna area as the clay content is very high. We have acquired sand from the new Kleinkrantz quarry , near Wilderness, which has low clay and this will be used in the bunkers that are being rebuilt on the 12th hole. While the colour is darker than usual playability is our main concern. Should this prove to be acceptable all refurbished bunkers will be filled with the same sand.
The brick cart paths are uneven, hazardous to pedestrians in some places and almost impossible to maintain without a major investment. We intend to replace them with compacted crusher stone which will provide a low maintenance, cart and pedestrian friendly, smooth surface.
We have reinforced all bridges to prevent loosening of fasteners due to tidal and rainwater action. We will be replacing high traffic wooden bridges with more permanent structures to reduce the risk of accidents. All players are requested to exercise caution when crossing bridges to prevent accidents.
In an ideal world we would be able to complete all work in one fell swoop. However, we are bound by financial and manpower constraints and we ask members to exercise patience with all course workers and, also, with the committee.
For the Greens Committee