Thursday, 16 June 2011

STRI inspection

The STRI carried out their regular inspection of the course on Wednesday. An agronomist arrived with a load of equipment to test the greens, to discuss the regular maintenance programme and to inspect the course, particularly the rough, fairways and bunkers and for the first time I sat in and indeed helped operate the stimpmeter to measure green speeds (I had expected something pretty sophisticated from the name, but its just a metal bar down which you roll a golf ball a few times in a few places, and average the distance it rolls).

This time he brought a new toy, a K-9 like instrument that accurately measures the smoothness of the greens. Of course, occasions like this usually involve a lot of people watching a few actually doing the work.

The 18th green came in for particular attention - after the readings were taken it was cut for a second time, readings taken, then given a treatment of vibrating rollers and re-read and then brushed and re-cut with readings taken. The second cut made little difference; the rollers made it smoother and faster; brushing and re-cutting made it slower.

The written report will give the details of the findings - in summary, the findings were that different greens were consistent and OK but the weather had prevented the density of the grass being as good as it should be at this time of year; the planned maintenance schedule is dealing with this and other issues (like thinning out the rough).

The exercise is useful, as much as for the continuity of the analysis as the day itself, but it was as good to hear a couple of visitors from Royal Birkdale (whose game we crossed a few times) say how much they enjoyed and liked the course.

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