The Aussie summer of golf got back underway last week with the hosting of the 2015 Isuzu Queensland Open at Brookwater Golf & Country Club just south of Brisbane. It was the third consecutive year that the Greg Norman-designed course has hosted the Open, but it was the first for superintendent Rob Weiks (pictured) who started there in April after returning to his native Queensland after many years working overseas.
Since arriving at Brookwater, where he served a year at in 1997 prior to heading over to the Middle East, Weiks has had the focus of the Open which was reinstated to the PGA Tour of Australasia circuit back in 2013 after a six year hiatus. Weiks kindly put together the following comprehensive account of his preparations in the lead-up to and during the 2015 Open and also some of the challenges he and his crew faced.
"Leading into the tournament greens were groomed weekly with a vibratory roller used three times a week. Four weeks prior the greens were star tined to 90mm depth at 50mm spacings and topdressed. Fertility included basic elementals – i.e.: KNO3, FeS04, MnS04 etc – and weekly foliar N 0.22 to 0.30 of a gram actual N per m2 and K .50 to .60 of an actual gram per m2 with bimonthly soil application of wetting agent (Rely II) and liquid humic/fulvic acid/liquid vermicast (Nutritech Black Gold). Fairways/greens surrounds and tees were given weekly foliars – N 0.25 to 0.40 of a gram actual N per m2 and K .50 to .80 of an actual gram per m2. Bunker depths were set and some cosmetic work was carried out to ensure uniformity, while there was the constant blowing to keep the course free of leaves and spot spraying of weeds
The week of the tournament saw our crew work split shifts. The afternoon shift ran from 3.30pm-7.30pm which saw us blow the course, set up the course, rake bunkers and double check everything for the morning preparations. The morning shift ran from 2.45am-6.45am and included a full cut and roll, course checks and then wash-down and preparations for the next day. HOCs and FOCs were:
The weather was on our side with mostly clear sunny days leading in and during the tournament except for 2mm rain on the Friday night of the tournament. Saturday and Sunday were overcast. During the tournament daytime temps were in the low 20’s and night times were below 10. We had frosts leading into the tournament including the week before. Green soil temperatures were averaging 8.9oC the week before but rose slightly the week of to 12.7oC.
In regards to irrigation, we spot watered heads in ‘hot spots’ and also to control frost. Greens were only hand watered except for the bimonthly soil application water-in (3 mins). Compel wetting agent tabs were used to successfully combat dry patch on greens. We haven’t run an irrigation cycle on greens for four months and we maintained around 30 per cent moisture levels throughout by moisture mapping daily with moisture probes supplied by STRI. After adding some fresh sand to the bunkers we were very aware of the sand profile becoming too dry and therefore to avoid any plugging issues we hand watered with Compel tabs to ensure consistency and uniformity throughout.
Biggest challenges for the tournament included maintaining the course during the low temperatures leading in with a busy corporate golf season (mostly Ambrose events) which meant that divot patterns/traffic wear created issues on fairways, tees, greens surrounds and in the rough. Frosts were consistent and frequent enough to leave the CT2 couch damaged. Keeping the course free of leaves through some windy afternoons/early evenings was also a headache. While I would have liked a warmer winter to assist the turf, overall the Open was a pretty successful event with Victorian David Bransdon defeating Rohan Blizard on the third playoff hole.
I would like to give special thanks to the following people for their assistance during the Open: Michael DeLuca (STRI) who came three weeks before the event to collect objective data for trueness, smoothness, surface firmness, moisture and green speed. He also helped out with tournament preparations and was put on our fariway team for all four days; Mick McMahon, Scott McKay and Tony Braga from Simplot for supplying the staff with a gastronomical smorgasbord on the Thursday, Friday and Sunday of the event and Mark Ecott (Turfcare Solutions) for showing off his BBQ skills on the Saturday; Toro for assisting us with our triplex mowers – this made our job easier and more efficient – and to Dean Scullion (Equipment Solutions) for supplying us with our vibratory rollers. If you haven’t used them before I strongly suggest you do. The PGA of Australia, Andrew Langford-Jones and his team were a pleasure to work with as was Luke Bates and the Queensland Golf Union team. And finally to my maintenance team who showed an increase in maturity, responsibility and ownership of not only their specific roles but of the entire facility and also showed a new level of drive and commitment."
... the following AGCSA and state superintendent association members who are holding major events in the coming week:
If you have a major event coming up at your club and would like it mentioned in The Cut, or have recently held a major tournament, then please email details and photos to AGCSA editor Brett Robinson
The monthly and seasonal climate outlooks for September to November 2015 are now available on the Bureau of Meteorology’s website. Key points from the outlooks include:
Click here to view the full temperature and rainfall outlooks for this period or watch the video.
Following a long review period, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has made a decision relating to the use of products containing fenamiphos. This decision was made public on Tuesday 28 July, 2015. As a result of the review, new restrictions and cancellations are now in effect for existing and new products containing fenamiphos. There are currently quite a number of products in the Australian market containing fenamiphos used in both turf and agriculture.
Under all revisions and cancellations to registered products such as this there is usually a phase out period. Should you have this product in stock for future use it is recommended that you contact the APVMA or check the APVMA website to ensure you comply with any new restrictions of use. It should be noted that some changes to labelling may also be in effect. The information associated with this review can be found on page 13 of the APVMA Gazette dated Tuesday, 28 July 2015 (click here to view).
Melbourne’s Kew Golf Club this week announced the appointment of AGCSA member Cameron Hall as its new course superintendent. Hall (pictured), who will start his new role on Monday 28 September, replaces Adam Robertson who resigned from the club in July after nearly 20 years in charge.
Hall, who has had previous stints at The London Club, UK and Royal Melbourne Golf Club, makes the move to Kew after spending the past two years as superintendent at Northern Golf Club in Melbourne’s north. The AGCSA wishes Cameron all the best in his new role.
In this edition we look back at the TGCSA/STA two-day conference held at Barnbougle Lost Farm, while Brookwater Golf & Country Club superintendent Rob Weiks gives The Cut an inside look at his preparations for last week’s 2015 Isuzu Queensland Open won by Victorian David Bransdon in a three-hole playoff. Enjoy the read...
Royal Melbourne superintendent Richard Forsyth and Etihad Stadium arena manager Gavin Darby were among the keynote speakers at last week’s TGCSA/STA co-sanctioned Toro Tasmanian Sports Turf Conference and Trade Show held at Barnbougle Lost Farm.
Held on the 18 and 19 August, the opening day saw a nine-hole stableford event on the front nine at Lost Farm. After a word from TGCSA platinum sponsor, Toro Australia and Pellows Saws and Mowers, 120 attendees packed into the converted Lost Farm restaurant to listen to Richard Forsyth present on managing the East and West courses at Royal Melbourne including preparations for the many tournaments the famed sandbelt facility hosts.
The trade show was held in a large marquee on the practice area at Lost Farm with delegates enjoying a terrific atmosphere throughout the lunch break followed by a presentation to golf winner Brad Marsh who beat Brendon Rose on a countback. During the afternoon delegates enjoyed presentations from Gavin Darby who discussed maintenance practices at the Melbourne sporting arena, while Simon Muller reprised his recent 31st Australian Turfgrass Conference presentation which looked at the development of the new Cape Wickham course on King Island.
Nigel Baker and Ben Garrett from The Baker Group put together a presentation on the recent rebuild of Invermay Park in Launceston, before golf course architect Richard Chamberlain gave a talk on golf course design and master planning. Following happy hour in the trade show, delegates and sponsors enjoyed dinner with Barnbougle owner Richard Sattler’s “unplugged” version of 10 years of links golf in Tasmania entertaining everyone.
Day two of the conference kicked off with machinery demonstrations followed by presentations to Jason Whelan (Barnbougle Lost Farm) and Grant Woolley (Aurora Stadium) who were the respective TGCSA and STA Graduate of the Year recipients. Whelan went on to give an insight into the presentation he produced for the national conference before boss and host superintendent Phil Hill gave a presentation on the construction of the Barnbougle’s new polo field.
A sports turf forum that included Hill, Darby, Aurora Stadium curator Bryan Dunn and Blundstone Arena curator Marcus Pamplin finished off the education component before Hill wrapped up the conference with a turf tour. The TGCSA and STA wish to thank all those who attended and to the major partners for their support.