This update is made in particular, for our city based members who have not as yet had the opportunity of getting down to our wonderful Leongatha Course in recent months, due to the Covid lockdown.
Saturday 3rd October saw the opening of the re-developed 9th green for play. Whilst it blew a gale, a score of 45 points was able to be made, so the course is not playing too badly.
The surface of the 9th presents as quite firm and the young turf is still settling in and continues to thicken. Currently the green is cut at a height of 5 mm where as the other greens are cut at a height of 4 mm. The slope of the green from back to front, has been reduced and now has a more friendly fall of between 2 and 3 degrees across the whole surface. The playing area of this green is larger than the previous green and the back of the green has been re-shaped and has a more gentle run off. I suspect, even on the hottest, windiest days, you may have a better chance of chipping on from off the back, and your ball remaining on the green. The green is also recovering quickly from the heavy rains we have been receiving recently.
I played on Tuesday and really enjoyed my (two) putts on the new 9th. The friendly pin setting in the middle of the green wasn’t too challenging although I am sure it won’t take long before we are tested out with some selective pin placements.
The concensus so far from other players I have spoken to, including Maryanne, Deb and Anne, is “Good job” Dylan and Denis, a great improvement over the original green.
The opening of the green also coincides with the engagemnet of two new groundstaff with qualified green keeper Joel Kent (ex Settlers Run GC) starting last Monday and new apprentice, Ethan Lamens who has been doing 1 day a week work experience at LGC for the past year, now coming on board as a full time apprentice.
If you see the boys around (and can recognise them with their Covid masks on) please give them a warm welcome.
So for all those who haven’t played at LGC in recent months, the Course is only getting better and we can’t wait to have you all back on the tee.
The seeding of the 9th green and the turf nursery was undertaken today to cap off a busy 8 days for the Team. I asked you last update to think about how many kilograms of seeds would be needed to adequately cover the 9th green to produce a top class finish. A few responders guessed between 30 to 100 kilo’s but I am pleased to say the figure was actually closer to just 3 kilograms; with about 9,600,000 seeds per kilo, you can now better understand why we need just a few kilo’s of seed.
Dylan was also able to secure the same A4 strain of bentgrass mix as we have on the putting green, which eventually will give us a beautiful precinct with both surfaces complementing each other.
With 9.6 M seeds per kilo, the mixture is super fine and you could be excused for thinking it would be an excise in futility to sow the green on a day like today, with a blustery sou’wester blowing. Bring in the Hydroseeding specialist, Michael Riodon of Turf Renovations Australia, who has a solution too good to pass up.
Hydroseeding involves the preparation of a solution of measured water with recycled paper pulp, dye additive, A4 Bentgrass seed, starter fertilizer, fungicide, then stirred not shaken, then agitated, finally a paper mache like product was ready to apply by spraying onto the green, leaving a crusty surface of paper pulp which locks in the seed helping to protect it from the elements, whilst providing a nutritious base in which the seed can germinate and root.
The 9th green seeding was finished in a short time and now has a blue/grey tinge to the surface. Due to the tight fiscal situation and the Covid 19 impact, Dylan has needed to park this program for the foreseeable future. As a result, we still have a small supply of bentgrass turf in reserve, which was stripped off the 9th green, and laid out on the nursery. With a future need for bentgrass turf when we next continue our program to rid all greens of encroaching couch, it became imperative that some of the turf nursery be seeded with bentgrass, whilst the majority would be sown with fine fescue.
Today using a portable spreader, Denis spread granulated fertilizer across the whole of the nursery then marked off about 25% of the nursery for bentgrass seeding. Once that was done, Dylan seeded the 75% of the nursery with fescue seed using the portable spreader, applying about 40 litres of seed overall. This was then rolled with a bunker machine so that the knobby tyres would leave nice indents in the surface which the fescue mache product could adhere into.
The Contractor then sprayed 25% of the nursery with the bentgrass mache, before spraying the remaining 75% of the nursery with a further coating of fine fecue mache. It is hoped that the coming week will bring ideal conditions for both grasses to germinate.
Denis was telling me that he had cut just over 3 kilometres of fine fescue off the turf nursery in recent weeks for use in the couch eradication project. Today’s re-seeding of the turf nursery will ensure that a plentiful supply of fine fescue and bentgrass turf, will be available for the next phase of this project.
On another note which is of interest to all members, is the preparations being made by LGC, in anticipation for the restart of golf. As yet the course remains closed, and the Andrews Government prohibits the playing of golf, but we anticipate this situation will likely be reviewed, probably in line with the Premier’s next statement on the emergency lockdown conditions, expected about the 11th May,
The Greens Committee is working with the Match Committee on preparing for a likely restart, and in doing so are installing a poly- styrene collar on each pin which will allow the ball to enter and stop within the cup, but which will allow for retrieval of the ball by hand without a need to touch the flag stick. The styrene collar will be about 10 mm below the cup lip, giving a more realistic feel to the game and allowing you to finish off by putting out the hole.
Dylan and Denis have also started cutting a temporary green on the 9th fairway, in front of the new 9th green which has been roped off. Both these steps will enable the Club to open the time sheet contemporaneously with any forthcoming Government announcement.
In the meantime, isolate and stay safe. See you when next the Course is open.
Chair of the Greens Committee
As our members know, over the past 4 months Leongatha Golf Club, along with most South Gippsland Golf Clubs and some small businesses, have been at the mercy of an artful miscreant who had repeatedly broken into our clubs at night. The three burglaries on our Clubhouse caused lots of distress and unnecessary costs in repairing the extensive damage, usually to points of entry and our storeroom, where an old large safe sat as a temptation this offender could not pass up.
After the second break-in, the Board approved expenditure for a new security system to replace the existing Arlo brand wireless video system which the burglar had no trouble circumventing. The Club committed to a local company to instal an improved security system once their stock was available.
On Thursday the 26th March, the offender again broke into the Clubrooms for the third time. This was the week the Board closed the Course in order to be on the front foot against COVID-19. The Board was concentrating on the likely financial ramification to the Club, our likely future and the staff welfare, so the last thing we needed was another break-in. Despite our best efforts, the new security system had not been installed as materials had not arrived. Again the burglar/s efforts were focussed on getting into the main safe, again they failed. If only the offender/s knew we had nothing of value in the safe. To add insult to injury this time, the burglar/s stole our Arlo video security system, including two portable wifi cameras.
Each of these break-ins were reported to our local Police and duly processed by the Scenes of Crime officer, who seemed meticulous in her search for evidence. The offender/s were a headache for everyone in South Gippsland and we understood the Region Crime Squads within Gippsland, were working tirelessly within their limited resources, to put an end to the crime spree.
In golfing vernacular, if this was a matchplay event, the burglars were three holes up- so it was a stroke of good fortune, that our Club was able to chip in and help bring the crime spree to an end. How you may ask. It was indeed, a shot to remember.
On Friday the 3rd of April the Club received an email from the stolen Arlo Security system which read: “It looks like your Arlo 4XH5777___776 is running low on battery. You still have 15% of battery power left, but in order to maintain uninterrupted peace of mind, we recommend charging the device as soon as possible Thanks, The Arlo Team”. We checked the date to ensure it wasn’t the 1st of April. How could this email be generated? – the only answer was the offender, or a receiver of the stolen Arlo system, had actually set up the stolen Arlo system and turned it on. A stroke of exceptional good luck for us, perhaps.
Curiosity got the better of us at the Club and we logged into the Arlo App and to our surprise, found that there were a number of video files stored in the Arlo library, the most recent video having been taken on Friday the 3rd of April at 9.15am. That was only half an hour before we logged into the App. When we opened the video what do you think we saw? Click here to find out what we saw.
That’s correct, we were watching Victoria Police officers searching an address. We don’t know who they were or where they were but we knew someone who could find out, so Thommo (one a scratch golfer and the other a local acting Sergeant) soon alerted the Regional Crime Squad officers who were searching an address in Welshpool, of our video find. The officers returned to the room, and with some guidance from our Club, soon located the stolen Arlo cameras and video system, along with some other stolen items from LGC. A man from Welshpool was later charged at Wonthaggi Police station with various offences, and remanded in custody.
Well done to all of those Police Officers, including the Regional Crime Squads and Scene of Crimes Unit for their diligence in pursuit of these offenders.
That much maligned Arlo video security system came shining through for us in the end, and as the great Sgt Dudley Do-Right would utter, “All’s well that ends well”. As they say in pennant, no matter how many holes you are down, never give up. In this instance, we can say game over, the score LGC 1 up.
If you are reading this on our Facebook page, or Twitter, please share or retweet, as we want everyone to know – there’s nothing in the safe worth stealing.
Keep safe, and see you when Leongatha Golf Club is again open for play.
TurfGrass – March Issue 2020
Leongatha Golf Club featured prominently in the Australian Sports Turf Managers Association monthly magazine in March 2020. The magazine known as TurfGrass, features a Regional Golf Course in each issue with LGC Superintendent, Dylan McMeekin answersing a number of questions put to him for the March edition.By reading this article, which I recommend you do so, you get a wonderful insight into Dylan the person, his team and his course management philosophies in managing our course through environmentally sustainable practices.
I felt very uplifted in reading this article and it has given me a better appreciation of the complexity of issues that impacts the course that we have, and it made me even more proud to be a member of Leongatha Golf Club.
I would like to acknowledge and thank ASTMA for allowing us to publish this article on our website.
Keep well, isolate, and see you when the Course re-opens
Chair – Greens Committee.
Although our Leongatha Golf Course has been closed to members and visitors for playing golf, work that was commenced some time ago by Dylan and his team, on the removal of encroaching couch grass from the greens, has been steadily progressing with the assistance of a number of volunteers, led by Peter Seth.Although our Leongatha Golf Course has been closed to members and visitors for playing golf, work that was commenced some time ago by Dylan and his team, on the removal of encroaching couch grass from the greens, has been steadily progressing with the assistance of a number of volunteers, led by Peter Seth.
To date, the works included removing a grass verge collar 2.1 metres wide from around the green and cutting out areas of couch that had encroached into each of the greens. This was done to a depth of 100 mls, then filled with a blended sand mixture before being compacted.
Turf from the new fescue nursery was cut and rolled then palleted to each green, and laid around the green to form a fescue collar (7) seven rolls or 2.1m wide.
Bentgrass turf was also needed to replace the greens turf which had been removed from each. Planning at our Greens Committee meeting in November 2019, had committed us to reduce the slope on the 9th green at this time, so the process of finishing off each green with turf from the 9th green was started and was well underway before the COVID-19 situation exploded, and the Course shut. As a consequence, this work left us with the 9th green devoid of turf. The surface area of the 9th green had provided only just enough turf to repair all of the other greens. Work on the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 18th greens has now been completed.
The fescue and bentgrasses are knitting in well and time will see these greens come back better than ever. Some greens are slightly larger, which gives Denis even more tricky pin placements to test us with.
As COVID-19 ramped up, a decision was made to complete renovations on the 9th green, in house. After Dylan and the boys had cleared the green and surround of all remnant turf on Wednesday, yesterday local contractor Darren Harris became available at short notice.
Darren is well regarded in golf course circles, for his skill with his Terex, and in particular his skills when shaping greens. He also has had a long association with LGC dating back around 2008. Darren has completed many projects over that time, including work on the practice putting green and a number of tees, just to mention just a few.
The topsoil and thatch were removed off the 9th green and under Dylan’s guidance, Darren reshaped the green so it has a 3 degree fall from back to front.
The green is far from completed but from this position, Dylan and Denis are well placed to be able to finish the project with minimal cost. All things being equal Dylan is aiming to have the final shaping of the green, irrigation work and seeding completed in the next couple of weeks, providing we have some good weather and subject to COVID-19 impacts.
Mother nature will then hopefully do the rest. It will certainly give playing the course an extra boost. I can’t wait.