Action plan to “RECLAIM” our greens

I had several members and visitors pointing out to me that the greens are not up to our normal standard as it was in November. I have no choice than to agree with them because I experienced it myself. Members would have noticed that after the December season our greens looked as if they went on holiday and never recovered from that.

I have with previous newsletters just touched on the irrigation problem (main cause of all the problems) and realised that I need to give more detail than just to say that they were clogged with mud and silt from the newly cleaned irrigation dam.

Let me start in November where we all were happy with our greens. The moss programme that Servest was implementing were working well and there were only small spots of moss which they started to physically remove.

Then in the first two weeks of December we did the irrigation dam project where we had to remove all the reeds and weeds from the dam as well as to remove the silt layer created over many years. Lastly, we deepened the irrigation dam where possible in order to create more capacity in the dam. We had to do it in the dry period as well as during a period where the course would not be that busy. We even timed it with the complete hatching of all the waterfowl chickens nesting around the dam. There was therefore not a better time to do this project.

However, this project had disastrous effects on the irrigation system which started to clog up every evening that Servest ran the irrigation cycles. Servest do irrigate at night to not bother golfers during the day with running sprayers but also the South Easter winds normally die down at night that allows them to get the water where it was planned to go.

The photo on the right is a look into the filter of the pump station every morning they opened it up during those critical days.

All the available Servest workers were pulled in to clean each sprayer individually each day. The team from Servest also flushed the system regularly to try and get the mud and silt out of the main irrigation system. This process took far longer than anticipated and also resulted in other crucial golf course maintenance work like moving the rough and tee boxes, manicuring the course and day to day challenges that the Servest team face falling behind program. With long weekends over Christmas as well as New year it also did not help the cause due to limited staff trying their utmost to catch up with the maintenance program. In order to save the greens from the harsh temperatures and very strong South Easter winds experienced during December the use of hand spraying of the greens was implemented. Although it helped to get water on the greens the amount and spread of the water could not be controlled and this resulted in overwatering at some points and underwatering at other points on the same green. This became a perfect breeding area for the moss that is underlying in our greens. With the moss becoming visual the decision was made to spray it with fungicide which at the end resulted in the moss “dying” leaving ugly black areas on most of the greens. Servest also spiked the greens almost daily to try and get the drainage to the roots of the grass.

The condition of the underlying layers was checked daily to see if the roots are reached by the watering cycles. Grass cannot grow if they can’t get water through their roots. So it is very important to get the water through the upper layers of the green down to the roots of the plants when watering the greens.

Servest was requested to put forward an action plan to recover the greens in time for the Boland Seniors tournament taking place on the 21st and 22nd of February 2021. The matter was tabled at the Board meeting of 25 January 2021 where the action plan proposed by Servest was accepted and it was further resolved that this communication be put out to members. The Board also requested formal communication to Servest, requesting measures to be implemented to avoid re-occurrence.

Aerating the greens will form the main base of their recovery program. They will have to hollow tine (light 8mm diameter tines) a few greens (Seems like 1, 12 and 14) at this stage to get the drainage process on the greens functional again. Some greens will be plugged with pods from other healthy areas of greens and spiked regularly. Patches and pods will mostly be taken from the practice area green which will recover quickly after reseeding them. Here I request the understanding and support from our members to accept that Servest have no other choice than to be aggressive in their approach. They have committed themselves to achieving this goal and I think I speak on behalf of all the members when I say all the best and good luck.

What Servest have done in the last week was to change the sprayer configuration at the greens of holes 1-18 so that the green sprayers will only concentrate on the greens and that the surrounding areas will be hand watered if needed during the day. They now do one cycle on each green early in the morning and if then needed they can use this process to cool down the greens using the sprayers for a maximum 6-minute period in order to ensure that the water gets spread evenly and effectively on the greens. This might interfere with the golf from time to time but I am sure that you as member will understand how important it is for the recovery of the greens.

The two photographs below confirm what the situation was during December and how the constant spiking and new watering process allowed the water to get to the deeper roots of the grass in January. The December sample clearly shows that the water did not get through the upper layer (red line) and you see dry sand where the critical roots of the grass should be situated. In the January 2021 photograph it is clear (red line) that the water got down to the roots area. Effective drainage of greens is probably the most important aspect of healthy greens.
December 2020
January 2021

As a last plea. Please let us not get stuck in the past as to what happened, but let us together concentrate on the road ahead. This situation is not unique to Paarl Golf Club. Greens are living organisms and can sometimes be very unpredictable and quickly change their form.

I thought hard and long should I or shouldn’t I share the following information with you as members. But I really feel that it somehow sums up the concept of greens being living organisms and that they sometimes have a will of their own.
During last week’s PGA tournament at La Quinta in California I “saw” on television the conditions of the greens that the best in the world was playing on. I captured this just to show that even on the highest level of golf there can be unpredictable situations that no one plans for and also did not do on purpose. I sincerely hope that together we understand and support all efforts to recover our greens to their former pristine condition.

In order to accommodate visiting golfers, we decided to offer a discount on green fees for the recovery period till end March 2021. We sincerely hope that it would help in keeping the visitor’s feet coming through that we as club so desperately need to overcome the budget constraints that Covid left us with.

 The irrigation dam project

The last phase in this project is the clearing up and refurbishment of the construction area. This will take some time to get the grass growing again but we will start with that this week already. Thanks to those members who “saw” the difference the dam makes in the golf experience and mentioned it in passing by. I can confirm that we extended the capacity of the dam by nearly 30%. That makes it all worth it.

Paarl youngsters excel in Ceres

Well done to two of our younger golfers who exceled at the recent tournament held at Ceres.

Jere Brits won the under 19 title with a winning total of 68! Two shots ahead of the field that included Thomas Joubert (70), Angelo Keffers (71) and Romeo le Roux also on 71.

We are very proud of you Jere!

Another “youngster” from Paarl Golf Club and currently the number 1 junior in the Boland, Ethan Smith showed his class by winning the Citrusdal Open with rounds of 66 and 65 which left him 7 shots clear of the field.

Well done Ethan!

  Next Club Draw – 19 February 2021
Please note that the February club draw will be done on Friday the 19th of February 2021. Please diarise this occasion and try to attend. There are very interesting attendance draws that also take place at each draw.

Entries still open and the 5th (Fifth) draw will be done on Friday 19 February 2021.

We have 83 entries!

The results of the January Club Draw saw the following individuals getting their hands on some of the winnings:

Nr 7: Franz Lohbauer - R1 000
Nr 9: Willem Pienaar - R600
Nr 78: Danie Cronje - R300

Well done guys and I hope that this will fill some kind of hole that the festive season left.

In conversation with

This week we get to know Ethan Smith. Ethan showed recently at the Citrusdal Open why he is ranked no 1 in the Boland with a convincing victory. Ethan had rounds of 66 and 65 and his winning score of 131 was 7 shots better than the rest of the field. Ethan we are following your progress with anticipation.
Meet Ethan >

If you would like to be part of our wonderful PGC community, let us know so that we can get to know you a bit more. How will anyone know what exotic drink to buy you otherwise?

Help us by completing your scorecard correctly

How to complete your scorecard

We are seeing more and more players not giving attention to their scorecards and would like to help and point out why it is important to provide the scorers all the detail necessary for them to effectively prepare the final result sheets. It is also important to ensure that by using one card per fourball that everything on the card should be correct and a true reflection of what happened on the course. See below an example of a completed scorecard and the information needed.

Competition Format, Date, Tee Time, Name & Surname, Membership Number, Handicap Index, Course Handicap, which course was played, and lastly which tee box you were playing from (Y, W, B or R)

We thank you for your co-operation in this regard.

If you have any suggestions to simplify this process, please let us know.

Golfing regards,

What you still should remember when playing golf at PGC during the revised Level 3 Lockdown Rules

I know this might be boring by now, but please realise that we are still under Level 3 Lockdown Rules that did not change since inception. Thanks to those members (and visitors) who makes our work easier by adhering to the regulations and rules. We appreciate your continues support and help. It is not that difficult!
Lockdown regulations >

Many moons ago

Thanks again to Anville van Wyk who was quick out of the blocks to identify two gentlemen on the phot of last week.

FLTR: Johan Loubser, Captain in 1978 and in the middle is Louis Viljoen. They man on the right could not be identified

The photograph this week from the treasure chest is the one below. I sincerely hope that I would receive some feedback on who the people in the photograph are. Please e-mail me at if you recognise the ladies and gentlemen in the photo.

Know your birdies from your eagles

Cape Weaver (Kaapse Wewer)

  If you have a favourite bird or would like to know more about a particular species flying around PGC, please let us know so that we can do some research and showcase it in next week's Gazette.

Know your birdies >

Golf quote of the week

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