Golf Course Superintendent Newsletter Quarter Two






Dear Member / Property Owner,

Following on from the Golf Course Superintendent’s News Letter sent to you in January, which was designed to keep you up to date with all of the important maintenance procedures which were scheduled to take place on The Indiana Course in the first quarter, I am pleased to be able to give you an update on the works carried out and to inform you of the schedule of works which shall take place during the second quarter of 2018.




Greens and Tees

With the introduction of the new green’s roller use within the mowing schedule throughout the winter months, the greens’smoothness, roll and the playing consistency of the putting surfaces have improved and performed very well.The greens have typically been mowed three times per week, rolled twice and dew removed by soft hand brushes on the remaining days. The greens are also being mowed at a higher height of cut than previous winters, however we are achieving faster green speeds due to the use of the green’s roller. The investment made in the green’s roller has reduced labour costs and fuel consumption with the added benefit of reducing disease pressure and turf stress, which in particular is a major assistance towards achieving the desired improved putting surfaces.


Greens Solid Tining, Verticut and Topdressing

The greens were solid tined, verticut and top-dressed on the second and fourth week of March as the greens start to grow more consistently, as the air and soil temperatures increase. This program will continue through the growing season.


Rabbit Fencing and Control

There has been a noticeable improvement to the turf grass quality within the areas of the golf course where we have introduced rabbit fencing along the course boundary.


Further rabbit fencing will continue to be introduced around the remaining boundary areas of the golf course, to ensure that the whole golf course will be protected as much as possible.


A specialised rabbit capture company has been selected to start work immediately. The process of removing the rabbits will initially take two months, with future visits planned throughout the year.


It will allow us to achieve, once again, the quality of fairways and roughs, to which we are accustomed at Desert Springs.


Putting Green & 18thGreen Collars

The collars of 18thGreen and the Putting Green were both very weak and unable to recover during the winter months and have been replaced with newly laid turf.


The removal of the old turf grass stand also removes the seed bed of crab grass and annual blue grass that had invaded and established within it.


Verti Draining and Spiking Fairways

The first round of verti-draining and spiking of the fairways was completed to improve water and air movement. The program of verti draining, followed by spiking will continue into the second quarter of the year to help improve aeration of the compacted fairways. During this time damaged areas of turf-lift, divots and rabbit scrapings were top-dressed and seeded by hand.


Fairway Sand Topdressing

All the fairways have been top-dressed with a mix of Gypsum, Sand and Humic acid. This will help dilute and flush the salt within the soil profile, allowing deeper and stronger root growth. This will be an ongoing program throughout the year. The Gypsum pellets are coarse but over time will dissolve into the fairway grass canopy.


Semi Rough

The maintenance teams continue to mow the new semi rough. In the next few months, the definition of these new heights of cut of grass will become more defined as the turf grass density increases and mowing frequency increases.


Desert Landscaping

The Golf course maintenance teams have pruned and cleaned all the olive trees near and around the 1st tee complex. The pruning reduces the height and canopy density of the tree, promoting new growth and increases healthy growth and fruiting.


The blue flowered plumbago bushes on the 1sthole have been pruned, and any dead plants removed. The heavy pruning will promote new growth, which is already evident.


An outside contractor completed a programme of pruning 150 Washingtonia palm trees around the golf course. The remaining shorter palm trees will be pruned by the golf course maintenance teams in the coming months.


Bunker Edging

The golf course maintenance teams have completed the programme of edging the bunkers on the Indiana course. Where necessary new turf grass has been laid to weak bunker faces or edges to improve grass quality. Trials are taking place with a new bunker sand that is finer with reduced ‘fried egg potential’. The long-term plan is to progressively introduce this sand throughout the Indiana golf course bunkers.


Renovation of the Golf Academy Bunker

The large practice bunker will be completely renovated with new turf and sand.  When practicing bunker shots, sand is continuously deposited outside of the bunker onto the green surround, creating an area where grass cannot thrive in the summer months due to the very fast percolation rates of the pure bunker sand.  The excessive sand will be removed and the bunker surrounds rebuilt to its original soil level. The new turf will be placed and established, easing summer maintenance and improving its appearance.



Green’s Collar Damage

Over the winter months, the golf course maintenance teams have continued almost daily repairing of rabbit damage to the greens collars.


A natural repellent spray has been tested on the grass to discourage feeding. Multiple applications are needed to evaluate its benefit and results, positive or otherwise will be known in due time.




Greens Hollow Coring

As previously advised, please be reminded that the greens will be hollow cored on Monday 16thof April and Monday 21stMay and the practice area will be closed on Wednesday 18thof April and Wednesday 23rdMay. The hollow coring of the greens is a maintenance practice which is scheduled each year to both maintain and enhance the playing quality of the putting surfaces with which we are accustomed at The Indiana Course. This practice creates the required environment for strong vigorous roots to grow, the very essence of golf course maintenance.



Tees Hollow Coring

After the hollow coring of the greens, hollow coring of the tees will take place to help dilute soil compaction and improve air and water movement throughout the soil profile. This maintenance program will take two weeks to complete. During this time tee markers may be moved to adjacent teeing areas so that work can continue uninterrupted.


Solid Tining Greens

The greens will be solid tined, with 5 mm pencil tines every month. These holes are only open (noticeable) for the first 2 days, increasing air movement in the root system and allowing products to be flushed through the root zone which will help reduce the negative impact of accumulated salts. There is no noticeable effect to the playing quality of the green’s surface.


Verti Cutting and Topdressing Greens

As the temperatures start to increase and we start to mow the course daily, the greens will be verticut and top-dressed every two weeks. Topdressing is an essential maintenance process to help improve playing surfaces, by keeping them true and firm by diluting thatch accumulation. The volume of sand applied to the greens will vary to match the growth rate of the grass so that the sand applied is incorporated into the playing surface and not collected by hand mowing. The investment made in the new green’s brush and roller is already having noticeable benefits to the putting surfaces.


Air2G2 Green’s Aeration

The aeration of the greens using the Air2G2 last year was a great success, improving surface and subsurface drainage of the green. The machine will be utilised again and the greens aerated taking 3 days to complete. The small holes after aeration will quickly fill in and do not affect the playing surface of the green.


Rabbit Fencing & Control

A specialised rabbit capture company has started work on the golf course. The initial contract period is two months, with further visits planned throughout the year with the intention of having complete rabbit control by the end of the year. Selected areas of the golf course known to have high numbers of rabbits will be concentrated on first.


Additional rabbit fencing will be erected around the boundary of the course with existing fences being strengthened.


The intended location of a rabbit fence to the right-hand side of the first hole between the property boundary and cart track will now be located along the resort boundary above Sierra Drive, Las Sierras, and the Sierra Club.


Landscaping Projects

The Golf Course landscaping crew of 5 will be working with the rabbit capture company by reducing the amount of landscaping plant material on the golf course. This reduction will help reduce the natural protective habitat where rabbits can hide and establish new burrows.


Verti Draining Fairways

The second and third procedure of verti-draining the fairways will continue. This particular aspect of golf course maintenance is both extremely necessary and time consuming, so we ask you to please bear with us until its completion. Disruption to play, as always, will be kept to an absolute minimum.


Sand Topdressing Fairways

The fairways will be top-dressed with a further 500 tonnes of sand, gypsum and humic acid mixture to improve the overall health of the rye grass fairways. The gypsum formulation is a course prill but over time will break down stabilising the soil structure.


Driving Range Tee Turf Grass Conversion

The grass driving range tee will be closed for 12 weeks after the Easter period. The existing turf grass stand will be removed with multiple applications of Roundup. The tee will then be laser leveled and sprigged with Bermuda grass (the driving range will be closed from Monday 14th– Friday 18thMay). Both Huxley areas will be available during these days at certain periods of the day. Please check with Golf Reception for timings. Frequent daily irrigation run cycles are needed during early establishment. The reasons for using Bermuda grass are clear; more use of the grass tee for members due to faster recovery during the summer months, the ability to control summer weeds within the playing surface and the ability to winter over-seed with Ryegrass for year-round tee use.


Driving Range Recommendation

Research has shown that the divots can recover up to 2 weeks quicker if thin strips of divots are taken compared to traditional divot patterns. This technique is being used by PGA tour players around the world. I would like to encourage all members to take divots as shown in the image below on the left. Quicker recovery times mean more days of the year on the grass practice tee.


Tee Steps

Anti-slip ‘GripClad’has been placed on almost all of the Ladies tees steps, making them safer in the morning when steps can be damp with dew or irrigation water. Once all the ladies’ tees are completed work will start on the Men’s tees.



2018 Greens Hollow Coring Dates

In the knowledge that all Property Owners and Members need to have as much notice as possible concerning particular aspects of the golf course maintenance schedule that may temporarily affect the playing conditions of the green’s surface, thus enabling them to plan particular holidays accordingly, please see below the remaining hollow coring dates for 2018. These dates are subject to change due to weather conditions.


Hollow Coring Dates for 2018


  • Monday 16thApril
  • Monday 21st May
  • September Date: TBC


You will be able to keep up to date with the full tournament and social calendar, format and any additions, information of how to enter, and much more, by visiting either our official website or by contacting the golf reception at Desert Springs.


We and the staff at Desert Springs are looking forward to seeing you on The Indiana course in the near future.


Kind regards,                                                                       Kind regards,


Alfonso Castiñeira                                                               Anthony Brooks

Golf Operations Manager                                                   Golf Course Superintendent