Due to the seemingly never ending uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic it has been decided by the board to postpone the planed 2020 major projects until next year.
Although this is frustrating it does give us, a very unique opportunity to commit our full attention other jobs that in previous years we are only able to scratch the surface of.
One of these jobs is the maintenance and tidying of the deep roughs, gorses, trees and brambles.
In previous years, once projects are finished we try to spend as much time as possible in clearing some of these areas. Understandably this work is not to everyone’s taste as it does open up parts of the course, but I like to think that once new growth starts these areas are much more vibrant and healthy.
If you read any books on the ecological management of a golf course, especially the management of heathland courses like ours it will stress the essential need for a good program of gorse and broom clearance and the importance of not allowing weed trees like cherry tree suckers, hawthorns and other invasive species to envelop and over take the wild areas.
Here at Orsett we have a very Unique and important ecological site, there are no other courses like ours in this county and it’s something that we should work hard to protect.
If there is no control of these areas they quickly become impenetrable wild areas and our unique position is lost.
Just off the edge of a fairway this area is impossible to enter or play from. Each year it will get denser and more intrusive to the course.
To make the most of this opportunity to concentrate on these areas this winter we plan to work methodically down each side of a hole.
Firstly we will be cutting the rough back using our flail mower to remove unwanted suckers, brambles and weeds. This will also give us the opportunity to expose hidden rabbit burrows and runs so they can be dealt with better by our pest control people.
Large and mature trees will have all low branches removed to aid access for cutting around in the future and to aid finding wayward shots.
Please note I do not intend to remove any trees from the roughs unnecessarily. Only if they are dead diseased or causing a severe problem. The aim is to clear around the bases of the trees so they can be managed in the long term. I am not trying to clear out whole areas.
Gorse bushes NEED to be reduced and cut back over time. Gorses are large shrubs, not trees and cannot be allowed to grow to 20 feet + (as they are in some areas) and still be expected to maintain any kind of structure.
We aim to reduce the problem gorses alongside each hole. We will tackle the plants up to a depth of 30 feet into the long roughs. This will maintain the screen and shield from other holes but give good healthy vibrant plants and grasses along each hole boundary.
The bushes that we do reduce will only be reduced by however much is needed. I don’t want to take each plant down to the ground (unless it is needed!). This will ensure that when that bushes regenerate in the spring there will be a variety of levels and colours blending deeper onto the taller denser areas
During this winter the areas that we work on will look open and drastic but by doing this on mass now it will mean that in spring when all these plants and trees regenerate, just like all the other areas we have done in the past, it will all look strong and vibrant all at the same time.
The gorses and brooms will produce bright vivid yellows, the long grasses will be clean and tree sucker free and it will encourage more wild flowers to establish just like it is on other parts of the course.
Please be patient as this work goes ahead as next year the impact to the health and beauty of our course will massive.