About my blog…

Since 2007, I have emailed my weekly interpretation on weather patterns and their likely effect on turf in terms of nutrition, disease patterns and general maintenance to Greenkeepers, Course Managers,  Superintendents and Groundsmen.  As a committed weather observer I’d subscribe whole-heartedly to the phrase “the more I learn, the less I understand” when it comes to this complicated subject. That said, using some very accurate and freely-available weather data, I believe it’s possible for the man (or woman) in the street to interpret this into a forecast, and that’s what I do…

Having worked with golf courses for the last 22 years, it’s clear just how important the weather is. In addition, the effect of climate change and weather phenomenon have already resulted in major changes to golf course management, particularly in terms of plant nutrition and disease.

20 years ago, Anthracnose only appeared as a winter disease, now it’s a summer one, 15 years ago, there were no recorded cases of plant parasitic nematode species in the U.K. and Ireland, now they are one of the major plant pathogens on golf greens and sports pitches. The hottest day of the year in Ireland in 2011, was the 28th September, some 8°C warmer than average, courtesy of a warm air blocking event… Times and turf management are a changing…

I hope you enjoy the content and find it useful, feel free to comment, constructive criticism is always gratefully received.

All the best
Mark Hunt

Technical Director
Headland Amenity

 

44 thoughts on “About my blog…

    1. mark.hunt

      Hi Simon,

      Sorry for the delay in replying, do you want me to subscribe your email address to the blog ?, if so leave it with me and I’ll sort immediately.

      Mark

      Reply
  1. Vic Demain

    Hi Mark,
    Enjoy the weather reports.
    Moved to the NE back in March, from the home counties, slight difference!
    Wanted to ask your views on water travelling up through a clay soil profile.
    We are very close to a river. When built the ground was leveled to the lowest point bringing it closer to the water table. Noticed during last season how pitches rarely dried out properly and got to thinking that moisture may be coming from below. Also being close to mining sites thought it may be similar to a sulphate attack as found in the building industry?
    Would welcome your thoughts.

    Reply
    1. mark.hunt

      Hi Vic,

      Thanks for the feedback.

      It is entirely plausible for water to move upwards even though it is against gravity as I have seen this demonstrated with sand columns as the water is attracted to the sand particles and literally pulled up towards the surface. I believe this is known as Matric Potential. This potential to pull water upwards differs depending on the type of soil involved, it’s porosity and the type of porosity (size of pore spaces)
      I appreciate you’re asking about clay and here I think it’s more likely that you have water being held in the profile by the clay. As I have always understood it this is because clay soils have a relatively low AFP (Air-Filled porosity)and the actual pores in a clay soil are small so they are very resistant to losing retained water. The opposite is true for sand where the pores tend to be larger and so water is more easily lost and hence the soil (sand) dries out quicker. If the water table is high enough you’re sure to see water back up from below, even in a clay profile.

      I found a good educational link on the subject here ;

      http://soilphysics.okstate.edu/software/water/infil.html

      Hope this helps…

      regards

      Mark

      Reply
  2. Michael Shaw

    Hi Mark,
    First time had chance to have a good look at your blog.
    Very very intresting. I am sure that in the future it will be a great asset in my endeavours to produce a top quality bowling green.
    Mike Shaw.

    Reply
  3. Enric Maydeu

    Hi Mark,
    I’m Enric from Wildernesse golf club and I’ve been in some of your talks in the last 3 years. I’m always really impressed with your researches and the enthusiasm that you put on it, I’ve just sent you a subscribe request in order to put in practice all that you mention in the last seminar in Colne Valley and also to learn as much as I can from your huge knowledge.
    Many thanks.
    E.Maydeu

    Reply
    1. mark.hunt

      Hi Enric,

      Many thanks for the feedback, it’s appreciated and reaffirms my belief that we’re / I am on the right track.
      You have a great club there and an excellent course manager in Mark to work under and I know he’ll encourage you fully in your endeavours.

      All the best.

      Mark

      Reply
  4. Michael Shaw

    I attended your talk at Cleckheaton Sports Club and found it both interesting and informative. Thank you Mike Shaw.

    Reply
  5. Andrew Kelly

    Hello Mark,
    Firstly luv the blog.
    We are fortunate to have an ┬┤official┬┤weather station on the boundary of the golf course (east of munich) so i
    have access to all sorts of facts and figures
    When putting in the GDD numbers should i use the readings from 2 metres or 20 cms? as both are available and can vary quite significantly.
    We have no poa seed (or very few) heads yet on the greens but lots off fuzz pressure.
    Andrew Kelly

    Reply
    1. mark.hunt

      Hi Andrew.

      Thanks for the feedback, personally I’d go with the 2 metres figure because if you’re comparing your site to others, it’ll be comparing weather station temp data and most of that will be at 2m above ground. I haven’t done any work on the difference between grass canopy temperature and higher elevation but I understand it can differ siginficantly due to the moisture content held in a sward I think. I’d be interested to see where you are cumulative GDD from 1st Jan using the 6C base temp model as it’ll serve as a comparison to other sites.

      All the best, sorry for the delay in replying.

      regards

      Mark

      Reply
  6. Sandy McIntosh Greens Convnr Auchterarder GC

    I recently heard your entertaining and informative address at the BIGGA Scottish Conference on 4th March.

    I was particularly interested in your concept of Growth Degree Days and the effect of not hollow coring in August as opposed to Sept -Nov – recovery effectiveness down 90% by November ! Could you please
    e-mail me the slide with the Bar Chart showing the drop in effectiveness as I attempt to persuade a committee
    to do these jobs earlier in the year !

    9-5 /2 = 2 GDDs what is the calculation again?!!

    Reply
    1. mark.hunt

      Hi Sandy,

      I’ve emailed a pdf copy of the entire talk so that should work for you.

      Good luck in your attempt to persuade the committee….one tip if they are un-moveable then do a trial on one or two greens and show how effective August aeration is in terms of quick recovery vs. the usual practice of leaving it till after all of the fixtures have been played and then having bumpy greens most of the winter. I appreciate there are arguments for and against, particularly in your neck of the woods..(shorter playing season usually)

      regards

      Mark

      Reply
      1. Anth Naisbitt

        Hi Mark
        Any chance you could e mail said pdf re aeration work earlier in the season, historically at Carlisle we have always done it end of September, but managed to get it moved to the start of September but we are now so busy with visitors in September I need to convince the committee and members that August would be a much better month to do it so any ammunition would be appreciated
        Many thanks
        Anthony Naisbitt

        Reply
  7. Freddie Barratt

    Hi Mark

    Thank you for letting mere register with you.

    I look forward to visiting your site.

    Best regards

    Freddie

    Reply
  8. bruce cruickshank

    Hi Mark a good site, I have been keeping rainfall records for the last 3 years do you want a copy
    Bruce

    Reply
  9. darragh

    Keep up the good work Mark….Mondays e mail normally gets forwarded to plenty of others wanting to know about the week ahead!!

    Reply
  10. Kevin Kenny

    Hi Mark,
    Thanks for all the emails over the past four years, they have been very helpful and informative, especially the agronomics. Your humorous and witty remarks continue to bring a smile to my face, keep up the good work and best of luck with the new format.
    Slainte Kevin.

    Reply
  11. G.Davies

    HI MARK,
    MANY THANKS FOR THE UPDATES, THEY’VE BEEN BANG ON WITH A FEW HICCUPS RE: RAIN ALONG THE WAY. LOOKING FORWARD TO USING THIS AS I’M CURRENTLY THE DRIEST MANY OF MY MEMBERS HAVE SEEN THE COURSE (The Mere) IN MANY YEARS – 35mm TOTAL RAINFALL FOR SEPT, AND WITH THESE DRYING WINDS MY GREENS ARE BEING HAND WATERED IN OCTOBER!!!
    THANKS AGAIN FOR A FANTASTIC TOOL
    REGARDS, GWYNN DAVIES – CSE MGR

    Reply
    1. mark.hunt

      Thanks for the feedback, rainfall is the hardest thing to predict accurately, particularly in a generalised forecast such as mine.
      Even using the Rain radar feature of Headland Weathercheck, it can still show anomalies, but it does increase the accuracy…

      Reply
  12. Ken Barber

    Hi Mark, Nice one mate….. I always read your weather reports when received by bemail and the new Headland Weathercheck looks great.

    Cheers
    KB

    Reply

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