Happy New Year to you and the best for 2011.

Looking back briefly to my last forecast pre-Christmas, it was pretty accurate with the predicted thaw and subsequent milder weather than of late. Most courses re-opened on the Tuesday and Wednesday of that week, but this really depended on the depth of snow cover on the ground. I’m happy to say Paddy Power paid out early (again) on all my bets (why?) and therefore Christmas was a relatively cheap affair.

Looking at our current weather, we have a cold low pressure which is giving cold rain, sleet and snow over higher elevations at present with the majority restricted to the far S.East of the U.K. Another band of wet weather comes in on Friday morning to the S.West of England first and extends north and west as it goes meaning the start of the weekend will be showery for Ireland and Scotland as well, with some of those showers falling as snow, sleet or very cold rain. Sunday is a clear day by and large for all before a new weather front moves into Ireland on Monday morning bringing rain to Kerry and Cork early doors, with showers affecting the west side of the U.K on Monday and further East on Tuesday.

A new rain pulse is forecast for mid-week next week on a strong Jet Stream, so this means a mild pulse of weather will briefly make itself felt on Wednesday and Thursday with strong westerly winds and temperatures I think hitting double figures for a brief interlude. Looking further ahead, it wil cool again, but I think another low pressure will rattle in from the west at the end of next week, so no return to the snowfall of December on the horizon and with a strong Jet Stream pulse, I think January will turn out to be sunshine and showers.

Feedback from most courses has been good with respect to low levels of Fusarium / Snow Mold on greens, but much higher levels on higher-cut turf, particularly tees, tee banks, approaches, surrounds and fairways. This turf has matted down with the weight of the snow, so if possible, a light brush to flick out the dead tissue and the mycelium, followed by an application of fertiliser to try and encourage new growth will be useful.

There’s also alot of Red Thread around as growth has been non-existent for the last 6 weeks and the grass plant is at a low nutrient status. Next weeks milder weather will see the first growth of 2011, so now is a good time to get on light tonics to greens if they’ve paled off, or apply winter granulars, particularly high iron products on mossy areas.

All the best
Mark Hunt