Hi All,

Well another week of weather contrasts, super-warm mid-week, last week and then blooming freezing this morning….these two pics sum it up really…(along with my taste in music!)


I won’t explain the graffiti on the car roof, but needless to say it isn’t my car and the owner should know better 🙂 (It’s my nickname for a now retired ex-colleague).

Had a lovely picture from Chris Knowles from G.C Hanau, near Frankfurt, Germany, who queried me on why a Hedgehog was wHedgepigalking around his golf course in the day ?

As some of you may know I’m a keen naturalist (as is Chris) and I have a fond spot for these critters having successfully helped the resident Hedgepigs in my little back garden rear broods for the last three years. (By creating a Hedgehog-friendly habitat and feeding the young to get them up to hibernation weight before winter sets in) Normally if you see a Hedgehog active in the day, it’s in distress and so needs looking after, preferably by an animal welfare hospital. Cat food, mealworms and water (not milk) are the order of the day if you can get it to feed and this one obviously had no problem on that front judging by Chris’s pic…To me it looks to be smiling….

When is it going to rain Mr ?

I know, the mice have eaten your satellites, your mains has burst and your decoders are up the swanny, so you need it to rain and fast. 🙁 Well you’ll have your wish because we do indeed have a strong signal for rain on the way arriving by the end of the week and staying cool and unsettled for maybe a week following on from that. It won’t be bucket loads, but sunshine and showers-type weather interspersed with some heavier rain.

General Weather Situation

Monday has started with fog and a ground frost for many, but the sun is through now and warming things up nicely for most areas. There’s a bit more in the way of cloud cover over western Scotland and Northern Ireland, but even that will clear as the day progresses and give a beautiful ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ type of day for all. Winds will be lighter than of late, but still from the east / north east. Temperatures will climb to mid-high teens in the afternoon sunshine, but as soon as that sun goes down, it’ll get chilly again and we could see another light ground frost coming into Tuesday.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday look a dead ringer for Monday with a cold start to the day, possibly with a repeat of Monday’s mist and fog, followed by a bright sunny day and temperatures again climbing into the mid-high teens, depending on where you happen to be situated. There may be a little more cloud cover spilling in from The North Sea on Wednesday night, so that’ll keep temperatures up a little going into Thursday.Winds will remain light and from the ENE, but will start to freshen towards the end of Wednesday before calming again as we go into Thursday.

Friday is the change day and the first thing you’ll notice is the wind direction which will do  180-degree about face through the course of the day, so it starts off as north-easterly early doors, then blows from the south and finishes off as a south-westerly. This wind change signals the arrival of a low pressure system, our first for weeks and it’ll bring rain into south-west Munster overnight into Friday. By the morning rush hour this rain is heading diagonally across Ireland and by mid-morning it’ll be into the south-west of England and South Wales. It is set to track diagonally across the U.K and Ireland through the course of the day, making it into the north of England and Scotland by dusk. Eastern areas always receive the least rain when it’s from this direction but I think everyone will have some rain over the course of Friday and Saturday.

So the weekend is looking distinctly unsettled with a wet start to Saturday for the U.K and Ireland, after a much milder night then the previous 4 or 5. Wet initially but from the afternoon this rain should clear western areas leaving a much brighter finish to the day. By late afternoon the rain is confined to the north-east of England and Scotland where it will fall as a mixture of rain, sleet and indeed snow on higher ground. (The same for the Lake District I think with a covering of snow likely on higher ground) Sunday looks by far the better day with a mild night and just rain confined to the north-west of Scotland at the start of the day. This should clear as we go through the day though. Temperatures will be nothing to shout about though even in the sunshine with double figures barely the order of the day, perhaps creeping into the teens down south.

Weather Outlook

If you look at the Unisys animated-GIF at the start of this blog you can see we look to have a cold, low pressure in charge for the start of next week. This means cool and unsettled with the wind coming in from the north-west taking the edge off the temperature somewhat. This low pressure system features some closely-packed isobars so that means pretty windy and plenty of rain for all areas as the low traverses down the west coast of the U.K. So cool, windy and unsettled for the start of next week, but by mid-week the winds move round to the north and that’ll make it feel even chillier for a time with a high chance of night frosts I’m afraid. Now after mid-week, next week it’s a tricky call, we could see some warm weather follow on with an Atlantic high moving in for the closing part of the week or the low may come around for another lap. My hunch is the former, (the eternal optimist) so maybe warm by the end of next week going into the Bank Holiday.

Agronomic Notes

Growth – Where we we at  ?

With the up and down nature of the weather and the continuing dry spell for most of the U.K (with the exception of Scotland I know), it’s always interesting to look at how the start to this year is comparing to last year, which as we know was an ‘early year’.

Now I appreciate GDD totals aren’t the same country-wide, that’s the whole point, it gives you a frame of reference where your site is compared to others and also where you are vs. prior year. So looking at one site, in this case, The Oxfordshire, reveals how far back we are vs. 2014 ;


Looking at the comparison above you can see that we are approximately 3 full weeks behind last year in terms of cumulative GDD and therefore growth.

So if you have members asking why greens aren’t at their summer level yet (especially when it’s summer for 3 hours of the day when they are playing!), here’s a good piece of information to impart and you can download the above chart as a pdf here

Growth Forecast – The week ahead and nutrition….


The first thing you notice from the MeteoTurf module on your Headland Weathercheck is the really pronounced up and down nature of the day and night temperature’s through till Friday, but from mid-week onwards, we should lose those really cold nights (not for long mind) and that means the growth should be reasonable this week from mid-week onwards. With the arrival of moisture from the end of the week that should start to move perennial Poa on a bit and help to blend it in with bentgrass which is tending to grow better in drier, brighter conditions.

For all of you suffering with a dysfunctional irrigation system, you can see how the daily E.T rate drops off from Friday, so that means stress levels will decline somewhat.

So how do we approach this week from a nutrition basis ?

Well of course it depends on where you’re at really – You could just program in a foliar feed to keep things ticking whilst the daytime temperatures are reasonable, mixed with iron for a little extra colour.

On the other hand if you need to move on areas then this week offers a window to apply a granular fertiliser before the rain hopefully arrives, whether it be to greens for aeration recovery, outfields and tee areas to boost some growth after the slow start to the season. With the arrival of some long awaited rainfall, ok it won’t be bucket loads, but it should be enough to get things moving on areas that are dry. The light winds before Friday will also help to gain an accurate spread pattern if you’re applying to outfield.

Poa Seeding

Poa seedheads

I think if we get the moisture and then better temperatures from the end of next week (that’s a big ‘if’ on the latter), then we’ll see Poa seeding really come to the fore. At the moment I’m seeing a good deal of Poa annua var. annua starting to seed, either on higher height-of-cut areas or managed areas that are under drought stress.

It’s not just temperature (IMHO) that drives Poa annua to seed, soil moisture levels play a big part, particularly with the annual Poa plant that you tend to find on outfield areas, rather than greens (unless they’ve thinned out in areas). I went to 2 golf courses last week, maybe 100miles apart, but very similar in design and grass species composition, one had almost no seeding Poa annua, the other had plenty. The only real difference between them was the site with more seeding Poa was under drought stress, so as a survival mechanism it makes sense that the Poa will start to produce seed.

I reckon if the weather plays out as projected, we will start to see perennial Poa seed in the beginning of May. Bets are on then 🙂

Ok that’s it for now, sorry the blog is a bit late today, factors beyond my control 🙁

All the best.

Mark Hunt