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Fellow Members, well, it has been almost 2 months since my last ChitChat so I thought you may like a little catch-up to read on these wet November evenings!
Bear with me whilst I scribble away!
The Course has done well over the 2 months and the days of worry and fretting about hollow cores seem far away. However, there are now new problems to contend with.
The drainage at 8 and 12 has worked well and the fairway surface is recovering. However, you may have noticed that it is now a bit boggy near the big oak at the 12th corner. I suppose it's better to have it there than on the fairway. The 4 big trees to the right of the 9th winter tee will be coming down soon. We have contracted to have them removed along with removing many of the old stumps around the Course. The trees by the 9th winter tee are coming down as they have come to the end of their useful life and they interfere with the new drainage on 8 and 12.
Stu Bailey gave in his notice this month. The Greens team is now down to 4 and Stuart probably won't be replaced until the Spring. Stuart has worked hard for the Club over the past 8 or 9 years and we shall miss that cheeky smile of his around the Course. I'm sure you'll all join with me in wishing him well in his new employment. I suspect that in the Spring we will look to find 2 full time Summer employees. We have the time to give it plenty of thought.
The ropes and hoops are back with a vengeance, especially after the rainfall of recent weeks. Unfortunately, there is a Club buggy ban in place at the moment but it will be lifted whenever conditions allow. I would ask those people who do own their own buggies and are therefore allowed to use them to be extremely conscious of the dangers in soft and muddy areas of overturning the buggy. Furthermore, may I say that the driving of buggies AND trollies between Greens and bunkers and up to the edges of the Greens is totally unacceptable. A favourite example is the route between the left hand bunker and the Green on the 10th. Going under ropes, through the hoops etc shows a total disregard for caring of the Course in Winter conditions. Nuff said - moaning over! But, please don't do it!!!
As we are not divotting these days, may I ask that you now turn your attention to pitch repairing. It is the biggest source of unsightliness on our Greens and when the sun is low in the sky ( and out! ), it is frightening to behold! If your ball pitches on the Green rather than rolls on to it - there is going to be an indentation or mark. As some Members are disinclined to bother may I please ask that the rest of us work to alleviate the problem.
The fairways are in reasonable shape apart from some worm activity and divots but at least we are not in the same position as Members of Donald McKellars Scottish club where members have to carry with them a small mat to play off as they go round or drop in the rough - no penalty!!!! To add insult to injury, members have to buy the little mats through their Pro shop at £10 pounds for a pair ( get in there Neil!). The 2nd cut is slowly fading so use some common sense when debating whether a lie is fairway or not! It will be back in the Spring.
The Greens have been treated for fusarium yet again! The mild, wet, conditions create the problem and it is an expensive cure to have to carry out each time it occurs. We have applied several dressings which help with maintaining and improving the plant roots and we have applied iron which helps to firm up the turf - and give you blue fingers so don't lick them!
The Greens are currently quite wet and are softening up as a result of water retention in the ground. As a result we are likely to be carrying out a programme of pencil tining over the next few weeks. It doesn't take cores out just punches long pencil like tines into the ground so it shouldn't cause too much problem.
Please remember that outside of Club Competitions, the White tees are not available to Members throughout the winter without the express permission of the Greens Chairman or the Club Professional. We will revert to Members choice in the Spring.
It is our intention during the coming year to work hard at improving the Greens approaches and surrounds and to hopefully maintain the high standard of Greens that we have had this year. As we run up to Christmas and the difficult and cold few months ahead, I would like to thank the Greens Staff for all their hard work this year both in Course management and machine maintenance - in house repairs have saved us a fortune! I would also like to thank all those people who quietly and conscientiously get on with divotting around the Course - you have had an enormous impact on the appearance of the fairways.
I shall come back to you with a Winter update, keep enjoying your golf and please tolerate the Winter Greens when they happen - it will soon be Springtime. Any points, comments or issues - I am around the Clubhouse most days
Enjoy your Golf,
Chairman of Greens
17th November 2015
Well, what a month! It has been almost 6 weeks since we did the hollow coring and I'm amazed that I'm still alive!!! I jest! However, not everybody has been happy with the disruption to the Course!! I believe that if we had left it till after next week we may have ended up with poor Greens for the Winter.
Next year the work will be done at the same time but if ground conditions permit, we may get away with just pencil tining. The small prongs go down a lot deeper producing good aeration but the reduction in the underlying thatch is totally inadequate. Thatch is the build up of dead organic matter - dead root growth, clippings etc which ultimately produces a small black layer of impenetrable mass which then prevents root development and prevents water drainage. Imagine what happens when somebody gets constipated! If you don't remove the blockage - BOOM!!! Same with the grass really. Anyway, we'll see what the Spring brings and then we can make an informed judgement.
The little dark green patches currently on some of our Greens are type 2 or superficial fairy rings - superficial basidiomycetes for the technical members out there! Biologists and agronomists have never been able to come up with a satisfactory reason for their occurrence so we live with them! Old school call them "elephants foot"! What happens is that the basidiomycetes fungus starts to eat the thatch beneath the surface. This in turn releases nitrogen which causes a flush of green growth but in eating the thatch it also causes small depressions in the surface. We camouflage the problem by applying sulphate of iron which greens up the entire Green and, hey presto, you don't see it!!! In theory!!
If you are playing this Sunday - or Sat/Mon - you may find the rough a little heavy as it has not been cut for almost 2 weeks to "toughen" things up just a little for the PGA event. If you are playing late Sunday there may not be any yellow/ red markers on the tees. They will have been removed for the Pro Am/ PGA Tournament. Please play off the relevant disk markers. The Greens and fairways should be in reasonable condition for the Weekends events and Darren ( our Deputy Head Greenkeeper) is producing a pin placement sheet for Members playing in the Club Championship event.
The Winter work programme is going to include the following:
a. Moving the Ladies tee on the 5th hole to a position immediately in front of the Men's tee at the 5th hole.
b. Restructuring the Men's 10th Tee as it is no longer a level playing field
c. Rebuilding the wall at the "ha ha" to the back of the 17th Green. Our Head Greenkeeper Peter Leath is donating a large consignment of sandstone to the Club to do the job.
d. When time permits, the Greens staff will start work to begin clearing the growth within the copse on the left of the 9th fairway.
Loo at the 8th Tee. The Ladies have asked if we can build a proper toilet at the 8th to replace the portaloo. This is being looked at.
Pesticides are likely to be applied soon to help alleviate the problems of worms on the fairways and Greens surrounds. We will not be overseeding the fairways this Autumn but may well do so in the Spring.
Temporary Greens are being rekindled!!! Yuk!! Please move your ball off them and DO NOT take divots out of them!! Only applies to a few people!!!
A plea from Darren - please look for a couple of pitch marks to repair on EVERY hole. Counted over 150 blemishes on the 6th last week from ignored or badly repaired pitch marks!
More trees need to be removed and we are just obtaining a quote( approx £2000 ) for the removal of the 30 or so tree stumps still in the ground.
Work re-doing the drainage lines on 8 and 12 is now almost complete. After the Events of the next week and all the divotting that has been done ( 30 Members came in yesterday to do it ), it is my intention to ask Match Committee to agree to a "roll off newly seeded divots" temporary rule till everything is settled down and growing properly.
That's it folks, I'm off on holiday ( to the Welsh Mountains! ) from next Monday for 12 days.
Enjoy your golf, email any thoughts - or see me round the Club -
Chairman of Greens
Thursday, 17th September, 2015
Fellow Members, it's been a busy 2 weeks on the Course. Fertilisers have been applied, all the Greens and surrounds have been hollow cored, we have over seeded and applied almost 60 ton of sand. It has been major heart surgery and the patient needs some quiet recovery time! Unfortunately, in the hectic world that we live in, people never allow you all the time you need for recovery. They want you back at work or coming out to play like yesterday! Problem is - it slows down your recovery.
We are the same with our Course - we rush out to play with our Course 5 minutes after she has come out of Theatre and then we are not 100% happy that she has spots all over her face!!!
All being well, we shall take the time to consider if we can stagger some of next years work or, maybe, we can get away with just pencil tining. I played yesterday and the Greens had stood up well to the treatments with very little chatter on the surface and zero snaking. Today's heavy and WARM showers will help speed up that recovery and the new seedlings should be pushing through by Thursday. We are also watering over night.
An application of fertiliser tomorrow or Wednesday will encourage new growth and within 10 days I suspect we will be close to normal on the Greens.
The new Greens and Surrounds scarifier are already making an impact. We expect to see significant improvements in these areas as Autumn approaches.
The white chain link fence is going to be re- introduced in the front of the 7th Green.
I am looking to organise a short divotting morning. Maybe 2 hours followed by a 13 hole competition. I am looking at Wednesday the 16th Sept at 0830. Would appreciate as many volunteers as possible. Sandwiches and / or chips with tea or coffee will be provided. That's WEDNESDAY THE 16th of SEPTEMBER at 0830.
The Oak tree to the left of the 5th Green is poorly and it looks like its life could be short lived. It may last another year or 2! The plan is to plant 3 small oaks to the left of the existing one and when Grandad Oak gives up the ghost, we shall select the healthiest of the 3 little ones to remain.
Something for Members to consider! Please feel free to give your input! During the coming Winter it has been suggested that we make a small change around the 12th hole. If you look to your right as you approach the 11th Green you will see that there is a small avenue that looks up towards the 12th Green. The proposal would be that on approaching the 11th Green you would leave your trolley on the right, play out the 11th and proceed to " 12th Avenue " ! It would remain as a par 4. Traffic would not churn up the area around the pathways of the 12th tees and a shot up 12th Avenue would reduce all the divotting issues that take place at the corner and, finally, it would probably speed up play. Please give us some feedback.
I have been asked that where you make a divot, should you repair the divot or put divot repair mix in. My answer to that is, that if you repair the divot well, ( not just a smash down with your heel! ), then a repair is much quicker and more cost effective.
My thanks to all those people who gave of their time last week to work on the Course during the closure. Special thanks to Derek Aulton for organising the work team. The Greens Staff are doing a sterling job and are taking a lot of pride in their work. However, whilst on the subject of our Greens Staff, please remember that when they are working on the Course, they take priority over Members. In other words, please show them the same courtesy you would any other Member - especially when it comes to safety!!! Sorry to have to raise that point but there are maybe just one or two people who get carried away in the excitement of play and don't always give due deference to the safety of Staff! We must all remain vigilant about Course safety. Here endeth the first lesson!!
Enjoy your golf,
Chairman of Greens
Monday, 10th August, 2015
Fellow Members, well, we are mid summer and, so far, so good! As to the Greens, they are like children - well behaved until you bring important guests along! We are constantly vigilant about the behaviour of our Greens and this year is no exception.
2 weeks ago we applied a mix of trace elements to the Greens to encourage root growth, health and appearance. Unfortunately, of course, this produced a flush of growth which slowed the Greens down somewhat! That flush is dying back and we have today reduced the height of cut to 3.5mm and sanded them. Should improve matters!
We have also been applying wetting agents. Depending on requirements different wetting agents do different things, so, you can help retain moisture in the upper sward or get it to flush through. We have also applied an £800 application to protect us from Anthracnose - a disease which attacks Greens around July/August time. Once you get it, your stuck with it, so we put it down as a preventative - it's like a flu jab - it stops you getting what you might get!!!
The First Green was recently hollow cored. The 1st is the wettest Green we have and there is a constant build up of thatch just below the base sward. The thatch compounds the drainage problem and also discourages deep root growth. Hence our 1st is made up predominately of shallow rooted meadow grass. By pulling cigar/cigarette sized plugs out of the green we are able to remove much of this thatch ( thatch can be built from all sorts of organic waste in the ground from dead rooting to old clippings!) thus allowing better drainage and root development and allowing for overseeding with better grasses - in our case we are introducing more Bent Grasses - broader leaf, deeper colour and less susceptible to the diseases of Poa Annua ( Annual Meadow Grass). With the weather and warmth we have seen a quick recovery.
This year during the Annual Closure ( 3rd - 5th August inclusive ), we will be hollow coring all the greens, over seeding and sanding so we will upset the surface for a while. Timing and weather are critical to a fast recovery. Why do we do it when the Greens are seemingly in good shape? Well, they haven't been done in years and thatch is building beneath the surface which will, at some stage , bring us disease problems. Furthermore, as you will have seen from the recovery on the First, warmer weather and warm rain (hopefully - otherwise it's sprinklers!) will speed up recovery. Why not leave it till the beginning of October? Make a mistake with the weather or get a cold snap and they won't recover before the Winter sets in.
You will have noticed the tining and scarifying work going on around the Greens - not the rough but the areas immediately adjacent to the Greens - the fringe! Some areas are unsightly with clumps of Perennial Ryegrass and shallow rooted Meadow Grass. As with the First, hollow coring helps remove much of the bad stuff and with a programme of overseeding with finer Fescue Grasses it will greatly improve the appearance. Unfortunately, our tining machine is out of the Ark so it has ended up causing some damage - it will recover - and that's the reason we are getting a contractor to come in to do the hollow coring for us in August.
We are currently talking about new items of machinery - a new scarifier and small tractor to improve the rough areas around the Greens and to improve our tee areas and an overseeder so that we can constantly overseed when we feel it is needed - which is always! Unfortunately, it is costly - in the region of £20,000 and we have already spent some £30,000 on a new Greens mower. I know that if it is justified and the Club can afford it then the Board will always give its support. Compared to many Clubs our Subs are probably not as high as they could be - just think, an extra £200 a year per Member is almost £100,000!!! Maybe we'll get lucky and have a rich Member leaving all his money to us!!!
If we need to wait, the world won't end. I'm sure we all want a Club built on sound financial planning as we have, rather than one loaded down with debt.
Derek Aulton is going to coordinate a team of helpers to work on the bunkers during the August closure. If you can help in any way please ring Derek or just turn up on the day by 0830-0900 and Derek will direct your efforts. Hopefully a notice is going up in the corridor so it would be helpful to place your name there. Quick plea - please take and return a divot bag at least every other game - doesn't take long to use up one bag on the Course! Pitch marks are our other big problem - please go look for your indentation!!!
Sure I've bored you enough, any issues - you know my number or Email ( firstname.lastname@example.org) - please contact me.
Enjoy your Golf
Chairman of Greens
Friday 17th July 2015
Fellow Members, a few words before I go on a brief holiday!
The latest STRI ( Sports Turf Research Institute ) Report has arrived and a copy will be hung up in the corridor. If you wish to have an emailed copy, please request one from me or the Office. The Report is laudatory and constructive in its comments and gives some views on future requirements and works needed on the Course. Any queries, please don't hesitate to ask, txt or Email me.
A moan - the Captain and I were talking by the Millenium hut on his recent Captains Day Sunday. There are those Members who carry a divot bag, observe the trolley and direction signs for movement around the Course, walk the long way around the 9th either for safety or to limit course damage around the Green fronts. Then there are those who wouldn't be seen dead with a divot bag, take the straightest line when walking or driving the Course and some who even walk their trolleys between bunkers and Greens!!! Ask yourself honestly which type of Member you are when you play theCourse. Moan finished!!
The Course and Greens are currently healthy. There is a lot of time, work and thought going into how to keep them there. Although requests and comments are often repeats on a theme please don't ever hesitate to make your comments known to me. We can't fix it if we don't know it's broken!
My thanks to Dick Richardson for spending almost 6 hours last week before Captains day cleaning and tidying the distance boards and disks and the various road signs and litter boxes. Great job Dick, thank you very much.
We have just replaced all the hole cups to freshen them up and replaced all the flag sticks. Looks much better. Meadow grass is easing off on the seeding so it should help improve the Greens smoothness and trueness. The Greens speed will then look after itself! For the technical amongst us, we are currently cutting at below 4mm!
That's it! I appreciate that not everybody wants to read ramblings! I'm away till the 3rd of July.
Enjoy your Golf
Chairman of Greens
23rd June 2015
Fellow Members, a few comments about the Course if you feel inclined!
We are getting into the busy period of cutting, cutting and cutting! There are never enough hours and days in the week to get everything done and despite the misgivings of a few I can assure you that the Greens Staff put heart and soul into producing a Course that we can all be pleased with.
Some of the areas around some of the Greens continue to give concern. Volumes of traffic and dry weather will compound the problem. To help improve the situation our Head Greenkeeper Peter Leath has been applying a growth controller in those areas to help fill in the bare patches.
For some weeks now there have been notices in front of the First Green saying "no trolleys past this point" and "trolleys this way". This is to keep the area between the First Green and the Second Tee free of traffic and thus improving our lies in that area. However, there are still Members who either have a total disregard for Course care or, in the excitement of playing, cannot see the signs! Similarly, can we try to avoid walking over the patchy areas to the front and right side of the 4th Green.
At the 9th please try to avoid walking or moving trolleys over the area to the front right of the Green. Where possible, and if you are not too weary, please walk to the 10th tee via the long route around the back of the 9th! Please be aware of the safety issues of play in this area - we have talked about it more than enough this year!!
The matting at the front left of the 7th has been left to allow the grass to grow through it. When ready, the Greens Staff will try to secure it to the ground. Pathways continue to be an issue and will be improved as and when time and money allows. The white link fence has currently been removed and it has caused some concern that too many people are routing themselves just to the left of the left hand green side bunker. Please spread out your routing to avoid permanent damage here. If you have any strong feelings either way please mail or txt me - or speak to me!
The drainage work on 8 and 12 is now complete though I don't think Pete was too happy about the mess it caused. I'm sure it will settle down. As to the success of the work, we will have to wait for the weather to tell us! Pete is going to have to bring down 4 of the trees just to the right of the Men's 9th Winter tee and one large one short left of the 8th Green as their roots are interfering with the newly laid drainage pipes.
After much discussion the new white collars in the holes have been removed. They could possibly be reintroduced in the Winter months.
Fairways are growing strongly after the application of fertilisers. The cutters have been re sharpened and the height of cut reduced. We hope you are pleased with the result.
The new Greensmower is up and running and the Greens roller ,after its expensive repair, is also up and running.
Thanks to all the helpers who readily take out a divot bag. Please try to coerce your fellow playing members to take one also. If you take one every other game, it is a huge help in keeping the Course looking good - especially around the 12th!
Finally, I hope you will join with me in congratulating our Head Greenkeeper Peter Leath on celebrating his 40 years of work here at our Club. Well done Peter, you do a great job for the Club and you and your team make it a special place to come to play golf.
That's it folks, my brain is weary! Any thoughts you have, please don't hesitate to pass them on to me.
Enjoy your Golf
Chairman of Greens
23rd May 2015
Fellow Members, a few pieces of info about our Course:
The new Greens mower arrives on the 1st of May. This will be an addition to our fleet rather than a replacement. It will allow us to keep the rollers on the older unit and the new one for cutting. Weather permitting we hope to cut AND roll 2 or 3 times a week. If we find it is detrimental to our Greens we shall stop it. The Roller shaft broke this week ( over use!!! ) but it has been repaired by the Greens staff as has the old leaf gatherer. Incidentally, some people may not know it, but the Greens staff repair and maintain nearly all of our machinery! Some Clubs spend more than £100,000 a year on machinery maintenance. We are very fortunate to have versatile and willing Staff.
The fairway cutting height has been reduced from 18 mm to 15 mm for this year. Should improve the roll! We have fertilised 3 of the fairways so far and the rest will be done in due course. The leaf picking machine was used on the 3 fairways to help remove some of the old divots and gave the added bonus of a bit of scarifying of the ground. Unfortunately, the machine broke down after 3 holes ( it is quite old - 10 or 12 years! ). It is being repaired and the work will continue.
The Greens staff are looking at some of those difficult areas on the Course - e.g the approach and right side of the 4th Green, the approach from the 3rd Green to the 4th Tee, with a view to repair and overseeding. We shall probably make the areas GUR until it is improved.
Jonty Mountford is going to speak with the Head Greenkeeper( Peter Leath ) with a view to improving our supplies of bunker sand, top dressing sand and hopefully crushed stone with a view to improving pathways around the Course.
An improvement for this year is that on 15 of the Summer competition weekends the holes will be changed on a Sunday morning. Should give us neater holes! The little white collars at the tops of the cups improve the look of the hole and help prevent hole collapse. As some Members have questioned the legality of them, I shall be making the necessary checks to ensure we comply with the rules for Comps. For social golf they will be retained. And before I get the comments let me say that we will ensure that the collars are sited slightly below the surface of the ground.
Another improvement for this year ( I suspect, mainly for the better golfers! ), is that during the Summer period - ie when we are not placing - Members, during their social golf, may elect to play off the Yellow OR White tees. This applies equally to the Ladies! In the event that Members do not repair their own divot damage when using the White tees, then we shall revert to the present system. The GreenKeeping staff will have the right to move the White tees forward in the event of remedial work, weather or protection for upcoming Competitions. Visitors may only play off the White Tees with the express permission of the Golf Professional and his Assistant, the Chairman of Greens or the Chairman of Match.
Whilst we are on the subject of Tees, at the recent AGM, a Member ( Steve Wilson ) asked the following question:
When we have spent so much money on installing Sprinklers for our Tees, why are we not using them and why wasn't he able to find the sprinkler heads on the course. I promised to look into it and respond. Here is the answer:
1. Firstly, we only have 8 Tees fitted with Sprinkler systems. Holes 1 to 7 and hole 13.
2. The tee sprinklers are linked via computer into the main Greens sprinkler system and whilst the greens sprinklers come on 3 times a day, the tee sprinklers only come on on a Thursday and a Sunday ( unless otherwise needed). Obviously, this only applies when watering is needed!
3. Of course the reason we are not using them is that it is only just the end of March and the sprinklers have not been used since last September.
4. The reason he probably couldn't find the sprinkler heads was probably because he was looking at the wrong holes or the winter growth has covered them. Part of the Spring work carried out each year includes clearing these areas.
Darren Lewis, our Deputy Head Greenkeeper, has recently joined Match Committee and will act as an interface between Match and Greens.
Some of the weekend early birds may have noticed that the BRS booking system has been amended to allow people to book tee times earlier than in the past. This was because many members who couldn't get tee times were often not bothering to book and just turning up and playing before the the first available BRS time. I suspect that with the Summer approaching we will end up with people coming even earlier to play. Some Members of Committee think this isn't right; however, my personal feeling is that there can be no objection if people take account of the following rules:
1. If you take a tee time before the 1st BRS time then you must not:
a. Impede the Greens staff at their work.
b. Hold up or interfere with the play of those who have correctly gone through the booking system.
and c. If it is a competition day, you will need to make arrangements with Match or the Pro's shop to ensure that you are correctly booked into the competition.
Don't forget Divotting Day next Wednesday 0830 to 0915 at the clubhouse in suitable attire (even a bucket and a trowel ). Peter Leath will be directing operations; soup and a roll after followed by a 9 hole Comp with prizes.
Staking of trees up the left of the 14th should be taking place this coming week and the drainage work on 8 and 12 is "promised" in the next 2 weeks!!!
May I say how good it is to see some of our ladies joining us at our weekend golf - I get fed of just seeing grumpy old men!!!!
Finally, and still talking about our ladies, I'm sure you would all join me in congratulating Alex Peters on not only making the cut but also making a high finish in her first European Tournament, the Lalla Meryem Moroccan Open. You can follow her progress throughout the year on her website alexpetersgolf.com
Sorry for the lengthy dissertation
Enjoy your Golf
Chairman of Greens
4th Aptil 2015
Fellow Members, the Course Divotting day is now amended to Wednesday 8th April 2015. Apologies for the change of date.
There is a list on the wall outside the Pro's shop for Members to put their names on. The programme is as follows:
All meet at the Clubhouse between 0830 and 0915. Please bring appropriate footware and a small trowel or suchlike - if you have one!
Divotting will finish by 1100 hours to be followed by soup and a roll ( bread! ). At approx 1130 we will have a 9 hole shotgun event - format to be determined. The event will be folowed by a small prizes presentation in the bar.
Men, Women and Juniors are all welcome.
Please try to support us, especially the Seniors, the Ladies and the Fiddlers.
Enjoy your golf,
Chairman of Greens
26th March 2015
Just a short few notes before I leave for sunnier climes!
Course activity is gathering pace as the growing period approaches. The Fairways are being heavily tined/ slit to aerate the ground and the first Greens treatments have gone down - a light nitrogen and potash application - it's just a light kick in the pants to help wake the grass up!
The Course drainage of the 8th and 12th should take place during March.
The new Greens mower has been approved and will be with us by 1st May - cost £27,500 plus VAT.
The decision to allow Members to play off the tee of their choice will be made during early April. Personally, I see no reason to prevent it. Feel free to pass your comments to myself or any Member of Greens or Match Committee.
On 1st April - no joke! We will be closing the Course - a Wednesday - for a few hours. All Members, male, female and juniors are invited to join us from 0830 - 0915 ish at the Clubhouse where we shall be organising a divotting morning around the Course. At 1100ish soup and rolls will be served at the Clubhouse followed by a shotgun start 4 ball competition - you can choose your own 4ball - over 9 - poss 13 holes with prizes to the winners. As many people as possible are needed. If you can come along please wear suitable golf shoes and if you have a small trowel type device, please bring it with you! Info will go on the notice board with a list for names and it should also go out as an email.
Last time it was done more than 3 ton of seed mix went down!!
Please try to come along and help kickstart our Fairways!
Enjoy your golf,
Chairman of Greens
Fellow Members, I shall be away part of March so I thought I might update everyone on current activities.
Apart from the days of closure the Course has been extremely busy for the last 6 weeks. We are currently running at approx 750 games a week with 500/550 of those taking place on a Friday to Monday. 750 people and around 650 trolleys is a significant number of golfers for the Course and the Greens and for the numerous pinch points on the walks from Green to Tee! Imagine that volume of traffic walking across your lawn at home every week!! As we move into Spring and Summer that issue will be compounded by an increase in games to probably nearer 900/1000 games per week!!!
At a meeting this week, Jamie Lloyd - one of our Greenkeepers - said that he was on the Course working this last week and he was at a loss at one point as to where he should move the ropes! He felt that he was just moving them from one bad place to another!
How do we address the problems? Firstly, I'll talk about the things that we, as a Greens team, are going to try to do. Then, perhaps we might look at where Members might assist us.
Firstly, we are going to look at forms of matting that we might use at some of the pinch points. It will not totally eradicate the problem but it may help. Only problem is cost. For example, a reasonable quality hexagonal turf reinforcement mesh would cost approximately £1500 pounds for 300 metres (by 2 metres) and then it needs to be "installed"!
We are seeking advice from STRI ( Sports Turf Research Institute ) about the construction of new Winter tees. It is not a simple matter of elevating some soil and grassing it ( like a small number have suggested! ). The current Winter tees are hopelessly inadequate for a golf club as good as ours. We would like to produce more acceptable Winter tees but once again it won't come cheaply.
We will be looking to increase the amount of Vertidraining/ tining we do on the Fairways to improve subsoil aeration. Our Fairways are looking just a bit tired at the moment. We will also be increasing the fertilising of fairways which will greatly improve the growth and colour. However, it can be a bit self defeating as we will need more fairway cutting time!!
With an anticipation of a new Greens mower to add to our inventory we should be better placed to increase cutting and rolling on the Greens this year which will hopefully improve trueness and smoothness of surfaces. However, and it might as well be said now, whilst pace is important to all of us in Golf, a true, smooth and healthy sward is much more important. To search for a holy grail of 9 to 12 feet on a stimp meter for most of the summer is impractical and places the sward under too much stress. A bit like asking the Captain to play 7 or 8 below his handicap EVERY time he goes out to play. Some things are just not possible!!!
The team have made a great start on trimming back, pruning and bringing down rotten or inappropriately positioned trees. This will help improve play and have an aesthetic result for the Course as a whole.
Work on installing a new drainage system in the area of the 8th and 12th should commence in March ( finally! ) albeit at a cost of just under £10,000!
The greens team are starting work on improving the area of the practice ground, chipping and putting areas by the First Tee. This will include the bunker area and tidying around the practice net area.
We are looking to purchase white cup hole inserts to place in the Greens cups. If they work, it will smarten up the hole and probably give the cup surround some support. Our thanks to Martyn Brown for the suggestion.
Assistance from Members
Some Members regularly do work which largely goes unnoticed throughout the year. For example, the Gardening Club work tirelessly and quietly to tidy, clear and plant all sorts around the Course. Graham Roberts, John Clayton and several others work quietly away throughout the year to help make the Course more pleasant and enjoyable for others. However, we could do with a small team or list of Members who might care to help us out around the Course - whether it be collecting dead branches, staking trees, tidying around bunkers and so on. If you feel you could spare a few hours once in a while or on a regular basis perhaps you would be kind enough to get in touch with me or Peter Leath - our Head Greenkeeper. You may want to organise a small team to work on a project such as pathways around the 7th, repairing or rebuilding the drainage on the 5th tee or looking at the replacement of the Ladies Tee on the 5th to a more lady friendly position! We are looking to build a new single toilet with washbasin to replace the portacabin loo on the 8th. The portaloo costs us approx £1800 per year. I would like to see a greater array of hydrangeas on the far side of the pool on the 6th - it would make a lovely backdrop. The area at the back of the 17th is pretty terrible. If we could get agreement from the owner for Members to clear all the debris from the area around the folly, it would make a great backdrop to the 17th. We'll be getting like Augusta!!! Any support we can get to improve our Course, whether it be moral, physical or even financial, would be gratefully accepted. Food for thought to be able to give a bit back.
A few small things to finish. The ropes at the front of the 18th are there to help improve the ground in that area. Trollies may be wheeled the long way around to the right and then approach the shoe cleaner from the back of the Green or via the gateway to the Members car park. Please DO NOT take your trollies under the ropes!
The practice ground facility is proving to be a great asset to members and more members than ever before are using the area. It's great to be able to knock a basket of balls and not have to collect them. Neil charges only £2.50 for a basket or you can take up his offer of unlimited balls for only £60 pa. That's a great offer!
On the subject of offers, some of you may have noticed that Nick and Ann have now introduced breakfast, bacon butties, tea and coffee etc on Sunday mornings from 9am. Like anything else in life, if it isn't supported, it will die. So, if we want to keep the facility, we will need to support it. Why not order a bacon butty to pick up as you go through the 9th. You could even order your breakfast or sandwich the day before so that it's all ready for you when you arrive!
Enjoy your Golf
Chairman of Greens
17 February 2015
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