Winter report 2019/20 (part 3)

This is the final part of the works carried out over winter 2019/20. Today I will discuss the final works we have carried out, including the bits you can’t see i.e. drainage, and the tree works carried out across the course.

We shall start with the 7th hole. The left hand side, green side of the valley had become wet over time and was causing balls to get lost that you would have expected to find. This area was a tricky one because there didn’t appear to be any water bubbling up out of the ground. I thought it would be best to dig a trench from the left side of the green, and lay pipe all the way down the fairway and let it exit into the valley that splits the fairway. What was really strange about this dig, is that we didn’t find any existing drains whatsoever running across the area. The top half of the site was built on solid clay, which will be the reason the area has poor drainage in the first place. The bottom half is built on very sandy soil, so this area will naturally drain a lot better. We also installed two lateral drains running from the edge of the fairway and connecting into the main pipe. This will improve the drainage all through the semi-rough.

You will also have noticed that we have taken a wedge of trees out down the left hand side of the 7th. This was to make room to dig the trench through to the valley. We also believed that removing these trees would make this hole a bit fairer and more playable as balls are very difficult to keep an eye on once they drift left over the valley. I for one thinks it opens the hole up nicely making it more pleasing on the eye.

An area that has been bugging me for many years was the area of trees directly behind the 17th green. This green suffers with moss issues and the amount of shade this green gets will be contributing to that issue. I also believe that removing these trees will give better views over to the 10th tee and overlooking the 18th lake and green. Unfortunately, many members of the greens committee weren’t too keen on removing the lot, so we have tried to save the best trees we could. Due to the COVID outbreak we didn’t get time to complete the area but we will get back to it next winter.

The greens committee came to a decision to remove wedges of trees from two holes in particular. The right hand side of the 13th between the 200-yard marker and 150-yard marker, and the 16th about 100 yards back from the green. This is to give the player a much fairer shot towards the green from the semi-rough. Again removing these trees has given these holes a much more aesthetic look.

As we were coming to the end of our winter programme, we had begun installing a new pathway at the 10th tee, and widening the path at the 18th tee. During this time, COVID-19 had struck forcing the golf club to close. The club had no option but to furlough two members of our green staff and keep two on to maintain the golf course as best we could. There was no preference in which members of staff to furlough, we came to the decision as a team and myself as Head Greenkeeper obviously needed to stay in work.

Thanks to the greens committee and the efforts of various member volunteers, we managed to finish and lay the edgings for the new paths as well as paint all the hazard markers, bins and finish off the 7th bridge. The volunteers also cut all the saplings down from around the lakes that were growing out of control. Many thanks to all the volunteers involved. As it will for many golf clubs across the country, 2020 will be a difficult year. We will ensure we do the best we can under these difficult circumstances.

As always, please adhere to all the rules in place and stay safe. Enjoy your season.

Head Greenkeeper

Alex Lowes

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