Members Newsletter End Of February 2020

Dear Members

I had hoped that the New Year would bring some drier weather. Unfortunately as you are all aware, this has most certainly not been the case! I say with optimism that March and April should deliver us some more favourable weather in which case the course will dry out and golfing conditions will improve. As an example of how bad conditions have been across the country. Below you can see some weather data taken from the Players Club in Bristol.

Jan 2018 – 74.5mm         Jan 2019 – 32.5mm         Jan 2020 – 108.5mm

Feb 2018 – 33mm            Feb 2019 – 66mm            Feb 2020 – 121.5mm

As mentioned in previous newsletters, it is deeply upsetting for us to have to endorse course restrictions and closures. The decisions are rarely easy and are based on two main criteria; is the course safe & is the course playable?  With regards to playability, this can be subjective and almost certainly people’s opinions will differ!

When golf is played in a very casual format then course restrictions could be potentially less frequent. Not every shot needs to be played from its original lie. For example, if your ball is sitting in lush/wet ground on the semi-rough then why not place on a dry section of the fairway? Keep your clothes clean and reduce damage to the course by not pulling trolleys through wet areas. Most golfers like to use a powered trolley. They are very heavy and very often leave muddy marks. For those who are able to use carry bags then please do so as this would help very much.

We have carried out some important drainage work on the 5th hole and the 7th holes. Both projects have been successful and we will see the benefits in the autumn. To complete the work on the 7th we will need to gravel band the entire carry so that water can be pushed into the drains. There is also some work to be done on the newly installed gully on the 5th. Once the water levels in the ditch have reduced we will then construct a storm defence around the end of the ditch. This will allow all the water to be redirected into our new underground pipe system.

Due to the terrible conditions of 2019/20 we cancelled our original winter work proposals and focused our energy/budgets on the aforementioned projects. This will now be the case I suspect for the next two/three winters. It is obviously very sensible to allocate funds to the most important issues and that is clearly drainage!! I will provide a more detailed plan very soon but in the main we plan to install further drainage systems and gravel/sand band specific areas. We had booked in the services of DJuke contactors to sand band the 8th and the 9th greens. Due to the fact the both greens have a substantial fall from back to front, it is possible to sand band these greens. This will give any excess water channels to move through the profile. Unfortunately we had to postpone this operation as ground conditions were not suitable. We will look to carry out this work in the early autumn so all is not lost.

Our next challenge will be the week commencing the 9th of March as this is when we will carry out our greens’ renovations. We plan to hollow core the greens with 12mm hollows followed by appropriate amounts of topdressing. We aim to incorporate 40-50 tonnes of sand into the profile. The challenge will be carrying out the work to waterlogged greens. Greens 1, 8, 9, 11, 13, & 14 may prove to be a problem as we certainly do not want to drag heavy machinery over these surfaces. It would be possible to core the greens, however during the clear up we would compact the greens and close up the holes which would prevent us from being able to incorporate the sand. I hope this is not the case but we will not carry out any work that would have a negative impact on the surfaces. If these problems present themselves then we will formulate a new plan and you will be informed appropriately.

I would like to thank you all for your patience and understanding. It has been and continues to be a very difficult time; not just for us but the majority of golf clubs & sports pitches across the country. Without your continued support the job would be far more difficult and once again I thank you for this.

Warm Regards

Christopher Ball

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