JULY 2020

Dear Members,

With the lockdown now behind us I hope that you’re all enjoying being back on the golf course. With competitions now being played it feels like things are starting to return to normal!!

As you are all obviously aware, in a bid to reduce any possible contagion of covid-19 the pins are not to be touched. To make this possible with no added cost, we turned the cups upside down so that you could retrieve your golf ball without touching the pin. Unfortunately there have been a few incidents where the ball has bounced off the pin. This is due to the pins not sitting correctly/locking into position. When the cups are inserted the correct way round, the farrels on the bottom of the pins lock into position, therefore, reducing the amount of lean on the pin. To try to rectify this problem we have now inserted the cups the correct way round and attached foam to the bottom of the pin. The ball will now rest on the foam so that it can be easily retrieved. Hopefully this will solve the problem. Some of you may have played courses that use a purpose built lift and retrieve system. Unfortunately there is only one brand that would fit our current pins and this system would make the base of the stem wider so the problem with balls bouncing off the pins would be greater. The only way around this problem would be to purchase new thinner pins and then the lift and retrieve system. This would come at some cost so we are trying to improvise and save the club money.

I hope you would all agree that the course has been in fantastic condition this summer. As always the Greenkeeping team have worked extremely hard. Some of you may have observed the recent work that has been carried out to the putting surfaces. This work is carried out, usually on a fortnightly basis and is paramount for the long term health and playability of the greens. It is vital that we put oxygen back into the profile. This is done by tining/spiking. This also relieves compaction from foot traffic and of course our machinery. Regular topdressing helps to control thatch levels and improves the performance of the putting surface by giving a true ball roll. It is usual for nearly all clubs to carry out such work on a regular basis. We are always looking to find ways to minimize disruption to play. Timing is important, as these tasks need to be done in advance of competitions. I apologise for any disruption that it may cause, however if we did not do it your surfaces would ultimately suffer.

Some of you may wonder why the green speed varies from competition to day-to-day play! There are several reasons for this. We prepare the greens for competitions days in advance. This may include double cutting/dry afternoon cuts and certainly turf ironing. The greens are also kept dry and hungry. All this combined will provide you with fast greens. If we take into consideration these practices it is not practical to do this week in week out as the surfaces again would ultimately suffer. Having said this, the main reason for the occasional slower green in the week might be the fact that we have carried out some work which has then changed our normal mowing practice. It is also worth noting that environmental stresses can cause no end of problem on golf greens. The obvious one would be dry/hot conditions. In these conditions we will obviously be watering more and in some circumstances we miss out the occasional cut to help protect the greens. I sometimes wish that managing golf greens is as easy as just cutting them each day. I suppose if this were to be the case then anybody could do it and it would indeed be a tad boring!!

It is very pleasing to see the majority of you using wooden tees as this undoubtedly better for the environment than plastics. The only down side is that we are currently seeing broken tee pegs lying on the surface or in piles. We are currently looking at prices for broken tee peg boxes. In the mean time I would ask you all to kindly dispose of your broken tees in the bushes or the long grass rather than just off the side of the tee or in a pile. An important consideration is the potential risk to our staff as we then have to pick up your broken pegs. I would be very grateful if you could all bear this in mind.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those that came to the divot party on Thursday evening. It is so wonderful to have a membership that actively wants to help and care so much about the course. Once again many thanks.

Warm Regards

Christopher Ball

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