Author: Geoff Smith

Geoff Smith is Abridge Course Manager.

Frustrating Frosts to Fantastic Greens

It can be very frustrating when you turn up for a round of golf at one of your favourite top quality courses like Abridge Golf Club and there is a frost and the Course Manager Geoff Smith will only let you play to temporary Greens!

So why do I do it ? Is it to be awkward, is it I don’t want to allow you to use the main Greens because I cannot be bothered to set them up ? Or I just like to annoy Golfers!

Some of you may know the reasons why, but for those that don’t please click on the video link and watch and learn!

Its a video from the US but the principles and reasons for protecting our Greens from frost and golfers are exactly the same

So having now watched the above video, I hope you understand why the top Courses such as Abridge Golf Course protect their Greens when we have frosts.

Although it’s frustrating for you as the Golfer on these frost days it enables me to write articles later in the year that start with the heading ‘ FANTASTIC GREENS!’

Geoff Smiths’ course updates – The Irrigation Lake

Each month Geoff Smith, the course manager at Abridge, will provide an update of the schedule of works currently being undertaken to improve the course at Abridge and ensure it remains one of the ‘must play’ top golf courses in Essex.


Happy new year to you all from myself and the greenkeeping team at Abridge. We have been planning the ‘new dawn at Abridge’ for some time and I can ensure you that there are really exciting times ahead on the golf course in 2019. With so much going on, my green keeping team are all really looking forward to enhancing the playing experience for all of our members and visitors in the coming year.

Irrigation Lake.

In 2018 the golf club invested heavily in a new irrigation system at Abridge. We were able to water and maintain almost all of the fairways during one of the hottest summers on record.  As part of the decision making process it was agreed to install an irrigation lake so we can store and then supply our own water.

If you have played the golf course in the last 2 weeks then you will know that these works have started so I thought that you may appreciate a full schedule of programmed works! It’s not set in stone as many factors can lead to change. Here is some video footage of what we are doing at the moment…

Abridge Golf Club commence work on the new irrigation lake

1. The first job is to clear the area of trees adhering to the plans approved; this will take approximately 4-6 weeks.

2. We then have to put in place some temporary protection and monitoring for wildlife that may or may not be there for a period of time and then the plan is to start the main construction of the lake.

3, Once completed we are then in the hands of the weather to start filling it and then at some stage we will be able to stop being totally reliant on expensive mains water to irrigate our Golf course. This makes us more environmentally sustainable and responsible as a Golf Course and user of water.

4. Then when construction is finished and suitable conditions replacement tree planting and landscaping will take place.

As the saying goes ‘Rome was not built in a day!’ and we know there is a lot of work to be done but my staff and I are all very keen to get it done and we also have the passion and desire to take the condition of the  course to the next level. This work takes time, investment, patience with some disruption and inconvenience that will require understanding and compassion from you, the Golfer and a little bit of luck with regards to the weather!

That’s it for now but over the coming months I will update you further on our progress to include

  1. Expansion of the new Irrigation system to other parts of the Golf Course.
  2. Re constructing some bunkers, starting with the 13th greenside.
  3. Drainage of the 18th Green and other areas.
  4. Completion of the buggy path around the back 9 holes giving us a buggy path all around the course.

Happy golfing at Abridge and here’s to a great 2019.

Geoff Smith

E: [email protected]

What’s going on this coming week

This week we will be starting some turfing around certain areas , 18th green surroundings , 13th green surroundings and the patches that have not recovered from all the irrigation works . We will also be continuing the ‘shattermaster’ Work on the fairways . I will post an article on that later this week . Finally we will also be carrying on with the tree work in preparation for the irrigation reservoir . Happy days 👍 Enjoy your golf Enjoy your club Enjoy new Abridge 

Geoff

New fleet heralds a new dawn at Abridge

Course manager Geoff Smith welcomes what he also describes as a ‘new dawn’ at the club, with recent developments including a third successive John Deere course maintenance equipment fleet deal with local dealer P Tuckwell Ltd at Ardleigh, near Colchester. This is based on a John Deere Financial operating lease with PowerGard Protection Plus warranty and maintenance cover for the duration of the lease, based on simple monthly payments.

This deal has been complemented by the arrival of a new teaching professional and a new golf club fitting centre installed by Golf Principles of Basingstoke, as well as plans for a redesign of the clubhouse plus an overhaul of the practice facilities and driving range. A new full wall-to-wall Perrot state of the art irrigation system, the first one of its kind in the UK, is also being installed by contractors M J Abbott this winter.

“It’s a really exciting time for the club,” says Geoff Smith. “With this new investment, the first for several years, we are aiming to bring the course back to Open Qualifier standards and keep ahead of the competition. The only real asset we have is the golf course, so it needs to be looked after.

“Members can already see what we’ve achieved, and our board members believe the course is the best it’s ever looked. A neighbouring club’s greens chairman even said that he’d heard Abridge is in absolutely magnificent condition.”

With this third package deal, 100 per cent of the equipment has been leased compared to just 40 per cent with the club’s first agreement. “The terms of the deal and the service package have improved each time, and with this latest investment we know exactly where we are budget wise for the next five years, with no hidden costs,” says Geoff.

The package covers 26 John Deere machines, including PrecisionCut and TerrainCut walk-behind and ride-on mowers for the greens, tees, approaches and rough, compact tractors and a front loader, Gator utility vehicles, an amenity turf sprayer and a bunker rake, plus ancillary equipment.

“We looked at all the main brands and had machines on demonstration – all of my staff get to try them and report back on their likes and dislikes,” says Geoff. “Our mechanic Paul Aylett, deputy course manager Ben Scrivener and I then evaluate the staff’s findings and look at price options and back-up issues.

“For us it all comes back to the dealer and the service we’ve historically had and continue to get from Tuckwell and sales manager Neil Peachey. All the advice, help and extra support really count – it’s a good relationship, and it works well for both sides. Our machines do a lot of work and if Paul cannot solve things, I need to know that someone from the supplier can be with us within 24 hours.”

Geoff Smith also says he’s very impressed with the new John Deere 9009A rough mower, which provides much better definition around the course. “When it was first demonstrated I didn’t want it, I thought it was too big, but Neil said he’d take it back if I really didn’t like it – and it stayed!

“I like the new 220SL walk-behind greens mowers too – we hand cut five out of seven days in high season, using lights and front brushes, and they do a very good job. The new A Model mowers with the TechControl display on the CommandArm are great as well, allowing every machine to achieve the same consistent finish across the course.”

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