Category: Green Keepers News

News and information from our Abridge Green keepers on whats happening around the course and how they are keeping it in the best condition.

There coming back

This morning Mj Abbotts return for a few weeks to install further Irrigation and a few other things to our great course. Have a look below.

Their Back at Abridge Golf Club

Between us we will start installing further improvements to our new Perrot Irrigation system.

PERROT IRRIGATION PRODUCTS

The work includes sprinkler installation to the 11th fairway and also parts of the 14th fairway. We will also be adding sprinklers to the 2nd tees, surrounds on holes 7,12,13,14 and further sprinklers to the 10th approach. Please be aware that holes 1,10,11 and 14 will be closed when work is being done but no more than one hole will be closed at a time. The par 3 normally the practice green to the left of the 8th green, will be used as the substitute hole when these holes are shut

Other works to be done will include the new water mains installed from the road across the bottom of the driving range , across the 1st approach , in front of the 2nd tee and then connected to the new Pump House. The new 3 phase electric cable will also be taken across the same route and also join into the new Pump house. The Irrigation holding tank will also be finished, computer software and irrigation programme control system updated and then everything connected up. The new state of the art Perrot Irrigation equipment /Mj Abbot install will be all ready to rock n roll!

No other Golf Course in Essex will have such an efficient modern Irrigation system. We were in great condition last year, and we should be even better this year.

I ask again for all golfers to be patient and understanding while these works take place. I will each day let the pro shop know and update the website and ‘team up’ calendar as to where works are being done.

On a different subject i’m sure you will have noticed we have a problem with the 4th green. Between our agronomists, my own staff and myself we believe we have established a very good theory as what’s wrong with it and are now taking the necessary steps to get it sorted. I will give you the full story on it once we are 100% sure of what has happened.

We had a visit from this man on Tuesday afternoon.

What a very very pleasant man, happy to talk and for me despite being a 125% Gooner was really impressed to hear of his passion for West Ham and his desire to take to take them higher in the league. He asked me for a selfie, which I was happy to give him.

Enjoy your golf . Enjoy your Course . Enjoy your club, remember its yours!

Geoff

Busy Tines ahead !

Well, I hope you are enjoying this spell of early spring sunshine and warmer daytime temperatures? I personally don’t think we are out of Winter yet as some people keep saying but fingers crossed !

As the title says, (no its not a spelling mistake !), owing to the good conditions we are having we are pushing ahead with lots of aeration work . On Monday we will be deep verti-draining all of the greens, originally planned for March. A good iron behind this work and apart from the visual holes the greens will be fine, especially for February. I will need your patience on Monday and possibly Tuesday while we breathe some vital air into the greens. Anyone that missed my drone video on why we verti-drain its below for you.

The greens will then receive a fertiliser which is designed to correct any lack of nutrients from the winter , harden the plant to protect from disease and also start to kick the grass into growing slowly.

Hopefully the 18th green should be back in play by the weekend. Its been very wet and we have just booked to have drained later this year.

If you have played this week you will have noticed that the large verti-drain is out on the fairways again? It’s making a little superficial mess but the benefits and the great results this will bring to our ‘carpets’ in the spring will outweigh this mess.

The bad boy is out at it again ! Oh and so is the Verti-drain!

We have also already started Solid Tining Tees, Approaches and Surrounds using our great Toro Procore.

Great bit of kit !

The areas look a bit like tea bags after but this aeration is so good for the ground and creates some excellent airspace and vital oxygen to the grass plant. The diagram below hopefully explains why we aerate .

The benefits of aeration

Following this process Tees and Approaches will also receive a nice ‘wake up’ meal as well.

Next week further work will take place on the 13th bunkers rebuild. Hopefully the weather will be kind to let us get these works completed . Incorporated into the new bunker complex will be a ‘run off’ to the right of the 13th Green similar to the 10th and 18th Greens

Finally I would like to clarify a couple of things. Buggys are only allowed on the front 9 holes and must stick to the paths at all times. Trolleys can be used on all 18 holes, but unless you have purchsed Winter wheels (available from the Pro shop), you must keep your trolley on the paths .
We really appreciate your support on this matter, its your course, so lets look after it !

So lots going on on your Golf Course ! That’s it for now , enjoy your Golf , enjoy your Club.

Geoff

Abridge Golf Course Manager

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We all need AIR !

So what is that rather large piece of machinerey on the fairways at the moment, getting in the way of your Golf , punching holes in the fairways and leaving mess !

Well, its called a verti-drain. Its a great bit of kit that helps us get our fairways in the condition they are during the season

Grass needs air just like we do to make it healthy and flourish. The clay soil we have makes it essential to keep the soil profile aerated allowing vital air into it , this creates a better environment for root development, which in turn makes the plant more resistant to dry periods and wear from golf traffic.

The idea of the verti drain is to create these air pockets and relieve compaction from the continuous golf traffic.

It also helps with draining a surface water, by creating spaces amongst the soil to allow water to get through. When conditions are right we can get holes down 14 inches, but any depth of 5 inches or more is doing a job. The thickness of the tines range from 1/2 inch to 1 inch.

It takes roughly a whole working day to do one approach and fairway. If you see it on the course you will see its a slow process.

Conditions have to be right to be able to use the verti-drain, if the ground is too hard you cannot get the tines into the ground, too wet and you create a mud bath. Yes it does make a bit of mess as it disrupts the surface, but the benefits outweigh heavily this.

Here at Abridge Golf Course we ideally Verti-drain all the fairways, approaches and tees three times a year when possible. We also do the same process on the greens but use a smaller machine and thinner tines. More on that process another time.

Please watch and enjoy the video below and see this great bit of machinery in action.

Enjoy

Abridge Irrigation Lake update

I thought you might like an update on the Irrigation lake.

The best way I could do this was to give you a Bird’s eye view using a Drone. Its only my second proper flight so please be patient with my flying skills! Don’t worry I have all the permissions from the relevant authorities to fly it so hopefully I will not be bringing any airports to a standstill!!

 The Greenstaff have been working incredibly hard and we are really making some progress. Watch the video and you will see it shows the middle of the area and then zooms around the perimeters.

The film starts looking at the perimeter of the proposed lake along the side of the 4th fairway where these trees you see will remain. It then shows the row of trees along the 1st fairway will remain and this will extend round to the 2nd tee. You then see the new water tank and pump house, we have to remove the trees initially. Once digging commences and soil is moved the Water Tank and Pump house will be hidden by Soil mounding and new trees planted.

The video then shows the 3rd hole where we have now removed more trees, this area again will be shaped and mounded with excess soil forming the bank of the Lake.

The aerial view gives you an idea of the size of the Lake, it will store approximately 35,000 cubic litres of natural water, and at its deepest is roughly 6 m deep. The Lake, when full, will give us enough of our own water to use for irrigation to the course throughout most summers.

Finally I have tried to show you further views of the area.

We still have more clearance work to do and then the next stage of construction can start.

Enjoy the Video

I will update you further on this in the next few weeks

Regards Geoff

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.”

Course drainage update


Well what a change in the weather! When I left to go on holiday we were in very dry, hot sunny conditions and I have returned to wet, windy cool conditions! The positive is this rain will set us up nicely for the summer if it returns?

The greens are quite lush and soft owing to the wet conditions and all areas are starting to grow like spring again. When the warmer drier weather returns we will be cutting crazy!

Just a couple of updates on Course work. 9th Bunkers, we had to stop half way through renovating them owing to the manpower required during the very hot spell to keep the water going. It would also have been a little foolish to turf during that period.  Once many of my staff have had their well earned holidays we will get back to finishing them off.

We have started working on a temporary green at the 3rd hole. This is in preparation for when we install some drainage in the 3rd green on the 17th August. We will be using the same drainage system that we used on the 10th Green 2 years ago. If you remember the green was out of play for 2-3 weeks and then fully restored soon after. Hopefully things will go as smoothly as the 10th green did. I appreciate your understanding while we do this improvement works.

Irrigation and reservoir plans are coming along nicely and I hope to be able to update you soon with more details.

Finally , as I said earlier many of my staff are taking holidays the next few weeks, especially next week so please understand if not all jobs are getting done as quick as they should be.

Enjoy your Golf, enjoy your Course.

Regards,

Geoff

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