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.

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

Getting ready to start our Autumn / Winter programme

I hope you are all still playing golf in between the showers. These days of continuous showers seems to have been a theme for the last couple of months. Our recent trends of warm, dry September’s and October’s seem to have gone this year. It certainly helps with keeping everything growing and looking great but does cause issues with getting ‘dry cuts’ in and course renovations.

To date, renovations have gone really well. The greens as you know were only renovated 3 weeks ago and arfe almost fully recovered. Last week we managed to core and topdress all the approaches and half the tees and have finished the tees off yesterday. So despite the rain we are well ahead!

The fairways will be hollow cored and or scarified w/c 2nd October and then some overseeding where necessary.

The 9th bunkers are being finished this week ready for turfing,  and we intend to start on re-instating the 10th bunker, again ready for turfing. We are also topping up bunkers with sand over the next two weeks.  People maybe wondering what the red lines are on some of the greens?  We have a few areas on the greens that after a busy summer need some overseeding. To give these areas a good chance to establish we are letting these areas ‘grow up’ to the height of the collars. Then in the spring we will re-establish the areas back to Greens height.

We are also getting ready to start our Autumn / Winter programme of Tree, bunker, Tee rebuilding and pathway work. I will give you more details of these proposed works in the next few weeks.

As you all probably know I raise money for charity every year. This year my chosen charities are MIND and Dementia UK and I still have approx. 12 places left on my Annual Charity Golf Day next Tuesday afternoon 12.00 sandwiches, 1pm shotgun start followed by two Course Dinner, Prizes and Raffle. If any of you would like to play or even better can enter a fourball that would be very much appreciated. Please let me know either via my mobile or the Office.

That’s it for this week. Enjoy your Golf

Geoff
Course Manager

Routine maintenance such as aerating and sand dressing.

Course Update July 2017

I hope you all have been enjoying the course over the last few weeks and were pleased with our course preparation for the club championship.  The greens were left to dry out a little, apart from hand watering (hence the browning of some areas) and fairway watering was increased as you all hopefully noticed.  All the green staff have heard is positive and praising comments, so from myself and the staff, a big thank you.

However, to get the course in the great condition it has been over the last few weeks, we have to carry out routine maintenance such as aerating and sand dressing.  

On Wednesday and Thursday of this week we will be doing exactly that.  Early Wednesday 12th July, the day after all that lovely rain, we aerated greens down to 5 inches with pencil tines.  Sorry, the greens may have been a bit bumpy.  Then on Thursday 13th July, they will then be hand cut and top dressed with a light sand dressing.  Due to the dressing, the greens won’t be cut again until Sunday morning to allow the sand to ameliorate into the green profiles.  Your co-operation and understanding would be gratefully received over this time.

As I said earlier, up until Wednesday of this week, we had been watering like crazy in order to keep the course in great condition in the hot temperatures.  This has taken a lot of man hours and the green staff’s flexibility.  For this I owe them a massive amount of praise which I’m sure is reciprocated by you.

As I’m sure you can appreciate, with the summer holidays imminent, we will have staff away on their holidays.  During this period, we will be striving to keep the course up to the standard that it has been over the last couple of months.  However, some little jobs may go amiss at times.  Please bear with us as we will catch up when back up to our full quota.

We’ve seen, from the start of the season this year that the course has been a lot busier with green fees, societies and corporate functions.  This is only a good thing for the reputation of the club.  However, due to the increase in footfall, we’ve noticed an increase in litter, pitch marks and divots not being repaired.  It would be of great help from the members if these things are noticed, please pick up litter and repair damage.

Until the next update, please enjoy the course.

The Greens Staff  

Feeling HOT HOT HOT

Dear all, it’s been a hot one!!

Hopefully you have been out and enjoying the Golf Course. Everyone seems to be very happy with the course and greens and I would like to take this opportunity to thank my staff who are working incredibly hard and some very long hours!

As you are all aware the irrigation system is planned to be replaced in September, until then we are doing the best we can to keep everything going. As fast as we fix a pipe another one seems to burst! The water bowser is out pretty much 24/7, (yes some of the staff including me have been watering through the night this week), and we will continue to do this as necessary. The ‘Travelling Sprinklers’ that you will have seen on the fairways are doing a reasonable job and again these are going most of the time. PLEASE do not touch these sprinklers or the wires they are attached to.

All of this watering obviously takes up an amazing amount of manpower, some jobs are therefore having to be put back in order of priority so I hope you will understand if some things are not done.

On that note thank you very much to all of you that are helping with Lol Greens’ Divot a Fairway Scheme’, it does make a difference. 

Well done to the Club in their achievements at the Metropolitan and I hope you are all looking forward to the Club Championships! We will be doing our best to keep the course in its best condition; hopefully we will have a little rain before then? Please note that as we prepare the course, especially the greens, for the Club Championships, we will rest certain areas so that we can bring everything up to speed, (especially the greens!!).

Hope you all continue to enjoy your Course and Club.

Regards

Geoff

Course Manager

What a difference a bit of moisture makes to the course!

Dear All, Well we finally got the rain !!!

I hoped you all enjoyed the Captains away day, sorry i could not be there but i had an appointment with Mr. VanGerwan and Mr. Taylor last night that was an amazing experience.

What a difference a bit of moisture makes to the course! All the seed and fertiliser that has been put out the last few weeks waiting for the rain has now started kicking lovely. Over the next few days we will see a massive ‘green up’ and growth spurt. We are very confident the course will keep improving now we have had some decent rain.
This does mean for a few days we will have issues with grass clippings owing to wet cuts, but an issue i and the Greenstaff are happy to have !

The greens were very wet after the deluge of rain the last couple of days, and we were unable to cut them this morning. This does mean they maybe a little slow today and possibly over the weekend.
Many people have been reporting that the greens have been playing great the last few weeks which is good to hear considering we have not ramped up the work on them yet.
On monday the greens will be aerated, verti-cut, topdressed and fed.
They will also receive a fungicide as there is a fair bit of disease about owing to the humid wet conditions. We will then now start reducing the greens and other areas to their ‘summer height of cut’
over the next few days.

Please remember to rake bunkers if you go in them and to repair your pitchmarks, it really does make a difference.

Enjoy your Course, its yours remember!

Regards

Geoff
Course Manager

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