Exciting times are ahead! The above statement is our simple remit. What does this all mean for your Golf Course? How do we intend to do this?
Our aim, which we are extremely confident of achieving, is to return the golf course to the fantastic condition it was in during the five years of Open qualifying. There are many reasons why we believe this will be done. Some of the work has already been started, including acquiring a brand-new seeding machine, which is already being used for over seeding all fairways and bare areas. Ground conditions have been perfect and therefore we should see a fantastic improvement once the seed starts to take.
We have also been working hard to improve all the bunkers on the course and are slowly bringing the new bunkers on the 15th, 17th and 18th holes into play. Not having had such a severe winter has in fact left the course with the least amount of traffic damage coming into April for many years and I believe, like many others, our greens are in the best condition in March that I have ever seen.
What else will we be doing?
You are all, I am sure aware, of the condition of the irrigation system, which has been failing for over 10 years. Presently over two thirds of the system are not working properly. Last year we finally got caught out by not being able to water various parts of the course and due to a long dry summer the course in turn suffered severely. We are beyond the point where we can just patch up parts of the irrigation system.
Commencing early September, when the ground conditions should be best suited, we will start work on a new, full, irrigation system, including a new water efficient design, wiring, future proof mains pipework and a modern pump station. All greens, (incl. the practice 8th green), tees, approaches and at least 3 fairways will have full coverage, with the remaining fairways having pipework in place, ready for full sprinkler options for the future, should it be deemed necessary and finance allow. In the meantime, this pipework will facilitate watering the fairways by the use of travelling sprinklers.
This system will make a massive difference to our golf course. Work will continue over most of the season. MJ Abbotts, our chosen contractor, have installed systems in The Belfry, Sunnindale, Celtic Manor, Royal Lytham, Hanbury Manor and The Grove, to name just a few. In the interim we will be keeping our present system going using new parts, that will in the main, be reusable in the new system.
Geoff and I are working on a 1, 3 and 5-year plan for the course, which when approved by the Board will be available to all members, hopefully in the next few weeks. It will be our vision and commitment to improve and develop our great golf course over the coming years.
We have already committed to the following:
All new machinery
An over seeding programme to restore the fairways and improve the rough
Replacement and redesigning of all tees
Renovation and redesigning of bunkers
Hopefully our own water resource
Complete reinstatement of the practice green
New Academy facilities
Some new, replaced and repaired Course paths
EGU approved Buggy policy.
The intended schedule of works when in place will be transparent to all. We are back to full Green Staff levels and intend to add to this.
The Board have also fully committed to giving the Greens’ department the tools and investment they need to return our course to the amazing conditions that gave us our ‘Open Qualifying’ status. I am sure you will want to be part of it.