In late summer we released a plan to members and visitors about our plans for improving the course and driving range over the winter, and we are pleased to report on the progress.
Mark and his team have been very busy over the last few months, and a mountain of progress has been made so far.
Our winter maintenance plan for bunkers was to fully renovate 19 bunkers, top up 13 with sand, and also fill five bunkers in. We are two months into the work and so far the Greenkeepers have fully renovated 7 bunkers (37% complete) and topped up 7 bunkers (54% complete). If we continue at the current rate we may be able to add a couple more bunkers to the plan, but there are many external factors that will determine this, including the winter weather. Below are some progress pictures of bunkers already completed.
We opened the Practice Putting Green at the end of October, which was later than scheduled due to some areas not establishing as we'd predicted. Now the green is open we look forward to the turf growing stronger and thicker over the winter months, after getting used to constant use and maintenance.
We feel that at the moment the practice green is performing around 85-90% as good as the original greens due to it being in it's infancy, and the plan is to top-dress the surface in Spring to even out any discrepancy areas and by this time it will be identical to the other greens.
Disease on Greens
You may well have noticed that a couple of our greens have been suffering from disease lately. This is called Fusarium (also known as Fuzz) disease and it thrives in warm and moist (dewy) conditions, so many courses suffer in Autumn. As this autumn has been especially mild Fuzz has attacked a couple of our greens (luckily most of them are fine), with the 6th being the most badly hurt.
We have sprayed fungicide twice for Fusarium since September which will stifle it's progress, but you cannot reverse it's effects. Once we get into Spring we can reseed any affected areas and move in to Summer with perfect greens.
As promised we have made some exciting upgrades to the Driving Range to enhance your practice and make you a better golfer! Starting with 6,000 new range balls, four new mats, 3 new targets, and a re-arranged plan of old targets and flags with specific distances as shown on our range map to the left. You will find copies of this range map on the back of the driving range so that you always know how far each target is.
The range now looks great and is attracting more people to come and practice before their round or on an evening when the floodlights are on. We've also re-introduced loyalty cards with extra discounts for frequent users!
There are just a couple of repairs to some dividing nets (which are due soon) and then we the range maintenance and upgrades are complete.
When we last cut the rough in October we decided to mow it a little lower after feedback from many of our members saying that it was a little too harsh and also slowing down play. We feel that now the trees are in play on the old field and the trees will be brought into play on the new field next Spring, that it is a sensible move to cut the rough an inch shorter to compensate.
Feeback we have received on the shorter rough has so far been very positive, but if you think otherwise please talk to us!