First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to formally welcome Shaun into our Team. Shaun started in the middle of October and has already shown great commitment. We are pleased to have him in the Team and look forward to working alongside him.
For this final blog of the year, I thought I would go through what we have achieved this year and have a quick look at the projects carried out or about to be started.
After Paul left in February, Eric and I agreed that we needed to improve the communication with the Members. We had to create a channel for Members to give us feedback and for us to pass on information as well. We started my blog, we did the survey (this was due to be done in April, but after the bad weather in March, we decided to postpone this to September… and we had the drought! Can’t win!) and we created a working group meeting quarterly, made up of the 3 Captains, Eric, Noel and myself. Numerous issues were raised which helped action many of the concerns Members had. I am pleased to say the blog will carry on, the survey will happen twice a year (irrespective of conditions) and the quarterly meetings will still happen.
After the drought (and in spite of what some think, the condition of the fairways was a direct impact of the drought!), Eric and I met to discuss how we could improve the situation. We were mindful of the cost implications but did realise that something had to be done. We met with industry specialists who confirmed our initial instinct: cutting corners would not achieve anything. We decided to go ALL IN and make a full commitment to reseeding the tees and fairways, hiring machinery, purchasing 60 x 25kg bags of seeds. Thankfully, the weather played ball and the recovery was spectacular, although there are still scars in places. We will re-assess the situation in the spring and see if further works needs doing.
The survey was very valuable, and I wish to thank everyone for their encouragements. It seems that most Members understood the situation was exceptional for the tees and fairways. Having said that, there were comments regarding paths, bunkers, rabbits and various areas of the course:
- My Team has been very busy since September dealing with the rabbits. They will never be eradicated, because they come from other fields around the course as well, but we are committed to reducing the damage as much as we can.
- For the paths, you may have noticed the new path down the left of the 7thgreen and between 17thgreen and 18th The first one will be used for buggies and will stop many accidents. We have put a drain in the path by the 18thtee as well, which will stop the area flooding.
- Other comments mentioned the 6thbunkers and how difficult it was to play out of them. They have been filled, the area re-turfed and it will still present a significant challenge for all golfers.
- Finally, the amount of sand in bunkers seemed to be a general concern. Following the survey, it was decided to keep a large amount of bunker sand in stock to sporadically refill bunkers. The policy until then was to refill them once a year and keep nothing in stock. We will do our best to stay on top of it, but of course let us know when you feel some bunkers need topping up.
During the Meetings with Captains, I was told about various issues on the course, issues that were sorted as soon as we could after the meeting. Other concerns could not be addressed until the winter, like the difference in ground level around the 7thgreen, where the sleepers are. I have ordered a lot of turf and planning to address this in the New Year. I was also told about some of the trees on the course affecting play and we are planning on sorting some of these issues out. We will do as much as we can before the start of the 2019 Season.
Finally, we will soon get a major winter project under way: a short game practice area. The idea is to use the field next to the 1sttee and create an area for our Members to practice bunker shots, pitching shots from 25 yards to 75 yards. Noel felt that this was a crucial part of anyone’s game and being able to practice this is vital to the development of any golfer. The project will see a large all-weather tee built (10m long by 2.3m deep), a large bunker for green-side shots as well as fairway shots and 3 target greens (25, 50 and 75yards away). These greens will be maintained at tee height, so will not be ideal for putting. But they will be nice targets (the furthest one will be 100m2).
My Team and I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a very Healthy New Year. Thank you all for your support this year, we are committed to making you even more proud of belonging to our Club in 2019.