It’s hard to remember a winter that has been as severe as this one. Over the last 23 weeks there have been only 19 dry days, with only 8 of those getting above 3 degrees celsius.
March has been no different and it has been extremely difficult to prepare the course for the upcoming season.
On a positive note though we have managed to complete all the winter projects that had been started and have managed a more than satisfactory number of improvements to the course despite everything.
Here’s a rundown of what’s been carried out:
- The 1st Tees at Pennington’s have been revamped with teeing areas levelled and surroundings landscaped. New Gorse has been planted surrounding the teeing areas too and the pathway has been rerouted. Wildflower has also been seeded adjacent to the pathway to complete the works and the whole area is a huge improvement and much more in keeping with the natural landscape.
- New Tees have been constructed at the Par 3 Metcalfe’s Ace. We now have the hole playing 209 yards from the white tee and 191 yards from the yellow. The original white tee was 241 yards, which we felt was too long, especially as the hole plays into the prevailing wind.
- 10 green side bunkers have been reconstructed using stacked turf in a style known as revetting.
- The large hump on the side of Morgan’s mound has been lowered and the bunker filled in. The face on this bunker was very high, steep and dangerous for both golfers and greenstaff when trying to negotiate it. Gorse has been planted on the side of the hump in order to retain the dog leg and a second fairway bunker will be installed next winter to complete changes to this hole.
- Clearance of Crack Willow on the right of Rawcliffe green has been carried out to open up some specimen Ash trees, gorse and rough grasslands. The area will now be able to regenerate and create a much more diverse range of species and habitats with increased ecological value.
- The row of trees running down from the side of the practice putting green to Toon’s Tier tees has seen all the Sycamore removed. Not only are Sycamore non native trees, they are also able to colonise areas by preventing other species from growing near them and as a result they hold little ecological value. Their removal has now created copses that not only look more naturally occurring, but has also improved views out to sea and will benefit the practice putting green with increased airflow.
- We have planted Gorse in many areas around the course to both enhance aesthetics and improve ecological biodiversity.
In total around 3000 square meters of turf has been laid, 400 tons of earth moved and 1200 Gorse bushes planted, which is a great effort by the team in some of the most challenging of conditions.
On top of that, all of the machinery has been serviced and mowers sharpened, health & safety administration completed, course furniture painted and we’ve even managed to build a good few homes for a variety of wildlife in the form of rock and log piles, bug hotels and bird boxes!
Now that the projects have come to an end we have finally begun preparing the course for the season, although unsurprisingly due to the weather, we are a little behind.
Newly constructed bunkers are still to be filled with sand and brought into play, fairways are still waiting for their first cut and we haven’t even begun the spring cut and collect of the rough grasslands.
However, the greens are in good condition and playing well, with the turf around the course showing very little wear as a result of reduced levels of play.
When spring does finally arrive, the course will certainly be ready to go, in better shape than ever and we look forward to seeing you all out enjoying it!!