A very dry month has seen us make excellent progress with improvements to the course and facilities. For once there have been very little in the way of problems and numerous positives!
At the start of the month we were able to complete the new wetland created in October. In total, 1,200 m2 of native turf from our nursery was cut, lifted and then laid on the banks surrounding the ponds. Wildflower seeds have also been sown amongst the turf randomly to enhance the diversity of the flora and fauna that will colonise the new feature.
The ponds are beginning to fill up nicely already and this will continue through winter until the natural water level is revealed. At that time we will look to introduce a limited number of plants that will help the wetland to mature more readily. Red stakes have now been installed to mark out the wetland as a penalty area.
The Par 3 hole Dicken’s Dilemma has had the bank down to the pond graded and turfed. This has improved visibilty from the tee, bringing the full green approach and bunkers into view. As well as looking much better it will also help with seeing if a ball has made it over the hazard more easily.
The new teeing grounds that were created on Warsett, Cottage Corner and Brownies Bough have been levelled, with the banks turfed and ready to be completed with new turf on the tee top in December.
Bunkers on Cottage Corner and Toon’s Tier (great job by Robbie and Callum below!) have been refurbished, with new revetted faces constructed. These will remain out of play (ground under repair) from now until the spring of 2022.
On Toon’s Tier, 2 storm drains have been installed to take care of water that collects after torrential rainfall at the front of the green and also to catch water flow further up the hill. As we see greater quantities of rainfall in shorter periods, we are looking to make the course more robust to the pressures of the now more frequent extreme weather events.
On the left of the green, a mound has been created to act as a buffer for shots coming down from the top tier. Having extended the green several years ago on both the top and the bottom tier, it has still been a little too difficult to keep the ball on the bottom tier of the green when a hole is located on that part of the green.
As Lucy will explain in her update, Gorse has been planted in new areas to help with some less diverse areas of the course. This will provide cover and nesting habitat for birds and others creatures, as well as a food source. As we use the remaining materials from the old green site on Rawcliffe, we are beginning to plant up the area to give it back to nature now it is no longer used for golf.
Gorse has also been planted near to the new tee on Warsett (pic above) to provide some cover, but also to again break up a rather open part of the course that is dominated by rank grasses with little species variety.
The Links Club
The Links Club is an event where Greenkeepers from various links courses across the UK meet up periodically, discussing the management of their courses for educational purposes. I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Links Club through the R&A Scholarship program, which was hosted at Royal St Georges Golf Club in November.
There was much to take from the event, being able to speak with so many highly skilled and experienced Greenkeepers, seeing the scene of this year’s Open first hand and to hear about the challenges that go with hosting the world’s most famous golfing event. Bringing new ideas back to Hunley is always another consequence of such a trip, but most satisfying is the reassurance that our sustainable management of the course here at Hunley, is ratified by the same style of management being used at many of the best courses in the country.
More good news has seen us granted with another 3 employees through the Kickstart scheme.
This has proved a fantastic initiative from the government and so far we have had several individuals benefit from gaining experience in the workplace with us. With a shortage of skilled workers across the country and with young job seekers finding it hard to get work due to a lack of experience, the scheme is certainly helping to bridge that gap to some degree.
In turn we have benefited from the extra help and you can really see how it helps individuals to have a purpose. It’s hard to see how under prepared these individuals are for the rigours of working life, but equally, it has been fantastic to see how well they have responded to an opportunity and guidance on how to make themselves become more attractive to potential future employers.
Finally the positive news continues with some investment into the driving range.
All bays have now been upgraded with new Power Tees and we have also purchased a set of reconditioned gang mowers to help the maintenance of the outfield.
Previously it was always difficult to mow the range efficiently. This was because it was time consuming with all balls needing to be fully collected prior to another team member mowing the field with an additional machine. The gang mowers can be attached to the same machine that collects the balls, meaning both jobs can be completed simultaneously and with only 1 member of staff. This has also reduced the fuel consumption by more than half the previous operation and the combination has significantly reduced the resources required to maintain the range. What’s more though is it will also enhance the overall aesthetics as well.
Although the last couple of years have seen us heavily restricted in terms of income, it’s a testament to the commitment of the business to continually try to invest whenever possible and to make such improvements to our facilities.
As long as the weather allows, we will keep on with course improvements in December. 750 m2 of new turf is due and will be laid on the new tees and areas of extended surrounds to greens.
For the latest update from Lucy, please click the link here to read more –