Having now entered a second lockdown, unfortunately the golf course has again had to close. Although this is obviously not something that any of us want, the need to stop the spread of this awful virus makes it understandable.
Despite the closure the greenstaff will continue to maintain the course so that it is ready for play again just as soon as this is allowed.
Part of that work will involve a planned program for the winter, however this is inevitably going to be curtailed in the circumstances. We will also be continuing to run with a smaller team, as because of lockdown we have had to put our recruitment process on hold.
A very wet month hasn’t helped, but we will be prioritising tasks and taking each week as it comes. We have made a decent start though and below is a breakdown of what we would like to achieve, with examples of some work already carried out.
Every year we identify areas for development in order to offer better course conditions and an improved experience for our golfers come the following season and again we go into winter with extensive plans before the start of the 2021 season.
An area for significant plans is the condition of the course in the winter
Although the greens have always remained in play and are presented in as good a condition as during the main season, a problem we do face is with wet and muddy surfaces around the course in the depths of winter. The native soils on the course are heavy clay and there isn’t much we can do about this on the whole, however we can make improvements to lessen the impact the poor soils have on the enjoyment of winter golf.
Often the worst areas are in walk off areas when negotiating your way from green to the next tee.
The installation of astro turf paths, just like the one pictured above, will create a safer and cleaner route between holes.
We appreciate the astro turf we had supplied is far from ideal from an aesthetic point of view, but it will be functional and offer a significant improvement when compared to walking through wet muddy ground.
There are still a few isolated areas that would benefit from the installation of additional drainage.
If ground conditions are favourable during lockdown, we hope to carry out some drainage work on Warsett, in the same way work was completed in the past on Fox Covert and Toon’s Tier. 2 sections of the fairway get particularly wet and these are our priority.
Several areas by the sides of the greens are dominated by poor quality soils. This becomes wet and soft during the winter months and is not only unsightly but also of poor playing quality.
We shall be removing a layer of the heavy soil and replacing it with sand in the worst affected areas. These will then be returfed with new, quality turf that will provide a firm, dry and high quality playing surface going forwards.
A few of the greens are in places, either a little small or a little too sloping. Using the turf now available from the old Rawcliffe green, we will be making alterations to those few that would most benefit. The top of Gray’s Tor, the back of Redding’s Apron and also the new green on Rawcliffe are some examples.
This work will be carried out before the end of the year to allow time for work to bed in before the season starts the following spring.
The areas surrounding each teeing ground currently requires a lot of maintenance and despite this are still aesthetically poor.
We will be landscaping the areas surrounding the tees to transform the bland, frequently mown surrounds into more undulating and natural looking surroundings.
This will then be left, creating a more attractive and natural feature around the tees, whilst at the same time significantly reducing maintenance requirements.
This is a further continuation of our aim to be more sustainable.
Several bunkers are planned for renovations and as most only require simple modifications, work will be carried out at various times throughout the winter in between larger projects.
Some are to be altered into the revetted style that is now a strong feature of our course, some require shaping to prevent wash out from heavy rains and some just need contaminated sand removing and being replaced.
There are plans for further leveling of tees and in some cases potentially enlarging some too.
This will be carried out before the end of the year to allow sufficient time for establishment before the 2021 playing season begins.
Having been unable to renew all the tee markers when the Coronavirus outbreak hit us back in spring, these will now be readied for the 2021 season.
We also will be installing new hole information signs by all of the tees. These are being made with railway sleepers and are to be positioned at each of the different coloured teeing grounds at the measured point of the hole.
We always set an ambitious program of work for the winter, however there are many influencing factors that could affect progress. The weather and total availability of resources are both unknown entities and therefore the entire program may not be completed in time for the 2021 playing season.
Rest assured though, the team will be giving their all to ensure you the best experience possible when enjoying our facilities.