This October has probably been the busiest month I can remember in regards to construction work on the course here at Hunley.
The weather was kind for the first half of the month and progress was excellent. Unfortunately it turned for the second half and things became a real struggle for the team. That said despite the miserable conditions, it has been a very successful month with several new and fantastic improvements being made to the course.
Most of the work has again been carried out in house, although we did get some assistance from contractors who carried out earth works and we are incredibly lucky to be at an ambitious club that continues to strive for better.
Over the years we have focused on improving the playing conditions on the course both structurally and in turf condition and great strides have been made on greens, fairways, approaches and bunkers.
However one area that hasn’t had as much attention is the tees. This is mainly because on the tee is the one place a golfer can choose where the ball goes, so other areas have been prioritised up to now.
Most of the tees have become inadequate for the amount of play the course is now receiving, they were originally built on heavy soil, so suffer more from both wear and worm casting, but also many haven’t been positioned as well as they could be from a playing perspective.
Jaws is the 1st hole on Imperial and the 10th on Morgan’s course, and has had an entirely new teeing complex created.
Previously the tees were very small, built on heavy soil, were not well positioned for the angle of the fairway, the surrounding areas were difficult to maintain, which all resulted in poor aesthetics and a rather unsatisfactory area overall.
Once the position and shape was created, each tee was levelled using sand. The sand provides a firmer, much drier surface for play and discourages worm activity at the same time.
With new fescue turf laid the teeing area will now be left to establish before being returned to play for the start of the 2024 season. The distances for each teeing area are unchanged on the hole despite it’s new position.
Gray’s Tor is a Par 3 and is the next hole after Jaws. All the same issues affected this teeing area as did on Jaws, but the hole has always been extremely difficult as well.
Playing uphill, generally into the wind, to a very small two tiered green made finding the putting surface more than just a challenge. With a huge drop on the left of the green as well as having a long iron or wood in your hand, we have felt for a long time this hole would be much improved as a short Par 3.
The teeing area as such has been relocated further up the hill and shortened by forty yards. This now offers a shot with a short or medium iron looking down onto the green. This will still be a tough shot to pull off, however we believe the challenge will be one to relish instead of dread!
Our signature hole, Snaith’s is a real cracker of a short Par 4, however the teeing areas don’t do it justice.
Here we have created a larger area for the back tee, which gives more variety of angles for teeing positions, but also will allow for easier maintenance.
The larger area will be great for charity days or club competitions where a Gazebo is often set up and it is our intention to place a bench up there too.
The final new tee is on Warsett, a downhill Par 5 and one of the be,st holes on the course in my opinion. The new tee has simply been made larger to cope with increasing play and raised up to provide a better view down the fairway. As with Snaith’s the surroundings have been altered to allow for easier maintenance, which in turn will result in improved aesthetics.
As explained in detail in last month’s update Morgan’s Mound green has been extended and all work is now complete. We had intended to bring the green back in to play fairly soon after work was finished, however, the wet weather has left the area quite unstable currently.
If we were to bring it back in play at this time, damage to the new area would be unavoidable when retrieving a ball. Therefore the temporary green will remain in play until we can be confident that the new turf has stabilised and be suitable to walk on.
By the side of the extended green on Morgan’s Mound is where a new pond has been created. Again this is well documented in the last two month’s updates and more information relating to this project can be easily found here https://www.hunleygolf.co.uk/blog/
Amazingly (which demonstrates the sheer volume of rainfall at the end of October) the new pond is already full. Although the pond is only around 250 square metres and a couple of metres deep, this equates to around half a million litres of water!
Incredible Team Effort
It would be impossible to achieve all of this work without a dedicated team of Professionals. Gavin, Jonathan, Callum, Ryan and Paul have all worked tirelessly to complete an enormous amount of work under trying circumstances. Working in very wet weather, that has made everything more difficult, time consuming and tiring, they have been fantastic and to have to have completed so much work is incredible.
The industry is currently in somewhat of a crisis, as more people are leaving Greenkeeping than joining and almost all clubs are struggling to recruit. This is not only an issue in Greenkeeping, with pretty much all manual work no longer appealing to those looking for a career. This only makes our team’s commitment even more commendable and I am very proud to work alongside them!
Another piece of work being undertaken in October was the long grasslands in out of play areas being cut and baled by Terrence Welford, a local pastoral farmer. However, the wet weather also hampered this and therefore only about 60% of the grasslands were completed.
There is still a small mount of work to do to complete the above projects, but November will see the start of further upgrades to the irrigation system. This has also been well documented in previous updates, but our aim will be to start installing the rest of the main pipeline that will supply water to each of the greens, tees and approaches on Morgan’s course.
We will be moving over to the winter course to start the new month but as most of you know this is a measured course and we remain on normal greens at all times. Some roping has begun already and further ropes will be put up to protect vulnerable areas until spring.