Whilst we've all been away, doing whatever we do when the country's locked down, Danny and his greens staff have been busy maintaining (and some would say, improving) the course ready for our return.
The images below show what great condition the course is in.
Thanks guys, we really appreciate your dedication and all your hard work.
Here's what Will Richardson, Chairman of the Greens Committee, had to say about what's going on: "I know that many of you will have seen some of the content and images that have been going on to Instagram, but I thought that I would also give you an update on the work that we are undertaking during the lockdown period. As I think most members will already know, we have been maintaining the course with four permanent staff. The fact that there is no play means that this reduced staffing hasn’t negatively impacted us, and has worked well. I can assure all members that as soon as we are permitted to open for play, then we will have a course that is in peak condition.
This period has enabled us to do some intensive work on the greens and this has meant an ongoing repetition of aeration and top dressing. We have also had the time to be hand cutting on a regular basis. Currently we are cutting the greens at a height of 4.5mm. This would compare with a normal height at this time of year of around 3.5mm. We would normally then move to a height of 3mm and a green speed of circa 10.00 to 10.50 on the stimpmeter from around May onwards. This means that we are maintaining the greens close to normal playing conditions and will be able to have them ready for play as soon as the course opens. Due to the dry weather we have also been having to hand water some of the greens.
Danny and I have done a couple of course walks in recent weeks. These have been in order to decide upon the course set up for this summer. None of the changes we have made are significant, it is more an exercise in tweaking the course. We have slightly altered some of the shaping of the fairways, and you will be glad to know that this is not a case of narrowing them. In some cases we have widened and in others it has just been a case of creating more shape and definition. In addition the fact that there is no play has enabled us to divot every fairway.
We have also expanded some of the closely mown areas around the greens and have been topdressing these areas ready for the summer. Principally this has been on holes 2, 10, 12, 15 and 17. We hope these changes will give players more shot options around these greens, and that they will also add to and enhance the visual appearance of these greens and surrounding areas.
As I have mentioned in members communications before, we are keen to try to thin out the rough during the summer months. This has proved difficult due to the general change in climate encouraging thicker bladed and lusher grasses. We always cut the wild grass rough each year in the autumn, but this year, for the first time, we are going to recut the first 4 meters width. This has already started and will be completed in the next 10 days and we will see what impact it has. What we are seeking is to have more wispy rough that enables players to find their ball, but impedes their next shot.
We have also continued to clear out some of the undergrowth around the course and to cut back the brambles that have been encroaching onto the course. This work has also included removing low branches from trees. The intention here is to maintain these areas in a better and more presentable condition. The brambles can also represent a trip hazard for players looking for their ball.
Lastly we have been concentrating quite a lot of work on the new black tees we have built on the 4th and 9th and the grass practice tee. These tees are now being mown to tee height and they are getting regular top dressing and feeding. I have got the impression from some members that they think these tees are purely for the Open Championship Qualifying, but this is not the case. As soon as they are ready for play then these will be open for members that wish to use them.
I am sure, like me, you have heard various predictions on when golf may be permitted again. What I can assure members is that whenever it is, we will be ready and will present you with a course in excellent condition. Let’s hope it is not too far off. Can I also pay tribute to Danny, James, Mick and Martin for their hard work and commitment over the recent weeks, they have really stepped up to the plate."