Will Richardson, Chair of the Greens Committee has given us the following summary of the winter work schedule for the course.
"I just want to update members to the work that we will be carrying out this coming winter, as we are about to commence. We will endeavour to keep disruption to the course to a minimum and we thank you in advance for your co-operation.
Turf Practice Tee
We have had many requests over time for there to be a turf practice tee available for members to use, and we have looked at various options in the past. The return of the Open Regional Qualifying now means that we have to provide this facility, as it is a requirement of the R&A, who own and operate the Open that all competitors are able to practice off turf prior to play. Having looked at various locations we will now be building the tee at the other end of the current range. Once completed and open this tee will be available to all members to use and it will also be available for teaching.
As in recent winters we will be continuing the renovation of some of our bunkers. This work has already commenced: we will be concentrating on holes, 5, 6, 7 and 14. Work will involve stripping surrounding turf, redefining and establishing the bunker edges, and then replacing the surrounds with new turf. In some cases we will also be digging out the base of the bunker.
We have taken advice recently from our Course Architect, Martin Ebert of Mackenzie Ebert. Please check out their website as it will give you an idea of the breadth and quality of their work: http://www.mackenzieandebert.co.uk/. Martin has suggested a number of course changes and one involves the 17th Hole.
In his words "it is as if a curtain has been drawn across the hole", and he is recommending that we make the green and surrounding bunkers visible from the tee. This hole is intended to be a risk and reward par 4 and increasingly with the growth of the trees on the left of the hole, this is no longer the case.
This has been discussed internally and by the Greens Committee and it has been decided to adopt Martins recommendation. This means that we will be removing trees on the line to the green from the tee, so that the green becomes clearly visible. This work will commence at the end of this month.
Martin has also recommended that we consider adding some additional new back tees. The golf ball now travels around 20% further than when the current course was established, hence this requirement. Please note that we will not be moving the white tee markers or lengthening the course that is used for the vast majority of club competitions. These will be black tees that can be used occasionally for club events, and also for some of the elite tournaments that the club hosts and will be hosting in the future. Most quality courses have the option of black or tournament tees and we believe that our course and club is deserving of this sort of status. These new tees have been discussed and agreed by the Greens Committee.
We will be building a new tee back across the road at the 9th Hole. This tee has been used on a temporary basis a few times recently, and has been well received by members so we are going to build a permanent version.
A new black tee is being built just the other side of the path that leads up to the 1st tee. We have observed in recent years that for better quality players this hole is being reduced to little more than a par 3, with players hitting the green with irons and rescue clubs. This new tee will restore some of the teeth to this hole.
I am conscious of the impact that the thick rough has on the course during the summer months. This is the result of wetter and warmer weather conditions. Whilst it makes the course look attractive and adds definition, we are keen to try to make the first 10 to 12 feet of the wild grasses thinner at the base and are trying various maintenance techniques. Those of you that have played recently will see that the rough has now been given its autumn haircut. This winter we are going to try something new: we will be cutting the first 10 to 12 feet of the wild grasses again prior to Christmas, and then again a couple of times more in the spring and early summer. We will monitor this to see what impact it has and if it is worth repeating every year.
I hope this gives you a good understanding of the work that will be carried out, and means that you can make sense of the work you see being undertaken on the course. We cannot stand still and need to keep improving our course and building on its growing reputation. These additions and improvements contribute to this."