Thursday, 21 February 2013

Bunker renovations begin

As we get nearer to the playing season our efforts turn to bunker renovations. Along with the clubhouse showers, bunkers are a much debated subject within a golf club's community. You can never get them right. They either have too much sand or not enough. The sand is either too fluffy or overly compacted. On a parkland site such as ours, it is very hard to please everyone. Drainage is the number one issue on a clay based golf course, with the last twelve months testing the best of bunkers. Over that period we have had numerous washouts and contamination has become a big problem. With this in mind we have commenced work to all 67 of our bunkers on the golf course.

The work will consist of 'skimming' out the top 25mm contaminated area. It is usually the worst bit as the soil from around the area can run in to the bunker. Stage two is to move any sand about to make sure the whole bunker has adequate depth. The last stage is to add up to 25mm of fresh sand, giving it a nice cleaner look. By the end of this week 17 bunkers will have been completed and the plan is to finish all 67 by easter. The programme is being run by Stan Harrison (pictured below) who's job it is to plan and implemented these works with the rest of the greenstaff. Hopefully as we head in to the season, the golfers big discussion will once again turn back inside to the pressure of the clubhouse showers!

'Skimming' top layer off led by Stan on the left hand side

Thursday, 14 February 2013

1st Tee Improvements

After the removal of 11 conifers from the 1st tee area last week, our efforts have now turned to completing this area off. Now that they are down the view from the car park and pro shop is much improved. The area also seems much bigger. This week the greenstaff's efforts have been based around widening the walkway besides the tee by half a metre and planting a new garden where the conifers once stood. Shrubs such as Camellia and Euonymus have been supported by flowering ones such as Lavendar and Skimmia. The feedback so far has been very positive. Looking at the pictures below, this area will only improve once it matures.

1st tee confiers

All cut up!

Even young Thomas is chipping in!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

1st Tee Conifer Removal

This week the attention has turned to the 1st tee area. Around 25 years ago a line of conifers were planted alongside the 1st tee. The reasons for this are unclear but one thing they did do was create a barrier between the drive in and the golf course itself. Our frontage at EGC is very 'hard' on the eye.  Because of the conifers (plus the clubhouse itself), the first sight of the golf course is when you stand on the first tee. This leaves our 'first impression' as a club very weak. The decision was taken a couple of months ago to remove these conifers to open up the view and create a 'softer' visual image as you drive in. If you look at the pictures below, the first one was taken before they were removed, and the one below it yesterday morning. Even though they are only half felled, the visual impression has already improved!

Since our new Captain, Sukhdev Sagoo took office he has been busy raising funds for golf course projects. One of these projects is to improve our first impression as a club as a whole. Removing the conifers is the first part of this process. Once these conifers are down, their stumps will be ground out and a landscaped garden will take its place. The next stage will be to improve the walk through the visitors car park, past the practise nets and on to the 9th tee. Once finished hopefully by spring, we are sure you will enjoy the improvements.

View from the car park Tuesday
View from the car park 1 day later!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Scrub Clearing

At this time of year when moving heavy material and machinery becomes a problem due to saturated ground, the greenstaff keep busy by concentrating on scrub work around the course. Over the years, as areas of the course have been left, scrub tends to take over. If you look at the sideshow below (web version only) you will see sections that were overtaken with brambles, invasive weeds and the like. These areas have now come to life with all the scrub being removed, but established trees such as Oaks left to thrive.

The big fear when we commenced this work several years ago was that we would open up the course too much and it could lose its 'parkland' feel. However, looking at these areas now we believe the general consensus is positive. The indigenous tree species are now thriving, cut grass has replaced brambles and the general aesthetics of the course has improved greatly. This works forms part of our woodland management programme, which has the added benefit of improving turf conditions due to increased sunlight and air flow!