Since the last update back in late April we are delighted to have taken on our first Greenkeeping apprentice – Matt Handley. I am sure you will have seen him on the course by now but please do take the time to have a chat with him and give him a belated warm welcome to our Club.
Des, Justin, Dave and Matt have endured some tough challenges this summer to keep the course in the condition and to the standards we all like and, as usual, they have presented the course to a great standard.
The main challenge this summer has been the weather – as normal. The grass growing started in earnest, which is a challenge in its own right but then we had an exceptionally hot June which then slowed everything down and, as a result, we suffered some “burning” to the fairways.
July and August were to follow and the weather proved to be a Greenkeepers nightmare! Rain then sun, then more rain and one of the hottest Bank Holidays on record also furnished us with record amounts of grass grown.
This was helped somewhat by the purchase of our new tractor and snake which has proved to be one of the best purchases the Club has made, and has helped hugely in managing the course condition.
Coupled with annual holidays, the Greens team really have had their work cut out maintaining the course and, on the whole, I think they have done a stellar job with exceptional greens as usual... to which is fast becoming our trademark and not just the stunning views we have!
We have also been fortunate to have had a good summer with Societies and visiting Green Fees. The feedback has been excellent and very positive, not just the course but Clubhouse and Pro Shop too and it is hoped this will make 2018 a buoyant year for visitors and our coiffeurs alike.
As the playing season now starts to wind down the Greens team will start to wind up the course maintenance programme. This will start in early October with hollow coring, sanding and top dressing of the Greens, actual dates to be announced nearer the time – weather permitting.
A point with strong feelings raised at our AGM in April was that members felt the Club should investigate options as to how best to improve the bunkers around the course. Since the AGM, we have worked hard to identify the best and most practicable solutions. We have had varied results, some coming in at £5000 per bunker!! but I am happy to say that I think we have found the right solution that best fits the Bigbury course.
To this end, we are planning on altering 2 bunkers over the winter period. The first being the practice ground where we will be lowering it by over 4 feet! and the second being on the 11th with the intention that both will be more playable out of and with much smaller faces to aid this.
Both bunkers will remain in play during this work but the tops will be GUR as we will have to re-turf and allow a settle and growth period.
We are only attempting 2 bunkers this winter so that we are sure we have it right first time and if so, we will then start the full programme in late 2018/early 2019 and which we will phase over a 5 year period. We would rather take our time and get it right rather than having to re-visit it again in 3-5 years time as it did not work…. and costs would be an awful lot more to rectify.
As we have all waited a long time for this I would ask that patience is employed whilst the work is carried out.
Some may also have noticed that we have cut some of the trees down on the 15th Tee. We had little choice in this as they were pine and as such the needles were dropping onto the tee top, releasing the sap and culminating in a very poor tee condition. Since we have done this the condition has improved dramatically but this has had an effect on the structure of the tee (sinking and moving). So, over the winter period we will re-model this totally and hope to have it back in play by April 2018.
This work will commence in October to enable the tee to settle correctly but may well mean that mats will be used on this tee earlier than usual – again I would ask for your patience whilst this is carried out.
We will also be top dressing and levelling other Tee’s around the course that are requiring attention.
As per usual, we will have annual tree maintenance which will also be carried out through the course of the winter.
Can I also take this opportunity to also ask every member to please repair pitch marks as we enter the winter period. This causes a much bigger work load for the Greens to have to keep repairing them… it takes a lot more time for them to do this than the 10-15 seconds it would take us at the time.
Roy & Jason
Time waits for no one and we find ourselves nearing the end of April already.
As always there has, and is, plenty to do on the course. Since the last update in February Des and the team have been busy clearing the Plantation on the 4th / 6th and is being readied to be brought back into general play.
Due to the fine weather in late March and April, the growing season has begun early and in earnest, so the programme was brought forward to compensate for this.
Our TYM tractor is still away but as you will have seen, we have a replacement currently being loaned to us until a resolve has been reached on this. Hopefully by the next Course Update I will be able to give some better news on this.
The re-modelling of the steps on the 2nd are now complete and have been seeded so should be back in use very soon. You will also notice that the 10th Tee is now complete and I hope you agree that it makes it a much better approach whereby you can now attack the green – it has already posted a hole in one and many 2’s, so we are confident we have made it more player friendly.
Work is currently taking place on spraying the fairways and once this is done attention will be focused on over seeding the worn areas on the course, spiking and top dressing the Greens and general and ongoing maintenance and cutting. This month we have also seeded wild flowers around the course and so hopefully we will all soon be able to see the benefits of this throughout the summer months and enjoy them in all their splendour.
We also have an apprentice starting in mid June on a 20 month apprenticeship. At 17, he is a keen golfer with a handicap of 8 and will assist Des and the team with the course management whilst working towards his level 2 certificate.
Finally, with summer looming the course will start to quicken up where the greens become even faster than they have been playing. We have also had many positive comments from visitors and members alike on our greens and the course in general is playing and presented well. Des, the team and the new recruit will continue to work hard to keep the course in the condition we all like to play on.
Roy Stevens, Course Director.
Well here we are at the start of February already. I think you will all agree that January was very kind to us, unlike last year. It has been amazing how much the grass has kept growing. Because we had such a dry spell over the last ten days of January it was decided that it would be ideal to tine & sand the greens ready for summer. I cannot remember this being completed in January before but does set us up well for the season. We have been treating the greens for Silver Moss, hence all the black patches. We have also had soil samples carried out on the greens by Sherriffs our chemical suppliers and they have reported that they are in fact the best winter conditioned greens they had seen.
Other jobs completed are all the set aside/long rough areas have been cut down short. The steps leading to the eighth green have been renewed and turfed. The steps onto the second green have been renewed. The main tees have been tined along with some worn walkway areas.
Work scheduled for the next few weeks are to complete the groundwork around the new steps on the second. Sand as necessary, over seed & feed the main tees & walkways. Clear the tree damage behind the second green & clear the copse between the fourth & sixth. Hopefully with storms being forecasted we will not lose any more trees. The new tenth tee is to be cut and rolled and hopefully this will come into play in April. Weather permitting we hope to be back on the main tees by the first of March.
With the addition of a new fairway mower and bunker rake machine in the autumn we are fully equipped for the year. Our TYM tractor is still away having repairs to the gearbox again under warranty. We have been busy servicing all our other machines & vehicles and they are ready to go for the season.
Finally as some of you will know one of our greenkeepers Matt Vidler has resigned and is returning to the Civil Service. We wish him well in his new employment and thank him for his efforts whilst with us. We are seeking to replace Matt at the moment.
I hope you have enjoyed your winter golf so far, Des and the team have presented the course in great condition over the last few months and are committed to carrying out improvements throughout the year.
Attending The Flag
When playing non competitive/social golf in the winter.
To avoid damaging the surface around the hole, the flagstick was never attended in cases where it would normally be asked to be so. It was then deemed that you if you actually hit the flag there would be no penalty (as there would normally be) and the words used were, ‘I’ll give you the flag’.
As you will all know, holing out putts from 3 feet or less is a lottery when putting through a myriad of foot prints, particularly at this time of year when the greens are soft. Having spoken to both Des (Head Green Keeper) and Roy Stevens (Chairman of Greens) they have said that they would like this idea to be in play here at Bigbury. Anything that helps our greens to remain in tip top condition is a bonus.
So, to clarify, this is only applicable whilst Winter Rules are in play and ONLY in social golf and NOT in competitions. You either can leave the flag in and incur no penalty should you hit it, or take it out for shorter putts as normal.
Please could we all make a special effort to repair as many pitchmarks each as possible, particularly in the front third of the greens? At the moment they are quite soft, either due to recovering from a frost, rain soaked or suffering from a heavy due, and therefore are very susceptible to receiving marks. Our greens, for the time of year, are in fantastic condition but we all need to do our bit by helping Des and the boys to keep them that way, to keep the compliments flowing and the word spreading of how good our course is.
We are delighted to announce that Jason Pheasant has agreed to be our General Manager.
Jason will officially take over from the Director of Golf, Nigel Blenkarne, on 1st February 2017.
After a career of 15 years in Operational Management he ran his own business Purple Planet Supplies which he has now sold, you will recognize the name as the sponsor of the Purple course. Jason has also been a member of our club for two years and is therefore very familiar with the club and the challenges ahead.
I am sure you will join the Board in welcoming him and support him in our endeavors to make Bigbury Golf club successful and a club to be proud of.
We are delighted to announce that Liz and Howard Turner (The Dinner Service Ltd) have agreed to be our Caterer from 1st February 2017.
The Dinner Service.Com was formed by Liz Turner in 2003, with the aim of providing a totally unique and bespoke catering service, they operate mainly in the South Hams and over the years they have built up an excellent reputation for quality and professionalism within the catering industry. Their expertise will greatly enhance the clubs catering experience.
Liz and Howard very much look forward to providing a quality service to the club and it’s visitors.
Not a member? If you would like to join as a social member come and see us and we will sign you up. If you would like more information please call 01548 810557 option 5
Bookings are now being taken for Sunday Lunches, Main course £8.95 & Pudding £3.95, wich will start on Sunday 5th February.
Members are welcome to bring along guests to our social functions.