In February we held a members’ Course Forum at which we communicated our plans to tackle the winter course access and playability issues as part of a 5-year plan specifically designed in response to a particularly tough winter. We all shared the frustrations that this past winter presented for us and the proactive 5-year plan was a realignment of our investment strategy to directly respond to the challenging conditions that we faced following some extreme weather.
The 5-year plan was questioned at the forum and many attendees felt that, subject to funding, members would be prepared to accept some disruption in order to accelerate the plan and the Management agreed to consider this and respond accordingly. Taking this request on-board we immediately tackled a number of key drainage issues on the 3rd, 7th and 9th holes and we have been considering the investment requirements to speed up the process.
The drainage around the 3rd, 7th and 9th green complexes will vastly improve the year round playability of these areas and they are already bedding in very well.
The original 5 year plan was formulated on the basis of us completing works during the winter months so as to avoid any disruption to the main playing season. The overwhelming feeling that the membership are prepared for some disruption in order to expedite the programme and the fact that the pathway works can be carried out with minimal impact to the course has now enabled us to put together a full 12-month rolling programme which will considerably help us achieve our original objective to accelerate the works.
We will be tackling some primary drainage to the key affected areas of the 7th fairway ahead of this winter and a secondary scheme of increased aeration and sanding will also be carried out in late summer.
The drainage programme will continue in the autumn/winter as per the first phase of works and these will pick off keys areas on the 5th, 7th, 10th, 12th, 13th, 15th and 17th holes. Exact details of these works will be communicated prior to works commencing.
We are also looking to invest in a new trencher which will considerably increase our ability to tackle these projects in-house with the dedicated, additional staffing resource and also in a timely and effective manner. This programme requires a considerable capital outlay and we see it as an essential, strategic investment to accelerate the drainage programme and address winter access and improve the playability.
ACCESSIBLITY PROJECT PLAN – SUMMER 2016
To achieve the new shorter timeframe we will continue to work on projects through the season with investment in increased labour levels dedicated to drainage and access projects, as well as the material and machinery costs. The next phase will be completed ahead of the winter 2016 and will address some course access issues with the installation of a complete pathway to an initial loop of 6 holes. This will ensure there is never the need to introduce buggy and trolley restrictions to this part of the course. These works will have little impact to your golf this summer and we aim to have pathway access to all 18-holes in time for winter 2018.
As a result of the fact that impact to the course will be minimal we are now looking to complete a further 6 holes in the summer of 2017 and the remaining 6 holes completing the project in 2018.
This years pathway works:
- 2nd Hole – Linking the current pathway to the left and joining the existing haul route leading up towards the 2nd green. The haul route will be improved to the standard of our existing pathways.
- 3rd Hole – A pathway from the back of the 2nd green will be extended towards the 3rd tee, which will then divert from the existing pathway leading to the fairway to link with the haul route to the left of the hole and around the back of the 3rd green. Again the haul route will be upgraded to the standard specification of the main pathways.
- 4th Hole – The pathway at the back of the 3rd green will be extended to join with the pathway adjacent to the 4th tees.
- 5th Hole – A new pathway will be constructed leading to the right hand side of the rough and extended around the back of the fairway bunker and linking up with the right-hand bridge.
- Link back to the clubhouse – A new pathway will be constructed in front of the 7th tees to join with the pathway at the back of the 8th green and leading from the 9th tees over the bridge. A pathway extension will be constructed to join the existing pathway to the left of the 13th hole and this will provide a route back to the clubhouse and therefore providing a 6-hole loop ahead of next winter.
A diagram plan will be displayed in the clubhouse outlining the planned pathway works.
Our woodland management programme will also be accelerated to achieve the works to the left of the 7th hole and this will increase light levels and importantly air movement around this key area.
In light of the increased works schedule listed above and the fact that we are now working to a 12-month rolling programme with increased resources, we are now pleased to report that we are looking to achieve the works within a
2 to 3-year time frame and will be prioritising the works to pick off the most problematic areas first.
As mentioned in our course forum discussion we are also in discussions with a potential partner with a view to some larger golf course architectural changes. We have now accelerated these discussions which could have a positive impact on the drainage issues on the lower part of the course. Subject to developments this will also give us control of the issues with water leaving the grounds around the 16th and 17th hole. It will also significantly enhance the
long term project plans for the course and as soon as we have any further updates in this regard we will provide a further communication.