Improving & Protecting Our Golfing Facilities
Courses Maintenance Programme - Update October '19
As Members will know, autumn is a busy time for our Greens Team. Apart from all the normal work to keep the courses looking great, there are a whole series of other things to be done at this time of year - and that's in addition to the major task they've recently completed to prepare and lay the foundations for our new on-course paths. To give you a feel for what's been going on, here's an update:
We have again borrowed the set of scarifying units from John O Gaunt, which attach to our fairway mower and allow us to scarify the fairways on both courses. This procedure also requires us to blow all the resulting debris from the surfaces and then collect it all using our tractor and leaf collector.
We have for the first time in a number of years used an outside contractor to cut all our hedges around the site, the machinery used this time is much larger than the equipment we have used previously as this allows us to reach much further, resulting in the tops of the hedges being trimmed and looking much neater for it.
Scarifying The Fairways
In the next few weeks the team will be verti-draining all the greens, tees and approaches 'in-house' and will then be using a contractor to complete this essential work to all the fairways on both courses.
When the grass growth starts to slow down they will again be removing any dead or diseased trees and well as thinning out any areas which are overcrowded around the site. The Club's tree surgeon will also be carrying out their year 4 works to the 5 year tree maintenance programme.
And finally for now, whilst the foliage on the trees look magnificent at the moment, it will not be long before all the leaves will drop and then need to be collected from all areas of both courses and composted.
A Green Keeper's job is never done...so if you have to wait a minute or two to play one of your shots over the coming weeks, spare a thought for the members of the team who provide such an amazing facility for you to play your best golf.
Major New Paths Programme Complete - October 2019
For those of you who have played the 18 hole Stagsden Course recently, you will be aware of just how much work has been going on to complete a series of Course Improvement Programmes at Bedfordshire Golf Club. The Board approved funding some time ago to build more 'Tiger Mulch' paths on a number of holes. Our existing paths have been a great success for a series of reasons, including:
the quality look & feel
their all year round performance,
the reduced maintenance and
the enhanced reputation of our courses.
Over the last two weeks, the Greens Team began work to prepare for the laying of these new paths and we apologise to members for the inconvenience caused. Below are some photos of the stages of the construction work
Digging out the paths
Levelling the ground
Flattened hard core for solid base
Having prepared the ground, it was them time to lay the new rubberised path material...
Carefully unloading the mulch
Spreading the mulch
And having completed the work, great new path surfaces have now appeared on the following holes:
3rd hole path extension
joining of 3rd green - 4th tee
7th green alongside 8th tee
extension to front of 8th tee
13th tee - levelled & replaced
15th green to 16th tee
All in all, a major programme of course improvement which we hope will be appreciated by Members and Visitors alike.
15th to 16th tee
16th Tee & Fairway
We look forward to hearing your feedback on this next set of enhancements our courses.
Do you sometimes think that there is no sand in our bunkers? - July 2019
There is in fact plenty of sand, however, at this time of year, every year, the sand in our bunkers becomes compacted.
John Gubb and his team regularly 'depth check' the sand and rake them thoroughly and provided there is some moisture in the air the sand remains ‘user friendly’! But, the miniscule clay particles from the base and face of the bunker mix with the sand. This means that when the sand dries out it almost ‘bakes’ hard. This hard layer is impossible to break up without leaving large clods of sand which will not disperse.
The difference in the condition of the sand in the lined bunkers is very noticeable.
The best way to help maintain the bunkers and the condition of the sand is by raking the bunkers thoroughly at all times of the year. Whenever you find yourself in a bunker please make sure that you rake it when you leave. No-one likes to land in a footprint or divot which has not been raked. This is a job for all of us!
Please watch the video of Dean showing the correct way to rake a bunker.
New Bunker Rakes for BGC - July 2019
The club is delighted to report that following last week's South East County Seniors Foursomes competition we received high praise indeed from all that took part. In particular the winning Captain from Cambridgeshire commented that in terms of presentation and condition Bedfordshire was the best course they had played this season and that included a match against Notts at Hollinwell which is a top 100 course.
Our course manager John Gubb and his team work extremely hard to give us a top quality golf course and deserve all the credit that they are given. We as members should all do our best to help them, repairing pitch marks, taking a divot bag out and repairing divots and also raking the bunkers.
With regard to raking bunkers, we are delighted to inform you that as from this Thursday each bunker will have new rakes. These are twice the width of the existing ones and will, if used correctly, help to give a more consistent surface of sand from which to play.
The new 25 inch heads have a dual action, one side with traditional teeth and the other with grooves which help to compact the sand in certain conditions. The extra width of the heads will obviously cover a wider area and provide a better, more even, result.
Please take the time to rake the bunker thoroughly after playing your shot, as someone else will almost certainly have to play from a similar position after you.
It is your golf course so please help in keeping it in the pristine condition we have all become used to.
Please Help To Look After Our Amazing Golf Courses - We Can All Contribute - June 2019
If you have played golf at Stagsden in the last couple of weeks we hope you will agree that the courses are looking amazing! With excellent greens which are putting true and fairways that look like green carpets, we should be very proud of what our Greens Team have delivered for us. So, having got the courses to this standard, now it's our turn to do our bit, as each of us needs to remember to do a few basic things each time we play golf.
Would ALL members please:
repair any divots taken on tees with divot mix (take a bag with you)
replace any divots taken on fairways (or fill them with seed mix from the on-course bags) - please repair others you see
rake bunkers where you see foot marks and other indentations, including animal prints or scrapings.
very importantly, keep your trolleys beyond the green-side bunkers and outside the first cut around the greens at all times. This ensures that the grasses do not get flattened and marked by trolley wheels, which can be crucial for those little chip shots many of us dread playing from tight lies around the greens
repair your pitch marks on greens - and at least one other please
and finally, do not play onto a green if a greenkeeper is working on it - as they have priority! We shouldn't need to mention this one, but amazingly, a few thoughtless individuals have played their approach shot straight at a greenkeeper working on the greens! This is both dangerous to the greenkeeper and a serious offence for any member involved.
We have seen evidence of a number of these rules being ignored by some members and this will not be tolerated. No Member has special exemption to ignore the course rules. However, if all members adhere to these basic guidelines, our courses will remain in the best condition, which right now is almost certainly, the best in the county!
Let's all help maintain Bedfordshire Golf Club's growing reputation for delivering Bedfordshire's Premier Golfing Experience.
Remember to take a divot-mix bag to repair your divots
Keep your trolleys beyond the green-side bunkers
Always rake bunkers after use
Fairway Verti-Draining Completed - Nov 18
Members may be aware that we have not completed our normal Verti-Draining programme on the fairways this autumn as the weather has been so dry that the ground had become rock hard.
This meant that the machine could not penetrate the ground deep enough to have the necessary ground-drainage effect to ensure that surface moisture could sink to the grass roots and also minimise any surface flooding once the rains did arrive!
Now that more normal UK Autumnal weather has arrived, we will be completing this process over the next couple of weeks.
Please ensure that you respect the Greens' Team's Priority (and safety) on the course and do not play until fairways are clear.
On-Course Tree Maintenance Programme - Nov 18
As part of our ongoing course development and maintenance programme, the Greens' Team will be undertaking work on the trees on the courses during the autumn and winter. Some of the trees which are hindering the development of the specimen trees (which need plenty of room to grow) will be removed. This will provide the room required for the remaining trees to mature more effectively.
Whilst no-one likes to see trees felled it is very important that those worthy of preservation have the best possible chance to mature fully.
Members will notice white marks on some of the trees, which have been identified so far for removal. It is possible that around 5% of the trees on the course may be removed.
The plantations are a separate issue and have already had a great deal of work done. The team will, however, continue with removal of the weak or crowded trees to give the others better growth potential.
Once tree removal has taken place, a number of more mature replacement trees will be planted to ensure the shape and more mature look of the courses continues to be enhanced.
Greens' Committee - Tree Removal Criteria
Help to Protect Your Golf Courses - Please keep your trolley beyond the green-side bunkers.
Now that Autumn is here and we've finally had some rain to soften the course up, we would like to remind Members about careful use of trolleys around the greens. If we want our courses to continue to look good and play well, we all need to do our bit to protect them.
Unfortunately we have noticed a number of Members taking trolleys between the greens and the green-side bunkers. The dotted white lines in front of each green may be feint in places, but it does not mean that trolleys should be taken beyond them.
Trolleys damage the grass around the greens by flattening it and creating unsightly wheel lines which negatively affects the appearance of the areas around the greens. This 'flattening' also affects golfers' ability to play chip-shots to the green from around the fringes where the grass should be vertical. Grass will also take longer to recover as we move beyond the growing season, potentially leaving more bare patches through the winter! Please do your bit to help and take your trolley around the outside of the bunkers, not within them.
Keep All Trolleys Beyond Bunkers and Fringes - and NOT AS ABOVE PLEASE!
600 Green-Keepers Can Do More than 6 - Help Keep Our Courses In Great Condition
A Divot Repair Party worked around the course last week to fill divots, so we thank them for all their hard work.
We ask all members to please either replace any divots you take, or alternatively to fill them with Divot Mix which is available in conveniently sized bags situated on both the 1st and 10th Tees.
We all know how incredibly annoying it is to walk along our pristine fairways and find muddy gouges where someone has played a shot and not repaired or replaced the divot, so please help do your bit to maintain our courses in the condition that each of you would like to find them.
Thank you all in advance.
Golf Course Maintenance Continues Apace...Please Help Us To Help You
Members will be pleased to know that despite conditions being far from ideal for golf over recent weeks with all the rain, the greens team and other Members of the Club have been working hard to prepare the courses for the main playing season. Bunkers continue to be worked on, ditches cleared, rough cut back and trees pruned. We even have our past President Garry Fitzhugh doing his bit (see photo)!
One task completed last week was clearance of the ditch alongside the 5th green and behind the 14th tees. Apart from the large volume of natural materials removed, the team had to collect around 30 polystyrene cups which had been dropped by golfers and left to blow into the ditch. Could all members please ensure that litter is not dropped on the course, but put into the many bins provided. If the bin on the hole you are playing is full (usually ones nearest the half-way hut), pleased take it to the next bin and dispose of it there.
This will help to courses to look neat and tidy - the way we are sure you would all wish them to appear.
Garry doing some Past-Presidential Pruning
Bunker Renovations Continue
Following the successful renovation of 2 bunkers last year (3rd and 16th) 2 further bunkers have now been renovated. These are on the right hand front at the 2nd green (see image 1) and the left hand front at the 13th (see image 2), both of which are at the top of the list of the worst bunkers for drainage and therefore occupying most green keeper time in attempting to keep them playable in wet conditions.
Those of you who have been out on the course over the last couple of weeks may well have seen the work in progress, which included:
all existing sand (and clay) being dug out
a thick black solid crumb (which looks like tarmac) then being laid
once this was completely dry, sand being reintroduced on top to provide a more even and consistent layer
It will take a few weeks for the sand to settle and therefore players may well find that they get the odd “poached egg” lie in these 2 bunkers, but we expect that to be short lived and we should quickly see the benefit of the investment (which comes courtesy of the Competitions Committee).
We hope Members enjoy the improved bunker facilities - assuming of course you are unfortunate enough to be in there in the first place!
2nd Green Bunker Renovation
13th Green Bunker Renovation
March 2018 - With Spring finally here - what are the Greens' Team doing to prepare the courses and what can we all do to help?
After a long winter, the courses are unsurprisingly looking a little tired and in need of some warmth and sunshine to get them growing again. Also, both golfers and wildlife have given the fairways and greens a hard time over recent months.
So, what are the greens team doing?
Last week during the snow, they cleared out the 6th ditch and thinned the trees in the 1st and 17th plantations
They cleared some dead wood from wood to help with the spread of the bluebells in the spring.
They made some new bat and bird boxes to put around the woodland areas of the course.
The winter servicing of the machinery has been completed.
This week so far they have prepared the 2nd and 13th bunkers for the contractors to install the rubber crumb liner.
They have also hand cut the greens and tees, changed the holes. (first time for nearly two weeks)
Depth checks to the other bunkers around the course has been started. (delayed from Feb due to the weather)
And what can each of us do to help?
To help get the courses at Bedfordshire Golf Club back to being the best presented golfing facilities in the area we all need to:
replace divots carefully, or alternatively fill your divots with Divot Mix from the bags supplied on both the 1st and 10th
rake bunkers after use
repair your pitch marks on greens
please repair any bird damage to greens (caused when they peck them searching for grubs), as you would a pitch mark, as otherwise rabbits and other larger animals make them into much bigger holes which take longer to repair.
Please protect and maintain the quality of your golf courses, and encourage your playing partners to follow suit, so that we can rightly claim that we still offer Bedfordshire's Premier Golf Experience.
Carefully replace divots from where taken - press them down to ensure they are not easily removed by birds.
Please don't leave them like this!
Keep trolleys outside the green-side bunkers
Winter Rules - Now in Play
Since the article below in last week's BGC News, we can confirm that Winter Rules have been brought into play. This mean that golfers can mark, clean and replace their ball 'Through the Green'. For full details of the rule see: https://www..org/Guidance-on-Running-a-Competition/Rules/3-Local-Rules/SubRules/7-Preferred-Lies-Winter-Rules
We also advise all members to fit Winter Wheels to your trolleys to ensure you have maximum access to the courses throughout the winter period.
Theft & Damage to Golf Buggy Fleet at Bedfordshire Golf Club
The Pro-Shop at Bedfordshire Golf Club has become the latest victim in the nationwide spate of attacks on golf buggies for their lead-acid batteries.
Overnight Wednesday into Thursday of last week, the thieves broke in through the Anglian Water plant, moved the buggies to a discrete place & stripped all the batteries out, causing about £10,000 of damage.
Geraint said "this is an unfortunate incident and, although we had been warned through the trade about the possibility of an attack, there’s very little protection against it, due to the need to have ease of access to the batteries for routine maintenance".
He went on "In recent weeks, Frilford Heath, Tilsworth, Aylesbury Vale & Farthingstone have been targeted in this area, with East Sussex National, with 40 buggies & Yamaha’s headquarters, with 400 batteries stolen being the biggest victims!"
The damage caused means that the buggies will be out of operation for some time and will go through a phased repair programme, to get them fully operational again before the spring.
The Club & Geraint will work together to come up with a more secure method to try to prevent future attacks. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused and for those on pre-booked buggy deals. please speak to the pro-shop, who will advise you on on repair progress & limit any down-time.
With Winter Approaching - Winter Rules Are Imminent - Are Your Winter Wheels Ready?
With our courses being in such fantastic condition for November, it's easy to forget that winter is approaching. It's amazing that we haven't needed to implement 'Winter Rules' yet, but the fairways have been so good there, there just hasn't been the need so far. However, weather conditions are changing and it is highly likely that Preferred Lies (Winter Rules) will be in effect shortly. This will mean that golfers can mark, clean and replace their ball 'Through the Green' from this time. For full details of the rule see: https://www.randa.org/Guidance-on-Running-a-Competition/Rules/3-Local-Rules/SubRules/7-Preferred-Lies-Winter-Rules
Frost on the course makes the surfaces very slippery and it can be dangerous, and also damaging to the course, to use trolleys with standard wheels. These conditions will necessitate the Introduction of Winter Wheels Only, so please ensure your trolley is fitted and ready for use for when the need arises.
We are very fortunate at Stagsden that we don't regularly suffer from excessive water on the fairways, even after heavy rain. There are times however, mainly during the winter months, when prolonged rain means that fairways are too wet to use trolleys with standard wheels. They will therefore be prohibited on some days to avoid danger to users and damage to the courses. Fitting Winter Wheels to your trolley now will ensure that you can play golf throughout the winter.
Also, remember to never takes trolleys inside the white dotted lines in front of each green and especially between the greens and green-side bunkers.
Protect Your Courses and Help Maintain The Excellent Quality of Golfing Facilities at Stagsden.
Help to Protect Your Golf Course - Please keep your trolley beyond the green-side bunkers.
We're sure you'll agree that our golf courses are in excellent condition and have never looked better. This is down to the hard work of the green-keepers in preparing them, and to you the members in protecting them during play.
Unfortunately we have noticed an increasing number of both visitors and members taking trolleys between the greens and the green-side bunkers. Although the dotted white lines have not been repainted recently, it does not mean that trolleys should be taken beyond them.
Trolleys damage the grass around the greens by flattening it and creating unsightly wheel lines which negatively affects the appearance of the areas around the greens. This 'flattening' also affects golfers' ability to play chip-shots to the green from around the fringes where the grass should be vertical. Grass will also take longer to recover as we move out of the main growing season, potentially leaving bare patches through the winter.
Please protect the quality of your courses by always taking your trolleys around the outside of the green-side bunkers.
NB: There are two greens (12 and 14) where white lines have been painted to the right hand side of the green. Trolleys can be taken between the green and right hand bunker on the 12th and between the green and the pond on the 14th to avoid unnecessarily long walks to the next tees. Please do not take your trolley any closer to the greens than these white lines allow.
Bunker Etiquette - Please Rake the Bunkers
To help maintain the standard of our excellent golf courses and your enjoyment when playing them, would all members please adopt a consistent approach to bunker etiquette? This includes:
Always raking bunkers after use to include where your ball landed/rolled as well as divot scrape and any footprints
If you see any other areas of the bunker which have not been raked, please also rake these where possible
Try to keep the depth of the sand similar in both the centre of the bunker and around the perimeter. This way, all golfers are more likely to have a consistent base within the bunker from to play their shot
Leave the rake “half in/half out” with handle pointing at 90 degrees to the bunker edge
Thanks in advance and happy golfing.
Looking after our golf courses
Following on from the request to all members in last week's newsletter, we would like to thank all those who have gone out of their way to:
repair additional pitch marks
replace additional divots (or fill them with seed mix from the on-course bags)
and raked bunkers where they saw foot marks and other indentations.
The courses have already seen an improvement, but this is something that we need to continue, week-in, week-out. We have a reputation at Bedfordshire Golf Club of providing quality golfing facilities, which improve year on year. You can all help us maintain our position of providing Bedfordshire's Premier Golfing Experience.
replace divots (or refill with seed/soil mix from on-course bags)
repair your pitch mark - and at least one other, on every green
rake bunkers so that they are smooth and free from foot marks
This will benefit all of us.
Spring is here at last...
As the weather starts to improve and the serious golf season gets under way it is worth us all taking a moment to reflect on the long golfing winter months from November through to the end of March. Five severe storms between November and February brought torrential rain and winds of up to 94 mph leading to the MET office labelling storm Doris as a “weather bomb”!
Add to this numerous frosts and ongoing cold ground temperatures, and it is safe to say we have had a typical English winter.
Throughout this period we have been able to play our golf, day in day out out, on a full course. Only on a few occasions when frost was coming out of the ground did we have to play on temporary greens.
It is worth remembering that most weekends throughout the winter, there are in excess of 200 pairs of feet walking on our tees, greens and fairways in all weathers and the course gets little respite from continual play in poor weather conditions. I am sure you all agree that our dedicated team of green staff do a fantastic job in presenting the course in excellent condition for our pleasure.
Bunker renovation work
Recently, the greens staff have completely renovated two bunkers, front right on number 3 and front left on number 16 (below). The bunkers have had new drainage, a hard core base and a liner fitted (the material used for the liner is similar to the material used on the pathways). The sand will take a little while to bed in and we may experience one or two plugged balls during this time but I am sure we will all benefit from the fantastic job that has been done.
Apart from the improvement in the condition of these two bunkers for play, many man hours will be saved as they were two of the bunkers that suffered most from flooding and flash storms.
Finally, a gentle, but important reminder
To all golfers - we are seeing an increasing number of divots left on the fairways, unrepaired pitch marks on the greens and bunkers left unraked. Clearly this is not the way any of us would wish our golf course to appear and does not show respect for other players!
Please remember - replace divots, repair pitch marks and rake bunkers - this benefits us all.