Greens Committee Minutes

Greens Committee Newsletter November 2016

PDF Version HERE

Perhaps the biggest event for the Golf Club over recent months has been the laying of additional land drains on much of the course.  Happily, the work was carried out successful with minimal disruption to play, and many of the trenches are already beginning to blend in.  It should make a significant benefit to the course but the full effect of the additional drainage may not be seen for some time as removal of excess water from the soil can be a slow process.  Bourn Golf and Leisure (BGL) hope to undertake further drainage work over the coming months, targeting the 8th and 13th fairways.  BGL will continue to fill holes and significant soil settlements in the drainage trenches as and when required.  A number of bunkers have also had improved drainage.  These bunkers are currently GUR but will be brought back into service over the coming months as the soil settles and the sand can be replaced.

Over recent months there has been much talk about possible changes to the course involving holes 9 to 13 and an extension to the practice range.  However, following feedback from members, BGL has decided to postpone any changes until further notice.  Nevertheless, BGL do want to continue to develop the practice facilities and hope to construct an improved short-game area which will include a practice green located on the ground to the right of the present range.  Finally, BGL have procured a token-operated practice-ball dispenser which will be installed early in the New Year.

A number of the blue Junior Tees markers have recently been damaged by the mowers and BGL have agreed to replace the current items with a more robust and better anchored design.  They are also exploring a better way to highlight the location of the often difficult to see markers whilst giving minimum interference to grass cutting.  Yardages for the Junior Tees are currently being calculated to comply with CAGU standards

and once these have been ratified, new “Junior” scorecards will be printed to reflect the formalised position.

Some of our sprinklers do not always deploy correctly and as a result fail to water the green and produce pooling areas around the head.  In addition, depressions around some of the sprinkler heads pose a tripping H&S hazard.  BGL have agreed to reposition errant sprinkler heads.  BGL also advised that the vegetation masking many of the fairway distance markers will be trimmed.

The fallen tree on the 3rd Fairway, the subject of much comment, has now been removed.  However, tree lovers will be pleased to learn that additional trees are to be added on the left of the 3rd fairway running down towards the Tees hopefully to encourage drives away from the new housing.  Clearcut also advised that over the coming months a number of trees would be removed from around the course to encourage specimen trees to better develop.  Encouraged by the lively discussion on trees, Clearcut advised that they planned to remove the tree immediately in front of 4th Green which has become too big.  Horrah some will say!

BGL advised that the new Tee being constructed at the 15th is intended to be an alternative to the present Tee and not its replacement.  There was no target for this work and completion would be when conditions and manpower allowed.

BGL have procured the new warning sign for 15th Fairway and were waiting for the Ladies Section to supply the appropriate wording and the “triangle”.

Finally, The Greens Committee congratulated Clearcut on the excellent condition of the course over recent months as well as the minimal impact of the maintenance work on members.

Andy Stubbs,

Chairman Bourn Greens Committee

Members Reps:  Ali Cope (Ladies); David Hubbard (Mens); Andy Stubbs (Scratch); Julian Thomas (Seniors) and Stuart Watson (Club Secretary)


Greens Committee Newsletter July 2016

The major concern for most members over recent months has probably been the condition of the course.  In common with many other clubs, Clearcut has struggled to overcome the impact of a mild, wet winter and a late spring.  However, their hard work has paid off and I am sure you will agree that the course is now in very good condition.  Clearcut plan further work over the coming weeks with the application of more fertiliser and additional verti-draining aiming of maintaining the current condition of greens and fairways for as long as possible.

Bourn Golf & Leisure (BGL) advised that the electrical pole on the 3rd fairway will be relocated closer to the rough on the RH side and the cables crossing the fairway will be taken underground.  Work on the course, especially that associated with changes to the 3rd fairway, has left a number of deep vehicle tracks.  This work is expected to continue for a little longer.  BGL expect much of the damage to self-repair but in the interim, Players should treat these ruts as GUR.

The new Ladies 5th tee was proving slower to develop than expected with excessive weed growth.  Clearcut will apply additional weed-spray and hope that the better weather will help promote stronger grass growth.  Turf was not seen as a good option for this area.

Following suggestions from members, BGL agreed that a grass area representative of fairway conditions should be available on the practice ground but, for H&S reasons, did not want it directly in front of the bays. It was agreed that an area to the right of bays would be cut to the required length.  In addition, BGL agreed to reduce the height of the grass in the strip of rough between Fairways 6 and 7 to help speed up play.

Pin placement has been an ongoing concern for members and is often a compromise between the requirements of players and the maintenance constraints of the greenkeepers.  Discussions with the Company and members have helped better clarify each other’s concerns and it was agreed pin placement had improved over recent months, especially for tournaments.  Clearcut also agreed to advise members when less than ideal pin placements were necessary to cope with wear and tear, or to avoid problem areas such as currently exists with algae on the 17th green.

Responding to comments from Junior Members, BGL have agreed to use only blue-disk tee markers rather than the current mixture of disk and pegs and to complete the work before the school holidays.

The Ladies’ section had previously highlighted possible safety issues in the blind spot at the downhill section of the 13th fairway.  Funding for a bell/gong has been agreed.  Discussions are still ongoing about the best location, but the “bell”, with a tone which will be different from the existing one on the 8th, is expected be in operation before the end of the summer.

Comments have been made whether the lumps of grass resulting from cutting could be removed, especially those around the greens.  Clearcut’s current philosophy is to cut greens and surrounds in the early morning so as to present the best surface to players. Under wet or dewy conditions some clumps can accumulate.  However, clearing these clumps would seriously slow the cutting process and Clearcut would struggle to keep ahead of players.  The alternative would be to abandon early cutting and it was agreed that the current practice is the better option.

And ending on a bombshell, BGL outlined some draft proposals to further improve the course.  The driving force for the changes (no pun intended!) is BGL’s wish to improve the driving-range, particularly to make it longer.  This in turn would possibly mean changes to holes 9,10,11,12 and 13.  BGL is particularly keen to limit the impact on the course whilst the work was being done (which could last some two years).  BGL asked Reps to provide feedback from Members for further discussion on 15 August.  If you want to see more detail ask you Members’ Rep.

Finally, the Greens Committee thanked Clearcut for their very helpful and informative weekly bulletin on planned work which had been well received by members.

Andy Stubbs,

Chairman Bourn Greens Committee

Members Reps:  Ali Cope (Ladies); David Hubbard (Mens); Andy Stubbs (Scratch); Julian Thomas (Seniors) and Stuart Watson (Club Secretary)

Newsletter from the Greens’ Committee May 2016

A major concern for many members over recent weeks has been the condition of the greens and fairways.  Bourn Golf and Leisure (BGL) believe the warm wet winter and cool spring are the main reason for the problems which has slowed the growth of new grass and delayed the normal programme of preparation.  BGL have resisted cutting the grass too short at this time as this would invariably impair the surface later in the year.  The Company has chosen instead to adopt a longer-term approach and has undertaken more up-front work than in previous years.  The Greens have been verti-drained and pencil-tined twice to promote improved root growth for the year ahead.  Playing surface have received extra spray treatments and top dressing to improve their condition, and fertiliser and weed killer has recently been applied to the fairways.  Temperatures over recent weeks have been lower than normal, resulting in slow grass growth.  However, the recent warmer weather has seen soil temperatures rise and the Greens have significantly improved over the past week.

Looking to the future, changing weather patterns are likely to result in warmer winters, with cooler springs and early summers.  BGL think they may need to review their maintenance policy and, depending on conditions, to carry out more maintenance in the autumn and less in the Spring so as to minimise the impact on the playing season.

The Ladies’ section have highlighted a possible safety issues in the blind spot at the downhill section of the 13th fairway.  BGL have agreed to fit a warning triangle (to avoid confusion with the bell at the 8th) on a trial basis.  The club committee will be asked to fund the triangle and BGL have agreed to fund the posts, erection and signs.

Following some concerns from players, BGL have agreed to stake the new trees planted along the side of the 3rd fairway and to repair the vehicle track marks.

A number of members have commented about the impact of maintenance work with play and especially with competitions.  BGL emphasised that they are always mindful of the player’s calendar when planning work but explained that their maintenance timetable was often driven by weather conditions.  Nevertheless every effort is made to avoid conflict.  BGL have recognised the need for improved awareness of planned course work and are currently exploring the best way to make this information available to members.  More on this aspect when it comes to hand.

BGL have recently carried out a number of course improvements.  The planned refurbishment of all the rubbish bins has been completed.  A number of bunkers have had the sand topped up and more work is planned for the autumn.  Preparation work on the new Ladies 5th Tee has been completed and grass seed applied with the aim of opening it in the autumn.

Many members have said they missed the April Newsletter so it might be helpful if I repeat the opening paragraph which covered the structure of the Greens Committee.  The new Greens Committee has now met five times and together we have developed an open and cooperative forum between Bourn Golf and Leisure (BGL) and Members to discuss the issues at the heart of our golf course.  Members are represented by:  Ali Cope (Ladies); David Hubbard (Mens); Andy Stubbs (Scratch); Julian Thomas (Seniors) and Stuart Watson (Club Secretary).  BGL is represented by Philip Crow, Dan Barker and Tony Gould of Clearcut.  The GC currently aims to meet about every 6-8 weeks. 

Finally, many of you may have noticed that Steve of Clearcut is no longer about.  Here is a statement from BLG to help explain the current position.  “Steve Kane and Tony Gould of Clearcut, along with their team of green keepers, have been working for us for 8 years now.  It was through a mutual decision between Steve and Tony that Steve left their partnership.  Steve felt that his interest no longer lay with golf course maintenance and his leaving had no bearing on Steve's relationship with us.  Tony and his team will still continue to provide their service at the club.”

And as a footnote, we have already tried a number of different ways to make members aware of the Greens Committee newsletter, so far with mixed results.  For this issue we are going to trial an email link to its location on the main website.  This will of course only help those members who have registered and we welcome suggestions of how best to reach the rest.

Andy Stubbs,

Chairman Bourn Greens Committee


Greens Committee Newsletter April 2016

The new Greens Committee has now met five times and together we have developed an open and cooperative forum between Bourn Golf and Leisure (BGL) and Members to discuss the issues at the heart of our golf course.  Members are represented by:  Ali Cope (Ladies); David Hubbard (Mens); Andy Stubbs (Scratch); Julian Thomas (Seniors) and Stuart Watson (Club Secretary).  BGL is represented by Philip Crow, Dan Barker and Tony Gould of Clearcut.  

Issues satisfactorily addressed from previous meetings include:  blinding the rubble alongside the path at the 7th green, tidying up around tees, new or repainted markers, better winter-roping etc.  Organisational changes included better de-confliction between social events and competitions and greater emphasis on course etiquette, particularly for visitors.  The major points and key issues discussed in our latest meeting are summarised in this, our first Newsletter. 

The most noticeable work ongoing at the moment are the changes being made to the third fairway to create some safety clearance from the proposed housing development located adjacent to the fairway.  Trees have been added to the left side of the fairway to create a bulge which will displace the playing surface some 40 meters to the right.  Trees have been removed from the right to restore width and to create a gentle dog leg left.  The men’s Tee will remain unchanged but the ladies Tee will be moved further right.  The barns flanking the left hand side of the fairway will be removed.  Members should note that they are constructed of non-hazardous materials and are not expected to present health concerns during demolition and removal.

Following earlier discussions, BGL has undertaken work to improve the path and kerbs around the first Tee and it is hoped to continue this work on to the 10th Tee at a later date.  In addition, new flags, cups and rakes have recently been introduced.  BGL also continue to invest in the infra-structure needed to support the course and have recently bought a new tractor, and a verti-drainer to further improve aeration and drainage of the greens.

It has been BGL’s intention to make some long-needed changes to the brook at the 10th but after exhaustive discussions with the Environment Agency, these plans have had to be scaled back for environmental reasons.  Similarly, plans to provide a hard-surface car park have also had to be shelved because the Environment Agency is concerned about water run-off.  BGL have no option but to continue to manage the surface with gravel as in the past.  BGL are committed to improve the bunkers.  Stocks of fresh sand are available and will be applied when conditions and resources allow.  It is hoped to begin in April starting with the bunkers on the 9th.

The major project for 2016 will to improve drainage on the course.  Work is planned on or near the 6th 8th, 13th and 14th fairways which will involve laying extensive runs of pipework with a knock-on impact to the playing surfaces.  This work is scheduled to take place during the coming autumn to reduce the impact on the summer season.  The benefits of the new drainage will take some time to be fully realised but is eventually expected to have a significant beneficial impact on large areas of the course.

The wet winter has also delayed work on the ladies new Tee on the 5th.  The surface will now be prepared and seeded over the coming weeks and is expected to be available for play in the autumn.

BGL continue to explore improvements to the practice area.  A number of specialist companies are currently preparing proposals for presentation to BGL and further information will be provided to Members when available.

BGL have advised that this past winter has been one of the most difficult from a maintenance point of view.  It has been one of the wettest and warmest winters on record making surface treatment difficult.  However the greens have now received extra chemicals to address the growth of fungus, have been spiked, sanded and seeded and are on track to be in a condition to support the coming season.

There has been much comment from members about pin placement.  BGL have struggled to always provide optimum pin locations, especially in the winter.  Members of the greens committee will work with the company to agree those difficult pin locations that should be avoided.

Following comments from Members, BLG have agreed to pay more attention to the cleanliness of the areas around the clubhouse and especially at the shoe-cleaning pit.

Andy Stubbs                             

Chairman of Bourn Greens Committee