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Thornbury Golf Centre gets green light

Thornbury Golf Centre gets green light: Located near Bristol, Thornbury Golf Centre is set to embark on an exciting £600,000 irrigation investment project which is designed to amplify the look and playability of both golf courses, while also dramatically improving maintenance efficiency.

The project – funded by club owner and operator, Burhill Group Limited (BGL) – represents the group’s unwavering dedication to facility improvement and enhanced member and customer experience, while also reflecting a surge in membership numbers at all 10 clubs in recent years.

Thornbury Golf Centre gets green light

Thornbury Golf Centre gets green light

The first phase of the project will cost around £275,000 and will see the foundations laid across both golf courses for the installation of a new high-tech irrigation system that will include tee boxes, fairways, approaches and greens. Crucially, the new system will allow the club to better manage the amount of moisture in the ground, making the courses more playable, all year round.

Once completed, the new irrigation system will be controlled via mobile device or computer, allowing maintenance teams to control the conditioning of the golf courses, 24-hours a day. This will make a huge difference to staff efficiency and will also help to deliver an exceptional golf experience that can be enjoyed by club members, guests, and visitors.

Tim Good, General Manager of Thornbury Golf Centre, said: “We are delighted to have been afforded this opportunity by BGL, to make further enhancements to our facility. We are committed to delivering the very best golfing experience for our members and guests, and this is the next step along our road of continuous improvement.”

Guy Riggott, Operations Director at BGL Golf, commented: “We are constantly monitoring the progress of our facilities and looking for new and innovative ways to improve our offering. With this upgrade to the irrigation system across both courses, the team at Thornbury will be able to offer a first-class golfing facility, 12 months of the year.”

This news comes immediately following the club’s announcement that it has been officially awarded with the SafeGolf Accreditation and has been recognised as a GEO Certified venue. These awards reflect the club’s commitment to health and safety, the local environment, social responsibility, and sustainability.

Good added: “We are constantly looking at ways to develop and improve our working practices, so we are extremely pleased that both England Golf and GEO have recognised our efforts, both in health and safety and environmental sectors.”

To find out more about Thornbury Golf Centre and to book your visit, head online to www.thornburygc.co.uk, or call 01454 281144.

For more information on Burhill Golf and Leisure Ltd visit www.bglcompany.co.uk or follow @BGLGolf on LinkedIn.

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Sleaford Golf Club seeks higher standards

Sleaford Golf Club seeks higher standards: Set in the heart of Lincolnshire, Sleaford Golf Club is an 18-hole private members course redesigned by Peter Alliss, with an additional 6-hole Academy par 3 course. Described as an inland links with sandy, well-draining soil, it is renowned for once having the longest first nine holes in the country, with no par 3s.

Much of the course is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) that includes some of the most important calcareous grassland areas in the county, if not the UK. Nick Lawson, chairman of the club’s management committee and also greens chairman, has developed a passion for wildlife and environmental management and says:

Sleaford Golf Club seeks higher standards

Sleaford Golf Club seeks higher standards

“We are delighted to be working with Natural England and to play our part in maintaining the biodiversity of our environment, while ensuring that a natural evolution of the course is maintained.”

Part of this evolution has seen the introduction of the club’s first John Deere course maintenance equipment fleet supplied by local dealer F G Adamson & Son at Langworth, and supported by a five-year John Deere Financial lease deal. The new machines include a 2750E hybrid electric triplex mower, 7700A PrecisionCut fairway mower, 9009A TerrainCut rotary rough mower, a ProGator 2030A utility vehicle equipped with an HD200 amenity turf sprayer, and a TH 6×4 Gator utility vehicle.

The combination of new hybrid electric and programmable TechControl mower technology and advanced sprayer controls now enables the course to be managed in a more environmentally friendly manner, while also saving costs.

Nick Lawson has been a member at Sleaford Golf Club for over 30 years, and was persuaded to join the management committee in order to bring his financial and accountancy experience to bear. Together with director of golf Nigel Pearce, who has been at Sleaford for 20 years and was the club professional, and new course manager Brian Sharp – all three have been in post for less than three years – they embarked on an investment programme to improve the overall maintenance regime and bring everything back up to a higher standard after several years of decline.

“We had inherited an old five-year lease contract, so the new management committee set a good budget pre-Covid to replace and upgrade the machinery fleet,” says Nick Lawson. “This was put on hold during lockdown, but we consider the golf course to be the club’s prime asset. As soon as we were able to, we asked Brian for his wish list and then arranged a number of machinery demonstrations by the different manufacturers to see what worked best for us.

“We then went to tender, with John Deere and Adamsons giving the best presentation and their all-round choice of machinery just a little ahead of the others, so we signed the deal at the beginning of April. With the finance, we need flexibility to take advantage of the latest technology and different machinery wear rates, so in time we may have to adjust our budgets accordingly.

“We’ve never been down this route before, so we’re still learning the best way forward for the club and the course, but Brian and his team now have all the tools they need to do the job to the best possible standards.”

“One of the key reasons we chose the A Model mowers is being able to set up the mowing speed and frequency of cut for a consistent finish across the course, whoever’s on the machine,” says Brian Sharp. “We also needed a sprayer that was accurate and could speed up the job, particularly on the fairways.

“With our old tractor-mounted sprayer there was no calibration and we had no real idea of application rates. The HD200 is much more accurate, there’s no over-application and we know we’re hitting the target with whatever we spray, which really helps to lower our environmental footprint. We can now do all 18 holes in one go instead of having to refill halfway round, so we also save on man hours and keep ahead of the golfers.”

Nick Lawson adds: “By offering more flexible membership and guest options, our numbers are picking up again now. There’s been a net gain since the beginning of lockdown, and we’re confident things are now moving forward for the club.”

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Milestone in sustainable golf development

Milestone in sustainable golf development: Second edition of the international voluntary sustainability standard for golf developments demonstrates golf’s continuing proactive leadership and progress in the construction industry.

Developed through close collaboration, both within and outside the golf industry, the release of this latest edition of the Sustainable Golf Development Standard represents another major step forward in golf’s journey to becoming a leader in sustainable sport, land use and development.

Milestone in sustainable golf development

Milestone in sustainable golf development

Available to all new developments from September 2021, this simplified new edition raises the bar on sustainability expectations and focuses on the most relevant issues and challenges in the current climate. Renewed emphasis is placed on areas such as increased transparency, carbon impacts, flexible construction timelines, circular economy and the impacts of agronomic decision-making.

Facilitated by GEO Foundation (GEO), six months of open public consultation and dedicated work by the international expert working group for sustainable golf development has led to the release of the second edition of this credible, accessible and relevant voluntary standard for any golf development. The milestone document provides a tighter framework, which can guide the process of delivering any new golf developments and renovations, from site selection through to opening day – delivering positive social and environmental value throughout.

Sam Thomas, Director of Golf Development for GEO, the international organization dedicated to helping advance sustainability in and through golf said: “The process of working with public comments and the international expert group’s knowledge was a great insight into what we’ve seen change in the sustainability space over the past five years. There were invaluable inputs shared into the ways in which everyone felt that golf developments, done in the right way, can continue to make real positive contributions to their environment, climate and community. Going forward, we are excited to adopt this 2nd edition of the standard at all new golf development sites seeking to gain GEO Certified Development status and, over the next five years, see how we can all push on to deliver even greater positive impacts.”

The seven members of the International Expert Working Group, which helped shape this latest edition, included representatives from the Society of Australian Golf Course Architects; American Society of Golf Course Architects; The European Institutes of Golf Course Architects; Golf course builders – through Landscapes Unlimited; Australian National University, Former European Commission representatives and Wetlands International.

Richard Holland, Director, Operations and Network Development, Wetlands International commented: “Congratulations to all involved in this significant milestone for the golf development industry. The 2nd edition builds on the solid foundations of the original standard and raises the bar for new sustainable golf developments. These voluntary standards can also provide valuable guidance for policymakers and regulators in their responsibilities to deliver the best possible outcomes for the environment and local communities.”

The revision of the standard was carried out in line with ISEAL Alliance’s Code of Good Practice for Standard Setting. GEO has been part of the ISEAL Alliance since 2015 and the rigour and credibility of that code are central to the revision of the voluntary sustainability standard. These same codes of good practice are followed by other well-known sustainability bodies including Fairtrade, The Rainforest Alliance and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Tom Mackenzie, Director at Mackenzie & Ebert and Past President of European Institute of Golf Course Architects stated: “It is great to see the release of the 2nd edition of this standard. It now better represents the current sustainability issues we face as designers and I was very pleased to be able to represent the European Institute of Golf Course Architects (EIGCA) on the expert working group. Along with EIGCA’s Raising the Standard of Sustainable Golf Course Design educational programme, which was created with GEO, this renewed sustainability standard represents another meaningful point of connection with GEO for our members.”  

The document and further explanation can be viewed here along with information on the OnCourse Developments programme, which provides practical support to assist all types of golf developments and the GEO Certified Developments mark, which provides credible recognition to new projects.

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Ventrac for Dudsbury Golf Club

Ventrac for Dudsbury Golf Club: The owners of Dudsbury Golf Club, Hotel & Spa, Beate and Len Robinson, have supported long-serving head greenkeeper Warren Moss with the purchase of a Ventrac 4500 all-terrain compact tractor and Contour mowing deck to ensure the course stays in pristine condition. Replacing an old zero-turn machine and an ageing Toro Sidewinder, the new package makes sound commercial sense.

Commenting at the recent handover of the equipment Warren Moss said,

Ventrac for Dudsbury Golf Club

Ventrac for Dudsbury Golf Club

“We have an ageing fleet and we need to be smarter in how we purchase equipment in the future. The owners were very supportive when I made the business case and we are replacing two machines with one. Because of its versatility, we can add more attachments at a fraction of the cost of purchasing new dedicated equipment, so we should be able to upgrade more cost effectively, when we need to.

“I’d seen the media reports and watched some YouTube videos and even arranged a demo a couple of years ago. We had another demo recently, this time with the Contour deck and it performed extremely well. We use it on tee banks, green surrounds, bunker surrounds and can raise the height of cut to manage the semi-rough. Also, as it has a three-point linkage at the rear, we can mount our Sisis Twin Play with sorrel roller and slitter.

“My main reason for specifying this machine is its slope climbing ability. It’s extremely stable on slopes of up to 30 degrees, making it safe and manoeuvrable, especially on tees. About a third of the course is on a flood plain, so can be quite wet in winter. Because of its light footprint in its eight-wheel configuration we will be able to get out during wet spells without damaging the playing surfaces. I’m also impressed by the Aera-vator attachment, which makes aeration on banks possible, so this might possibly be our next purchase.”

Set in 160 acres of undulating Dorset countryside just outside of Bournemouth, the Donald Steel-designed 6,904-yard, par 71 championship course features nine lakes and is bordered by the river Stour. It has hosted several prestigious events including the PGA Europro Tour, which featured on Sky Sports and the BMW PGA Order of Merit Championship.

Warren Moss, who heads a team of six, has been at the club for the past 12 years, the last six as Head Greenkeeper. He started his career at Yeovil Golf Club, where he attended Cannington College and enjoyed a six-month placement in Germany. He was a member of the newbuild/grow-in team at Orchardleigh near Bath in the mid-1990s, where he stayed for 15 years until joining Dudsbury.

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BIGGA to host Women & Girls Golf Week

BIGGA to host Women & Girls Golf Week: Women & Girls’ Golf Week returns this month and Monday 16th will see attention turn to those ladies who have built a successful career in the golf industry.

To mark the occasion the British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) will welcome Emma Ballard, editor of Women & Golf, as she hosts an online chat with four talented female greenkeepers and finds out more about what they enjoy about their chosen careers.

BIGGA to host Women & Girls Golf Week

BIGGA to host Women & Girls Golf Week

The online chat will take place on 16 August at 4pm and joining Emma will be:

  • Lucy Sellick, course manager at Wenvoe Castle Golf Club
  • Sophie Bulpitt, deputy course manager at The Berkshire Golf Club
  • Amanda Dorans, sustainability coordinator at The Gleneagles Hotel
  • Anna Nilsson, irrigation technician at The Belfry

The chat will be an opportunity to find out what attracted these four ladies to the industry and showcase the incredible opportunities for career development it presents.

Anyone interested in a potential career in greenkeeping – male or female – is invited to register and listen in to the conversation.

Emma Ballard, who recently graduated from The R&A’s Women in Golf Leadership Programme, said: “As someone who has been lucky enough to forge a career in golf, I know what a wonderful industry it is to work in. Whether playing, as part of the media – like myself – or as one of the rising number of brilliant female greenkeepers in the industry, there’s no better place to spend your working life than out on the golf course. I’m really excited to sit and chat to these four incredibly talented female greenkeepers, who all come from a wide variety of backgrounds but are united in their shared passion for their profession. I hope you’re able to join us!”

You can register for the event online at: https://www.bigga.org.uk/event/women-and-girls-golf-week-greenkeeping-its-a-great-career.html

Women & Girls’ Golf Week is an online campaign hosted by England Golf that promotes female participation in golf at all levels and seeks to challenge negative perceptions about the game. You can keep up to date with related activities throughout the week by following the hashtag #WhyIGolf on social media.

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Le Golf National signs Jacobsen deal

Le Golf National signs Jacobsen deal: Outstanding service and product quality have seen one of Europe’s most prestigious golf clubs, Le Golf National, renew their Jacobsen partnership for a further five years and include an E-Z-GO fleet. 

Le Golf National signs Jacobsen deal

Le Golf National signs Jacobsen deal

The club has had great success with Jacobsen mowers with the Albatros course for the Ryder Cup in 2018 widely recognised by participants and spectators as one of the best the tournament has seen. That quality isn’t reserved for the Ryder Cup and is regularly seen during the Open de France which the club has hosted 27 times between 1991 and 2019.

A wide range of mowers including the new lithium-ion powered Eclipse 360 ELiTE and AR530 articulated contour rotary mower are included in a 27 strong list that also features models from the HR, TR and SLF ranges as well as GP400s. Following an audit of the machines currently used on the course from the previous leasing agreement, 39 Jacobsen and Cushman mowers and utility vehicles have been purchased by the club for continued use.

Thirty-four RXV Elite E-Z-GO golf carts that use the industry-leading ELiTE lithium-ion battery technology now shared with the Eclipse 360 ELiTE are also included and will feature the Textron Fleet Management (TFM) 10EX system.

For Ransomes Jacobsen, France’s General Manager, Laurent Proupin, Le Golf National’s commitment to Jacobsen comes not just from the signature cut or industry-leading features, but from the service they receive during tournaments and throughout the year.

“I’m very, very excited to have one of France’s major courses continuing to use the Jacobsen brand,” Laurent begins. “It’s been a considerable effort by the entire team at Ransomes Jacobsen France, and one which is a result of always, whoever the customer is, giving the best service we can. I think the support we offer during a tournament and on a day-to-day basis is as important as the quality of cut and is very valued by superintendents.

“The importance of the deals with firstly Le Golf National and then the Ryder Cup was huge because it showed that the Jacobsen brand is very strong. We can point to Le Golf National and the 2018 Ryder Cup which was played on one of the best courses the tournament has had, and that feedback has come from the players.

“And that is the importance of tournament service. We are very close to the customer, and I try to have a spirit that when there is a tournament it isn’t just a tournament for Le Golf National, it’s a tournament for Le Golf National and the Ransomes Jacobsen France team. That worked brilliantly for the Ryder Cup and many Open de France competitions, and we are already looking forward to carrying that into the Golf Amateur World Championships in 2022 as well.

“During each tournament, there are two technical staff from my team on the course, ready to step in if there is any problem. For us, that is assuring them that they will have no problem. And I think it is the main argument for using one company because you can get your mowers and golf cars serviced by the same people.

“For the other brands, several providers are necessary, but for us, all of our technical staff can work on E-Z-GO, the Textron Fleet Management GPS system, Jacobsen or Ransomes and it makes it much easier to manage for our customers.”

Commenting on the renewal of this partnership, Pascal Grizot, President of the French Golf Federation, said: “Golf National must remain the venue for major international golfing events and offer optimal maintenance conditions throughout the year for all types of public. The new high-performance training area also requires technical equipment that matches our sporting ambitions. The continuation of our partnership with Jacobsen EZGO, both in terms of equipment and human resources, allows us to remain confident in preparing for the future French Open and the World Team Championships in 2022. We share together the will to prepare excellent quality courses with the necessary support for our field teams.”

The Director of Le Golf National, Mr Philippe Pilato, detailed the main reasons for this choice: “The teams of Golf National and Ransomes-Jacobsen have built a relationship of trust over many years. Beyond the quality of the service and the machines, we were very sensitive to the knowledge and know-how that guided our collaboration.

Ransomes-Jacobsen has accompanied us through various incredible experiences. The renewal of this partnership highlights our common ambitions to offer excellence in the quality of maintenance and to ensure the durability of this excellence. ”

Ransomes Jacobsen France services many of the country’s leading golf clubs from branches in Paris, Rennes and Toulouse. The quality of the products on offer along with the customer service, has been a pivotal selling point for clubs such as the Evian Resort, the Terre Blanche Golf and Spa Resort, the Roquebrune Resort, Golf du Touquet, Blue Green Golf Course of Pléneuf-Val-André, Golf du Prieuré and many others

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Le Golf National signs Jacobsen deal

Le Golf National signs Jacobsen deal: Outstanding service and product quality have seen one of Europe’s most prestigious golf clubs, Le Golf National, renew their Jacobsen partnership for a further five years and include an E-Z-GO fleet. 

The club has had great success with Jacobsen mowers with the Albatros course for the Ryder Cup in 2018 widely recognised by participants and spectators as one of the best the tournament has seen. That quality isn’t reserved for the Ryder Cup and is regularly seen during the Open de France which the club has hosted 27 times between 1991 and 2019.

Le Golf National signs Jacobsen deal

Le Golf National signs Jacobsen deal

A wide range of mowers including the new lithium-ion powered Eclipse 360 ELiTE and AR530 articulated contour rotary mower are included in a 27 strong list that also features models from the HR, TR and SLF ranges as well as GP400s. Following an audit of the machines currently used on the course from the previous leasing agreement, 39 Jacobsen and Cushman mowers and utility vehicles have been purchased by the club for continued use.

Thirty-four RXV Elite E-Z-GO golf carts that use the industry-leading ELiTE lithium-ion battery technology now shared with the Eclipse 360 ELiTE are also included and will feature the Textron Fleet Management (TFM) 10EX system.

For Ransomes Jacobsen, France’s General Manager, Laurent Proupin, Le Golf National’s commitment to Jacobsen comes not just from the signature cut or industry-leading features, but from the service they receive during tournaments and throughout the year.

“I’m very, very excited to have one of France’s major courses continuing to use the Jacobsen brand,” Laurent begins. “It’s been a considerable effort by the entire team at Ransomes Jacobsen France, and one which is a result of always, whoever the customer is, giving the best service we can. I think the support we offer during a tournament and on a day-to-day basis is as important as the quality of cut and is very valued by superintendents.

“The importance of the deals with firstly Le Golf National and then the Ryder Cup was huge because it showed that the Jacobsen brand is very strong. We can point to Le Golf National and the 2018 Ryder Cup which was played on one of the best courses the tournament has had, and that feedback has come from the players.

“And that is the importance of tournament service. We are very close to the customer, and I try to have a spirit that when there is a tournament it isn’t just a tournament for Le Golf National, it’s a tournament for Le Golf National and the Ransomes Jacobsen France team. That worked brilliantly for the Ryder Cup and many Open de France competitions, and we are already looking forward to carrying that into the Golf Amateur World Championships in 2022 as well.

“During each tournament, there are two technical staff from my team on the course, ready to step in if there is any problem. For us, that is assuring them that they will have no problem. And I think it is the main argument for using one company because you can get your mowers and golf cars serviced by the same people.

“For the other brands, several providers are necessary, but for us, all of our technical staff can work on E-Z-GO, the Textron Fleet Management GPS system, Jacobsen or Ransomes and it makes it much easier to manage for our customers.”

Commenting on the renewal of this partnership, Pascal Grizot, President of the French Golf Federation, said: “Golf National must remain the venue for major international golfing events and offer optimal maintenance conditions throughout the year for all types of public. The new high-performance training area also requires technical equipment that matches our sporting ambitions. The continuation of our partnership with Jacobsen EZGO, both in terms of equipment and human resources, allows us to remain confident in preparing for the future French Open and the World Team Championships in 2022. We share together the will to prepare excellent quality courses with the necessary support for our field teams.”

The Director of Le Golf National, Mr Philippe Pilato, detailed the main reasons for this choice: “The teams of Golf National and Ransomes-Jacobsen have built a relationship of trust over many years. Beyond the quality of the service and the machines, we were very sensitive to the knowledge and know-how that guided our collaboration.

Ransomes-Jacobsen has accompanied us through various incredible experiences. The renewal of this partnership highlights our common ambitions to offer excellence in the quality of maintenance and to ensure the durability of this excellence. ”

Ransomes Jacobsen France services many of the country’s leading golf clubs from branches in Paris, Rennes and Toulouse. The quality of the products on offer along with the customer service, has been a pivotal selling point for clubs such as the Evian Resort, the Terre Blanche Golf and Spa Resort, the Roquebrune Resort, Golf du Touquet, Blue Green Golf Course of Pléneuf-Val-André, Golf du Prieuré and many others.

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Changing the Business of Golf with Fame Tate

Changing the Business of Golf with Fame Tate: A unique new docuseries telling the remarkable story of one woman’s mission to turnaround a rundown golf club and make it a friendly, accessible and inclusive community venue is now streaming on syngentagolf.com

In a first for the golf industry, the fly-on-the-wall documentary, Changing the Business of Golf, follows former Ladies European Tour professional Fame Tate as she breaks with tradition and aims to transform the course and customer experience at Stanedge Golf Club, Derbyshire.

Changing the Business of Golf with Fame Tate

Changing the Business of Golf with Fame Tate

In the first episode, Fame recalls the life-changing decision to acquire the golf course and how she is turning the club into an open, friendly venue at the heart of her local community.

Meanwhile, as the team prepares for a new season, they are faced with the prospect of preparing the golf course for reopening without their head greenkeeper.

“If you’d said to me one day you’ll own a golf club, I’d have probably sat there are laughed,” says Fame, whose playing career was cut short by injury. “My vision from day one was to break away from the traditional golf club model. It’s about making a place that’s welcoming, affordable, accessible, inclusive.”

Working closely with her greenkeeping team – and revealing how she rolled up her sleeves to get stuck in to groundwork – Fame is investing in a major course upgrade to improve playing conditions.

The series documents day-to-day happenings, including course management work led by head greenkeeper Christian ‘CJ’ Johnson.

“It was a tough task for Fame and everybody involved to get the course back to where it was,” says CJ. “But since then we have really tried to improve it as a team and get it moving forwards.”

Just one year after acquiring the club, Fame faced the potentially catastrophic challenge of the Covid pandemic and enforced lockdown, forcing her and the team to call on their inner reserves of strength and resilience to keep the business afloat.

Will she realise her vision and succeed? The series will follow Fame and her team as she reopens Stanedge Golf Club and takes on the business of golf.

Watch the first episode now on Syngenta Golf: https://www.syngentagolf.com/changing-business-golf

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BIGGA and GCMA welcome return to golf

BIGGA and GCMA welcome return to golf: The British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) and the Golf Club Managers Association (GCMA) have welcomed today’s announcement regarding the reopening of golf courses in Wales following an easing of restrictions and it is heartening that the Welsh Parliament has recognised the incredible role golf can play in maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle in a COVID-safe manner.

As welcoming as the relaxing of restrictions are, the incredibly short notice of just one day presents a significant challenge for the golf facilities of Wales to achieve readiness. There are many logistical challenges to opening a facility at short notice and a number of facilities will be part-way through significant on or off course projects that may take time to complete.

BIGGA and GCMA welcome return to golf

BIGGA and GCMA welcome return to golf

Golfers will no doubt be eager to head back out on the course as soon as they can get an available tee time and we look forward to golf clubs becoming thriving hubs of activity once again as people enjoy the many benefits that golf can bring.

However, on behalf of our members, both BIGGA and the GCMA ask for consideration from golfers and an understanding that courses may not be able to open immediately and, when they do, they may not be prepared to the usual standards golfers have come to expect. It can be reasonably anticipated that limitations on winter maintenance and renovations caused by an exceedingly wet winter, restrictions on activities due to COVID safety measures and the potential placing of staff onto furlough to protect the golf club business will have restricted what the team have been able to achieve. Additionally 2020 saw participation at unprecendented levels which reduced maintenance opportunities and created more wear and tear on turf and other areas than usual.

The preparation and maintenance of a golf course is a year-round process; as life returns to the golf club following the reopening, so too will life return to the course itself. Spring will hopefully bring drier and warmer weather aiding turfgrass plants to come out of dormancy, meaning they recover from damage quicker. While drier conditions will mean less damage from divots or compaction of the turf. As golfers return to the fairways, we ask for patience and consideration of the activities of the entire golf club team, from managers through front-of-house staff and the greenkeepers who have, like each of us at some time in the past year, worried about their livelihoods, their personal health and wellbeing, and who take great pride in their work but due to circumstances beyond their control have perhaps been unable to achieve the high standards they set for themselves.

If you have any questions about the maintenance of the course, please contact your club manager, course manager or head greenkeeper, who will be able to offer more information about the site-specific activities that have taken place at your golf club.

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EcoBunker enhances links feel at Golf Valley

EcoBunker enhances links feel at Golf Valley: Built between 2007-8 by architect David Krause, Golf Valley is a major development, around 35km south of Munich.

Created by developer Michael Weichselgartner with the aim of hosting major tournaments and the Ryder Cup, Golf Valley was built in a links-style, with over 3,000 sq m (32,000 sq ft) of bunker sand area and, according to Andy Matzner, the club’s first course manager, who now works there in a consulting capacity, has always struggled with the impact of rain on its bunker faces.

EcoBunker enhances links feel at Golf Valley

EcoBunker enhances links feel at Golf Valley

“With such a massive area of sand, it was always a huge workload every time there was serious rain,” says Matzner. “In Bavaria, in the early summer, there are regular lightning storms, and every time there was a rain event, the whole greenkeeping crew would be occupied pushing sand back up the faces. And then the next day, it would happen again! I had real difficulty motivating my staff to keep shifting sand, and obviously the impact on our maintenance costs was huge.”

Matzner, by then consulting at Golf Valley, met Richard Allen, founder of synthetic bunker edging solution provider EcoBunker, in 2017. “By that time, I had realised that the bad weather, and the consequent washouts, were just something we had to deal with,” he says. “Golf Valley has no trees, and the course is quite links-like in look and feel, and it occurred to me that revetted walls, sensitively installed, would fit in nicely, and would give the place a more authentic links character. Richard visited and assessed the bunkers, and agreed with me that revetting would improve both their appearance and their performance, so we commissioned EcoBunker to install its product on an initial 200 sq m of bunkerfaces.”

That project, in spring 2018, was handled by EcoBunker construction manager Llewelyn Matthews. Covering thirteen bunkers, Matzner and the Golf Valley team were impressed by the results. “A revetted wall in sunlight and shadow looks very impressive,” he says. “But the most important thing was the prevention of washouts. A flat sandy bunker never washes out. It may fill up but so long as the drain operates effectively, the bunker will always work.”

In late 2019, Golf Valley was hit by a huge rain event. Almost every bunker, apart from the ones that had been rebuilt by EcoBunker, was virtually destroyed. The EcoBunkers survived the storm completely intact. At this point, owner Weichselgartner decided that as many as possible of the course’s bunkers should be rebuilt using the EcoBunker solution. The EcoBunker team came back on site in October 2020 to build the next set of bunkers. That project was substantially completed in December, and Matzner says the results are impressive. “The course looks much more like a real links now, and the bunkers perform far better,” he explains. “And that is all down to EcoBunker.”

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