Golf Course news
Otter Spotted by Eagle Eyed Hilary
One of our Lady Members, Hilary Denny had a fantastic encounter with one of our country's most elusive animals, the Otter. She noticed a line of bubbles moving slowly along the surface of the water in the pond next to the 14th. At first she thought it was a Carp but then all of a sudden the Otter surfaced much to the surprise of everyone. It looked around and then gracefully dived and disappeared.
Otters are notoriously shy and very difficult to see as they are mostly nocturnal and to get this close is really rare. They can be found all along the River Ouse and I would imagine with all the bad weather we have experienced, the Otter has had to increase its range to try and find some food. It would have been able to travel from the river to our golf course via ditches and the surrounding wooded areas.
If there were any of Andy Howe's Koi carp left in the ponds, then they may be depleted now, if not they will be very nervous!!
On-Course Mature Trees Maintenance Programme
Bedfordshire Golf Club is now into year 2 of a 5 year mature tree maintenance programme, carried out by a specialist contractor. This is our second programme of work since being at Stagsden, our first being in 2003 soon after John Gubb joined us.
Our year 2 tree work in 2018 will take place on 31st January and both 1st & 6th February.
The work involves the contractors climbing into the trees and thinning out all the dead or diseased branches, which helps preserve the more mature specimens around the courses and also make them safe for members of the public and golfers who use the golf courses.
Once the work has been completed by the contractors the greens staff will clear all the debris left behind. This allows our budget to go further as some of the team have chainsaw certificates and we can dispose of any wood on site.
Members are reminded to be aware of the contractors on this date and to avoid where golf balls coming in close contact with them.
The Oak by the 1st tee which had some safety work done last year
We're pleased to say that Bedfordshire Golf Club has remained open for business throughout the last few days, when we've seen significant amounts of snow and freezing temperatures. The Clubhouse, Pro-Shop and Driving Range are all open. Technically, so are the courses - that's of course if you like an adventurous round of golf!!
Our intrepid reporter has been out to experience the conditions and has captured some of the scenes around our 18 Hole Stagsden Course -
see the photos below...or click here to see a short photo montage of the course during the snow (not suitable for download speeds below 1Mbps):
Clubhouse from the 18th
Click on this text to edit it.
1st Tees and fairway from balcony
14th fairway from 15th tees
15th bunker, green & lake!
17th tees and fairway
Latest Golf Course Improvements - New 'Tiger Mulch' paths completed and in use
The latest tranche of course improvements in the form of new pathways on the Stagsden Course has now been completed. Members and visitors alike have already provided very positive feedback.
As with the ones previously completed between the 1st green/2nd tees and 17th green/18th tees, these new 'Tiger Mulch' rubber based surfaces will provide a significant improvement to both the look and feel as golfers walk between holes. The surfaces are long lasting and virtually maintenance free which means the Greens Team can concentrate on maintaining the courses, rather than spending time on repairing paths.
These latest works are from the 2nd green to 3rd tee and along the 3rd tees. The next section is between the 3rd green to the base of the slope by the 4th tees. A completely new path has then been created all along the 4th tees, providing a much improved surface, which golfers will benefit from especially during the wetter winter months when the area to the right of the ladies tee has often become rather 'boggy'.
We encourage all members and visitors alike to make full use of the new paths and to avoid taking trolleys and buggies on the grass areas next to them to protect the grass during the winter period.
These improvements close off the paths project for the foreseeable future, but once again show significant re-investment in our facilities (in this case around £15,000) and another positive step forward for the club, which as part of our wider goal, raises the standard in everything at Bedfordshire Golf Club.
New path on the 3rd Tees
New path on the 4th
Greens Renovation...an update following this week's deluge...
Last week, we asked Members to be patient & understanding because some areas of the course may get missed whilst the essential renovations take place. The one thing you can guarantee about the British Summer…is that you can’t rely on it!!
This means that unfortunately, with Monday night's torrential rain, heavy rain most of Tuesday and Wednesday being a total washout, it does mean that they are behind schedule in getting all the holes cut out and filling with sand.
John Gubb claims that this is the first time in the 17 years he’s worked here that it’s been a washout during renovations week – but, they were at least able to get out & mow instead…so the bits they were worrying about HAVE been done – they just haven’t quite managed to complete the tining, which they are now hoping to get done on Thursday, so it will be all hands to the pump to get things completed before the weekend!
Thank you for your ongoing patience & understanding!
Greens Renovation - why do it?
Hollow coring/greens renovation takes place twice a year at Bedfordshire Golf Club. We appreciate that it can be frustrating to play on uneven and sandy surfaces, even for a short while, but the hollow coring of greens, tees and even fairways is an essential part of most golf course maintenance programmes. It’s a recognised and proven technique carried out every year at most UK golf clubs and is so important in providing top quality greens during the summer months.
What is hollow coring?
It’s the physical removal of cores of turf from a playing surface. The holes are generally 13-16mm in diameter and of varying depths depending on the reason for the tine. The cores are ejected, swept up and removed. When completed, a smaller mass of soil will occupy the same area of green/tee/fairway.
Why is it done?
Course traffic causes the ground to become compacted and hardened. This means drainage is less efficient and the grass’s roots are prevented from absorbing oxygen. Hollow coring allows the compacted turf to expand and air and moisture to be more easily absorbed.
Secondly, hollow coring helps address the problem of thatch. (Thatch is a layer of grass stems, roots, and debris that settle and accumulate over time.) A thin layer is acceptable but too much thatch will hold water like a sponge.
Finally, hollow coring removes accumulated fibre in the grass’s root zone. It exchanges a poor soil for a better one through top dressing. That’s why the greens are normally covered in sandy top dressing immediately after they’re cored.
When is it done?
Hollow coring is generally done outside of the main playing season: often in the spring and autumn. It’s important that the hollow coring is completed when the weather is not cold and wet, so there’s time for growth and for the holes to seal up.
The best time to hollow core is during the summer months as there will be a quicker recovery, but this coincides with the prime playing season so we try to avoid doing it during this period to minimise the impact on your golfing time. It’s a difficult balancing act for green keepers, but it must be done at some point during the year and ultimately is for the benefit of the golf course and all who play on it.
Is it a treatment for diseased greens?
It’s generally accepted that drier surfaces will be less susceptible to diseases like fusarium. As hollow coring is a good way of improving drainage it’s also a way of preventing the spread of disease.
I hope that this information explains the importance of hollow coring and why we carry out this process. The greens team appreciates your co-operation during this time and we can ensure all members that the golf course, and most importantly you as members, will see the benefits of this work during the summer’s months.
New £34,000 Greens Mower for Bedfordshire Golf Club
A new Toro 3420 Greensmaster has been purchased to update our range of course management equipment with the latest technology. This machine matches one we purchased two years ago, so that we can now provide uniformity on all our greens.
The Toro 3420 provides us with several benefits over previous mowers as follows:
The 'precision brush' gives a cleaner and more precise cut on all greens, which will provide members with smoother and more even putting surfaces.
All electric motors reduce the risk of hydraulic fluid leakage by 90%
Matches an existing greens mower to provide you with uniformity on all greens
Greens staff familiarity with Toro 3420 means no new training required
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.