Welcome to the fifth edition of Green News. The feedback you are providing regarding this information stream is much appreciated and will continue to be the preferred communication platform for Shipley golf course news, information and future plans.
Guidelines re the closure of the golf course
The current ground condition, as we are all aware very wet and in some place dangerous under foot.
A combination of a poor summer 2016 and continued winter rainfall has proved to be too much for large parts of the course.
The aging drainage structure being unable to cope with this deluge is under severe pressure.
The Head Greenkeeper with the support of Mike Procter, Baxter Ireland and I have undertaken a long term project to map out all the known, ditches, drains and outlets.
When new drains are created or old ones found they are added to the plan.
A maintenance program is developing to ensure all the identified drainage routes are kept clear and flowing.
Comments have been received regarding the recent closure of the course, in particular on a Saturday.
The Green Committee thought it sensible to make clear future procedures should the course be deemed unfit to play.
Who can make the decision to close the golf course?
• Head Green Keeper – Director of Green – Club Captains – Golf Professional
• On absence of the above named, a designated person will be assigned.
When the decision will be made:
• If the ground conditions are in serious doubt the Captains will be consulted the day before to cancel their competition.
• When agreed, the cancelation notice will be published by 5pm that day. The course will then be subject to an inspection the following morning.
• The course will be inspected early on the proposed day of closure.
• Every effort will be made to produce a reduced hole golf course for general play (rules may apply)
• “Course open for play on a reduced hole basis” will be published immediately after the inspection confirms golf is playable.
Why the course may be closed:
• Poor or unsafe ground conditions
• Water logged greens or tees
• High winds
Trolleys - Winter Use 2017
Conscious that some of our members, who, for various reasons are not able to carry their golf bags this winter, we have tried to adopt a practical approach by not imposing an outright ban on the use of personal trolleys
We requested that members who prefer to use a trolley fit a set of winter wheels as pictured in our last Green News edition.
A large number of players have fitted the wheels and an equally impressive number have opted to carry their bags.
Despite the ground conditions deteriorating over the past few months, we realise it is too late to adopt a rule banning the use of trolleys not fitted with these wheels.
Some members have suggested that the Green Staff cause much more damage with their equipment.
Unfortunately the only time we can complete major course work is between October and March. Recognising the effort made by the members, staff will be reminded to choose their routes carefully when navigating the golf course in order to minimise damage.
However, from the 1st of November 2017, it will be compulsory to fit the winter wheels if you want to use a trolley on the course during the winter season.
The 11th Green - The Progess So Far
The project is well advanced and on track to be completed in good time for the start of the new season.
This type of drainage work has been successfully used in recent years as a cost effective answer to our problem greens.
Advice received from the STRI at St Ives, Bingley, has enabled Nigel Graham to perfect the process. He is now well-practiced in the working procedures.
Following the completion of a green, the land either side of the equally spaced drainage channels becomes drier. Eventually over a period of 3 to 4 years these areas join together to create a healthy, well-drained putting surface.
This improvement is now evident on greens we have completed over the past few years and which have had time to settle.
Whilst cost effective, this is not the best solution for all the problem greens. The putting surface has to be re-laid exactly as it was prior to the work. This does not give us an opportunity to redesign the shape of the green and, in particular, alter the contours.
Therefore, we have identified greens in need of more structural work in future years. These are the 6th, 8th, 9th, 13th and 14th.
The 14th, 8th and 13th in particular are in need of a complete rebuild. With this in mind, we are planning a replacement program over the next five or six years to carry out this much-need work.
The work on these greens will include redesigning and shaping to create more pin positions. The need for this work is very evident on holes 6, 8 and 13 where, due to land slippage, our choice of pin positions is becoming extremely limited.
The New 11th Bunker
Part of this project was to reconstruct the bunkers to the right of the 11th green. The two existing bunkers have been combined into one large bunker, creating a challenging defence of the green from those lucky shots that find their way onto the putting surface via the right-hand bank, nestling close to the pin. Amongst our group of golfers it's usually referred to as "a good shot Bob"!
The bunker is now prepared to take new turf and sand
The 11th Pond
For many years, the 11th Pond has been in need of a complete rebuild and general overhaul. Poor water feed and a leaking base have resulted in a somewhat sorry sight.
Due to the poor water feed, the water level was often very low and certainly did nothing to complement the hole.
The on-going course drainage project had earmarked the 11th and the 12th ponds to be integral parts of the overall plan.
A newly constructed water feed to the pond will provide visual proof that the drains are working as expected and the water is leaving the course via the free flowing Hazel Beck.
This has been made possible by tapping into the existing land drain running the length of the 12th fairway.
It has been redirected to run into the pond, ensuring a regular flow of clean water.
Should we ever experience a long hot summer, we have also utilised our irrigation system as a controlled back up of the pond's water level.
The Course Drainage Plan
The two designated areas to the left of the 12th fairway and right of the 14th have spent 2016 as lateral water hazards.
During the winter period, Nigel Graham cleared the areas and created a better contoured and defined "pond" in both of the sites.
Under the top soil surface we found thick layers of clay. This is a general course problem and one of the main reason the land became so boggy and unplayable on this side of the golf course.
The ground work identified existing land drains which have been opened up and cleaned. The work is already showing benifits and, as a result, a larger flow of water is now entering the main drains running down the 12th fairway towards Hazel Beck
Our intention is to cultivate these areas with a pre-planted wild flower turf. This will create a colourful grassland whilst, for golfing purposes, the definition of a "water hazard" will remain.
We have ordered sufficient wild flower turf to cover both areas. This will, in a short period, mature to form an eco-friendly environment whilst allowing the newly cleared drainage to still function effectively.
Some examples of wild flower areas
Starting with the offer of a kind donation from the Packett family - Susan, Andrew and Charles - we were able to start a plan to replace the old structure.
Arncliffe Homes and the Ladies' Section added their support to enable us to submit a plan to build a permanent structure on the site of the existing footprint, creating a building to a high standard.
Planning permission was received in early January. The work is due to commence early March and be completed in time for the new golf season in April.
Arncliffe Homes will complete the new building which will be constructed from stone and block render to the same specification as their Fairways Development.
The specification will include UPVC double glazing and thermostat controlled electric heating to all areas. The interior will include a new kitchen and seating area. The toilet facilities will have two external entry doors accessed via a keypad lock.
A paved patio will extend on two sides of the building, creating a pleasant external table and seating area for use in the summer months.
Security shutters to windows and doors will also be fitted, the funding being obtained from our member's kind donations.
Should any member wish to make a donation to help furnish and fit out the Packett Inn their generosity will be recognised by a tasteful plaque sited inside the building.
Those who were kind enough to donate towards the construction of the original Packett Inn will be contacted shortly to see if they would like to repeat a donation towards the new build.
To pledge a donation please contact Linda Newton or Mike Brown for further details.
The Practice Ground
Work is due to commence mid-March and be completed by the end of April subject to ground conditions.
Early work, in preparation for the ground excavation, has seen the removal of some bushes and trees bordering the right-hand side of the land.
The surface will be prepared, top-soiled, drained and seeded to create a much improved practice facility.
Further plans are in place to re-site the driving bay and increase its capacity from one to three enclosed bays. This will also include two external bays to allow chip shots towards the practice green.
When completed, the whole area will be fenced and designated a fully functional practice area.
The Rabbits Bridge - Built 1995
Many thanks to Richard Breese and Craig Wintersgill for all their hard work in building the retaining wall following our opening up of the ditch on the south side of the Rabbits Bridge. Golfers will be encouraged to use the bridge when completing the 3rd hole.