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Members Newsletter – March 2022


From the Course Manager

Just like that, we are through February and edging ever closer to the start of the main playing season.

We experienced great weather conditions for winter through January and into the mid-part of February. After a very rocky start to the new year following persistent rain, it was a welcome sight to have settled conditions through the two months. This again meant we were able to keep the course fully open and maintained, which is unheard of for us. General conditions on the course have held up very well and set us on the right path for the spring and getting the course into shape.

Unfortunately, even with the extended dry period we experienced, we were still set back again when the rain and storms hit us from mid-February onwards. It’s always worth remembering that, even with extended dry periods after heavy rain, the water is still sitting in the upper soil and clay and, due to colder temperatures and reduced sun light, this moisture level doesn’t just disappear.

However, I am now very pleased to let you all know that we are commencing with the early stages of a course topographical report. The significance of this report is huge. Once the complete site has been surveyed and all the undulations and elevations have been mapped out, we can then move on with the proposed new drainage installation planning.

We are working with a few drainage specialist companies to help us achieve the goal of having all the carries, fairways, semi rough and walk off areas drained. As you can imagine, this is a mammoth task and will take time, but we want to ensure that whatever work is carried out on the course is the most effective, and sets us on the road of reducing incidences of course closure to the minimum. We are all realists and I will not say that the course still won’t have days when it needs to be closed following heavy rain, but the main purpose of pursuing this course of action is to drastically reduce the time between closure and reopening and have better general play throughout the winter months.

The course itself has not received any significant or effective drainage works in a very long time, and what has been done in the past was not carried out in the correct manner so has not worked. This is why we are making sure that we use professional sports turf drainage companies to carry out the work and use their knowledge to help us achieve our goal.

We have now started to take delivery of parts for our new machinery purchases. This month, we received our new tractor-mounted aerator. This, along with the other pieces of machinery coming in the near months, is going to be a huge step forward for us. Some of you will have seen the machine in action punching holes in the greens and, in comparison to its predecessor which was over 20 years old, the after effect and finish is night and day. All greens were aerated to a depth of 8 inches, using a 12mm diameter tine. Our old machine finally gave up the ghost back in late.

October, and was deemed beyond economic repair. The New Weidennman Terra spike is larger and, as I mentioned before, a much more advanced machine. We were able to get all the greens on both courses aerated in just over 11 hours, whereas the predecessor took around the 15 hour mark.

The old question I often get asked following any aeration operation is ‘Why are you putting holes in the greens again?’ The key points I respond with are: in any sports turf, surfaces that are played on over 12 months a year will become compacted. With compaction, this leads to a reduction in development of healthy roots that will carry the nutrition to the plant, and if the plant cannot receive nutrition then it can not develop and grow. For roots to develop, they must have air pockets where they can search out and establish new rooting. Aeration is about creating more air space in the soil to develop rooting which then leads to the turf staying healthier and performing better under stressful conditions through the year.

Obviously, by then creating these holes, you will help with the infiltration of water caused by rain or irrigation. Getting the moisture off the leaves of the plant and into the soil is vital to reduce a spongy effect, which in tern leads to uneven playing surfaces. By having the channels open, the moisture can be filtered through the root zone, the plant will take in what it needs and the remaining will run through to the drainage system.

Around the rest of the course, the team have been working on all the greenside bunkers that over time have become worn out on the edges which has led to some collapsing. To build these back up and re establish the edges, the guys used wooden boards that are pegged into the soil. Then behind that they are able to build the levels up using soil, without the risk of it migrating into the bunker. Once they had the levels set, they then proceeded to lay new turf and blend in with the surrounding areas. All areas have been marked GUR and we would be grateful that, if your ball is to land on those areas, it be picked up, placed and played in another area. These boards will be left in place for a few months to ensure the establishment is given the greatest opportunity. After that, they will be removed and those areas will be bought back into play.

We have also had large flail and hedge cutting machinery onsite, clearing back overgrown brambled areas, along with cutting down and thinning out some of the long heavy grassed areas around the course. Some of these areas will proceed to be cut down to normal rough height as we head into the season. Other areas will be sprayed with selective herbicides and then left again to grow up. This will reduce the unsightly weeds in these areas and leave a more clean, grass meadow for insects and small animals.

From our Events Manager

Mother’s Day Lunch at The Bristol
Make it a memorable Mother’s Day this year and celebrate with us at The Bristol.
Treat your Mum this Mother’s Day with a delicious two-course meal in our newly refurbished St. Swithins Suite.

Date: Sunday 27th March
Price: £22.95 per adults / £14.95 children 12 and under
The ticket price includes a small gift for all the Mums
Timings: Reservations between 12-3 pm

Please call 01454 620000 or email Gemma on [email protected] to book your table; full pre-payment will be required at the time of booking, and payments are non-refundable

As a member of the club, you will enjoy 10% off the above ticket price along with all drinks purchased on the day.

From the Golf Operation Manager

It has been brought to my attention by several members as to whether the club provides insurance for members. This was something that Crown Golf provided but has not been in place since they left.
With that in mind, we would like to encourage all our members to take out their own insurance to ensure theirs and others safety whilst out on the course.

We recommend the following companies:
Member personal liability insurance – England Golf


From our Ladies Captain

It’s March already – not sure where the year has gone so far – answers on a postcard please.  That mystery aside, it means that Spring should soon be in the air and with that we start our first competitive golf of the year.  The first competitive Stablefords of 2022 are on Saturday 26th and Tuesday 29th March – entry will be open within the week so book early to avoid disappointment! Our first county competition is also coming up soon with the Australian Spoons 2022 commencing at The Bristol on Tuesday 22nd March – please speak to your County Delegate, Sarah Spackman, for more information.

I’d like to echo James’ comments on the condition of the course and though we have had a number of full or partial closures recently, we all understand that this is in the interest of the longer term playability and condition of the course.  Also, I’d like to once again echo James’ comments regarding the repairing of pitch marks.  I know that all of you are fastidious in this but if you’re able to repair your pitch mark plus one or 2 others every time you reach a green then that will go a long way in helping to ensure that our lovely greens remain in great shape for the playing season proper.

Thanks again to everyone who participated in the Captains’ Drive in and for James’ kind words about my slight duff from the first tee. It was however, nice to see that some of the ladies had already anticipated this and there were plenty of sticks near to the tee with the nearest one eventually winning the prize.  On a serious note, the amount raised will make a huge difference to our chosen charity – Springboard – and so on their behalf I’d like to once again thank you for your good humour and generosity in raising over £1100 on the day – a fantastic total.

The move to 10 minute tee times in March should hopefully improve the pace of play and the enjoyment for all on busy days – especially Saturdays. On the back of this move, we also hope to have the full digital calendar up and running on the website as soon as possible.  My apologies for the delay in reviewing this; I hope to complete it soon. You’ll also have seen lots of communication, verbal and WhatsApp regarding the new team kit for 2022. Your feedback on the original Under Armour suggestions from the club have helped us to suggest a slightly different direction for the ladies than the white and Navy blue of our existing kit. Barbara and Rachael have taken the lead on this and have identified a shirt and mid-layer top from Pure Golf via Golf-Garb.  I hope to have more to report on this in coming days but for now please rest-assured that we are making progress.  The Tuesday group lessons in lieu of golf when the weather is bad seem to be going very well.  Thanks to Sarah Spackman and Nick Horrocks, who set all of this in motion and to Dave Hoey for his excellent tuition over the last couple of weeks.  It’s been a great success and has shown great commitment from our pro-staff, please try to add your support if the weather precludes golf.

Please join me in wishing a speedy recovery to Pat Grange who has been unwell and in hospital recently.  Pat is now at home recovering – get well soon Pat, we miss you – and of course, the golf season is starting soon!

Finally, I’ve also been in hospital recently for a rather unwelcome 5-night stay.  I was however, delighted to receive 2 lovely cards and some presents on my return so I’d like to end with a personal thank you to:


All of our ladies for their lovely card and flowers to greet me on my return from hospital – the flowers brightened up my day.

James and the Men’s committee for their lovely card, chocolates and gin.  I think it’ll be a while before the gin is in danger but the chocolates are definitely in peril.

Take care all and Happy Golfing!

The Men’s Captain

So, we have moved into March and the golfing season will soon be well and truly in gear. As the master’s moves ever closer, we all get those clubs cleaned, polished, and set new golfing goals for the year. Will those goals be achieved, or will they end up as a ‘re-evaluate those goals and try again next year’? Time will tell but I am sure we will have fun as the golfing season brings its ups and downs to us all.

We have had the normal weather challenges for this time of year, resulting in playing golf not always possible, but thanks to the green- keeping staff who have had the course open wherever possible when it was not at risk of damaging the course or putting individual’s safety at risk.

On the golfing front in February:

Without doubt for me the Captain Drive in on the 5th of February was the highlight. I can honestly say that I went a week, waking up in cold- sweats about the thought of the drive-in, in front of the members, but thankfully I got one away, and my worst nightmares of the famous ‘fresh air’ was avoided. To our lady captain Sue Jarvis, may I also congratulate on having a go, who had a debilitating neck injury making it almost impossible to swing a club on the day.

The day was made though by the generosity and kindness of the members in supporting the charity ‘Springboard Opportunity Group’ , both through the donating of raffle prizes and the extreme generosity in the money that was donated in the procurement of raffle tickets, sticks for the captains drives and procurement of top teas. £1100 was raised which was a fantastic start to the Charity year and from Sue/ I, once again thank you.

The day also resulted in some fantastic scoring with our winners, Paul Bacon and Chris Chinnick shooting a net 61 in the Pairs Texas scramble format.
Paul and Chris seem to be the form players, as they both progressed into the final of the Winter Men’s Singles knock- out on the weekend just past. Good luck to both of you and feel free to share the prize money with the rest of us as the season goes on!

In my last newsletter I highlighted the requirements to confirm our league team captains for the upcoming golfing season, which will soon be upon us.
I can now confirm that the official team captains for 2022 are:

1st Team – Peter Millet, 2nd- Team Chris Chinnick, 3rd Team – Leigh Jenkins.

May I say a big thank you gents for standing up for these roles and representing The Bristol as captains. I know these roles are time consuming and challenging.  You will get the full support from the men’s committee and am sure the full support of the men members, in order that we have the most successful season possible.

As a number of you are aware the Bristol has significant plans to rebuild our junior section over the coming years fully supported by our owners.

It was great to kick off the start of the rebuilding the Junior Section with an evening with club Professionals Nigel and Nick introducing the new Junior Academy in February.

Details can be found in the Pro Shop on the programme, but exciting times look ahead for the Juniors at the club. Please contact either Sally Stephens or Kevin Sarney who can point you in the right direction if required. We look forward to seeing all those son’s, daughter’s, grandchildren and niece’s and nephew’s up at the Academy this year.


On to house- keeping.

A number of members have approached the committee members, in reference to the unacceptable number of unrepaired pitch marks. Could we please request that the time is taken to repair our pitch marks and if we see people members/ non-members not doing this with the required due diligence, we remind them of their duties.


General Play- 

Currently as you may be aware, our course is playing a lot shorter than the usual yardage from the yellows. Due to this we will be unable to accept any general play scorecards until we are back on the rated yellows.

For example, the 1st tee is now at least 60-70 yards shorter than its rating and I am sure you will all agree that the other forward tees and winter mats will take us beyond the 100 yards specified by England Golf.

Score Cards-

The standard of score card is improving, can I please ask that you all try to make your cards as legible as possible and that if it is a Stableford competition, your score is clearly marked, this makes it much easier when it comes to closing the competitions. I appreciate your support!

Competitions for the month of March-

March 5th – Singles Eclectic Round 6
March 12th- Mens Stableford
March 12th- Mens Stableford
March 26th -Mens Stableford

That is all from the men’s section for this month.

Happy golfing and see you all soon.

From our Seniors Captain

Unfortunately, the effects of Storm Desmond and Storm Eunice have curtailed some of our golf this month. Hopefully there is better weather ahead-surely!

I was a little premature in last newsletter of declaring Phil Lloyd the likely winner of the 2nd round of our eclectic. Also getting 40 points were Andy Brackston winning on countback then Alan Summers Norman Bishop then Phil and last but not least with 40 Richard Panes.

Andy has been in a rich vain of form also being part of the winning team for our most enjoyable mystery bowmaker joined in his team by Kevin Mortimore and Richard Panes. Andy then won the following Stableford with 40 points being Martin Daley and John Ratajczak on countback-Andy is obviously the master of the back 9 especially. Well done mate.

I currently have 49 names going to The Monmouthshire for our March Hare on Wednesday 23rd March. If there is anyone who wants to come who hasn’t so far told me then please do so ASAP.

Thank you also for your responses to my request for players for our first couple of fixtures starting with Thornbury away on Tuesday 22nd March. I am happy to say that I am over subscribed so apologies in advance if I’ve not been able to fit you in for the first game but please be assured I am looking to give games to anyone who says they want to play.

A small plea-can we try and make a bit of an extra effort to ensure that not only do we repair our own pitch marks but try and get to every green with the aim of repairing one more if we see it. If we all do this and treat this like our home which for many of us ( i.e. me) it is then I’m sure we will all benefit. We can’t really make the argument at the moment that this must be visitors leaving pitch marks as there have been precious few recently. Politely remind anyone in your group who isn’t repairing pitch marks.

If you have senior friends at other clubs please promote our Seniors Open on 17th August. £25 for visitors-details on Golf Empire. I understand there will be some good prizes from Masters.

Hope to see all you back playing soon now that I have practiced the art of NOT falling out of bed and dislocating one’s finger