From Neil Langston, Golf Operations: Firstly, we would like to congratulate Interim General Manager Matt Basey and his fiancée Sheridan on the birth of their daughter Isabella.
I hope you have enjoyed the recent glorious weather and have been able to get out on the golf course. If you are heading out to play, please don’t forget to pick up a pair of gloves in the unlikely event you need to use a bunker rake.
The good news is that the clubhouse will be open again from tomorrow, August 1st! We have a new menu (see below) and are also making the most of the superb weather with a BBQ on a Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. From August we will increase the working hours of the kitchen to allow for hot and cold food to be purchased through the day as well as snacks to take away. Draught beers, spirits and wines are back on too.
The Bristol Golf Club has been stringent in observing the Government’s Covid-19 guidelines in maintaining social distancing and directional traffic and we will continue with these standards in the Clubhouse. I would like to thank all Members for following these guidelines and rules. Please continue to observe the measures in place as it will greatly reassure both Members and staff that their health and safety is being properly considered.
You will find that the bar area will remain without seating and a directional walkway will be in place in order to enforce the required social distancing. Once orders have been placed at one end of the bar, we would ask members to collect their drinks from the other end and make their way either into the St. Swithins Suite where seating has been provided or outside on the patio.
The team at Get Golfing have been working hard to transfer the information from Crown Golf in relation to your direct debits/membership fees. There are lots of legalities around this but we are nearly there! Each member will receive a communication early next week about their membership. If you do not receive anything, please do get in touch with us at the Club and we will be on hand to help sort any issues.
We have also been busy reconciling the bar levy and pro shop vouchers into one place. We are pleased to announce that the new ‘Club Cards’ have arrived on site and we are adding all of historic levies to them. Again, these will be ready early next week, so please pop into the club to collect the cards and check on your balance. These can be used for food, beverage and golfing equipment, giving former “Crown Golf” Members 10% off standard prices.
With the introduction of the new Club website and the intelligentgolf booking and membership system, I hope you have all been able to enjoy a far more modern and intuitive online experience. We are aware that there are some golfers who have had issues with signing into the intelligentgolf system and we are working hard with our IT experts to solve this as soon as possible and would ask you to bear with us during the change over.
Intelligentgolf is a fantastic system and will make for a much simpler user experience. I would ask to all members to take advantage of their 7, 14 or 21* day advance booking window to really make best use of the system (*upon sign up to the Get Golfing 7-Day membership scheme).
I would like to take this opportunity to address a query that multiple Members have raised recently about tee booking. As a golf club, we are trying to streamline the tee-booking system to make for a more efficient experience for all golfers. As some of you will have seen already, we will be utilising available tee slots in order to free up others. If for example you have booked a two ball in a slot open for four players at, say, 10.16am then we will look to move another two or one ball into your group from the 10.08am or 10.24am slot to free up a slot for another group of golfers.
Tee times are not exclusive and we want to allow all golfers the opportunity to play our fabulous golf course but I would stress that Members have advanced tee-booking privileges that they can use to create their own four balls if they want. I should also say that any movements on the tee sheet will be thoroughly considered and made within the prior or next tee slot. Those members who have concerns regarding vulnerability, social distancing or other medical reasons should contact a member of staff so that these can be taken into account.
I am happy to tell you that we will have two course marshals starting very shortly. This will help us keep control of the new volume of golfers playing the course. As an added benefit, there will be an on-course snacks and drinks service.
The driving range is open once again. Until we take delivery of the new ball dispensing machine, which is on order, we will be selling the range balls from the Clubhouse. The Par 3 Village Course is back to looking superb after intensive works and maintenance from Dave and his team following the greens damage sustained over the Covid-19 lockdown period.
I think we can all agree that the course has seen a huge transformation since the transition to Get Golfing at the start of the month. Dave and his team must think Christmas has come early with all the investment from Get Golfing.
Dave has compiled his own course report for members to read (below) but I want to say a huge thank you to Dave, Kev, Rob and the new team for feeding, treating, nurturing and caring for this wonderful golf course. It’s a true credit to Get Golfing and Dave that we have again started to receive multiple compliments on the condition of the golf course, particularly the greens which have really “popped”, as Kev said.
Course maintenance update
From Dave Taylor, Course Manager: Since GetGolfing’s take over of the club I am pleased to report positive changes to the course maintenance set up and that there will be plenty more in the pipeline for the winter.
At the start of July, we put more time and resources into the collars and approaches to the greens. Previously, they were cut at around 10mm with a larger machine and I felt the approaches were not a large enough. Under our new owners we have used an older mower, which has been set at 9mm, to tighten these areas up.
We have also pushed the approaches further out to the fairway to give golfers more options with chip shots to the green.
These areas, along with the collars, have been double verti-cut to clean up and remove dead and overlapping grass. They were then we given a granular feed to help thicken the remaining grasses, all of which will help improve the quality and definition of these areas.
Now an established part of our maintenance regime, these areas will always be double cut and this will be done at least three times a week. Going forward, we will continue to lower the cutting heights to give golfers the option to putt over these areas onto the green.
As far as the greens are concerned, we have finally been able to get a granular feed on them to continue their recovery from the leatherjacket damage. With a granular feed we are able to put a larger amount of nitrogen on the greens and have a longer, controlled release to thicken the new and old grasses together to smooth the surfaces up. This granular feed works alongside our plant health liquid feed programme and you will see the that the green surfaces are getting better and better.
At the start of the month the greens were double verti-cut and 10 tonnes of dressing applied to smooth them out. Then last week we verti-drained the greens to 3” x 3” spacing to add another 12 tonnes of dressing to smooth out the imperfection, as well as emulsify the upper surfaces of the profile and continue improving the firmness. They have always been softer than I would like, so we are working to make them firmer, which should make the greens faster and truer all year round.
We started the month with just three staff on the course and that will be up to six by early August, which is great news for me as we are implementing a more intensive maintenance plan to improve the whole course for everyone’s enjoyment.
On weekend we will now have two staff + a ranger to carry out greens cutting, tee marker movements, bunker raking, tee or approach cuts. All this will add to an ever-improving product.
In the past week our new fairway mower arrived, which now means the fairway presentation and playability will vastly improve. We will be bringing back the diamond cut on the fairways, which is not just for a visual look but also to make sure the grass stands vertically and helps the lie of the ball. We have been cutting 50/50 this year due to our old mower not being reliable or good enough quality to carry this work out. So great news.
We will also take delivery of our first greens turf iron soon, which will help improvie the trueness of ball roll and speed across all greens. Its role as a machine is not to just simply make the greens as quick as possible, as that is not conducive to golf playability. It’s there as a tool to make things uniform across the course, with some greens that may grow better then others needing rolling more to create uniformity in play. This will definitely help with trueness of the ball roll and, hopefully, help everyone read the greens better.
The Bristol has always been a sleeping giant but now, with serious investment from GetGolfing, we are waking up to a very exciting future ahead.
- August 1st and 2nd – Seniors Club Championship
- August 8th – Men’s Anniversary Bowl and Ladies Rose Bowl
- August 9th – Ladies Friendship Trophy
- August 15th – Captain’s Charity Day
- August 29th – Men’s Committee Cup
We are getting a steady number of new Junior Members and we are looking to grow this section as the future lifeblood of the club. We are very keen that they learn the etiquette of golf both on the course and in the clubhouse, so they will be put under the watchful eye of Pros. If you know of any young person who might be interested in joining, please pass on details of our new Junior Membership category, which is not only FREE but offers a variety of discounts on food, drink and in pro shop. More details are here.
Finally, having spoken to a fair few of you about this recently, we would like to confirm that the Crown Loyalty cards will cease to operate on August 1st. The cards and vouchers were specific to Crown Golf and its business. While I appreciate the loss of these benefits will be a source of frustration to some, I think that the provision of a far superior golf course, an improved Clubhouse experience and continued investment into the club will easily compensate for the loss of the loyalty card.
Best wishes from everyone at The Bristol Golf Club.