From Dave Taylor, Courses Manager: As some of you may or may not be aware, from January 5th, myself and all other members of staff at The Bristol were placed on furlough and have not been on site in our normal capacity. However, and I know this will be unpopular with the majority of you, but there was probably no better time than January, February and early March to have the courses closed.
These are historically our wettest months and the hardest in which to manage the courses. Having had no play on any of the surfaces will really make a big difference to the standard of the course upon your return on March 29th.
Although we were all on furlough, I visited the Club once or twice a week to keep an eye on the place. If it is any comfort, through January we had more than 111mm of rain and, at the time of writing in February, we had had another 63mm over the site.
January, particularly, saw huge downpours of rain in very short spaces of time, which would have led to the course being closed on safety and poor ground condition concerns. So, like I say, this really hasn’t been the worst time to have the courses closed.
As far as course work is concerned, early in January, I took the opportunity to aerate the greens and give them an iron nutrient-based fertiliser to help carry them through the coming months. The iron content is predominantly to help harden up the grass sward against the onset of turf disease and discourage the development of moss.
Since then the greens have been left to their own devices and, again in my opinion, they are looking the best for this time of year since I joined the club. So far, I have seen very little leather jacket damage or occurrence on the greens. Going back 12 months and we had already lost a great amount of turf coverage and the quality of playing surfaces by this point, so this really does put us in a great position for the spring.
Historically problematic greens, 12 and 13 are looking brilliant with much lower occurrences of disease scarring and greater healthiness of the plant. They have only been cut once since lockdown and that only took place in mid-February. I am very confident that upon the return to golf the greens are going to be in great shape and it will be very quick to get them up to the high standards we aim for.
The biggest difference on your return, however, will be to the area to the right of the 15th fairway and left-hand side of 17th tee. Since lockdown began, it was the very next day that Wessex water began their temporary site construction work for the new Bristol sewer relief pipework.
I have attached a PR flyer that myself and Wessex water have put together for all Members and visitors to the club to explain fully the works going on onsite and what the overall scheme of work will entail.
Again this has been another huge benefit of the lockdown, that they have been able to carry out the work uninterrupted without golf being played around the site and has ultimately led them to be ahead of schedule for their works already.