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Club news

From Paul Moger, Interim General ManagerWe are all enjoying the benefits of the course having a breather for a couple of months, Dave and his crew have done amazing work to get the course in such good shape. 

What is also great is that we have received positive comments from many visitors who have said it has been a pleasure to play here. It never hurts to thank the green staff occasionally as they are out there at 5am working to make this course be its best for you. Please also remember to repair those pitchmarks so we can keep it looking and playing well. 

Please make sure that if you are unable to play that you cancel your tee time so that someone else can have that spot, there are still too many noshows currently and it is unfair to other Members/visitors who would like the chance to play. It is also important to make sure you pay for your guest when booking because IG will soon automatically cancel  bookings that have not been prepaid. 

The good news is that we have taken on more than 90 new Members since March, which shows that golf is still on an upward curve, unlike covid who is now thankfully on a downward one. 

Finally, there is more great news in that The Bristol will finally have a full time General Manger in Henry Alliss. I will work with him for a few weeks before I move off to pastures new, so please give him a warm welcome when you see him. 

Course news

From David Taylor, Courses Manager: “We are finally being blessed with some rain’’. Words I never thought I would be saying this early in the year. As I write this the heavens are finally opening over the course. The last significant rain we received before today (April 28th) dated back to March 12th when we received more than 21mm. Since then, we have barely had more than 9mm.  

Many places around the course are looking very “summer 2018” with drought areas appearing. The cold, frosty mornings of late and then the clear, sunshine heat of the afternoon has added quite a bit of stress to grassed areas around the course.  

Ironically, we have just finished the refurbishment of our irrigation system, which has been out of action due to a system-wide electric wiring failure. As is always the way, the day before we get the rain, the system became fully operational and will not be needed for a while. In the coming summer months, however, this upgrade will pay dividends, with more control over the whole course and individual irrigation head control.  

Further improvements on the Academy greens have been going on. All the greens are receiving a full set of new irrigation heads, which will take the place of the original heads installed more than 20 years ago. They had a good innings but, like all things, have had their day.  

After carrying out audits over the course, 12 of the 18 heads on the greens either did not work or were inefficient in operation. We also have the reinstalled and fired up the tee irrigation system. In the past, this was never used and meant the tees would often be burnt out within a few months of the playing season.  

Now up and running, we can continue to improve the tees, and make them into a full-use grass tee. This will eventually culminate with the removal of the mats out there.  

The mixed bag of cold nights, frosty morning and hot afternoons has had a detrimental effect on the greens waking up from winter dormancy 

At present, the sand-based greens are at around 5-6 degrees, while we want to be around 10 degrees for the plant to start natural temperate growth. In general, we are relatively pleased with how they are performing despite the low night temperature and lack of moisture.  

Of course, we still have work to carry out with eliminating the ever-present bobble on the greens while putting. Once we get the right temperatures, the annual meadow grasses will fill out the weak areas and we can begin our top-dressing programme. This will help smooth the surface out and, at the same time, continue the progression of thatch dilution under the surface, creating and firmer, quicker surfaces for playability.  

We will also be continuing with our over-seeding work on the Academy greens. These greens have a long way to go to return to their former glory and will require a huge amount of work, but you can be sure all necessary actions are in place for this. This is why we are working hard on the irrigation system first, as once the seed is sowed, we will require a more efficient water system to help the germination and establishment of the grasses.  

Back on the main course, we have been able to focus on the aesthetics of the course, without the onset of heavy growth chasing us. Areas such as the rough are already at their summer-season heights and this means we can thin the grasses out with weekly cuts before it has the chance to thicken and become bushy 

I have received some incredibly positive feedback from players regarding the inclusion of new approaches on the 2nd, 6th, 14th and, finally, 18th. Before the rain, all these areas, along with existing approaches, have been fertilised. Once they start to thicken out, we will be incorporating finer grass to help with the shorter heights of cut, encouraging the use of putters for more control.  

Clubhouse news

From Gemma Smith, Events ManagerIt’s wonderful to have the sun shining here at The Bristol and to see all the golfers back out enjoying themselves. 

We are now into the second week of operating our outside catering service, which is clearly going down well. Our specials are updated daily, and we have a variety of light bite options and cakes available throughout the day. Please support your club and join us on the patio area. Paul or will always be around for a coffee and can answer any questions regarding the course, catering and the refurbishment taking place.  

Please give a warm Bristol welcome to our new golf operational staff who have joined us over the last few weeks — Wilf, Paul and Max and to Nigel Henderson who was here at The Bristol Golf Club previously and has returned to join us as Head Professional (see below) 

As I am sure you have all seen, the refurbishment is really coming along now. Wiring for the outside patio lights has gone in, our new bi-folding doors overlooking the 18th green are also now in and the WC’s total refurbishment is well underway.  

The new decor in The St Swithins Suite gives it much more of a modern feel and I really can’t wait for you to see the finished product. I hope you will join me for a drink once this has been completed (fingers crossed at the end of May!). 

For your added safety, Get Golfing is now testing all staff twice weekly for Covid, these are precautionary measure to ensure the safety of our staff, Members and visitors while they are at The Bristol Golf Club. Long may this weather continue, we look forward to seeing you all soon.  


Captain’s update 

From Tony Crook, Men’s Captain: Thank you everybody who attended the Captain’s Drive In, the weather was fantastic, the course was in great condition and Members could not have been more generous! 

Firstly Olly, Peter and I would like to thank Mike, Mandy, James, Wayne and Lance for their help in making sure the day ran smoothly. Also, we would like to thank Get Golfing for the bacon rolls and tea/coffee that were available as people arrived. 

Now the results… 

The first result is one of which you can all be proud we raised a total of £732, which is a fantastic effort, and we thank all of you for how kind and generous you were. 

Nearest the Drives (prizes will be in the clubhouse for you to collect next week): 

  • Tony Crook: Jitesh Mistry 
  • Ollie Simpson: Sarah Spackman  
  • Peter Searle-Barnes: Sally Stephens 
  • Tony McNally: Sarah Spackman 

Nearest the Pin (prizes will be in the clubhouse for you to collect next week): 

  • Ladies: Bev Hill 
  • Men’s: Errol White 

Longest Drive (prizes will be in the clubhouse for you to collect next week): 

  • Ladies: Ollie Simpson 
  • Men’s: Pete Belmore 

Captains Drive in BowmakerThis competition, as mentioned yesterday, will from now on be in honour of our late great Captain, the legend Gary Spackman. Sarah Spackmans mother has kindly donated a trophy and the winners this year of the Gary Spackman Trophy are: 

  • 1st: Sam Deacon, Kev Sarney, Seamus Brennan, Will Thomas (91 points). £25 will go on each of your cards. 
  • 2nd: Helen Bradley, Kev Collins, Michael Phillips, Mike Webber (89 points). £15 will go on each of your cards. 
  • 3rd: Peter Baber, Jitesh Mistry, Chris Osborne, Andrew Baber (86 points). £10 will go on each of your cards. 

Once again, we thank you all for your support! 

Now one for your diaries: On Saturday, August 14th we will be holding the Jason Franklin Memorial Day. Entry forms will be coming out next week and be sure this will be a big event that is open to all. The newly renovated St Swithins Suite has been booked for a live band in the evening. 

Pro news

Some of you may remember that Nigel Henderson was the Head Pro here at The Bristol a few years ago and we are delighted to announce that is re-joining us as a PGA Coach.  

Nigel qualified as a PGA Professional in the late 1990s and his passion for coaching has taken him to posts in several places from Entry Hill, Bath to Vale Do Lobo, Portugal and, more recently, he has split his time between Germany, Spain and the UK. 

He says, “Hi, I am looking forward to becoming a recognisable face around the clubhouse, course and driving range.

I have started individual lessons already and I will be organising roll-ups for Members and non-members very soon, plus there will be group beginner sessions as well.

Junior group coaching will start in May as soon as all legal and compliant
checks are complete.

From May 6th onwards, I will be holding FREE clinics for all Members of the
club, so all you have got to do is sign up on the notice board next to the gents’
changing rooms or call me on 07972 730856.

Just so you know beforehand, balls are not provided, so please purchase some before arriving at the range. Dates as per below:

  • Thursday, May 6th — 6pm
  • Saturday, May 8th — 10am
  • Friday, May14th — 6pm
  • Sunday, May 16th — 11am
  • Wednesday, May 19th — 10am
  • Sunday, May 23rd — 5pm
  • Thursday, May 27th — 5.30pm
  • Saturday, May 29th — 10am

All of the clinics are for one hour.

I am giving a 20% discount on my individual lesson price for May. The cost of a
50-minute, adult session is £40 and a Junior is £15, obviously less 20% during
May! Balls are not included, so please purchase some in the clubhouse before
the lesson. I look forward to meeting you all soon.

Pro Shop news 

We have had a great start for the new Pro Shop, with well over 600 Members across the sites, logging in to see what we have to offer.  

We would like to encourage all of you to sign into your exclusive Pro Shop and get your special Member discount on a variety of new products, such as the current golf ball promotions we are running. 

  1. Buy 2 dozen Srixon AD333 for only £34.99 less your discount.

We can also announce that you are now able to top up your Club Card via the Pro Shop without having to purchase anything — i.e. you can add (beer) funds to your account from the comfort of your own home! 

WHS news 

We thought you might be interested in this information about your World Handicap System Index and Course Handicap — they are not the same thing! 

In the new world of WHS you have two numbers you need to remember:  

  • The first is your Handicap Index, which is the exact calculation of your handicap. This is equivalent to what was your CONGU handicap. This number usually expressed to a decimal pointis the average of the best eight of your last 20 scores in terms of the score differential. So, if you are asked, ‘what’s your handicap?’ That is your Handicap Index and that is how we compare each other now. 
  • The second is your Course Handicap. Whenever you play on a golf course, wherever you are, your index will change, and you will have a different Course Handicap. It looks at the difficulty of that golf course for the scratch and bogey player and works out what your Course Handicap is based on the slope rating of the golf course you are playing. Your Course Handicap can change depending on the course, or even the tees from which you are playing. As we mentioned above, your Course Handicap could be vastly different to your actual WHS Handicap Index depending on the course you are playing. For example, say you are playing your home golf course: the white tees have a slope rating of 145, the yellow tees are 125, and the red tees are rated at 95. You are going to have three quite different Course Handicaps over those golf courses. You are going to lose shots on the red colour, you are going to gain a few on the yellow and you are going to gain quite a lot on the whites. 

It is all about the difficulty for the two players – scratch and bogey – playing that golf course. We are not comparing Course A to Course B. We are comparing the same golf course but for two players of different ability. 

Course Handicap 

Your handicap is no longer based on playing one single course. It is recalculated and that is why we call it a Course Handicap. It can change for every course you play. 

There are many ways you can check what your Course Handicap is going to be on any course. You can do it via the My England Golf app, IG Member app, via the club boards, or you even manually work it out if you know the calculations. Your Course Handicap is of primary importance because that is how we work out where you are going to get your strokes. 

So, if you know what your Handicap Index is, you will choose the right tee for your game on that day, work out your Course Handicap, and go out and enjoy your round of golf. 

Playing Handicap 

You receive a Playing Handicap during club competitions, but it does not affect the score that goes forward for handicap purposes. The playing handicap is purely for competition purposes. You may find the score you recordbecause that score is based on your Course Handicap will be different to that shown on the results sheet. 

That is to be expected. It is going to be slightly less if you play a medal, for example, because that format comes with a 95% allowance. Do not worry too much about the Playing Handicap, it is purely for competition results purposes. If you are recording your gross score, we will use your Course Handicap to work out your new Handicap Index. 

Social Rounds 

The idea of WHS is you have more opportunity to return scores for handicap purposes. It is not limited to competition scores or to scores played at your home golf club, as it was with supplementary scores. 

You can now return a score in general play whenever you wish, either home or away. So long as you play a measured golf course and pre-register your intent to score before you go out to play, you can return a score from anywhere. 

My England Golf App and IG Member App 

These useful apps have a range of features – primarily the ability to look at your handicap record. You have full access to your scores and they highlight which scores are included in your handicap calculations. 

They also show your handicap trends. They have a Course Handicap Calculator, which allows you to select the golf course you are going to play, the relevant tees, and will do the calculation for you. They tell you what the Course and Slope ratings are and reveal, based on your Handicap Index, what your Course Handicap is.