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Members Newsletter – September 2022

It is with great pleasure that I can introduce you to our new Golf Operations Manager, Paul McLean.

Paul, a PGA Professional, has been in the industry for 25 years and was Director of Golf at Bowood. He also has spent time running golf operations in the far east, as well as working with large golf retailers and overseeing event companies.

Paul is going to be overseeing all aspects of the golf operations at The Bristol and is your port of call for all golf matters. He will work with me to ensure that we continue to deliver the best experience for our members.

Paul and I will now be based in the pro shop. I am sure Paul will look forward to meeting you all in due course.


From The Green-Keeping Team

As we near the end of August and swiftly move into September, another month has come and passed just like that. It’s more evident now with the daylight hours reducing and FINALLY, the temperatures are cooling down, with projected rain forecast for the coming weeks.

Having reached temperatures in excess of 37c onsite, it is a welcome reprieve to be settling back into more stable conditions. All in, the course held up relatively well to the temperatures, with only a few areas on the edges of greens and tees browning off. With part of the irrigation system malfunctioning and now non-operational, we heavily relied on the team to hand water the hot spots on the greens with hoses and wetting agent application gun and use the hand irrigation keys on each head to keep parts of the course watered and moisture levels high.

Typical irrigation cycles are usually run either in the middle of the evening or early morning before sunrise. These timed applications help reduce the loss of water through evaporation and give a greater opportunity for water to soak through the upper profile and reach the root structure. At times we had to apply water in the middle of the day just to keep certain areas cooled down and moisture levels up, but ultimately this is not the best practice due to, as mentioned above, the evaporation of water being much higher.

To date, we have only had 354mm of rain this year, which in comparison to the same period last year, of 696mm, it’s near enough half the amount of rainfall this year.

On the course this month we carried out our annual summer course renovations, again over the same two weeks as it has always been booked in for.

It is always crucial for us to carry out the essential works at this time of year due to the quick recovery times and to make sure the greens are in the best condition possible going into the autumn and winter.

This year we really hit into the greens hard. This comprised of scarifying the greens down to 20mm below the surface. This was a targeted approach to remove the usual thatch build-up that comes from the management of greens.

I chose the scarifying route this year over hollow coring as we find that scarifying targets the exact area we want to reduce, and that is the thatch layer. As much as hollow coring the greens do remove thatch, its efficiency is much less and is more of a soil exchange strategy as opposed to organic material removal.

Once the greens had been scarified and blown clear, an application of sand based top dressing was applied at 30 Tonnes a Hectare. This was then brushed into the linear lines left from scarification and will ultimately help dilute the remaining thatch level and create a firmer truer surface. To finish this was followed up with rolling iron to settle back down and protruding areas.

Next, the green were treated to a deep aeration with solid tines to help relieve compaction build up, which again comes from normal day to day play on these greens. The relief of compaction not only allows the upper and lower soil structure to release natural gas build up in the soil but then encourages new rooting to develop in the spacing and help water percolations rates.

Another application of topdressing was made at 15 Tonnes per Hectare, to fill in the areas where the first sand application had migrated and needed a top up, but to also infill the aeration holes with a material which promotes free drainage and root development.

Further to this, we began the over seeding procedure on all greens using a hired in machine to sow new seed along linear openings created via disc application. We applied a seed mixture of browntop and creeping bent grasses. These fine-leaved, dence growing grasses are a predominant grass found in golf greens. These new species of grass have been bred to have higher tolerance to drought and diseases, along with creating and more consistent, fineness of leaf and improved playing surface.

Most greens are dominant in native Annual Meadow grasses, but these do not have the same levels of tolerances to the above and in our industry, they are actually referred to as a grass weed. They are very visible in early spring when they develop their white seed heads.

As I write this, we are 11 days post seed application and it has been a very successful germination process. All greens are showing successful signs of germination. This is very evident to anyone looking over the greens. You will see long, linier lines of light green grass popping through the existing sward. This is now in its later stages or germination and begins the next phase of establishment.

This is where the new grass will begin tillering out and intertwine with the existing sward of grasses, along with developing root structuring of there own to sustain its development going forward.

To help this development, we make cultural practice adjustments which include raising the Height of Cut on the greens mower to 4mm from 3mm, cease any grooming cutting and topdressing for the next month.

The less aggravation we can inflict upon the surface during the establishment phase, the higher percentage of overall take of the new grass.

We are still able to carry our turf iron practices on the green to ensure the loss of pace is minimised and ensures trueness of surface is maintained.

Due to the excessive high temperatures during the renovation week, we made the decision not to apply any granular fertiliser on the greens due to the higher chance of scorch and reduced chance that the fertiliser granule would struggle to break down and move into the soil structure due to the lack of rain and moisture.

However, on the 26th August we found a window of opportunity to apply the fertiliser after a few days of showers preceding it. This helped soften the surface and along with 3 days of irrigation programmes, the fertiliser has broken down and will aid further recovery on the greens along with feeding the new seed on the greens.
We also took delivery of further new machinery this month. Nearly a year to date from when the purchase order was placed; we finally had our new utility vehicle and sprayer attachment delivered. This further £56,000 investment in to our inventory of machines is very much welcome one.

In comparison to our old sprayer, which is over 15 years old, this new sprayer and utility combination comprise of an automatic rate adjustment system along with extensive computer controls to greatly improve accuracy and efficiency to our spraying practices.

Also fitted with a foam blob system, this is used as an indication marker to identify the area sprayed. Leaving a foam blob on the surface will greatly help with identifying where has been sprayed, especially on larger areas of fairways and rough which cover a larger space.

And finally, it does give me great pleasure to announce from the week commencing October 3rd, the new owner has approved the installation of an extensive new drainage system on the 9th hole. This is to be carried out by a professional sports turf drainage and construction company called Turfdry, who we have been consulting with for nearly a year now.

This will be a full drainage installation, starting from the carry in front of the 9th tee, all the way up to the banking of the green.

At a cost of £32,000 for drainage works, along with £11,000 for land topographical reports, this is another show of intent from our owner of the seriousness he is willing to invest into our club. This to help progress the club and make improvements to our weakest areas, which as we all know is our drainage situation during the winter.

The intension of the work being carried out on the 9th fairway is to show how effective this drainage system can be on one of our worst fairways during the winter.
This is the beginning of an overall larger plan to drain the worst holes across the whole course over the next 5 years.

I will be releasing a more extensive description and break down of the works being carried out in the next few weeks.

From the Food and Beverage Team

Wow, where did August go?? We blinked and it has already passed. I hope you have all had an enjoyable month of golf and enjoyed the sunshine. Just a little update for you all as it hasn’t be long since I last updated you all.

Following on from my last update, there hasn’t been too many changes to update you all on. We have a few new members of staff in the clubhouse that I hope you all keep an eye out. I would like you all to welcome Abi, Posy and Emily to the F&B team. Please be on the lookout and welcome them into the club. Sadly, we are losing Tom from behind the bar as he will soon be returning to university. I would like to thank him for his commitment over the summer months and I am sure that you will see him again. I would also like to welcome Jacob who you will find up at the cafe in the Range.

In terms of food, a few people have had samples of our new fish and chips. From the 16th September we will be launching our Fish & Chip Fridays. We will be offering a variety of fish and homemade chips to either eat in or takeaway. Please see in the clubhouse for updates.

We also held our Sunday lunches at the end of the month and seen a lot of members visit us. Can I please thank you all for your support and hope that you enjoyed your meals. For those that have not seen, there are updates on-line or dotted around the bar.

For those of you that use the range, you may have seen new promotional meals that we are running. I have to say that all offers are good value for money so please pop up and familiarise yourselves. Sadly, it is for the range only and not the clubhouse.

As much as there is to be positive, I have to be the bearer of bad news. As you may have seen in the news the cost of living is rising and sadly the price hikes have started to filter through to our suppliers. We did have a slight price hike back in February however I tried my hardest to absorb the costs and not pass on to you all. This time it has been a substantial hike from our main brewery Butcombe and also our milk suppliers. Due to this, I have no alternative than to add a 10p increase to all draught beers and a 5p increase to all milk-based coffees from week commencing September 5th

As ever, I would like to thank you all for your continued support over the last month and look forward to seeing you all in the clubhouse at some point over the next month.

With regards,

From the Senior Captains

Well, it’s been another busy month on the golf front (when isn’t it?) for us seniors.
We had an away day at Woodlake Park near Pontypool with 36 seniors in attendance. A nice course though rarely did you have a flat lie so many of us were wishing we had buggies. The event was won by Alan Summers I think with 39 points-proud owner now of the Doorstop Trophy.

On our Wednesday get together’s –Peter Millett won our latest Stableford pipping Sam Graham on countback with 40 points. Round 5 of our ASDA trophy was won by Peter Tilley with an excellent 41 points.

Our pairs Seniors Invitation Day was embarrassingly won by myself and my partner from Chippenham Barry Vincent with 50 points. Largely thanks to Barry it must be said.

Our Seniors Open was held on 17th August and was very well supported with around 130 entrants including a good sprinkling of seniors from the club. The home winner was Richard Palmer with an excellent 44 points with Ramesh Mistry 2nd with 42 points. Richard won £230 in vouchers generously donated by the club with the away winner with 43 points winning a Callaway Mavrik Driver.

Can I pass on a big thank you to Dave Rutherford, Alastair Macdonald and Tony Croft for manning the raffle desk and helping us raise a further £452 towards the captain’s charity. Also thank you to everyone who added things to the raffle and last but not least the help of Barbara Lewis, Nicky Edwards, Helen Bradley and Annie Heatherson in providing spotting duties on the 3rd for the duration of the competition.

On the matches front we had a resounding 6-1 home victory over Knowle and also won at home to Farrington 5-2 though lost at home to Stockwood Vale5-2 and also lost away at Cotswold Edge 5-1.

We have a busy fixture list in September with 6 matches so as always keen to hear from anyone interested in playing.

Well done also to various seniors doing well in the Saturday competitions lately. Keep it up guys.

Finally what a fantastic contribution to the charity made the other Saturday with over £2200 raised-showing once again the generosity of our members. Thanks, everyone and for all the booze contributions.

From The Men’s Captain

Wow. Its September already, with the nights slowly drawing in, but still plenty of golf to be played before the season closes.

After the real competitive stuff in July, we had some more friendly Stableford formats in August as well as our order of merit medal at the start of the month.
This was won with a nett 66 in Div1 by Adam Davis and a net 65 by Mark Winsor in Div 2. Good scoring chaps.

Some other very notable scoring worth mentioning
In the order of merit Stableford on Saturday 20th, our men’s seniors captain came in with a very impressive 43 points proving there is still life in the old dog yet!!! Well played Paul.

Just to confirm as previously communicated, the men’s committee have agreed to run a further race to 54 and the lowest gross eclectic for the end of the summer with the winner of each bagging 100 pounds. A little more incentive chaps.

The other main Saturday even as mentioned by Sue as well, so I will keep it brief was our captain’s charity day on the 13th August which we held as an invitational raided £2485. Thank you so much to all that donated raffle prizes, bottles towards the barrel, and everyone for the generosity which has left me truly humbled, in what we raised and have raised through the year to our Springboard charity.
Can I also second the thanks to Dan, for standing in the baking sun for 6 hours supporting the charity through the beat the pro.

A few other thanks from me. To the club staff for supporting the day. Mike for manning the desk from 6 30, and doing all the scoring, and to Henry Alliss as our local vegan manning the bbq all day. All helped to making a super day.

On our league teams, August was a disappointing end to the season. Unfortunately, our 1st and 2nd teams got relegated in the last game of the season, and our 3rd team got pipped on promotion in the last match of the season.

Whilst disappointing, the 1sts were competitive in an extremely tough league, and the 3rds was oh so close. It didn’t happen for the 2nds this year, but I know all teams will bounce back stronger next year with the appetite for promotion and as our pool of players gets bigger. One final thanks to Pete, Chris and Chris and Jenks for doing the captain’s role which is no easy task. We’ll done chaps.

Other dates for your diary, is the 18 September. We will be holding a day, for all players that have played team golf, 1st, 2nd or 3rd team and Stags, for a bit of fun to end the season. This will incorporate a competition and a bbq sponsored by the mens committee. So if you have represented the club in any of these formats please enter through IG and look forward to seeing you then.

From my side, that’s all for now.
Just a quick shout out. From the men’s section may I also take the chance to wish Sarah Spackman a happy birthday.

Take care all and catch up soon.


Lady Captains Newsletter

August has been another busy month in spite of the holiday season and our home and away events have been coming thick and fast. The weather has given us everything from record high temperatures to mist and drizzle but overall it has been a very dry month. The course is playing very well but the greens maintenance week has slowed the putting surfaces somewhat and more rain is definitely needed to help them recover. Due to the green maintenance, only one roll of honour competition had been played in August at the time of writing. The Friendship trophy, a hi-lo pairs better-ball, was played on 31st July in beautiful weather. A great turnout saw 11 teams playing and the winners, with a Magnificent 46 points (3 points clear of second and third place) were Rachael Paul and Carol Knapp

On the home front, our weekly Stableford and medal competitions have continued, with the exception of maintenance week and it was great to see Ann Regan-Line back with us from Spain and in good form, carding 38 points on Tuesday 16th August. We also ran the Mercia Castle Cup alongside our weekly Stableford on Saturday 20th August. We also played a Par 3 fun day on Monday 8th August, with main course ladies playing against 2 Par 3 ladies in a matchplay format. The Par 3 ladies won the day beating the main course ladies 3-1. 8 par3 ladies attended and a very fun day was had by all. Finally, 15 ladies attended our second away day of the year to compete in the Machynys Open in Pembrokeshire. A great day was had by all with beautiful weather to accompany us. Thanks to Rachael for organising the day. The winner of our own individual Stableford competition (not the open competition) was Val Hufflett with an amazing 39 points. Thanks also to Cathy Baker who took 7 ladies to the event to a supporting chorus of ‘the wheels on the bus’. Some tense Ailsa Cup and Plate matches took place in August. Rachael Paul beat Carol Knapp and Annie Pryer beat Maria McNally to set up an excellent final – date TBC. In the Plate competition, Nicky Edwards lost to Linda Carney and Margeurite lost to me on Tuesday 16th August. I will play Linda Carney in the plate final – planned for Sunday 11th September.

On the home and county fronts, the Mercia Castle Cup is a county competition played in one round at the player’s home club. Scores are then collated in bronze and silver divisions and the highest overall score will win. Tracey Turri won both competitions with an excellent 40 points – lets hope that fairs well against the rest of the county. The Bristol also entered 2 teams for the county Summer Texas Scramble at Westonbirt on 4th August. Cathy Baker, Val Hufflett and Olly Simpson produced a great performance to finish 3rd on count-back and only 1 point behind the winners. Bev Hill, Annie Pryer and Sarah Spackman finished in 8th position, only 6 points behind the winners. Bev Hill, Cathy Baker, Olly Simpson and myself played in the county gross team cup on 17th August at Cotswold Hills. A difficult day weather-wise and a tricky course proved challenging for all competitors with only one player in a large field carding under 80 gross. Finally, 6 Bristol ladies played in the final of the Kitcat Cup at Henbury on Thursday 25th August. Maria McNally came an excellent 7th out of 147 players with 37 points – well done Maria.

Once team front, the Alliance and mid-handicap teams both played in August. the alliance Played Clevedon at home on 22nd August and won convincingly 12-2 – well done ladies. The next Alliance match is at home against Bath on 9th September, before the final match at Bath on 22nd September. The whole of division 2 is hanging in the balance and a couple of good results are required to stay up. The mid-handicap team played twice in August. August 4th saw a home match against chipping Sodbury and thumping 10-0 win for the Bristol – excellent stuff ladies. On 22nd August the ladies played their final match of the season at B&C away and took 4 points from a strong B&C team – well done. 3 new players joined the mid-handicap league team this year, Nikki Wood, Tracey Turri and Val Hufflett. Nikki and Tracey played 2 matches and Val played 3 matches this season. There were no friendly fixtures during August. Finally our ladies played in the 4th round of the Annodata Challenge at west wilts Golf Club on Saturday 20th August. A hard-fought match against their best team unfortunately saw us lose 4-1 and so our Annodata journey for 2022 is over. Well done to everyone who played for getting us so far.

We hosted another Captain’s Charity Day on Saturday 13th August. For this one only we opened the field to visitors and used normal tee times from 07.00 to 13.00. We were rewarded for this decision with over 140 players. The addition of the Bristol barrow of booze as a raffle prize also boosted takings on the day. Beat the pro was hosted by our new Pro Dan Woolley and he raised nearly £400 on his own – thanks Dan! The bowmaker (2 scores to count) event was won with an unbelievable 92 points, with many scores in the 80s. Tracey Turri was part of a team that scored 89 points and that only gave them 7th place! A fantastic day was had by all and your generosity once again exceeded expectations. We managed to raise an incredible £2485 for our chosen charity. On behalf of James and I, thank you so very much.

Looking forward to next month, we have the Lady Captain’s Away Weekend (LCW 2022) to the Vale Resort near Cardiff. 16-18 September sees 3 days of eating, drinking and Spa treatments – with some golf as well – should be great; keep your fingers crossed for good weather. Monday 29th August sees the Bronze and Silver Challenge Cups up for grabs. The Bronze Cup is a Stableford competition for WHS Index of 21 or more. The Silver Cup is a medal for those with WHS Index 20 and below. The Committee plate comes hot on the heels of the Challenge Cups on 4th September. This competition is open this year to those gaining a handicap in the last year and to those with a WHS Index of 28 and above. The hotly contested seniors vs ladies competition will be played on 23rd September – let’s see if we can beat the men this year.