Course Maintenance

25/09/2017 HASTE HILL GOLF CLUB - Golf Course Report - Kevin Munt and Patrick Clasby


Due to Kevin’s busy works schedule, he and I choose to liaise via email to compose this report. For simplicity and clarity we have dealt with each aspect of the course maintenance as my previous report.


Irrigation System - The new irrigation system is now fully operational but not contractually signed off. There are two suspected leaks, one on the 2nd and one on the 13th, which are pending investigation. Also, all the greenside sprinkler heads are to be checked by the contractor prior to draining down for the winter. This work is programmed for week commencing 23 October.


Bunkers - It is noted that the construction of the greenside bunkers on holes 2 and 3 are well progressed, although work appears to have stalled. This is unfortunate, but unavoidable due to other works taking priority. It is programmed to position the sand, renew the topsoil to the surrounds and re-turf by the end of November. The autumn course maintenance tasks and the pending leaf fall has delayed this work. Despite comments made by our ‘golf bunker experts’ that the bunker on the left of the second has been constructed ‘back to front’, this unfortunately is NOT
TRUE. There is no right and wrong way to build the walls of a bunker and there is no rule that you must be able to play towards the hole. However, it does look a bit odd and perhaps a little unfair for our casual golfer. It was built whilst Kevin was on holiday and he did not intend that the rear face would be that high. He will lower this back face by approximately half it current height before the reinstatement work commences. It is still going to be an interesting challenge if a ball comes to rest at the back of these bunkers!! Once these bunker are brought back into play it is hoped that they will be received well and get a positive feed back. This will hopefully convince the LBOH to proceed with a roll out programme to reconstruct the remaining bunkers. The maintenance of the remaining bunkers is proving to be more and more of a struggle for Kevin and his team. Soil contamination has been identified in many bunkers, which is impeding drainage, causing increased weed growth and causes the sand to compact excessively, particularly when it rains heavily. If Kevin is successful in getting extra budget funding he intends to remove all the
contaminated sand and replace with new sand. This could prove to be a bigger issue than first thought and would be a big strain on his team. Kevin proposes to focus his efforts on the greenside bunkers on the short holes.


Fairways - I advised Kevin that it was noted that the fairways were being re-shaped and taking a new profile and that it was producing good definition, a vey nice look to the course and very pleasing to the eye. This reshaping is driven by the location of the new sprinkler heads. The new
irrigation system network will now cover all redefined fairways. Bad news for the bigger hitters….. Kevin is considering mowing some of the
‘carries/landing areas’ to semi-rough height next spring.


Paths/Bridges - It was brought to Kevin’s attention that there were a few issues with bridges and paths, in particular the absence of anti-slip strips and access being obstructed with overhanging bushes. Kevin assures me that this will be prioritised. Also the walk-on/walk-off areas to the main bridges will be cleaned up and Type 1 fill material placed.

 

Trees - Kevin acknowledged that the overhanging tree issue is on going. It is planned that the overhanging branches around trees to be cut back over the winter period. This is to be prioritised on the 2nd, 4th, 7th, ladies 9th, 11th, 15th white and ladies 16th.


General - The mounds to the rear of the 11th green will be completed once the new bunkers are completed. The topsoil material needed for this work will be the surplus topsoil material left over when the greenside bunkers are all re-top soiled. 

The various stockpiles of wood chippings around the course will be spread in the woodlands to supress weed and grass growth after the autumn leaf fall.
Kevin has not forgotten about the practice nets, but unfortunately other everyday issues have exhausted his resources. He suspects that it could be April 2018 before these are installed.
Kevin has taken delivery of a good supply of red, yellow and white timber marker posts. He points out that as the grass growth is still very active and is a big draw on his resources, so he proposes to wait for it to slow down a bit and he will then attend to repositioning all the new posts.
NOTE…. It should be remembered that whilst the white posts, and the imaginary line between the posts, define the ‘Out of Bounds’ margin, the yellow and red posts DO NOT define the margin of the hazard…. they merely indicate the location of the hazard. I will be happy to explain this, so please do not hesitate to ask.

 

Finally - Again, it is a privilege dealing with Kevin. He is so passionate about his work. I don’t believe for a minute he regards it as work. On behalf of our all our members I reiterate our appreciation and thanks to him and his team for the fantastic work they are doing. Haste Hill has risen back to the TOP OF THE HILL and intends staying there….


Patrick Clasby

07/06/2017 - HASTE HILL GOLF CLUB - Course walk and discussion of works: Kevin Munt and Patrick Clasby - Report by Patrick Clasby

Kevin Munt and I walked the course and had a general chat. My prime objective was to get to know him, see how he works and to identify his short and long term plans. I deliberately did not present him with an endless list of matters that our committee and/or members would like addressing, but covered the following.

 

Irrigation System - The issue with the extensive leaks in the irrigation system has been identified. Defective valves in each of the sprinkler heads were the cause the problem. The American supplier had accepted liability and the remedial works are in progress. The system will be put through thorough tests over the coming week, then they will receive operation training and all being well the system be signed off by the end of June.

 

Bunkers - Kevin embarked on reconstructing the bunkers, using his own green keeping staff. He used recycled tennis court artificial surfacing salvaged from their maintenance depot. His intentions were that he would do the bunkers on the 2nd and 3rd holes as a sample. He hoped to convince the LBH to buy into it as they would look great and would be cost effective to maintain. He hoped that LBH would approve this and subsequently be supported to do all the bunkers. His bunker design, with the near vertical faces and a more level base would eliminate the issue of sand being washed down from the existing sloped faces and also the balls rolling down these sloped faces and resting at the back lips, as we currently experience, particularly on the 1st. Unfortunately, due to other pressing matters, i.e. the issues with the irrigation system, he had to abandon it. He requested LBH to contract out the completion of this exercise i.e.re-constructing the two bunkers on the 1st and the two bunkers on the 2nd (four in total). Tender documents were sent out to potential contractors and are due back mid next week. He expects that a contractor will be engaged by the end of July. The works will hopefully recommence immediately and completed within two weeks, circa mid August. The bunker to the right of the 4th will be permanently filled in, as the borrowing issue is too difficult to resolve. We discussed the possibility of creating a grassed swale/bunker, which he thought was a good idea and will consider.

 

Paths - Kevin has plans to rebuild all the paths, with timber edgings etc but cannot say when this will happen. He will attend to my ‘flagged’ problematic areas i.e. approaches to all bridges, 3rd green to fourth tee, 4th green to 5th tee and 8th green to 9th tee asap. Work to remaining areas will follow.

 

Trees - Kevin acknowledged that the trees to the left of 3rd tee box, both sides of the 11th tee box and to the left of the 11th tee box needed immediate attention, so he will mobilise this asap. A fallen tree/large bush to the rear of the 4th tee box will also receive his immediate attention.

 

General - The fairways have been sprayed recently and players will notice the weeds dying off within days. I requested that the stockpiles of wood chippings, mainly to the left of the 4th fairway and the right of the 9th fairway be cleared. He intends to spread these chippings around the adjacent trees and bushes. The mound to the back of the 11th green will be turfed, and is considering planting some gorse bushes on it. He acknowledged that the grass had not grown adjacent to the new drain across the front of the 12th green. He will re-turf this area in due course. The earth mound to the rear of the extended car park will be removed and spread over the area to the left of the 1st where the old shed was demolished. The area will be turfed, and a new bunked constructed and the practice nets reerected. I advised Kevin that one of our members reported that he witnessed a green keeper cutting a new hole on a green without using the base plate. He disapproved of such action and will remind his staff of the correct procedure. Finally, I reminder Kevin that our Course Championship is on the weekend after next. He assures me he will bear this in mind.

 

Conclusion - Kevin is genuinely passionate about the course, about his work and about his plans. He is fully aware of the issues facing our members and all course users. Unfortunately, his hands are tied by the funds he is being allocated by the LBH and when these funds are being released. His initial approach of requesting funding for each new task or undertaking is not working. He is now preparing an overall long term plan, four to five years, fully costed, which he hope the LBH will look more favourably at.

 

The future is bright at Haste Hill……. Patrick Clasby

 

Latest news - 3/05/2017

The new sprinkler system installed over the Winter and Spring period is now operational. Unrecovered groundwork remains GUR and relief may be accordingly taken. Snagging problems are now being addressed.

 

Greens 

 

Fertiliser has been applied to all greens and the playing surface is now starting to shape up. These should be playing well by the end of May. With regards to the greens, the staff recently carried out a two week spring renovations programme of all our greens, this included scarification for thatch and moss removal, deep soil aeration to alleviate compaction and aid water penetration and drainage, hollow coring to remove thatch and improve surface drainage and oxygenate (soil/air exchange). They were all then top dressed with 50 tonnes of sand to restore surface levels, improve surface drainage and improve the soil growing medium. These vital works are carried out on every golf course and do take time to recover but are necessary to ensure the best possible playing surfaces going into the summer season. 


If in the meantime you have any further queries relating to any of the investment and improvement works please feel free to email at hastehillgc@hillingdon.gov.uk and we will be happy to update you.

 

Work to rebuild the bunkers continues. The latest estimate is that these will be completed by the end of May 2017.

 

Boundary posts and ditch posts are due to be reinstated in the coming weeks.

 

The landscaping at the back of 11 is shaping up nicely. Until grass has bedded in this area remains GUR.

 

These issues will be discussed with other known issues at the next catch up meeting with the course management team.

I

IIf you have issues you would like raised please raise with a Committee member.

 

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