From Luke Welham, Golf Manager: The team at Sherfield Oaks Golf Club are all delighted to welcome you back to the golf club on Wednesday, December 2nd, and hopefully the weather can stay dry in the lead up to Christmas.
In November I thought it would be a good idea to spend a few days working with the greenkeepers out on the golf course (may I stress the word ‘working’).
From blowing the coring off tee boxes to building a bonfire for the tree work on the Waterloo course, I enjoyed learning more about the course and its best features. It is important that feedback is consistently given to myself and the team in regards to the course condition so please continue sharing your views (good or “constructive”) on our social media platforms and google reviews.
Communication is really important to us, which is why we want to ask for your help. We have created a very short survey online to find out about what aspects of the club interest you. Would you please fill it in, it takes about 30 seconds, and will help us deliver timely and relevant information to your phone via text.
During November, we have been visited by surveyors and builders as we prepare to renovate the clubhouse (please see an artist’s impression of the new look below). It will create a bright environment at Sherfield Oaks, which we hope will entice our members to visit regularly with their families for lunch or evening meals. The renovation plans have been fast tracked to begin during December, which means we will have to make some adjustments to our operations.
During December, we will continue to serve Members as best as possible via a takeaway service from the back of the clubhouse. Both double doors will be opened by the 1st tee on the Wellington and players will be advised to follow a one-way route into and out of the clubhouse.
In addition to the takeaway service, we will have a drinks buggy located on the crossover between the 3rd and 4th holes of the Wellington and conveniently located right next to the 16th and 12th tees as well.
The grab-and-go menu will include the traditional breakfast fare of tea and coffee and bacon and sausage rolls to fortify you before you tee off. Once you finish your round we hope to tempt you with something more substantial to enjoy with a drink from the bar.
The WHS was launched in November and, with the transfer of 15 million handicaps, there were always going to be a few teething problems. We have a few of these and are in contact with England Golf support, so please bear with us while we work them out and rest assured all will be in order very soon.
England Golf has released a great new app (click here). It’s well worth downloading and will help you stay up to date with your handicap index.
Members are able to set their privacy preference but please before doing that, within your Member log-in, go to My Golf and then Preferences and verify your email address and tick all the appropriate boxes that allow you to receive communications.
Only then go to My Golf, My Rounds and click on the WHS Privacy Link.
Many may have seen our promotion for the first ever Turkey Trot held at Sherfield Oaks on December 20th. This fun-filled day will include a 4-ball Texas Scramble competition with some festive food, mulled wine and brandy.
The competition is open to both Members and visitors, so please feel free to bring any guests or even family members along to share in the Christmas experience. The competition will include a shotgun start on the Wellington course and, fingers crossed, we hope the weather will stay in our favour.
Sherfield Oaks always has a full competition schedule in December and this year is no exception. We have several Stablefords, the Texas Scramble and the renowned XMAS THREES on Christmas Eve, which we hope everybody will play in. You will be able to enter these competitions via the Intelligent Golf App or Sherfield Oaks website.
In previous years, we understand that the golf course has been closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Members will be happy to hear that we will be open on Boxing Day this year for anyone looking to walk off the turkey! In addition, we will be open on New Year’s Day as normal.
From Ross Cook, Courses Manager: Boy, have we been busy! October saw our highest rainfall total for a one-month period ever, with 203mm falling on the courses. The very wet conditions made it difficult to manage traffic on both of them, so the lockdown came at a good time for the golf course, if nothing else.
With a relatively dry November and no traffic, the courses have dried out substantially and all worn traffic areas have now recovered.
Along with less rainfall we have seen unseasonably warm temperatures throughout November reaching 17C at the peak. As good as that is for drying the course out and the recovery of worn areas, it poses another challenge from a growth point of view on the fairways.
As I have noted previously, worm casts are a massive problem within the industry at this time of year, making mowing without smearing the turf with mud very difficult to achieve. This week we have drag matted the approaches and then cut behind it, which has done a good job on most of them and ahead of reopening we were scheduled to take our new Wessex mower over the fairways to get them looking better too.
During the lockdown period the green staff have been working at full strength. This has meant we have been able to complete a range of important maintenance tasks that would not normally be possible.
- Week 1 saw the tees scarified at 25mm depth to remove built-up thatch;
- Week 2 saw the greens receive a 15mm solid tine to a depth of 4 inches;
- Week 3 we went back to the tees with a 19mm hollow core at 3-inch depth;
- Week 4 we began the leaf-clearing process.
Around these main tasks, on the Waterloo we thinned out the ditch line to the left of the 7th, cleared the ditch line on the left hand side of 10th and made a start on clearing the scrub within the tree line on the right hand side of the same hole.
We have also been removing dew from the greens daily, along with blowing leaves and spraying to make sure disease does not get a chance to creep in.
Our plan up to Christmas is to complete the tree work down the right hand side of 10th Waterloo, fill in path potholes, install a new maintenance path along the left hand side of 17th on the Wellington and tidying up the fallen oak trees on the 13th on the Waterloo and the 15th on the Wellington.
Compared to this time last year, the course is in a far better position. With the forecast looking colder and drier, let us hope we can continue to enjoy both courses for as long as possible. There are no immediate plans to move onto the Trafalgar course but this will be reviewed as necessary on a weekly basis if the weather declines.
I hope you all enjoy your return to the course on December 2nd, the team and I are looking forward to welcoming you back. As always, if you have a question for me or one of the team, don’t hesitate to ask.
Adam’s top tip: As the weather gets colder it’s far nicer to enjoy a warm drink than plain old water. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m as big a fan of a coffee as anyone (the girls and guys in the bar can confirm that) but it’s easy to forget to stay hydrated and drink enough water this time of year when you play.
So what difference will water make when I play? Well the brain is made up of 85% water, it’s essential to help us function. You could have a highly functional golf swing and a wonderful touch around the greens but with bad decision making, lack of focus and poor reactions a good round can quickly unravel. If you have ever made careless mistakes during the round, struggled with concentration, made poor decisions, struggled with depth perception or lacked clarity and focus in shot making, it could all probably be rectified by drinking enough water. So next time you play try to work through at least two litres from when you wake up to the time you finish your round and hopefully it will give you a better chance of keeping your game on track this winter.
If you would like any help this winter, PGA Pro Adam Glass is offering his SILVER Winter Coaching Programme at a special rate:
- 2 x 60 minute lessons (2 x per month)
- 2 x online V1 pro video support lessons.
- 1 x Trackman Driver Optimisation and yardage-gapping session.
- £130 per month.
As ever, please follow the latest government guidelines regarding Coronavirus as they apply to your area. We would appreciate everyone taking personal responsibility for maintaining the correct physical distance while they are at the club. Wear your mask when it is required and wash your hands whenever you can.