Since Get Golfing took over Sherfield Oaks on June 30th, demand for the course has been unprecedented. Due to the volume of business and Covid restrictions, we have been unable to make an obvious impact on your clubhouse experience but, hopefully, you will have seen improvements in the course and its presentation.
Across the group we have invested circa £300,000 in new course machinery. When the clocks change we will be working with the three teams; course maintenance, food and beverage, and golf services on staff training so that by the start of next season (Covid allowing), you will have a far better member experience.
Members will be pleased to learn that we have big plans for the Clubhouse both internally and externally.
Get Golfing wants to take Sherfield Oaks to new levels in terms of course conditioning and the Clubhouse experience. So, starting in January, the Clubhouse will be renovated to offer contemporary surroundings where golfers and the alike can enjoy a relaxed time socialising.
A planning application will be submitted shortly for the refurbishment of the clubhouse. This includes an extension to the bar, the removal of internal walls between the pro shop and the downstairs office, as well as between the downstairs office and the small dining area. The aim is to create a large open-plan lounge with three separate bi-folding doors, two outside bars and a re-designed patio area that extends closer to the Wellington’s 18th green.
The refurbishment will also include new flooring, ceilings, lighting designs, furnishings, and painting and decorating. A schematic plan can be seen here: 20.034.Priv.G 002B Proposed Ground Floor Plan
Buggies: A brand-new fleet of electric buggies will be delivered in the next week. Not only are they modern, efficient and reliable, they are also very quiet! This means it will no longer sound like race day at Silverstone as players whizz around the course.
Free lessons: A fantastic incentive for Members of Sherfield Oaks Golf Club is that FREE group lessons are offered to all categories to help improve their game while also getting the chance to socialise with other Members.
New pro Van Phillips (see below) will host a FREE session every Sunday between 2-3 pm for the foreseeable future. Booking sheets will be displayed in the clubhouse around the golf check-in desk to ensure it is readily accessible. These are extremely popular so ensure you sign up swiftly!
The good news is that the new government regulations do not impact golf as we play in fours, rather than eights! As a result, we do not see any effect on matches, competitions or society days.
The only limitation will be in the clubhouse where we would ask golfers to remain in their four and not pull tables and chairs together, no matter how sociable that may feel.
In addition, could we ask Members to wait at their tables to be served rather than going up to the bar area. As part of our efforts to safeguard both staff and Members, we have introduced table service, which we hope will be more relaxing for everyone involved. We thank everyone for their patience and hope that we will be able to return to a more normal environment at some point!
It is important, however, to remember that the government is currently being pretty lenient with golf, particularly in terms of numbers on the course, let’s not give them a reason to change! We will, of course, continue to follow the government’s guidelines.
In the meantime here are some things you could do to limit your exposure — and the continued spread of the Covid-19 virus:
- Sanitise golf clubs and golf bag before setting out
- Keep your distance from others (6 feet +)
- Leave the flagstick in
- Use your gloved hand to handle items or the PPE gloves provided at check-in
- Do not share golf clubs
- Use the elbow bump
Ross Cook, Courses Manager: You will have all noticed the continued investment GetGolfing is making in the courses. In mid-September, we overseeded all the approaches and three-quarters of the fairways, which needed 150 bags — or roughly three tons — of seed!
We also hired a specialist machine to drill the seed into the ground to ensure it has the best possible chance of germinating.
Unfortunately, while August was kind to the grass with 81mm of rain (the highest monthly total since February), the lack of rain since overseeding (just 4 mm by mid-September) means that germination will be slow — apart from on the approaches where we have been watering and the seed is coming along well.
The Wessex mower I talked about last month has been delivered and I’m sure some of you have seen it doing a great job cutting the long rough down so that we can spray the weeds in the spring.
My final piece of exciting investment news is that we have taken delivery of a new greens mower. It is a significant upgrade on our previous mower and offers modern floating head technology to help maintain a better quality of cut and, ultimately, better green surfaces.
As part of our winter projects on the courses we will be removing all tee signage and next tee signs, upgrading the signs and posts then resetting them.
Below is a list of all other jobs we will undertake around the courses:
- 1st: tee repair where mole damage has occurred;
- 10th: fairway bush/tree removal all down the right hand side to open the hole up more;
- 13th: remove limbs on the fallen tree and take out a five-yard section of hedge on the left hand side to increase visibility for the drive;
- 14th: all damage from the tree works will be repaired including re-turfing in-play areas, dressing and seeding out-of-play areas and repairing the path.
- 2nd: raise tree limbs and clear brambles from right hand side of the fairway;
- 4th: white tee to be re-levelled;
- 7th: all holes created by tree works to be filled and seeded;
- 16th: greenside bunker drainage to be repaired.
There will be other things that crop up along the way but those are the main things we want to achieve this winter, weather permitting of course!
New Members should be aware of two very useful websites run by Members that provide information about competitions and rollups at the club.
The first site is SOGC Handicaps & Competitions — edited by John Taylor — in which competitions are covered in some detail in the “Handicaps and Competitions Manual”. It contains details of all competitions and the “Conditions of Competition”, plus procedures related to handicaps. The manual has been updated to reflect the move to Get Golfing and the transfer to IntelligentGolf. You can view or download the manual here.
The second is the Sherfield Oaks Rollup site where you can get involved with the weekly rollups and have fun playing and socialising with other Members.
The main Sherfield Oaks website also contains a full list of upcoming competitions, click here.
Members should note that the club will be holding a Society Masters event this year on October 15th as a way of thanking organisers for booking the club for their society. The shotgun start event will consist of 18-holes, lunch and prize giving afterwards. As a result the course will be very busy/closed on the day. It may be worthwhile to note that, alongside this fantastic incentive, all Members will be credited for 5% of the total price for a society they introduce.
The Race to Le Touquet: Sherfield Oaks Golf Club boasts an incredible competition calendar that provides great engagement amongst the members. In the upcoming weeks, the competitions committee and Get Golfing are working very closely to create the Sherfield Oaks Race To Le Touquet. This rewards the ladies’ and men’s champions of the 2021 order of merit with an all-expenses-paid trip to Le Touquet as well as a paid entry into the Le Touquet amateur classic. Posters giving more information will be created and posted within the next few weeks inside the clubhouse.
Last month we sent out our new subscription renewal notices, which have moved all Members onto a more manageable, monthly payment system via an interest-free direct debit. Please note that the initial payment was slightly higher than the average to take into account your affiliation fee to England Golf, which runs the official handicapping system.
You can, of course, pay in one annual lump sum if you would so like but there is no financial advantage to do so. Get Golfing is not a discount operator and believes that every Member should pay the same as the other Members in their category.
Details of the various payments across the Membership categories are set out here (website link). If you are uncertain as to which one suits your golfing needs, please contact us in the office and we will talk you through the options.
As part of the renewal process, it is necessary to return a Membership form for GDPR compliance purposes. This can be obtained via the check-in desk at the club or by emailing [email protected].
Freedom Play: Those of you still on Crown Golf’s legacy Freedom Play membership might like to consider moving to a new Get Golfing membership category on or before October 26th. From that date the points matrix will be changing and will not provide the same value as it has historically. By shifting to a Get Golfing category, you can take your points balance across to a Flexible Membership or to a monthly membership category and get better value and we will of course honour the remaining points balance you have.
In other news, from October 1st you will be able to use your Club Card across all eight Get Golfing sites and receive your discount at whichever club you play.
With the World Handicap System about to take effect this coming November, many of you will be wondering how it will affect you.
- If your handicap is 6 and below it is likely to go down by one or stay the same;
- If your handicap is between 6 and 12 it is likely to go up or down by one but could stay the same;
- If your handicap is between 12 and 18 it is likely to stay the same or go up by one;
- If your handicap is between 18 and 24 it is likely to go up by one or two strokes;
- If your handicap is 24 or higher, it is likely to go up by two or three strokes.
So the lower you are, and therefore the more consistent you are, the more likely it is you will see your handicap go down when the new system starts.
The higher your handicap, the more likely it is you will have some extra shots with which to play.
Remember, these are only general opinions. Your handicap will ultimately depend on your performance over your last 20 scores, your consistency, and how many of those scores you have actually entered.
One thing is for sure, though. We will all be glued to that touchscreen when those figures finally appear.
We hope you have enjoyed our seasonal summer specials and the efforts made to provide a high quality service under trying conditions. We are currently working on our autumn and winter menus with a hugely experienced chef, who has worked with some of the greats in the business. We are also reviewing our wine, draught beer and spirits offerings and hope to bring you some delicious tipples to try.
We are also very keen to work with local suppliers and would welcome suggestions from Members about local produce that they would like to see featured on the food menu or at the bar. Send us a note or tell us when you are at the club.
We recognise that the course has become busier throughout the week, so we are hiring two new course marshals to help manage the pace of play in addition to tidiness of the golf course.
We are delighted to introduce two new PGA Professionals at Sherfield Oaks Golf Club.
Meet Adam Glass, PGA Professional: “I have been playing golf for the past 30 years, initially enjoying success as an amateur, playing in the company of some of the best golfers in GB&I and Europe. I was able to see at first hand what was required to play at the highest level.
“As my ability improved, I eventually achieved multiple county wins and a handicap of +2 before turning professional. Although I still love to play as much as I can, my work as a PGA Professional means I have spent most of the last 10 years dedicating my time to helping others achieve their goals.
“During this time I have continued to try to spend time with some of the most prominent teachers and influencers in the game. I aim to continue my research and development, so that I can continue to provide the highest level of swing and short game instruction by using effective and proven coaching practices.
“To provide some insight into what has helped shape my coaching philosophy, I encourage students to look at what the best golfers do. All have certain fundamentals that are preferable; some that are merely aesthetically pleasing, and some that are absolutely essential.
“I see too many people focus too much on the preferences or the aesthetics. I hope that with my help I can show you that what is essential and fundamental to every great player is landing the club on the ground in the same place every time (low point control). Having enough power and speed to play at the level expected and matching the clubface to the path in order to control direction. We then use the preferences such as grip and body alignments to assist with the essentials that are non-negotiable.
“I look forward to helping you achieve your golfing ambitions and will leave no stone unturned in providing the knowledge needed to do so. In the meantime please feel free to reach out to say hello.”
Meet Van Phillips, PGA Professional: “I became a Professional in 1993, after a very successful amateur career that culminated in a Walker Cup selection.
After a tough start, my career got going in early 1995 with a third-place finish in my first European Tour event, The South African PGA where I played with and just lost out to the then-current US Open champion Ernie Els.
“This kickstarted the confidence to sustain a 15-year, European Tour career that featured two wins — the Portuguese Open 1999 and the Mauritius Open 2006 — and many other notable performances such as a third in the 1997 French Open.
“I have worked with most of the best coaches in the world, including David Leadbetter, Peter Cowen, Peter Mitchell, Denis Pugh, Mac O’Grady and many more. I am a qualified PGA teacher and have a wealth of knowledge to draw upon from thousands of hours-worth of coaching experience.
“I am also a qualified gym instructor and am able to offer extensive specialist knowledge about golf performance psychology from years competing at the highest level. I welcome you to share my knowledge and learn to be the best you can be.”