From Simon Fowler, General Manager, Shaun Riley, Head Chef, and Ross Cook, Courses Manager: Welcome to the September newsletter. We hope you are all well and enjoying your golf!
The clubhouse reopening has been well received. We are limited to 30 people at a time, which has generally been adhered to, thanks in part to the fact that the weather has made sitting outside the better option. On days where we have seen larger numbers, we have put some additional seating in the pro shop, which has been working well. We do operate a ‘Track and Trace’ document for all non-golfers. Please ensure that a member of staff has recorded your friends or guests who are on the premises when visiting us.
Members will also be pleased to learn that Get Golfing has strengthened the team here at Sherfield Oaks with some new recruits:
- Abbie and Phil join our operations staff, both enjoy the club environment and look forward to improving our customer service to Members and guests;
- Andrew Charles has started working part time on general clubhouse gardening and tidying, we are already seeing a big improvement in presentation;
- Phil Weyman has started as one of our new Course Marshals. Phil works for the south region PGA and the TP Tour as an official. Phil will focus on starting on the 1st tee, managing pace of play and ensuring that all golfers are behaving correctly and maximising their enjoyment. We are about to recruit two more Course Marshals, which will no doubt be to the benefit of all Members and guests and make the Sherfield Oaks experience a really positive one.
While we have all experienced a rise in the numbers playing golf since the partial lifting of the lockdown in May, much of Sherfield Oaks’ historical trading has come from food and drink sales, as well as the events and functions side of the business, so overall trading has remained challenging to say the least.
Get Golfing, however, sees Sherfield Oaks as a key site and will be investing in it significantly over the coming years. That said, any support Members can give to the staff and Club in the meantime would be greatly appreciated. For example, it would be a great help if Members could make sure they regularly use the kitchen and bar offerings and could introduce their golfing friends to membership of Sherfield Oaks as well. If you use the Member referral programme, you will receive 10% of the new Member’s first-year subscription as a credit on your bar card.
Future development plans
A re-design of the clubhouse is currently being worked on and will be presented to the Members in October newsletter with work commencing and being completed in Q1 of 2021. The scheme will include an extension of the patio area.
Members can now switch from their current Crown membership contract to a new Get Golfing contract, which means you can receive the additional benefits that Get Golfing offers. Please click here to review your options, including our new Buggy Membership category, which gives you unlimited use of a buggy for £50 a month, or contact Simon via email ([email protected]).
Food and drink news
From Shaun Riley, Head Chef: We have added a new member to the kitchen team in Nick Holt. Nick is a budding young chef with new and vibrant ideas and, with myself, is looking to move our menu forward with seasonal and tasty dishes for Members, societies and casual golfers.
Summer season is still with us and so is our new weekend BBQ menu. From chicken gyros to Cajun chicken, we are finding that chicken dishes to be very popular but we really want your feedback as to what you would like to see on our menus so we can cater to all your tastes.
We are currently changing our suppliers and will be using local butchers to source quality ingredients to produce a better standard of food for all our customers. Weekly and daily specials will be available and will be made in house to ensure quality, freshness and taste.
Don’t forget to check the special boards, social media and emails to check out our new specials on offer and any food and drink offers available.
From Ross Cook, Courses Manager: The heat wave this summer should remind us all of the summer of 2018 — long hot days of searing sun with little or no rain. The difference this year is the drought started a lot earlier: in May we saw temperatures consistently above 25C and only 2mm of rain in a month that would normally see plants thicken out and start to grow freely, repairing any damage caused over the winter and storing moisture for use when needed. This simply hasn’t happened this year and the plants were stressed more and earlier. With only 98mm of rain since May 1st and temperatures frequently above 35c it has been a very difficult year for growing grass! I would, however, stress that Get Golfing’s focus on course conditioning and its financial support in terms of staffing, new machinery and the overall course budget is a breath of fresh air and will enable us to deliver a much better experience for all our golfers in future.
Greens maintenance in mid-August went very well, although we changed our plans slightly due to machinery difficulties during the set up. We dropped the 10mm solid tine in favour of a double pass with a Sarrel roller, which left 8mm holes to a 1.5-inch depth, as a result we managed to get both courses completed within three days (two days earlier than planned). Thirty tons of sand was applied per course, which will help dilute the thatch and give the seed a bed to germinate from. We plan to verti-drain the greens in mid-to-late September to aid water movement in the autumn but this will have little to no impact on the playability.
As mentioned last month, we are planning to increase the size of the collars and approaches, and we have already started on this work. Some of you may have noticed the red lines indicating new edges. A wetting agent and seaweed mix is going to be applied this week, which will help the plants to naturally regenerate. We have repaired all the approach irrigation so it is all functioning as it should and there are only a few arc changes to make for it to be perfect. Overseeding these areas will start in September along with a granular fertiliser application. This will get grass cover back in time for winter, so we can keep mud accumulation to a minimum and also give us a great head start for spring next year.
We have also bought a new Wessex CRX320 mower, which we are very excited about as it will allow us to manage the long rough a lot better, increase the presentation on the range outfield and cut fairways if we need it to. I can see this being a great tool to use on the fairways to get rid of stalks that occur when conditions go dry and for chewing up worm casts in the winter. It is very much three machines in one.
I am starting to make a list of winter improvement works that we will be undertaking this year and hopefully by next month I’ll be in a position to let you all know what will be happening.
The Ladies golf and BBQ was well attended in mid-August. The Iron Lady format (irons only) was chosen for the 9-hole event. The BBQ went ahead even though the weather decided to interrupt things. The staff on hand were very helpful and set up an area for the ladies inside so that they could all enjoy their food.
Richard Lewington Trophy 2020, August 8th and 9th: Another really successful and exciting major board event was played last month and, despite the scorching summer heat, the standard of golf played was extremely high, with another nail-biting finish.
After the first day, Club Champion Jack Clayton backed up his recent win by holding a 3-shot lead over Simon Hargrave, with Matt Evans a further shot back.
Teeing off in the second-to-last group I had the fortune of witnessing all the drama unfold and it definitely didn’t disappoint. Ryan Knight started six shots back but a phenomenal 3-under front nine saw Jack’s lead quickly closed. Ryan’s golf didn’t let up at the turn and by the time we reached the 16th tee Ryan had established a 3-shot lead.
A really unfortunate break on 17 saw Ryan card a double bogey, while from the fairway behind Jack hit his second to 20 feet and then holed the fast-breaking downhill birdie putt to tie Ryan going down the last! Ryan could only make a five on 18 leaving Jack a tough two putt to take the title. After running his first putt to a tricky two feet past the hole, he held his nerve to win his second major event in a fortnight. Heart-breaking for Ryan but he should be really proud of the amazing golf he played.
I’d like to thank Ross and his team for presenting amazing courses despite the extremely hot weather. The pin on 11 caused a lot of fun for everyone but we all managed to escape unscathed! Thank you too to Paul Evans and Peter Burke for DM’ing on Saturday and to Simon Hargrave and Chris Conquest for all their work as per usual. Thank you too to Derek Piercey for announcing both days and for walking with the last groups on the Sunday. Without this level of support these tournaments just wouldn’t happen.
- 1st: Dan Goddard (135)
- 2nd: Ryan Knight (137)
- 3rd: Tim Clayton (139)
- 1st: Jack Clayton (144)
- 2nd: Ryan Knight (145)
- 3rd: Tim Clayton (149)
Ladies Vase, August 8th and 11th: The Ladies Vase 2-day championship competition was literally a blistering event. Both days were played on the hottest days of the year but matched by the hot hot scores!! Congratulations to our worthy 2020 winner Karen Clark scoring 80 on Day 1 and 88 on Day 2. Tim Chung also excelled, scoring 88 gross on both days finishing in second place overall. Jenny Hawkes scored 184 in third place. Well done ladies.
Our net winner was Karen again, with Jenny Hawkes in second with 144 and beating Norah McPhail into third place on count back.
Avril Haynes put up a brave fight on Day 1, coming in with 87 gross and second place on the day, together with Anne Le Marinel with a nett score of 67 on Day 1.
Some wonderful golf played by our valiant ladies in crazy temperatures this year. Well done everybody and thank you for making this such a memorable competition.
Seniors Championship 2020, August 3rd and 6th: Please find below a write-up from Senior’s Captain Lee Hanington.
What a fantastic couple of days golf we had with the Seniors Championship and Veterans Vase Board Events last week. We were blessed by a number of factors that all contributed to one of the, if not the, most successful Seniors championships for as long as I can remember.
Firstly, we were honoured with the presence of the 70 seniors who participated in both days, 27 of whom also vied for the over-70s Veterans Vase. In particular, I was incredibly uplifted by the party spirit in which they all participated from start to finish.
Secondly, we had the weather, glorious days both of them with no excuses for poor play, although I do confess, I slowed down quite a bit during the last third on each day. This did allow others to catch me up a bit, not least Kevin Pope in the Stableford format!
Thirdly, we had the tee announcer extraordinaire, Jason Batup, who managed to find a successful golf-related success story or funny quip on each player for both days and send everyone off with a smile on their face! Copies of all these are available upon request. Also both courses were at their best, with greens at their fastest and fairways that made even my drives look reasonable. We are truly blessed with the finest of greenkeepers and his staff.
Lastly, but by no means least, we had the organisers and volunteers, without whom the event would have been a mere shadow of itself, and certainly not the glorious success that it was. Thank you so much on behalf of all seniors to Simon Hargrave, Chris Conquest and Jason Batup for their incredible efforts and skills in planning and running the event, and ensuring above all else that we had a safe and trouble-free two days of golf. I would also like to thank them personally for making my job on the day so stress-free. I could not have enjoyed it more!
Thanks also go to our spotters (Paul Evans, Gill Fowler, and Caroline Lee-Smith), who gave up their time for us and who between them saved a considerable number of shots, as well as offering encouragement as we passed. Thank you also to our treasurer and committee for agreeing that all proceeds from the event can be distributed as prizes. This was most appreciated.
- 1st: Kevin Pope (140)
- 2nd: Richard Wake (141 countback)
- 3rd: Dave Read (141)
- 1st: Steve Western (161)
- 2nd: Peter Mone (162)
- 3rd: Les Robertson (165)
Veterans Vase: Another fine performance by Kevin Pope secured the Veterans Vase, closely chased to the wire by the in-form Brian Billsberry and the ever-present Derek Young.
Club Championship 2020, July 27th and 28th: What a finish to a great weekend! After almost 90 players battled it out over 36 holes in sometimes challenging weather on the best greens I’ve seen at Sherfield it came down to an all-Clayton playoff as Tim and Jack were tied on 147. After almost sinking his first putt from off the green, Jack held his nerve to take the title.
It was a really tense finish in normal play with Steve Phipps only missing out on the playoff by one shot, with Club Championship regulars Ryan Knight and Sam Lucas in fourth and fifth place on 152.
Hopefully Tim took some consolation in being crowned Nett champion, Steve Phipps was in second place again only a shot behind with Paul Brett taking third place on countback.
Peter Owen was fourth with Mark Wakelin in fifth. Only three points separated the Top 5!
Thank you again to Ross and all the green keeping team for presenting two amazing courses, the greens were superb and the work on the bunkers didn’t go unnoticed. Thank you to Simon Fowler for announcing both days and for arranging free drinks after Sunday’s round. Thanks also goes to Ronnie Eaton, John Taylor, Simon Hargrave, Chris Conquest, Jason Batup and Martha Holley for all their hard work in setting up and running the weekend. These events just wouldn’t go ahead without your help.
Congratulations once again to the winners and thank you to everyone who took part, it really showed what makes Sherfield Oaks the club it is.
- September 1st: Ladies Medal (LOOM)
- September 2nd: TCL Wednesday Q12
- September 3rd: Midweek Stableford
- September 5th: Saturday League 7
- September 6th: Monthly Medal (OOM)
- September 7th: Roll up
- September 8th: Ladies Roll up
- September 9th: TCL Wednesday Q13
- September 10th: Midweek Medal (OOM)
- September 12th: Captain’s Day
- September 13th: TCL Sunday Q11
- September 14th: Memorial Day
- September 15th: Ladies Stableford (LOOM)
- September 16th: TCL Wednesday Q14
- September 17th: Roll up
- September 18th: Seniors Summer League
- September 19th: Daily Mail Foursomes Qualifier
- September 20th: TCL Sunday Q12; Ladies Daily Mail Foursomes
- September 21st: Seve Cup
- September 22nd: Ladies Daily Mail Foursomes
- September 23rd: TCL Wednesday Q15
- September 26th: Saturday League 8
- September 27th: Sunday Stableford
- September 28th: Roll up
- September 29th: Ladies Stableford (LOOM)
- September 30th: TCL Wednesday Q16
Hampshire Golf: As you may know, Hampshire Golf recently held its junior county championships at Sherfield Oaks for the second time in three years. The Under 18s and Under 16s played over 36 holes, while the U14s/13s/12s played over 18 holes and the U10s over 9 holes. Congratulations should go to the U18s winner James Freeman (Stoneham) on his victory, his second in three years, in the Junior County Championship. He finished on three under par, one shot ahead of Southampton’s Drew Mackinnon and two ahead of Charlie Forster (North Hants). Freeman became just the 11th player in the event’s 70-year history to win the title twice – matching the likes of European Tour veteran Richard Bland as well as Kevin Weeks and Harry Ellis, who both went on to win English Amateur Championships.
In the U14 Championship, Dummer’s Isaac Haines (7hcp) shot a 76 to win by four, while Barton-on-Sea’s Josh Randall shot a nett 69 to take the handicap prize.
Barton-on-Sea’s Ivo Rees was the U12 champion with a 90, while Wellow’s Jamie Pang won the U10s with 26 points in the nine-hole stableford. The 18-handicapper was second in the handicap finishing seven shots behind Oak Park’s James Redfern.
David Wheeler, the Secretary of Hampshire Golf, wrote to us to thank the club for hosting it. “The Junior Championship at Sherfield Oaks was a success, it was good to finally get out and play our first event of the year. Many thanks for sponsoring the cost of the range balls,” he said.
There’s a video here.
We are in the process of adding two new PGA professionals to the coaching team, this will allow us better coverage of coaching availability and deliver the free coaching sessions and drive our growing junior following, exciting times, watch this space!
Online pro shop
With the closure of the pro shop, we are temporarily offering balls, gloves, hats etc at the check-in desk. Towards the end of the year, we will have our own online golf shop, which will enable members to buy their golf merchandise direct using their club cards and receive the relevant discounts that go with their membership category. Merchandise (including Club logo apparel) will be delivered to their home or on a click-and-collect basis at the Club. Get Golfing is confident that this will mean that members at Sherfield Oaks will receive outstanding value on their purchases and, if we may borrow a term, “never be knowingly undersold”. More information will become available in due course.
From Bhadresh of KMC OAP Superheroes: On behalf of the KMC OAP Superheroes can I thank you and the Sherfield Oaks team for helping us to get on a course this year and your kind hospitality on the day. We completed our 10th Longest Golf Day Challenge last week, and although we are a few years older, we were still as excited as our first challenge. We have almost hit the £5,000 target and once employer match contributions come in we should be nearer £8,000.https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kmc-oap-superheroes. We have added pictures on social media and tagged Sherfield Oaks with a few more to come.