Category: Greens Update

June 2020 Greens Update

5th Hole from Men's Tee

5th Hole

Thanks to Blue and Ian our greens are now as good as, if not better than, any in Cambridgeshire. However, as you can plainly see, the same cannot be said of the fairways.

As a result of lack of attention for a number of years, the drought of 2018 and then one of the wettest winters on record this year, many areas of the fairways are in a sorry state. There are many dead and bare areas that will not come back naturally. Unfortunately, it is not simply a question of over-seeding as grass seed will never germinate in such conditions

Many of you may be asking what we are doing to address the situation, but you can rest assured that a lot of thought has gone into how we can rectify it. Unfortunately, the correct solution is a lengthy and costly process, and as you will all appreciate our finances are stretched to the limit more than ever following the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Blue and Ian have put together a method statement and a cost plan for the restoration work based on them carrying out the work themselves, but even then, there are no guarantees of success as it will be dependent on the weather at the time and successful seed germination. We could employ a specialist subcontractor to do the work, which, whilst coming with guarantees, will also come with far greater cost implications.

The worst affected areas will need to be thoroughly scarified, and then treated with pre-seed fertiliser. They will then need to be dressed with approximately 80 tons of dressing material, seeded and rolled, then roped off as GUR until healthy strong grass growth is established.
Ideally this work should be carried out at around the end of September to mid-October depending on the weather conditions at the time.

Unfortunately, all this comes at a cost we can ill afford at the moment so we are trapped between a “rock and a hard place” as they say.
It is anticipated that the cost of the plant and materials required to complete the work “in house” is approximately £7500.00 so you can understand the dilemma we are facing. Furthermore, once we have completed the restoration work, the ongoing annual maintenance costs for verti-draining and/or shockwave aeration would be in the region of £1500.00.
Blue, Ian and the Greens Committee believe it is only right that all members should be aware of the problems facing us in the immediate future. We are all striving to provide you with the best playing conditions we can, but because of the financial restraints this is not always possible.

Derek Wisbey
Head of Greens

May 2020 Greens Update

We are two weeks back into golf and I would like to think you can all now appreciate the wisdom of keeping Blue and Ian working on the course during “lockdown”. Alan Jones, immediate Past Captain and a member at March Golf Club for forty-one years said to me this week “in all the time I have been a member here I have never seen the course looking better. A big thank you is due to our brilliant green keeping pair, the Seniors for their generosity, and the numerous volunteers, who have all helped to make this possible”.

The greens are superb thanks not only to the acquisition of the new aerator and the turf iron, but also the expertise of Blue and Ian. We have had one small hiccup as the crows, rooks and magpies have taken a liking to the leatherjackets beneath the turf and have caused quite a bit of damage to some of the greens, particularly the eighth. The leatherjacket is the larval stage of the crane fly and in April they move up to the root zone of the grass, where, during May, they grow and change into pupae – tasty morsels for the aforementioned pests.

The fairways were also looking a picture a few weeks ago, but following the wettest February on record we have seen hardly any rain at all since then. Rainfall in April was well below average and we are heading for the driest ever May. The grass is already scorched and the familiar cracking is beginning to appear. We can but hope we don’t get another summer like that of two years ago when drought conditions caused untold damage to both greens and fairways. We can but pray for rain.

You will have noticed that the bunker to the left of the third green has disappeared and may have questioned why?

Evidently some years ago the third green was considerably larger and much further to the left. At that time the bunker in question was a greenside bunker. As the large tree in front of the bunker got bigger it obstructed the approach shot to the green so the green was moved to the right and over time became much smaller (as did many of the other greens).
If you pull your approach shot to the left of the green you invariably hit the tree. Rarely did you get through the tree and finish in the bunker so the main penalty was the tree and not the bunker, making it somewhat superfluous.

Another problem was, that with the bunker subsequently in the rough and with steep sides, it was impossible to cut with the “rough cutter”, and our Greenkeepers were obliged to use the strimmer – a considerable waste of valuable time that could be better spent on other parts of the course.

You will have already noted a vast improvement to the shaping of the bunkers, thanks almost entirely to the sterling work of Tom Sharpe. We now have a large group of volunteers who have offered to maintain the bunkers, trimming the grass around the edges and raking periodically, but please do not expect miracles. Without the rakes in situ, at times they will inevitably leave a lot to be desired unless you are playing just after they have been raked.

Those of you with buggies will have noticed that at last the matting in front of the sheds has been laid. The installation was carried out by four volunteers, two from the Greens Sub–committee and two members, Paul Goddard and Jed Vawser. Hopefully when winter is upon us ingress & egress to the sheds will be greatly improved

As a result of the Covid-19 virus and the severe impact it has had on our finances we are being forced to work with a severely reduced Green staff.

Normally at this time of the year we would have a head Greenkeeper plus two permanent assistants but we are having to survive with just Blue and Ian. Their time is stretched to the limit, therefore throughout what remains of the year we will have to survive with the aid of volunteers.
We have many volunteers who go unnoticed in the Club and my thanks go out to all of you for helping to make our course what it is. You will be needed even more during this vital period of financial hardship.

I don’t think I have anything further to add other than to say that I hope you have the most enjoyable, albeit somewhat curtailed, year on our fantastic nine – hole course.

Bunker Adoption

Adopt a bunker, that’s a bit different!

Thank you to all those members who have committed to help the Greens Team with bunker maintenance.

This volunteer project will commence once we are reopen.

When? well let’s just keep patient. We actually don’t know right now, speculation is rife.  Rest assured though we are busy behind the scenes preparing.

The bunkers are having an overhaul as we speak and, more details will be announced to those adopters.

The overhaul that you can see in the attached gallery is being undertaken by a volunteer Tom Sharp.

I am sure you will all show your appreciation by leaving a comment or two.

Well done Tom and thank you again from the Chairman. See all soon as we can. Stay safe.


April Showers are what we need

‏When it comes to April, we normally think of those lovely spring showers to help the grass grow.

Well, this year whilst we are staying away from the club and enjoying the unseasonal weather the course needs the water.

Perhaps if we pray or do the odd rain dance, it might just help!

Anyway, I thought I would share some lovely images of the course with you all. The boys are doing a wonderful job and the holes are really taking shape, with lots of definition.

I hope you’re all keeping safe and healthy.  Keep looking after yourselves and I am sure we will soon be there again really soon.





Happy Easter Update

So, where did all the water go?

It hasn’t been that long since we couldn’t play golf due to excess water on the course and surrounding land.  Now the sun is shining brightly, seed and turf has been set and laid and, the essential maintenance of our lovely course continues.  Watering is now part of the maintenance programme, you probably can’t imagine how long it actually takes?

Blue and Ian are working in shifts to keep contact down to a absolute minimum whilst they continue to carry out their day to day tasks, so we have golf course that is not only ready for our return from isolation … but one we will all be proud of!

Please see above the very latest images from the course, again thanks to Derek and there a few from me too!

Stay safe, eat as much chocolate as you wish and see you soon!


Update from Frogs Abbey

Thank you to you all for your continued support in these troubled times.

Please keep an eye on your emails, here on our website and of course on Facebook and Twitter, (If you have accounts) as we will be trying to update you on the Clubs situation.   I am not going to dwell on the pandemic, but try to bring some course photos, some lightheartedness and hope.

Today courtesy of the very talented (is there nothing you can’t do?) Derek Wisbey, the newly dug and weeded “Chairman’s Corner” and some landscape images of the Greenkeepers work … very stripey!

From the Greens Team

Anyone for “Insane Terrain” or “Tough Mudder”

Thank you to Derek for today’s photographs.

I honestly thought yesterday with all the wind that we were winning.  However, last night’s downpour has created this watery landscape.

So,  I’m afraid it’s off to Thorpe Wood driving range at 1pm today to take the family frustrations out on some range balls.

All welcome to join us.



This Is Becoming a Habit

How many ears must one man have, before he can hear people cry?

Bob Dylan

Now I’m not sure if this is a Greens Update or another from the Chairman?

But here goes anyway, you may remember when I took over as Chairman I stated “You can always approach me with your issues, comments or concerns, just use the right channels”

Well this morning I received a text from a member, who I have great respect for.   Asking about our lovely course and the closure situation.  Whether this was just for her/his own benefit or for others in his/her peer group, I promised, I would visit the course this morning and provide you all with some up to date pictures of the course condition.

So, as if by magic (And some dirty trousers) please find a gallery of photographs showing the reason for the closures … please swipe on the main image to see the next photo in the gallery. The course is saturated, walking from the first and seventh tees is a challenge in itself.

Please check out the ditch behind the 1st green, can anyone remember water in there before?  Simply keeping to the very edge of the fairway/rough I have left my mark. Imagine the affect if we were ALL on the course. That’s without our Greens staff being able to get machinery to the course to cut the grass!

Now for better News

But it’s not all doom and gloom as Blue and Ian have been very busy. We’ve had the odd tree fall over and clear up operations are in hand.

Water is still flowing off the course at a nice steady rate and I am pleased to inform you that we will shortly be having a meeting with the Vice (Presently Acting LOL) Captain, Andy Lilley, Blue, Myself and a drainage expert.  Not only that but Andy has pledged his Captains year to the drainage of our course.  Thank You Andy, as you all know this is one of my projects.  Thank you to Paul and Neil, see not ALL in vain!

Whats more, the team are getting us ready for when the course can be opened again without restrictions. The paths are being attended to, the greens, tees and dry areas of the fairways are all better for the rest.

I have spoken to Blue this morning and like us all he is as frustrated, demoralised and whatever other ‘down in dumps’ words you would like to describe our situation, as the rest of us.

Blue said, apart from “what are you doing on the course, get home to your family” LOL

“Baz I can assure you we have taken everything into account in making the course closure decisions and we are working towards the re-opening just as soon as possible” 

And believe me, as you know Blue  and Ian are golfers too and they truly do understand. They have mine and the Committees FULL support.

Lastly as a reminder, when the course is open again to us shortly can you PLEASE take onboard the Buggy and Trolley Routes.   It has been designed to keep us playing and protect our lovely course.

Enjoy your weekend and I’ll see you on the course very soon! Oh and the answer is blowing in the wind … hopefully.


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