Course Update 23/05/20

I hope this finds everyone well and you are coping a little better now golf is available. Hopefully thanks to the structured opening policy adopted by the club everyone who wanted a game has managed to play at least once by now. Thank you to all for the positive comments about the course. The Greens Team are happy with it considering recent events and weather. It is worth remembering  that our course does not reach peak condition until June onwards. We are confident you will see further improvements in the coming weeks and enjoy a sustained high standard throughout the summer.

The tee is now very busy and pretty much fully booked from start to finish. It is great to see people enjoying golf again; however an inevitable consequence is the reduction in the amount of work that the greenkeepers can get through on a daily basis. During lockdown and in the absence of golfers the Greens Team have managed, despite being down to two workers, to get through all essential maintenance and keep the course in a good condition.  The dry weather has helped as growth has been slow. Until the last few days it has not been warm for any extended period of time. This has slowed recovery of the greens from the maintenance work however I think you will agree that improvements are being seen on a daily basis.

At this time of the year the club would usually have 5 members of staff to keep up the high standards we have come to expect. Despite the Herculean efforts of Wayne and Dip there are parts of the course that simply cannot be maintained to the same standard with two workers. We aren’t able to cut the greens on both weekend mornings which will obviously result in slower greens at times. The course cannot be sprayed to treat the weeds that are starting to appear until there is a return to full manpower. The rough and fairways are being cut less frequently. On that front you will be pleased to know that the rough at Houghton le Spring will reach an all-time low shortly. We will reduce the rough to 2 inches or 50 mm which should help a little with keeping players moving around the course. The bunkers are in need of maintenance and some general trimming of hedges is required. These tasks will be attended to over the coming weeks.

A massive positive that has come out of the lockdown is the volunteer group that has arisen. It is over 50 strong now and continues to grow. The volunteers around the club have done a brilliant job and I have witnessed first-hand the willingness they have all shown to make sure that our club and course survives these challenging times. Car park and course marshalling, bunker raking, working in the shop, watering the greens are just some of the tasks the volunteers have taken. Only recently some of the routine course maintenance tasks have been approved for volunteer work by our insurers. If you are in the HLSGC Volunteers email group you may get the call. Hopefully the need for as many volunteer roles will lessen as the club starts to generate income once more. The return to a full green keeping staff at our earliest viable opportunity is the goal however they could always do with a hand here and there.

In amongst all of these relatively insignificant golf club issues it is worth remembering that there is a global pandemic continuing. A member who works in a local hospital was informing me during the week that this is still very real. He said people are being frequently brought in with severe respiratory issues. Sadly some do not recover. The North East of England remains the area with the highest infection rate in England. The club continues to follow the advice of England Golf who provides recommendations based upon the Government guidelines on how to stay safe.

Enjoy your golf,

The Greens Team