Diary of a golf club

WE have now changed our name to Val de Close House and cancelled our flights to the Alps, and also exchanged our buggies for skidoos.

WE have now changed our name to Val de Close House and cancelled our flights to the Alps, and also exchanged our buggies for skidoos.

We had some members, who had obviously received new golf clubs for Christmas, phone in the interim period between Christmas and New Year to see if the course was open – the staff politely asked them if they had looked outside over the last week!

The snow has allowed us to have our first play on the new golf course but, in order to do so, we swapped our clubs for skis and a snowboard, and I have realised bunkers don’t just create an obstacle for golf – unless you are used to “big air” they should be avoided, as Jonny and I found out.

Despite the weather, we have still been kept busy – the greenkeepers have spent more time ploughing snow off the drive than cutting grass.

We have managed to get some jobs done that we normally wouldn’t have had time for, eg woodland management. We have been cutting down trees which are close to some of the greens on the Filly course to get more light and air into the greens, and painting course furniture.

Our mechanics Steve and Colin have been servicing the machines ready for the spring, and repairing vehicles they hadn’t had time to fix last year.

As expected, we haven’t been able to make much progress with the construction of the Colt Course – the contractors will be back when the weather improves. What is encouraging is that we don’t seem to have had much damage caused by the weather so, hopefully, the construction will be able to pick up from where we left off before Christmas.

We are now starting to make plans for the spring with the new course, with a recruitment advert going in this month’s magazine for more greenkeepers this spring. We have also just ordered two more fairway mowers to be delivered in the spring. I was tempted to ask if we could have ski piste attachments rather than cutting units on the mowers, but apparently John Deere don’t stock them!

The one project we have made good progress with is the new golf academy and custom fit centre. The contractors have worked every hour possible to try and get the building complete as soon as possible. As I write this, the external windows are being installed and plasterers are working inside.

We are currently researching the equipment we would like to install in the building, including launch monitor and video teaching software and, in next month’s article, I am sure I will be able to give more detail as to which manufacturers and items we have chosen. I can confirm now that we will be stocking Callaway, Titleist and Taylormade clubs in the custom fit centre, and we are very excited about working with these manufacturers in the future to offer golfers in the region the latest facilities for custom fit clubs.

Unfortunately for our teaching professionals – the two Jonathans – this means they have to go on a series of courses with each manufacturer to ensure they can fit people correctly. This will allow people to be fitted from drivers right down to putters to ensure there is no excuse for bad shots!

We can proudly say we practise what we preach, Jonathan Lupton – our head teaching professional – is going to the national Titleist custom fit centre at Edinburgh to be measured up for his clubs this season.

Unfortunately, our facility wouldn’t be ready in time for Jonathan to use it and have time to practise with his clubs before playing at Wentworth in May in the BMW Championship. This is, however, giving him the opportunity to see how clubs are custom fit by Titleist.

Jonny Greenwood and myself are going to be playing Taylormade clubs this summer and, having not used Taylormade clubs for several years, we are both looking forward to seeing how they perform.

Having now seen many of the new products on the market this season I could write an article on this alone, but what I do find fascinating is the research that goes into the clubs each year by the manufacturers to come up with new technology. If you read up on the technical specification of clubs, you would think they could shoot a 72 without you holding them. Unfortunately, this is not the case, but I am sure custom fit clubs can help us all.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer