Greenkeepers Diary - Keeping The Course On Track

WE start 2008 with a brand new feature - the Greenkeeper's Diary with Close Gouse Golf Club's Steve Cram - same name, but not the former world champion athlete.

WE start 2008 with a brand new feature - the Greenkeeper's Diary with Close Gouse Golf Club's Steve Cram - same name, but not the former world champion athlete ... New year is always an exciting time of year, but for golfers it is normally cold, wet and unplayable on many golf courses.

This, however, can be an important time of year for greenkeepers to carry out jobs, which they can't do in the busy summer months.

Here at Close House Golf Club after opening the refurbished golf course last summer, we are now trying to ensure that the course can improve again this summer and here I would like to explain some of the jobs I think are important.

January is a good month to carry out new construction work around the golf course, for example new tees, bunkers, paths and drainage. However, simple jobs which can keep the course looking tidy, such as changing holes, raking bunkers and cutting greens regularly, should not be overlooked.

Construction work can not be carried out when the conditions are less favourable.

When this happens then it is a good time to carry out woodland jobs such as pruning of dead limbs and removal of dead trees, which again help improve the presentation of the golf course.

In my opinion January is the last month to plant trees in order for them to get a good hold before the spring when dryer weather approaches.

During the winter months it is also important to carry out any machinery maintenance such as oil and filter change, sharpening or replacing cutting blades, general servicing and checking hydraulic hoses for any leaks.

Whilst it is obvious these jobs will prolong the life expectancy of the machine, more importantly the machines will be working more effectively when in use to ensure the golf course is presented to its best standard during the summer months.

Due to the often wet and cold weather we have in the North of England diseases can often strike and cause problems for many golf courses.

Whilst preventative work (eg: a good autumn aeration program) is the best method, spraying a good contact fungicide although expensive might be the only solution.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Gary Hits Ace

TEESSIDE golfer Gary Mirfin has scored a rare hole in one at a par 4. The Middlesbrough Brass Castle member landed his ace at the club's 309-yard first hole in the Team of Four Christmas Spirit Competition.

Since the record book was started in 1969 there have only been seven holes in one at the 1st hole.

Gary drove off with his driver but was unable to see the finish.

Winter conditions were prevailing and Gary reckoned the hole was playing around 305 yards that day from the winter tee, but he was amazed to arrive on the green and find his ball in the hole.

One of his playing partners was Alex Russell, who was also partnering him at Middlesbrough Municipal some years ago when he had an ace there. Gary has also scored aces at Hexham and Ramside Hall.

The first recorded hole in one at Brass Castle's 1st hole was in 1989 by E Luck, followed by three in 1992 - two on January 25 in consecutive matches - by M Henderson and J Fairest, the other in September by J Westerman.

In July 1993 R Walker landed another and in January 1998 H Archibald was successful, followed by a break of nine years until Gary had his.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Junior Girls Show Promise

Junior girl golfers are few and far between these days but Close House Golf Club have two young members who are beginning to make an impression.

In 2006, Caroline Smith aged 15 years and Hayley McLaughlin aged 13 years started playing golf - Caroline with her dad and Hayley with her grandad. They were noticed on the course and were asked to join the ladies section to get a handicap and to improve their game.

The Junior Liaison Officer, Ann Potts, said: "They were both terrified to start with and naturally lacked confidence, however once they realised that the ladies they were playing with were all like their grannies, they soon began to feel quite at home. I would add that the lady grannies weren't too soft with the girls - they had to learn the rules and also take great care with etiquette on the course."

Ann added: "Two seasons on, both girls are accomplished players. They have had private tuition, county tuition and the outcome is they have been chosen to be part of the county squad and both have reduced their handicaps on the new Close House Golf Course. Recently in a Northumberland Junior Golfing Association competition held at Newbiggin Golf Club, Caroline won the girls section. They are both enjoying their golf and it is wonderful to see how mature their attitude is to the game. I would like to wish Caroline and Hayley all the best for the 2008 season."

Close House are looking for more junior members and are to hold two fun 9 hole flag competitions (March 23rd and March 30th) and both boys and girls are invited along with their parents to come along and enjoy the day.

For information on these events or Junior membership, contact Jonathan Greenwood at Close House golf reception on 01661 852 953.


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