Monday, 17 December 2018

The rear bunker on the 18th Lower is having a new revetted face.  Consisting of a wall of thick turf this will look great coming onto the course for the first time or from the balcony above.  In the New Year the other 2 bunkers at the rear on this hole are being revetted plus the left bunker on the 18th Upper.


First layers

 The 10th Upper Tee bank has been removed and replaced with a low sleeper wall as can be seen in the below picture.  In January this Tee is being raised and levelled in order to complete rebuild of this hole.
10th Tee Upper

 The last batch of paths is now finished with extensions and top ups on the 18, 17th and 14th Lower.

17th Lower
Once we are back during our 1st full week, Tee rebuilding will occur.  Starting at the 5th Upper we have an ambitious plan for Tee levelling/rebuilding in 2019. This together with all the new bunker faces and other ongoing projects will see a big step forward in course quality in 2019.


  1. Hi Paul, enjoying the blog updates and twitter posts. Will you be raising the 2nd and 4th tees on the bottom course? As I'm sure you know, these are the wettest tees on both courses throughout the year so would really benefit from being raised before some of those already named - something that has been suggested over the years to the various course owners.
    Lots of talk over the weekend about how short the fairways have been cut on Friday and the damage caused by the machinery leaving tyre tracks on the fairways and also green surrounds. Pictures are available.
    It’s a shame too that short term revenue for buggies is taking priority over course protection as there are places where they cannot get up the slopes so there are tyre sliding damage being caused (as well as the tyre treads going into the fairway surfaces by normal driving) - I'm sure you share the same frustration?!
    As an aside, have you ever considered working with the regular course users (HFGC members and the public) to discuss what would improve the courses from a playing perspective as well as how it looks? Just in the private members club alone we have combined thousands of years playing experience at the course so could provide you with some real insight into how the courses play and how we think you could make the courses better to play which then makes them more attractive to visiting golfers. We all just want the best for the course and could work together for the benefit of all?

    1. Colin,
      Thank you for your response. We have plans next winter to address the 4th Tee Lower which has collapsed and needs relevelling, the 2nd is a relatively flat Tee and with only summer play will last for a few years yet. Fairways on the course are cut at a height that balances both the needs of the customer and the greater need of the plant. Moss ingress, general poor sward quality and lack of recovery are still a problem after the very dry summer. It is our plan that aeration and fertilizer is being increased on the fairways to improve root depth and sward quality which has been sorely lacking in previous years.
      As a business I have no issue with having buggies out in inclement weather. The shop is very accommodating in listening to the greenstaff in regards to buggy use and we now have a good balance between course wear and protection.
      I'm always glad to talk to both members and guests as are most of the team. All my decisions are based on the needs of all the customers on site from the worst to the best golfer. I am helped by having a wide range of golfing ability on the site and in the team to give balance to these decisions, together with design, shaping and budgetary considerations.


  2. Hi Paul,
    Good to hear there are plans for the lower 4th but not sure why you think it has collapsed? if it’s because the far side (as you approach from 3rd green) is higher than the near side that is because previous greens staff extended the tee but build it higher than the existing tee (a number of other tees also had “extensions” which were not blended into the existing) Both these tees take a lot longer than the rest into the summer to be dry which affects golfers stability when hitting tee shots. If you are basing tee renovations on how level they are then you’ve chosen probably the flattest tee on the 36 holes to change (10th upper).

    Can you advise how we can provide feedback then for consideration?
    In most workplaces, when a new manager\senior person comes in they find out from the staff and customers what are the good\bad points, what needs improving etc and then once information has been evaluated the plans are devised and communicated. It would be good to have meetings and forums where you and your team can present what the plans are and why. There is the potential for these courses to be some\if not the best in the region if work is channelled to the right activities. Any business that fails to engage with and listen to its customers thinking it knows better than those experiencing the business’s products is guaranteed to fail. It is the customers who pay and more importantly PLAY the courses so would be good to understand what and why things are being done and how they are going to improve the “product” you are selling.

    Overall there are positive signs and people I play and know can see improvements to the course but there are a lot of things being done which from a customer’s perspective seem really strange. It would be interesting to hear how often you and the rest of the staff actually play the golf course as that will give you a completely different perspective compared to just looking at the golf courses. Every time I’ve ever asked in the shop they have not played anywhere for ages, let alone at Hainault. If you don’t use your own product that says a lot.

    A few questions I have heard being asked are :
    1) Why is so much time spent cutting down trees, bushes and hedges in “non-playing areas” when there is so much work required to the playability of the courses?
    2) Why are Links style (riveted faced and long grassed edges) bunkers being installed on a parkland golf course?
    3) The 11th lower bunker to left of the green – why is there long grass on the left edge which is preventing the ball running into the bunker, which results in an impossible shot to control onto the green a few feet away?
    4) Why are trees being cut down behind 11th lower to create a path to 12th tee when a path has existed for over a hundred years?
    5) Why are the fairways being cut when there is no growth in the winter?
    6) Why is so much work focused on the upper course? Is it because its close to the greenkeepers hut?

    Happy to sit down and chat if you want some time

  3. Listening to customers is very important in order to get an overall feel for the direction the business is moving in. In amongst our work, customer interaction is always ongoing as is training, with regular golf at ours and other courses. Course walks at some local courses, seminars conferences and onsite training to ensure our product is moving in the right direction.
    Feedback can always be provided through the commitee channels at your club. Although meeting have temporarily lapsed this is the most effective means of communication between the 2 bodies.
    In response to some of the questions you have overheard.
    1) Probably cut down less in the last 2 years than the last 10.
    2) They look good. Weve had dozens of positive comments.
    3) There is long rough on the back edge of most of the new look bunkers this is the new style.
    4) The old path will be blocked in to create a wow as golfers approach 12th Tee.
    5) Fairways are cut when they grow. Using growth models such as GDD(Growth Degree Days) combined with GP(Growth Potential) to map plant growth, fertilizer and plant growth regulators we cut in order to encourage tillering and plant regeneration.
    6) The Upper has been neglected for decades. As to the second part any member that believes this doesn't deserve a coherent response.