From David Harris, General Manager and last of the late breakers: We are looking forward to seeing you back at the Club again on December 2nd. Unfortunately, we can’t open as normal as we will be heading into Tier 2 restriction. Our plan is to operate a check-in desk from the Pro shop doors — please be aware there will be no entry into the shop other than for those working in it — and open the changing rooms from side door for you to use the toilets. A new trailer is next to the Pro shop, which will offer takeaway food and drink each day (see below for more).
Communication is really important to us, which is why we want to ask for your help. We have created a very short survey online to find out about what aspects of the club interest you. Would you please fill it in, it takes about 30 seconds, and will help us deliver timely and relevant information to your phone via text.
Renovations: The promised clubhouse renovations are set to go ahead in January through to March. This will completely change the clubhouse and create a much nicer bar and restaurant. It does mean we will remain closed in this area but it is likely that Covid restrictions will mean we are closed anyway.
The other development is one that will affect the professionals and those of you who like to practice your game before you hit the fairways. The driving range will soon have a new teeing area built. At 45m x 45m, we believe it will be the largest grass range in London. This will take at least two weeks to do as it will be professionally done using contractors, who will be levelling the ground, then turfing and installing an artificial strip at the back. It will make the range longer, provide a better, flatter teeing area and see pathwork and a range-ball machine added in time.
Unfortunately the clubhouse will remain closed in December but we will be offering a takeaway service for golfers from our wonderful new trailer. The grab-and-go menu will include the traditional breakfast fare of tea and coffee and bacon and sausage rolls to fortify you before you tee off. Once you finish your round we hope to tempt you with something more substantial to enjoy with a drink from the bar. There will be a refreshment buggy on the course as well. You can order food and drink when you see the buggy or make sure you pick up a menu on arrival as we have a new text and delivery service. Simply text your name, order and the hole you are currently on and we will deliver hot food and drink out to you.
The WHS was launched in November and, with the transfer of 15 million handicaps, there were always going to be a few teething problems. We have a few of these and are in contact with England Golf support, so please bear with us while we work them out and rest assured all will be in order very soon.
England Golf has released a great new app (click here). It’s well worth downloading and will help you stay up to date with your handicap index.
Members are able to set their privacy preference but please before doing that, within your Member log-in, go to My Golf and then Preferences and verify your email address and tick all the appropriate boxes that allow you to receive communications.
Only then go to My Golf, My Rounds and click on the WHS Privacy Link.
From Richard Hill, Course Manager: On the last day of lockdown you might have seen us finishing work on the 7th green and its approaches, as well as starting work on the 17th green. The work didn’t stop there: we also put drains into the 16th and 13th greens. To date, a total of seven greens have been completed since we began this project on October 12th and there is more work planned for 2021.
The lockdown meant we were able to get a great deal more done than just the drainage. Without any golfers, we were able to fully hollow core all of the greens that were not drained and hollow core in between the drainage lines on the greens that we did. We also hollow cored the surrounds and the approaches. All of these were fed and dressed with sand.
The weather really played into our hands as well. Lockdown deprived you of the opportunity to be out on the course on the nice sunny days but it allowed us to get a lot done that we wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do.
So why do what we did? The main reason was to remove the thatch/organic matter that makes the greens feel spongy under foot during the winter months. It’s the presence of the organic matter that holds on to the water. By hollow coring during the lockdown we have been able to get a lot of sand into the surface. The aim is to firm up the greens as much as we can, while also allowing the water to pass through the surface aided by the use of penetrant surfactants, which help to keep the greens as dry as possible. It’s the drying days that are important during the winter months.
We have always worked hard during my time as Course Manager to reduce the organic matter and move the greens forward, especially during the winter months, and will continue to do so. The big difference from previous yearis is that Get Golfing recognised the issue immediately and, importantly, began to tackle it straight away, less than four months into its tenure. With the support of Get Golfing, I think we will make great strides forward as we head into 2021 and beyond.
Not content with just working on the greens, we also got the leaf collection cage set up and started to pick up vast amounts of leaves around the golf course. Again having no golfers around proved very helpful as it enabled us to approach leaf clearing in a much more efficient manner. This has a far-reaching effect on the acidic native grasses we want to flourish around the golf course. It also means that areas of the rough — especially on the 6th hole — are cleaner. It helps keep the nettles and weeds down and provide fewer nutrients for the coarse grasses. It also means looking for your golf ball should be easier when you return to play.
Throughout lockdown my entire team was at my disposal, which meant that — as the labour-intensive work started to reduce — my team and I were able to turn our attention to getting the golf course ready for opening.
Once we open we have plenty of sand to get into the bunkers and plan to get some soakways into the bunkers on the 7th and 8th holes.
We also plan to set up some rough preservation areas especially between the 2nd and 3rd holes and redirect the pathway from the 13th green to the 14th tee, returning the current pathway back to the area of rough it once was when I first started working at the golf club.
We also need to address the state of the pathway behind the 9th tee. So even though lockdown has finished and we’re excited and happy golf is going to return to Hampton Court, we still have plenty of things to do.
From Johnny Powell, Head PGA Pro: Hi all, these are my classes for December all on Thursdays at 12pm. Currently we are restricted to a maximum of five per group.
December 3rd: Need for Speed, be like Bryson! Receive a baseline of your club head speed using my Flightscope launch monitor. Rehearse some speed specific drills and see how much speed you can gain in 10 minutes!
December 10th: Are you bonkers about bunkers? Frustrated with getting stuck in bunkers or not being able to control the distance of your shots? Learn and understand some simple steps to make this a thing of the past.
December 17th: The truth about lies. When faced with an awkward lie, do you know what changes you need to make to help execute your shots consistently and towards the target? Attend and learn how to deal with the ball above and below your feet plus also being on an upslope and downslope.
To book, click here.
From Pete Lockett, PGA Professional: My clinics will run as follows:
- Friday, December 11th at 10am: “Learn the grid” — learn to change your set up rather than trying to manipulate your swing to hit the desired shot. Learn the grid and unlock the secret to both shot shaping and trajectory control.
- Friday, December 18th at 2pm: Chipping secrets — Learn to map the green and guarantee the correct shot choice. A system that is easy to learn and even easier to implement.
As ever, please follow the latest government guidelines regarding Coronavirus as they apply to your area. We would appreciate everyone taking personal responsibility for maintaining the correct physical distance while they are at the club. Wear your mask when it is required and wash your hands whenever you can.