Since Get Golfing took over Hampton Court Palace on June 30th, demand for the course has been unprecedented. Due to the volume of business and Covid restrictions, we have been unable to have an obvious impact on your clubhouse experience but, hopefully, you will have seen improvements in the course and its presentation.
Across the group we have invested circa £300,000 in new course machinery. When the clocks change we will be working with the three teams; course maintenance, food and beverage, and golf services on staff training so that by the start of next season (Covid allowing), you will have a far better member experience.
Members will be pleased to learn that we have big plans for the Clubhouse both internally and externally.
After productive discussions between GG and Royal Parks a planning application will be made shortly that, if successful, will allow us to upgrade the Clubhouse and its immediate surroundings.
The pro shop will be turned into a private room for various activities, including private dining, small functions and, perhaps, even as a card room. This will be connected to the Clubhouse by a glass corridor that will link into the main lounge area.
All public areas within the Clubhouse will be refurbished with new flooring, lighting schemes, painting and decorating and furnishings. The pillar blocks between the downstairs dining area and the main lounge will be reduced or removed to offer further dining space during inclement weather.
A schematic plan can be seen here: 20.046.Priv.G 002B Proposed Plan copy
On the outside, a landscaping design is being worked on to soften the exterior to the Clubhouse and the patio area will be significantly increased to accommodate up to 134 people.
New entrance signage and access to the site is in the final stages of being agreed between Royal Parks and Get Golfing. There is agreement in principle that the Club’s car park will be secured for members and visitors of the Club only. The mechanism for securing this area is likely to include automatic parking barriers.
As you may be aware from our previous communication, a member of the team tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday, after feeling unwell on Sunday, September 20th.
In case you missed the email, here is a summary of how the issue was dealt with: Although the team member was not at work on that Sunday, all staff, who worked in close proximity, were tested and were found to be negative for Covid-19.
We closed the Clubhouse on the morning of September 21st as soon as we learned of the situation and brought in external professional cleaners to complete a comprehensive deep clean and sterilisation. The Clubhouse is open again but we remain extremely vigilant and would urge all staff, Members and visitors to report any symptoms to the appropriate bodies.
On the wider Covid-19 situation, the good news is that the new government regulations do not impact golf as we play in fours, rather than eights! As a result, we do not see any effect on matches, competitions or society days.
The only limitation will be in the clubhouse where we would ask golfers to remain in their four and not pull tables and chairs together, no matter how sociable that may feel.
In addition, could we ask Members to wait at their tables to be served rather than going up to the bar area. As part of our efforts to safeguard both staff and Members, we have introduced table service, which we hope will be more relaxing for everyone involved. We thank everyone for their patience and hope that we will be able to return to a more normal environment at some point!
It is important, however, to remember that the government is currently being pretty lenient with golf, particularly in terms of numbers on the course, let’s not give them a reason to change!
In the meantime here are some things you could do to limit your exposure — and the continued spread of the Covid-19 virus:
- Sanitise golf clubs and golf bag before setting out
- Keep your distance from others (6 feet +)
- Leave the flagstick in
- Use your gloved hand to handle items or the PPE gloves provided at check-in
- Do not share golf clubs
- Use the elbow bump
In addition to our plans for the Clubhouse, Get Golfing is also intent on transforming the playability of the course in three key areas.
Firstly, we will focus on the fairways. We all recognise that the quality of the turf on the fairways is not good enough. Get Golfing wants to turn HCP into the stand-out golf venue in the area, so we have made an agreement with Royal Parks to allow us to install a fairway irrigation system. The first two fairways (1st and 18th) will be completed this winter. The design of the system will ensure uniform irrigation coverage across the fairways but will not touch the semi-roughs and roughs. The irrigation system will encourage root growth to the top four inches of the topsoil and lead to a more stable turf coverage and mitigate the disintegration of divots that we all currently see. All 15 fairways will have irrigation installed by April, 2022.
We will also work on the greens. Further to our previous email regarding the retrospective installation of drainage to the greens, we would like to announce that work commences on Monday, October 12th on the 3rd and will progress on a green-by-green basis for as long as the weather will allow. All 20 greens will be completed by March 2021. This investment will eliminate the need for temporary greens and will lead to firmer, faster and truer putting surfaces.
Finally, we will renovate the bunkers. Again, we recognise that the bunkers are in poor condition, with much of the damage caused by deer. We have tried an ultrasound deterrent with no success, so we, therefore, have no alternative but to renovate the bunkers and then increase the labour resource to maintain them. A schedule for this work is still to be defined.
From Richard Hill, Course Manager: Get Golfing is certainly investing at Hampton Court Palace: this month we have received delivery of a Toro 3500 sidewinder to replace our Jacobsen AR3. It is a significant upgrade and a welcome return of a machine we have historically used on site, prior to the sale to Get Golfing.
The sidewinder is widely used around the golf course, from the tee banks, mounds, greens surrounds to semi-rough, rough and pathways. It’s an important piece of equipment for us.
Get Golfing has also purchased 10 times the amount of grass seed we normally purchase to overseed the fairways. This is a huge uplift in expenditure and one that is very welcome. The benefits will be visible as we head further into the autumn, with some positive germination already showing.
In addition to the major projects detailed earlier, we will carry out maintenance on the tees and approaches in October. Get Golfing is showing a commitment in this area too, by allowing us to purchase the products we need to achieve this. We will be hollow coring, scarifying, overseeding and dressing the tees over the coming weeks and working hard to prepare the golf course for the autumn months.
Members should note that the club will be holding a Society Masters event this year on October 21st as a way of thanking organisers for booking the club for their society. The shotgun start event will consist of 18-holes, lunch and prize giving afterwards. As a result the course will be very busy/closed on the day. It may be worthwhile to note that, alongside this fantastic incentive, all Members will be credited for 5% of the total price for a society they introduce.
Members will be pleased to learn that we have begun resolution of an issue with subscription payments that occurred in the transition to ownership by Get Golfing.
Issues with the accuracy of the data provided by Crown Golf at the time of the takeover meant that some Members, who were due to renew after July 1st, have not yet received a subscription payment request.
Rather than jump in with subscription demands, we delayed requests for payment until such time as we were more confident of the validity of the data.
We are now in a situation to start the process of requesting payment for arrears and setting up the forward monthly payments. We would encourage those Members to whom this applies to contact the office and we can resolve any issues.
To help us identify any continuing anomalies, those few Members whose renewal date has significantly elapsed will be temporarily suspended. Please do not be alarmed, we are doing this in order to bring this issue to a swift conclusion.
In other news, Members should note that from October 1st you will be able to use your Club Card across seven Get Golfing sites and still receive your discount when you pay for any items.
With the World Handicap System about to take effect this coming November, many of you will be wondering how it will affect you.
- If your handicap is 6 and below it is likely to go down by one or stay the same;
- If your handicap is between 6 and 12 it is likely to go up or down by one but could stay the same;
- If your handicap is between 12 and 18 it is likely to stay the same or go up by one;
- If your handicap is between 18 and 24 it is likely to go up by one or two strokes;
- If your handicap is 24 or higher, it is likely to go up by two or three strokes.
So the lower you are, and therefore the more consistent you are, the more likely it is you will see your handicap go down when the new system starts.
The higher your handicap, the more likely it is you will have some extra shots with which to play.
Remember, these are only general opinions. Your handicap will ultimately depend on your performance over your last 20 scores, your consistency, and how many of those scores you have actually entered.
One thing is for sure, though. We will all be glued to that touchscreen when those figures finally appear.
Following on from our successful seasonal summer specials, we are currently developing our autumn and winter menus with a hugely experienced chef, who has worked with some of the greats in the business.
We are also reviewing our wine, draught beer and spirits offerings and hope to bring you some delicious tipples to try.
We are also very keen to work with local suppliers and would welcome suggestions from Members about local produce that they would like to see featured on the food menu or at the bar. Send us a note or tell us when you are at the club.
We are delighted to introduce three new PGA Professionals at Hampton Court Palace Golf Club.
Alex Vezey (left) has taught for 12 years since becoming PGA Qualified. Teaching beginners, juniors, club golfers, high level amateurs to European Tour players, Alex enjoys helping golfers raise their game to new levels. His teaching philosophy has delivered better golfers with better games and golf swings, consistently improving all his client base. In the last three years, Alex joined the global team of David Leadbetter coaches and is one of the 96 worldwide Leadbetter Certified Instructors. You can contact him via [email protected].
Gus Mottershead (centre) has been coaching full time at the club since becoming a fully qualified PGA Professional. He served his training at the club as the assistant pro five years ago and before that was a junior member of the club where he began the game. His passion is to help everyone of all levels improve their golf and have fun while they are doing it. His major focus is getting kids into the sport and to enjoy the skills that come along with it. You can contact him via [email protected].
Pete Lockett (right) has a wealth of experience both in his knowledge of the game and his own professional and amateur career. Pete started his golfing career at The European Tour, where he was responsible for the day-to-day activities of the Qualifying School. Living and breathing the world of golf for many years within the circles of the European, Challenge and the Senior Tour’s top players, Pete has seen first-hand what it takes to reach the top of the game. He is passionate about golf and has now transferred his knowledge and expertise to helping educate others to achieve their best results and develop their connection with the game. You can contact him via [email protected].