Greens News
Garry Wilson - Course Director
Members Only
Diary Event


I am pleased to report that all work outlined in the winter work plan has been completed on time and within budget.

The greens staff can now concentrate their efforts on preparing the course for summer play. This will commence soon, with scarification and hollow tining of the greens. These invasive mechanical operations are essential as the greens still have a stubborn layer of thatch which must be tackled. We are also planning to deep verti-drain the greens to help improve drainage. The exact timing of these operations will be determined by the head greenkeeper and are dependent on favourable weather conditions.

The fairways are in much better condition than is usual for this time of year. Measures such as the winter wheels policy and teeing-up have played a part in this improvement. We will however still be holding a divot day on 22nd May, so please try to find a couple of hours to help if you are available.

On the subject of fairways, members may have noticed that several patches of weeds e.g. daisy’s, dandelions, invaded the course last year. Unfortunately due to staff turnover we found ourselves in the position where we had no-one with the necessary qualifications to be legally allowed to carry out spraying operations. Fortunately this situation has now been rectified (at considerable expense). We look forward to carrying out this essential work at the earliest opportunity i.e. as soon as the weeds are actively growing.

The stakes supporting the transplanted trees to the right of the second fairway will be removed before the season commences.

The wildflower meadow will be showing the first signs of spring soon. The young flowers will need protection if the area is to flourish. We intend to prohibit entry to the area this season. Signs will be placed on the line of blue stakes at either side of the meadow advising that entry into the area to retrieve golf balls in strictly forbidden. The only free relief option available to anyone whose ball is lost in the wildflower area will be: - Free drop within one club length, not nearer the hole, than the point at which the ball last crossed the line of blue stakes. As soon as this prohibition comes into force, notices will be placed on the 4th & 5th tee boxes displaying the local rule. Members will also be advised by email and the local rule will be displayed on the club-house notice boards.

I hope like me that you are looking forward to the first full years play on a Hollinside Park course that will continue its improvement as the season progresses.



As the 2016 season draws to a close I believe we can look back on a year that has seen monumental changes to Whickham Golf Course. The opening of the new Hollinside Park Course in June has been well received by both visitors and members alike.

Despite a hectic start to the year when in March the construction of the short game practice area caused a later than anticipated start to the greens programme. The greens have continued to improve in their playability as confirmed by STRI in July 2016. These tests confirmed that both smoothness and firmness have seen a marked improvement over the previous year, but as the tests were carried out immediately following a very wet week, the greens had not been cut as short as would have been desirable and this had a detrimental effect on the speed of the greens.

The greens maintenance programme that was carried out this year will be repeated next year when we will again aim to apply 120 tons of sand to the greens throughout the season. The main applications are during spring and autumn renovation works. Further frequent light dustings of sand will also continue to be applied at 2 or 3 week intervals throughout next season. I am confident that continued use of the modern aeration equipment that the Club have invested in and the enthusiasm of the greens staff will provide even better putting surfaces in 2017.


We had intended to start the winter programme in early October, however the unseasonably sunny weather followed by the recent heavy rain has caused this to be slightly delayed. We now propose to start work on Monday 31st October 2016.

Some of the winter projects agreed by the greens committee are listed below.

1) Removal of the old 3rd green bunkers and landscaping the surrounding area.
2) Construction of an improved winter green at the 2nd
3) New winter tee boxes at the 8th and 13th holes. These will be to the same standard as the one at the first hole. The 8th tee will also see small alterations to the artificial path to compliment the location of the new winter tee.
4) Removal of the hump in front of the 13th green
5) Levelling, draining and re-turfing the 13th tee box.
6) Landscaping over the bare areas to the right of the 8th green.
7) A new drainage channel will be cut from the back of the 17th green.

There will also be a full tree maintenance programme to remove trailing branches and sprouting growth at the base of all trees.

It is also our intention to carry on with the excellent work started last winter to vertidrain all of our fairways to improve drainage and turf quality.

Garry Wilson
Course Director



The new layout will be open for play from the morning of Monday 13th June and will immediately become our only layout, I very much hope you enjoy playing our revised course. The new academy short game facility will also be available for use from the same day.

As with any golf course development, the new Bird Hill and Snipes Dene holes will require some time to become fully established. During this time, certain areas will require protection under the rules.

The area between the 2 new holes has been sown with wildflowers seeds. As a temporary measure only, this area is marked with blue stakes. Relief must be taken as per G.U.R. It is hoped that by next year this area will present enough of a hazard to allow the stakes to be removed.

Relief must be taken from all staked trees and gorse as per the local rule on the back of the scorecard. When applying this rule a cane has the same status as a stake.

The out of bounds is clearly marked with white posts. It is essential that members and visitors understand that they must not trespass into the adjoining properties. We have entered into an arrangement with our neighbours that allows us to play close to the boundary without objection, providing we do not cross the fence to retrieve golf balls. In order to protect this arrangement and to retain the current goodwill, the committee have decided that any member who ignores this instruction WILL be subjected to disciplinary action.

There is a small pond on the left of the Snipes Dene hole. The water is retained by use of a plastic liner, please do not attempt to stand on the liner to reach in to retrieve golf balls, it is liable to be slippery and will obviously be easily punctured by spiked golf shoes. For information the water is approximately 2-3 foot deep in the middle. We intend to provide a scoop to assist members in the unlikely event that their ball should enter this hazard.

As previously stated these holes will require time to become fully established and they will probably be refined with further strategic tree planting next winter. Should any member have any constructive ideas relating to the development, please feel free to share them, by submitting your suggestions to the greens committee.

Garry Wilson
Course Director


Providing the weather is suitable it is hoped that work will commence on the construction of the Academy short game practice facility in early March.

In readiness for this, the opportunity has been taken to remove the untidy dense vegetation to the right of the 18th green. We will also be removing the 3 small leylandii trees. I appreciate that the immediate effect of this work has caused the area to look a bit sparse. This will be corrected immediately following the completion of the work, by re-planting with some “more desirable” native trees.

2000 gorse plants have recently been planted on the course, each is supported by a cane. These canes are STAKES and therefore free relief must be taken as described in the local rules, “protection of young trees”.

An argument/discussion was overheard recently where it was claimed that the Club had introduced a local rule giving free relief from tree stumps. This is not the case and even if we wanted to introduce such a rule, it could never be sanctioned under the rules of golf.

It is possible that confusion may have arisen as a result of the temporary local rule that was introduced at the right hand side of the 2nd fairway declaring that the whole area was G.U.R following the removal of the poplar trees and the associated disturbance to the ground.

Once the “preferred lies in all maintained areas” aspect of our winter rules is rescinded, a ball lying near a tree stump must once again be played as it lies or declared unplayable.

Finally, I would like to officially record the gratitude of the Club to those volunteers who assisted with the planting of the aforementioned gorse bushes. This was an arduous task undertaken in particularly cold and wet weather. Thank you all.

Garry Wilson
Course Director

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18.08.2017 06:13
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