Reasons for applying – Golfing Experiences – Course Knowledge – Course development.
Brief Summary of Will Dodd.
Job title/Description – Head of Sales – EMEA & Global Key Account Manager.
Company – Ahlstrom Munksjo – Nonwovens Filter Media www.ahlstrom-munksjo.com
Responsibilities – Global team of Sale Managers.
Golf has been in my family blood for many years. My grandfather originally played at a 9 hole golf course at Sealand when he was a boy before it was converted to RAF base before WW2. Avid player and staunch follower of Arnold Palmer because of his aggressive style of golf lead my dad into playing from an early age as well. Of course, Grandfather and Dad would naturally lead to me swinging a club at the age 3.
My earliest memories are at Mold GC where my Dad was part time green keeper because at that time Mold GC only had around 100 members in the early days. For 10 years, I was an extra pair of hands building tees and greens. In recognition the 4th hole is called the Dodd’s, originally the 17th I once cost my dad a small fortune when in the first medal of the new hole, I landed a hole in One!
In 1976 Mold converted to 18 holes course with John Jarman ( head professional at Grange park ) designing the new layout. I also worked for John and Assistance Pro at Grange Park when I had dreams of a Touring PGA Pro, alas I realised being a low HCP golfer and Touring Pro are worlds apart so I headed back to College for further studies. After 32 years at Mold, I moved over to the Wirral and join Heswall GC in 2000. Brian Hillhouse and George Lyons ( next door neighbours ) signed my applications. I had played many times at Heswall with members, so I knew the old course and enjoyed the layout. In 1991 for my golfing stag party, we played Muirfield and the surrounding courses in North Berwick.
We made it an annual golf trip in a quest to play the top 100 hundred courses in UK. After 30 years of playing the finest links & Parkland courses only Covid -19 stopped last year’s trip from going ahead but 2021 is already booked.
This is where I arrive today because after 55 years of golf and many golf balls later, I understand what a premium course feels like to play. The quality of tees and greens the finer touches which makes a courses play well and enjoyable for members. Short summary of objectives and deliverables over your first 3 years of Office. Whether we believe in climate change or not we can all agree that winters are milder and located on the North West Peninsula we are seeing wetter winters with higher volumes of rain fall. A golf course which is closed is a golf course which is losing revenue but more importantly frustrated members.
Over the last couple of years the course has suffered with drainage issues and even with new drainage and irrigation the battle against the rain continues in the winter months.
When I play the course, I see many areas where with strategic planting of trees/gorse we can add to the beauty and character to HGC. I am also understanding that greens and fairways need sun & aeration for growth. I feel trees are vital to most courses but, in order to avoid problems in the future, careful planning by an experienced agronomist is required before extensive planting is carried out on an the course.
We can see at Heswall how ponds are doing a vital job handling the water collection and controlling drainage. Again, by highlighting new areas around the 2nd 11th & 15th 17th I feel new ponds can be added to improve drainage and enhance the golf holes. These ponds are not necessarily directly involved in playing of the holes but creating character and necessity for extra drainage.
When we play the newer part of the course we seeing how elevated tees are providing good quality turf for golf shots. Teeing areas which are elevated have excellent drainage and are hard wearing. I would like to review 10th Tee Blue position & 14th tee. For me, the 14th could be the “Signature Hole” for HGC such is quality in design. I would like to reach out to the members who have designed the flower beds at the top of the car park and with their help highlight areas around the course to develop the same ideas bring colour and attention to detail. Over years of playing premium courses, I see this to detail which enhances the path ways and half way houses.
Course configuration is probably frowned upon as never to be changed but during the Covid situation we were playing 8 & 10 hole courses. When evaluating these courses you begin to see other options available which could actually work for speeding up play in the summer months. I understand that hole difficult and hole ratings are a balance between front and back and I am not suggesting drastic changes. But having open views on a couple of holes playing in a different sequence that could test the theory of faster play.
Longer term approach to course layout. Perhaps maybe not for this time but to give you an idea how I see the future layout. I would very much like to challenge the committee and take the views from the members as to changing the 5th hole. For me the 5th has never played to its potential but just offered a mammoth slog into the prevailing wind. We have all experienced the card wrecker at the 5th. I confidently feel there is a great solution that can only enhance the layout.
I joined Heswall in 1985 and have previously been Chair of Green from September 2013 until March 2017 when I stood down to be Mens Captain. I was invited to rejoin the Green Committee by Ray Parsons in August last year and supported Ray and Jo in the interview and selection of James Bland our acting Head Greenkeeper.
In 2013 I took a 4 day greenkeeping course run by STRI to improve my understanding of the role of the Head Greenkeeper and raise the level of interaction with Guy. Improving my knowledge better allowed me to challenge what was going on and I added to this knowledge by ensuring I accompanied the Agronomist on all his assessment visits to the course. I made a point of sharing this knowledge with members where I could and issued regular briefings on course progress to members. I have overseen the successful laying of 8km of drainage, new tee builds, replacing 6 greens to USGA standard, reconfiguring and upgrading of practice range amongst other things. Being Chair includes a significant administration role producing the paperwork which supports the course and I drafted the course Health & Safety Risk Assessment report, the 5 year Course strategy, new job descriptions for green staff etc as well as overseeing the budgeting process and producing submissions to Council for capital projects.
I have always had a keen interest in and enthusiasm for the course and I want all members to be proud of the facilities we provide for ourselves and visitors. We are blessed with an unique location and a course which accommodates all levels of skill. I want to use my knowledge and skills to work with James to make Heswall be the best it can be.
My vision for the future is that we will use operational funds to:
- continue to invest in improving the course. My objective is that we are open for play on proper greens and tees 365 days per year.
- better present our course and this will be a focus for James and his team. Bunker refurbishment will continue, paths will be upgraded and extended
- wet winters are more frequent so we will continue to improve drainage
- chemical use on the course has to be reduced. James has considerable experience of improving turf health using organic methods and he will overseed to strengthen the grasses on and round our greens and thin out our rough grasses to make ball finding easier.
- improve both the appearance of and water health of our ponds
- invest in training for our staff to raise their level of contribution and career prospects and save money by upskilling to do more work we have previously outsourced
- improve air flow around some of our greens and improve the aesthetics of parts of the course with some more colourful planting.
- build improved targets on practice ground
- refurbish and upgrade our greenkeeping buildings and equipment to ensure we protect our assets and can produce the standards of turf care we should expect
Strategically we still have 3 greens to raise to USGA standard and when the Development Fund permits we will commission this work.
I submit this ‘brief’ resume in the format stipulated by the Club Secretary.
Mindful of the request for brevity within this resume, I appreciate it may not adequately reflect the full range of skills, attributes and experience I would bring to the role. I therefore invite any member who requires further clarification or expansion on the points contained herein to contact me in due course if this will assist in securing support for my application.
Reasons for applying to Chair the Greens Committee.
I believe these are very exciting times for Heswall GC with the recent appointment of a new Temporary Course Manager (James Bland) and the potential for further improvement to the overall appearance and presentation of our golf course. James will undoubtedly require significant support from the Greens Committee and its Chair if we are to collectively realise its true potential and produce the best conditioned course possible.
I have the passion, desire, determination and now the time to lead; as its Chair, the Greens Committee in providing appropriate support, and guidance where needed, to our Course Manager, to ensure that once again our course is recognised for its exceptional condition and presentation and stands proud among its peers not only on the Wirral but the North West.
I relish the opportunity and challenge this position affords me to play a pivotal role in driving up standards in respect of our golf course presentation. I submit my application in the belief that I have the necessary skills to carry out the role as the Chair of Greens Committee and will lead by example and adopt my usual mantra of ‘attention to detail’, and in time hope to be acknowledged as a member of Council who works tirelessly for the good of the golf club and its membership.
Advise of any relevant experience and qualification to Chair and direct a Committee.
During thirty years’ service as a Senior Detective within Merseyside Police I have been responsible for managing numerous murder and major investigations together with the management of personnel engaged in such investigations. I have led several strategic projects including the introduction of a new intelligence system throughout the force to name but one. I have chaired countless meetings and Committees be they in respect of murder investigations, management of prolific sex offenders or strategic projects. These meetings and Committees varied in size from half a dozen to forty or so attendees many of whom represented external agencies e.g. Probation, Social Services, Education, Health Service etc.
On retiring from the police, I was recruited as a consultant by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe supporting law enforcement agencies in Tajikistan, Central Asia developing policing methods and countering violent extremism and radicalisation. During this period, I chaired committees and meetings with representatives from the British Embassy and senior figures from local government and heads of police and law enforcement agencies.
On returning to the UK I worked for the Home Office (OSC) alongside senior members of the judiciary, including a former Lord Chief Justice. I was part of a small team responsible for inspecting Police Forces and law enforcement agencies throughout the UK. During these inspections I interviewed Chief Constables and senior managers from police forces and chaired meetings and focus groups throughout each inspection.
For over thirty-five years I have developed and honed my skills in chairing meetings and Committees. I am confident in chairing committees in any given circumstance. I recognise the importance of encouraging all attendees to feel comfortable in expressing their own views, ideas and suggestions whilst also keeping discussions focused and reducing time spent on idle ‘chat’. My meetings result in clearly defined, achievable actions showing to whom they are allocated and with an agreed timescale for completion.
Provide a short summary of objectives and deliverables over your first three years of Office.
Put simply my primary objective will be to do all within my power to ensure that systems and processes are in place to enable our golf course to be presented in the best possible condition which is fair for everyone and can be enjoyed and appreciated by all members of the club regardless of skill, ability or handicap.
Within this resume I have intentionally avoided listing specific activity which I or other members may believe should be undertaken around the course. My rationale for this being that proposals and recommendations of this nature should involve the Course Manager from the outset as he is our qualified professional whose experience and expertise should be utilised when determining what activity should be undertaken and with what urgency. However, I will always ensure that the views, observations and suggestions of members are given due consideration by the Greens Committee and Course Manager and are taken into account during decision making processes.
That said I am sure that perennial topics such as paths, ponds, tees, greens, bunkers, etc will continue to be the subject of much discussion between the Greens Committee, Course Manager and the membership but it is imperative that decisions are made objectively and for the benefit of all members and not merely to satisfy personal agendas or egos.
There are some strategic issues which I would undoubtedly focus upon in the early stages of my tenure and which I believe are critical to success:
I will agree a formal and informal communication structure between myself, Course Manager and the Greens Committee, to include daily, weekly and monthly interactions.
I will review and improve communication processes between the Green Committee and all sections of the club membership. I will encourage feedback from the membership, both positive and developmental with regard to the condition of the course, and if it is felt that the Suggestion Box does not satisfy the needs of the members in this regard will introduce a very simplistic process where this can be achieved.
I will ensure the Greens Committee meet at least monthly and that the minutes of these meetings are published in a timely fashion and show actions generated and updates in respect of actions from previous minutes.
I will generate a newsletter on a regular basis to update the membership in advance of work being undertaken on the course and to address what, why and when such work is to be carried out.
If the members require further avenues of communication, I will give careful consideration to open forums on an ad hoc basis.
I would wish to review existing procedures for performance management of our Course Manager and Greens Keepers to ensure we have systems in place which are sufficiently robust to recognise individual and collective exceptional performance whilst also being able to identify and address a need for development or improvement.
In conjunction with the Course Manager and Chair of Finance I would wish to review structures and processes relating to the management of the Greens budget to make sure they are fit for purpose and to ensure we are maximising every opportunity for cost effective expenditure.
I will discuss and review expenditure with the Course Manager on a regular basis to ensure we remain within budget and explore avenues for achieving best possible value for money.
Training and Development.
I will discuss and review with the Course Manager and others our training and development programme for the Green Keeping staff to ensure they have adequate training to perform the roles expected of them in a professional and safe manner.
In conjunction with the Greens Committee and the Course Manager we will review existing short, medium and long term plans and strategies generated by previous Greens Committees and their Chair with a view to establishing if they remain fit for purpose. In discussion with other members of council where necessary, I would agree to their adoption, amendment or removal within updated plans, for which I will assume ownership.