Karen Couchman to CHAIR OF GREEN
This morning, in the beautiful sunshine I was able to play 12 holes. I was at a loss to understand how difficult it had become to negotiate my way past 150 yards to the green, until today the white ropes we know have made the game longer ( unless you carry your clubs ) often leaving your bag at the side of the green and finding you have taken the wrong club, I feel this had been accepted.
My understanding of course protection is good after playing the game for 20 years, but today many a good shot by myself and playing partners was spoiled by having to move the ball from the fairway, after playing a few holes I felt it became an obstacle course and not what I have come to expect from HGC.
Good morning Karen
Many thanks for your email.
In truth, I am unsure whether the email contains a suggestion or if it merely represents your disagreement with the measures we have introduced to rest and aid the recovery of certain areas of the course during the winter months.
You will be aware that during the winter months when temperatures are colder and the growth of grass is significantly reduced, there is a need for us to take whatever steps the Course Manager recommends to enhance the quality of the playing surface as we move toward Spring.
You are correct, this winter we have introduced far more roped off areas to reduce wear, especially, but not exclusively, near to the green surrounds. This may cause some minor inconvenience and mean that those using trolleys have to leave them several yards from the green, but the benefits of introducing these measures are already noticeable and again will assist with the recovery of grass on closely mown areas of the course and make a huge difference in a couple of month’s time. Unfortunately, there is little I can do to assist those who have taken the wrong club from their bag.
In respect of our lift and place policy recently introduced on fairways. The Course Manager states that several of our fairways are weak and have a very thin sward density and therefore steps must be taken to protect the fairways during winter and especially when they are wet. The policy of lift and place from the fairways may cause some minor inconvenience and may be seen as an irritant to the straighter hitters. However, decisions taken by the Course Manager and supported by the Green Committee are based on the professional judgement and expertise of the Course Manager with the sole intention of improving the condition and presentation of the course.
I appreciate many members will not have anticipated such steps being taken as we have not introduced anything such as this previously, to the best of my knowledge. That in itself surely highlights that greater thought is now being given to making improvements to the course throughout the year, although I accept for a small period of time it may cause some inconvenience.
I am pleased to report that yours is the only communication direct to me (verbal or written) which represents any disquiet with the measures we have introduced. By contrast, I have been approached by many members offering unreserved support for roping off areas and lift and place from fairways, many adding that this is something we should have been doing for a long time.
I hope that this response at least gives you a greater insight as to the rationale for the measures taken and reassures you that these are measures that will be rescinded as soon as the Course Manager believes it is right to do so.
I apologise for any inconvenience to you and your fellow players but hope that you appreciate the need for the minor inconvenience during the winter, and then when you are playing from improved fairways in the beautiful sunshine during the Spring and Summer you will realise it was all worthwhile.
Chair of Green