Peter Rogers to CHAIR OF GREEN
Your Suggestion / Comment
It has been proposed that when required by the Course Manager members either drop off the fairways into the semi rough or carry a small piece of Mat with them around the Course for use within 150 yes from any green. Having played at courses in the North West where this is a requirement I can make testament to just how hard it is to get a reliable and repeatable strike from the small unanchored piece of Mat.
My suggestion is that the Course Manager places 2 driving range type mats one at 150 and one at 100 yds and request members either to drop in the semi or play from the mat they are nearest to. The mats would need moving every couple of days so the grass beneath would not get damaged. This system has been used previously to protect the summer tees in the winter and worked well.
I suggest that these mats are not required on par 3’s and that in fact as part of the ongoing Bunker Project there is suitable matting available if we do not want to purchase additional driving range mats.
The comment have been made that members were happy last winter with the proposed arrangement but this does not seem to be the case with members I talk to. This is especially so with the Ladies most of whom are using woods or utility clubs and never really take a divot.
Good afternoon Peter
Many thanks for your suggestion.
You are correct in saying that the proposal from the Green Committee and accepted by Council is that when it is deemed appropriate to introduce TLR 5, namely lift and place from fairways, that in addition to members placing the ball in the first cut of rough they will have the option of playing from a piece of Astro turf designed for this specific purpose. The use of the Astro mat has been introduced following feedback from some members last winter.
You are also correct in saying that last year we used a practice range mat on the ladies 16th tee when the men’s winter tee became unplayable. We have purchased five mats this year for use, when necessary, on the winter tees and also the men’s 11th winter tee (which suffers more than most during winter). The mats purchased are specifically designed for use on tees rather than a range mat, and will accommodate a tee peg in any part of the mat. The quality of the mats is such that Tom has also purchased one for use in his teaching studio. The cost of each mat is in excess of £300 inc VAT and therefore costs would prohibit the purchase of sufficient mats to use in the manner you propose.
Even if we were not to use the mats on the par 3 holes, we would still require a total of 28 mats. Movement of the 28 mats every few days, which as you recognise would be required to prevent long term damage to the turf, places a significant additional requirement on the green keepers routine. We would also need to consider how the introduction of 28 mats on fairways would look in terms of aesthetics.
I also wonder what response we will get from members who have to move their ball from a specific spot on the fairway to either place in the semi rough or the location of the nearest ‘driving range mat’. It was this point, raised by some lady members last winter, that has resulted in the introduction of the individual Astro mats so that shots can be played from the specific position where the ball lies in the fairway.
The Astro turf rolls used as the liner on the ecobunkers is significantly thinner than a range mat or the teeing mats. I am unsure whether the Astro turf used in the ecobunker would provide a suitable surface to play from as you propose. I am also unsure whether we would have sufficient Astro turf left over to enable us to cut into the 28 mats required (usual size of the mats being 1.5m x 1.5m). Any surplus Astro turf from this year’s bunker project would be kept enabling us to embark on fairway bunkers next winter. I would therefore need to gain Council approval to use the Astro turf purchased for the bunker project to be used for an alternative purpose.
In respect of adverse comments to the ruling when it was introduced last year, the only negative comments brought to my attention was in respect of moving a ball from the fairway and into the first cut of rough which has been addressed by allowing the use of the individual astro mats so that a ball can still be played from the fairway. I believe it would be unfair and inappropriate to impose the TLR5 ruling upon male members only.
All that said your suggestion gives food for thought and is something that I will ask the Green Committee and Course Manager to consider before I raise with Council and will provide a further update in due course.
Thanks Martin for the response. You are probably aware that I have not played golf at all this year due to shoulder surgery.
My comments regarding the imall pieces of AstroTurf come from having played at courses like Aston in Makerfield that are exceedingly wet in winter that getting a reliable strike is near impossible.
I have witnessed members there having to use tee pegs to secure the mat before playing a shot. Although I have not played I have spent time talking to members on the Terrace and have yet to talk to anyone who thinks this is a good idea but you get far more feedback than me.
I would actually reiterate my comment that Ladies rarely hit divots and the damage is almost always caused by Male golfers, one solution woukd be to let the Ladies play as usual and ask the men to drop/place in the semi rough. Not likely to be universally agreed but a fair way to treat the problem perhaps.
I have received one suggestion from a member this year opposing the introduction of TLR5. As stated the only negative comments last year was essentially from ladies believing they were being penalised for playing shots straight down the fairway and hence the introduction of the Astro mats. We clearly mix in different circles as I received many positive comments last year when TLR5 was introduced, as mentioned the Green Committee have been unanimous in its introduction when necessary this winter.
I accept that some lady members may rarely take a divot when playing a shot, the same could be said for some male members, however it can not be said for all lady members nor all male members and therefore is impossible to impose as a blanket measure for any group or category of member. I would also very likely and quickly receive complaints referencing equality and discrimination if we were to consider introduction of such a system which imposed a restriction applicable to only certain category of members.
I await responses from members of the Green Committee.
Appreciate all the comments but simply trying to provide a playable system that was fair to all and actually believe Heswall is far better than courses where members are having to carry little mats around with them.
This is after all Winter Golf and everyone wants the Course protected as much as possible without spoiling the enjoyment.
As I say I am not playing and Spring 2023 is likely to be my first game on Heswall for 15 months, so not effecting me really so I will shut up now.
The Green Committee have considered the suggestion in full and are minded not to make any changes to the TLR5 ruling for this winter although as always we will keep all our decisions under review.
You are absolutely right this is winter golf and for most it is about trying to just keep the swing going until we get back to it proper in the Spring, we will continue to do all we can to protect the course whilst balancing the need for members to still play during winter.
I hope the recovery from surgery continues as it should and will see you back on the well maintained fairways in the Spring!!!!