Howard Williams to CHAIR OF GREEN

Your Suggestion / Comment

Dear Martin, Members of Council.

I understand the tree to the left hand side of the first tee is to be removed.  This is a fine mature evergreen tree which adds to the appearance of the first tee and the opening hole by shielding the side of Bob carters house from view.

I believe the reason is to improve the quality of the first tee which creates an impression on our visitors?

In 30 years i must say the condition of the first tee has never featured on my list of moans about the course.On looking at it today i am sure there are other solutions to the bare grass under the tree?There is actually more bare grass by the blue plates than under the tree.
Other solutions should be considered such as raising the tee or moving it to the right or even watering ,seeding and clearing the pine stray more regularly.The first tee if it creates a poor impression is more due to its location against a rough timber fence hiding the buggy store and the ugly noisy path and the poorly maintained wire. fence that have been there for as long as i can remember.Cutting down the tree will. solve none of these problems.

I also think considering the number of e mails that are sent out regarding other matters it is a shame Council have made no attempt to gauge opinion regarding the tree.I may be alone but i strongly disagree with the loss of this tree and whilst it may be our Head Greenkeepers preferred solution to a problem i feel it should be reconsidered.Please cancel the tree surgeons for now and find out if there is any consensus either way before cutting down something which has taken 40 years to grow.
This morning i asked a dozen other members on our whats app group and so far no one is in favour of felling the tree.Why not put a survey in the pros shop on saturday before. pressing on with something which will prove an unpopular mistake.
Regards. Howard Williams.

HGC Response


Hi Howard

Many thanks for your message.

Removal of the tree to the left of the 1st tee is the responsibility of the Course Manager and Chair of Greens and, therefore, I will leave Martin Andrew to provide you with an explanation as to why the work is necessary.

However, I just wanted to pick up on your two general points.

Firstly, we do plan to freshen up the whole 1st tee area in due course when funding permits, including the ’noisy path’ and surrounding areas. Secondly, it is just not practical to consult 900 members on every decision the club’s senior staff and/or members of Council have to take. In this particular case, I doubt there are any members who are as knowledgeable as our Course Manager about agronomics and the like and, therefore, we must rely on his expert advice about the steps that need to be taken to bring our course up to the standard we all expect.

Kind regards



Morning Howard

I am forwarding your response to Martin for him to address the specific issues about the tree.

As I mentioned there are plans to improve the approach to the 1st tee and the 1st tee area itself, but the timing of these depends on sufficient funding being available during what is going to be a challenging financial period for the club.

Kind regards



Good morning Howard

Many thanks for your emails and suggestions.

My apologies for a slightly delayed response, I am on holiday in Menorca at present.

You have raised a number of issues which I will try to address.

In respect of the tree to the left of the 1st tee. This is a common Leylandii which grow on average four feet a year. I suspect it has taken far less than 40 years to reach its current size. It is now well beyond effective management. It is having a huge detrimental effect on the turf on a large area of the tee. Leylandii is acidic and depletes the soil of the nutrients, creating poor soil and significantly reduces the possibility for healthy turf to establish and thrive. It prevents sunlight getting to the tee, especially the morning sun which is vital to maintain healthy turf.

You are correct to say that there are other areas on the 1st tee which are bare. However, there are plans in place to address this which include replacing the turf after laser levelling the tee beforehand. Improvements have been made to the irritation heads on the 1st tee which should ensure that the new turf establishes quickly, this will be supported by hand watering by the green staff. However, it will be impossible for the turf to establish itself and be maintained whilst the Leylandii remains in situ.

Moving the entire 1st tee or raising it is cost prohibitive and is not something the Green Committee is giving consideration to. Enhancing the appearance of the 1st tee is currently under consideration by Council although again, there are significant cost implications to be addressed before steps can be taken to replace the path etc. We are giving consideration to replacing the Leylandii with another more suitable tree which can be managed effectively and prevent a recurrence of the problems we face with the Leylandii.

In the near future I will provide an update to members with an explanation similar to that above explaining the rationale and need for removal of the tree, although the purpose of that communication will not be to canvass views for or against the intended action.

I would take exception to your assertion that …..’the systematic removal of bunkers was poorly thought out’…….. I can state categorically that a great deal of thought, discussion and deliberation took place in respect of every bunker which was removed during last winter. This included input from Green Committee, Golf Committee, Council, our Course Manager and Club Professional. Yours is the first critical comment brought to my attention in this regard.

Likewise, the removal of the gorse on the 4th hole has resulted in only positive feedback from those members wishing to raise the matter with me or the Green Committee.

Although I appreciate the above does not result in the outcome you desire, I hope it provides an explanation behind the rationale to remove the Leylandii and some understanding as to why other options you suggest can not be progressed.

Best regards

Martin Andrew

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