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Club news

From Gary Walsh, Golf Manager: It has been great to see all our Members back at Mill Green over the past month and we hope that you are enjoying being back out on the golf course.   

Bunkers: As most of you will have seen by now, the bunker renovation programme is well under way and the feedback from both Members and guests on the bunkers and course condition has been great. It is clear the positioning of some of the new bunkers, particularly fairway bunkers, will provide new challenges to golfers while improving the aesthetics of the course.   

Routing: We would like to remind all golfers that the change to the course routing is permanent, and all players should tee off across the road from the old 10th hole, which is now the 1st. The scorecards have been updated and the course signage will be updated in due course.  

Pace of PlayWith the surge in demand for golf following lockdown, courses around the country are extremely busy. While it is great to see so many players out on the course enjoying themselves, on busy days the pace of play can suffer. We want to ensure all golfers have the best possible experience when out on the course. Therefore, we ask all Members, guests and visitors to help our Starter and Marshals ensure a steady flow by following the guidelines below. We also ask that you are understanding with our Starter and Marshals – they are on the course to offer support and help ensure you all have an enjoyable round. If you are asked to speed up or call a group through, please do not take offence — we all fall out of position on the course from time to time.  

10 steps to help improve pace of play:  

  1. Arrive at the tee 10 minutes before your time to avoid any delays in starting.  
  2. Golf should be fun; play from the tee box that you feel most comfortable playing from. 
  3. Play ready golf.
  4. Do your best to keep up with the group in front of you.
  5. If you do fall behind, call the group behind through.  
  6. Spend no longer than 3 minutes looking for your ball, in line with the rules of golf.
  7. If in doubt, play a provisional.  
  8. If you can’t score on the hole, please pick up and prepare for the next hole.
  9. Leave your bag/trolley in an appropriate position so you can walk straight to the next tee.
  10. Mark your scorecard away from the green or on the next tee. 

Member Referral BonusWith the demand for golf at an all-time high, there could not be a better time to introduce your friends to membership at Mill Green. We offer membership options to suit all needs and if you refer a new Member, you will receive 10% of the value of their membership on your Club Card. The bonus can be spent on food, drink, or golf products at the club or on our newly launched online Pro Shop. Refer enough new Members and you could even purchase that new set of clubs you have been dreaming about, without feeling guilty!  

Competition news

Our first Race to Le Touquet event of the year, The Phoenix Trophy, took place on Saturday April 17th and 97 players took participated. We would like to thank all participants and we hope you all had an enjoyable day. Congratulations go to all the prize winners, listed below.  

Men’s Section  

  • 1st place: Dave Brown (16) – 38 points (back 9) 
  • 2nd place: Derek Sherman (20) – 38 points  
  • 3rd place: Jonathan Watson (10) – 37 points  
  • Longest Drive: Darren Wheston  (1)  
  • Nearest to Pin: Rhys With (7)  

  Ladies’ Section  

  • 1st place: Alison Shanks (26) – 41 points  
  • 2nd place: Andrea Clark (13) – 37 points  
  • 3rd place: Adele Morris (32) – 33 points  
  • Longest Drive: Andrea Clark (13)  
  • Nearest to Pin: no winner  

The next Race to Le Touquet event, The Ascension Medal, will take place on Sunday, May 16th and we hope you will join us for what promises to be another fun and exciting day on the course!   

A full list of May’s competition schedule is listed below for each section.  

Men’s Competitions 

  • Saturday, May 8th: Monthly Medal  
  • Thursday, May 13th: Midweek Stableford  
  • Sunday, May 16th: Ascension Medal  
  • Thursday, May 27th: Midweek Medal 
  • Sunday, May 30th: Trevor Cooper Texas Scramble  

 Ladies’ Competitions  

  • Sunday May 2nd and Tuesday May 4th: Coronation Foursomes Combined 
  • Sunday, May 9th: Stableford League 
  • Tuesday, May 11th: Fourball Better Ball 
  • Sunday, May 16th: Ascension Medal 
  • Tuesday, May 18th: Drawn Partners Stableford 
  • Saturday, May 22nd: Monthly Medal 
  • Tuesday, May 25th: Monthly Medal 
  • Saturday, May 29th and Tuesday, June 1st: Australian Spoons Combined 

 Seniors’ Competitions 

  • Wednesday, May 5th: Seniors Order of Merit Strokeplay 
  • Wednesday, May 12th: Captain’s Charity Matchplay 
  • Wednesday, May 19th: Strokeplay Cup 
  • Wednesday, May 26th: Stableford Event 

If any new or existing Members would like to compete in any of the above competitions but do not currently have a WHS handicap index, please email scorecards totalling 54 holes to [email protected] and we will process your initial handicap. Please note, the cards can be in multiples of 9 or 18 holes and must be signed by a Member or guest with a WHS handicap.  

 Junior Summer Score Builder 

We are excited to announce our first round of junior competitions whilst we are finalising our full junior calendar. During May we will be running our Junior Par-3 score builder challenge on the Romany 9. These events will run weekly on the dates below from 6pm.

  • May 4th 
  • May 11th  
  • May 18th 
  • May 25th

The competition will be spread over four competitive rounds of golf on the Romany 9-hole course. At the end of the final round, we will take the lowest score on each hole to build each junior’s best 9-hole round. At the end of the month there will be prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd overall.

This is a great way to get back to playing regular, competitive golf, whilst we finalise the full summer schedule. The events will cost £10 each and this includes a light meal after every round. If you are interested in taking part, please contact Jack via text to 07517 490792 

Society Masters  

Hopefully by now all Members are aware that by competing in our Race to Le Touquet, you are in with a chance of winning an all-expenses paid trip to Le Touquet to compete in the Grand Final. 

However, you may not be aware that there is another way to book your place on what will be a great trip. If you are a member of a society or considering starting one and you book your day out at Mill Green, not only will all of the profits be reinvested into the club, but, as the organiser, you will be be in with a chance of playing in our Society Masters on October 15th. The maximum number of teams participating in the event is 36 and invitations will be sent based on the numbers of players in each society.  

We understand that society organisers work very hard to bring groups of golfers together and the Society Masters is our way of saying thank you. It is an all-expenses-paid day for the organiser and one guest, which includes breakfast, 18 holes, a meal afterwards and a goody bag worth £100. The format on the day is fourball, better ball and the winners travel to Le Touquet to compete in the Society Masters Grand Final! 

Course news   

From Andy Copeland, Courses ManagerApril has been a challenging month; the weather has thrown all sorts of curve balls and the team have worked tirelessly to keep plugging away to keep on top of course condition.  

We had a frost for three weeks, which caused havoc operationally and agronomically. Operationally we had to wait until 8.309am for the frost to thaw out most days before we could do any mowing, rolling, moving holes etc. This meant we were working in between golfers who had teed off earlier in the morning.  

Agronomically, it halted all growth and colour on the course. When we overseeded the greens in March, the seed went into the tine holes, and it created a warmer microclimate for it to grow in. The rest of the turf, which was exposed to the elements, was not growing as well, which meant we had a tuft of grass growing up through the tine holes creating an uneven putting surface. As night-time temperatures level off to a positive figure, the growth rates will even out, and the putting surfaces will once again return to their best. 

Having such a cold and dry April, I would expect to see a reduction in turf coverage across the fairways but, due to the overseed last August, we still have strong, healthy new seed lines. The organic fertiliser is still sitting in the soil and, as soon as the temperatures rise combined with moisture, it will kick start the fairways. 

We sprayed Elevate FE on the fairways in mid-April to help them retain their colour. We also have a wetting agent in stock to apply to them for the next rainfall. This will help retain moisture and help continue to push growth.  

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Bunker and course redevelopments1st Golf Construction is nearing the completion of the bunker redevelopments on the main course. We have three fairway bunkers that required more soil to finish them off but, in preparing behind the scenes for lake extensions, we needed to hold fire because the material coming out of the lake extensions on the 7th and 15th needed to go somewhere and the fairways bunkers on No.s 7 and 8 are the perfect spots to lose the material.  

The lakes on No.s 7 and 15 were drained down so we can access the pond liner and weld an extension to it. We will top the water levels up with irrigation water and replace the outlet pipe with an extension, so the level will remain higher through the season.  

We have started putting the drains into the bunkers by adding soak away pits and linking them up with existing drainage around the course. We are now waiting on our first delivery of rubber and glue to start the next process of the bunkering.  

Rob and I went on a training course at Pyrford Lakes for the install of the new Hydro-seeder. This process will be the final part of the project. I must stress, once the hydro-seeding process has taken place, it is crucial not to walk over the mulch or the process will be ruined.  

Machinery: We had our Greens, Tees and fairway mower sharpened by a mobile company called Reel Sharp. The mowers are all ready and anticipating high growth when the ‘April Showers’ turn up. We have also bought new brushes for our fairway and tees mower, which will help with course presentation and a better cut to the surfaces.  

StaffingWe have recently taken on a new guy called Archie White. Archie will be vital member of the bunkering team. We are also still recruiting for two more people to help with the bunkers.   

Captains Updates

Men’s

From Chris Lane, Men’s Captain: Congratulations to our April competitions winners Gerard Murphy, Luke Bellars and Alison Shanks. We have the St George’s Stableford to come, which will have taken place by the time the newsletter goes out.  

We, soon move into May and further competitions to look forward to, including the Ascension Medal on Sunday, May 16th, the second of the Race to Le Touquet events.  

Whilst I am on Competitions, please make the Competition Organiser’s job a little easier by completing cards correctly, in your best handwriting, put your name on the card and remember to pay entry fees.  

May is the start of team events, the Club currently plays in the Chiltern Breakfast League  (CBL) and the Foxes League.  

The CBL is for Members with a handicap of up to 19.6, although we are only allowed two players of less than 4.6. The format is a 12-man team playing fourball, better ball matches. We meet at 8am for breakfast, tee times normally are from 9.04, food is provided after matches. There is a match fee, which is tbc but likely to be £15-£20. This year’s fixtures have been finalised and we have home and away matches against Waterstock, Shendish Manor, Chesfield Downs and Hazelmere. All dates are in the diary, and are on Saturdays. The CBL Challenge Cup, featuring all teams in the CBL (16 or 17), will be held at Aldwickbury on Sunday, October 17th. If you would like to be considered for selection please text or e-mail Chris Myers on 07741 485856 or [email protected] 

The Foxes is for Members with a handicap of between 8.5 and 17.4. The format is an 8-man team playing fourball, better ball matches. These matches are played on a weekday generally starting at 2pm. Again, there is a match fee that will be similar to the CBL as we have food after the matches. The fixtures are in the diary, and we have home and away fixtures against The Hertfordshire, South Herts, Essendon and Arkley. There is a knockout cup to be played and we are currently awaiting details of the draw.   

The Foxes also have friendly matches arranged against Mid Herts, Whipsnade, Old Fold Manor and Redbourn and these may well be weekend dates. If you would like to be considered for selection, please text or e-mail Rob Clayton on 07860 286710 or [email protected] 

The Club Champion Chris Barnes has been entered into the Men’s County Championship to be held in early June at Knebworth.  

Steve Garwood and Chris Myers have progressed in the Daily Mail and now play a pair from Harpenden in the next round.  

Chris Myers and I are representing the Club in the Crameri Cup and we start with a home game against East Herts in early May.  

I am currently finalising social events, full details to follow but please note in your diaries:  

  • Saturday, July 17th: Captain’s Day.  
  • Friday, October 1st: Quiz Night in conjunction with the Red Rubber Ball Foundation.  
  • Thursday, October 14th: Sportsman’s Evening, with Bob Wilson and Mick Harford, and hosted by comedian Russ Williams.  
  • Saturday, November 13th: 70s & 80s Night Supper.  

All proceeds will go to my chosen charity, The Willow Foundation. I hope you are all enjoying the changes to the course and happy golfing!    

Ladies

From Carole Frater, Ladies’ Captain: My Lady Captain’s Day will take place on Tuesday, June 8th when the main competition will be an 18-hole Stableford. This is a board competition, and to be eligible to win, you must have competed in four qualifying competitions in the last year. However, players without a valid handicap index may play, but they may not win a prize. The card may be used as a ‘for handicap’ card as long as it is correctly completed. There will also be a 9-hole Stableford Q, so watch for the start sheet going live on Mill Green’s IG site.  

In the afternoon there will be a fun competition on our par-3 course and a putting competition for you to enter. The event will finish with afternoon tea followed by prize giving in the function suite in the newly refurbished club house.  

For full details of this event there will be a poster emailed to all lady Members via Mill Green.  

My charity for my captaincy is our local Isabel Hospice, a charity extremely close to my heart. There will be lots of opportunities for you to contribute generously during the day.  

On Sunday, June 20th there will be an alternate Lady Captain’s Day for our 7-day Members. Again, full details will be sent via an email.  

The Millers  

From Chris Hale, Seniors’ CaptainRabbit’s Trophy.  Congratulations to Roger Huggins for taking the winning spot last month. This is a competition for those with higher handicaps.  It’s also good to see David Fowler back in the winner’s enclosure, ably chased by John Grisley in the third spot.  

June offers two opportunities to win a trophy:  Stroke Play and The Cherry Tree Cups (May 19th and June 2nd). So, look out for the sign-up sheets on Wednesdays. All senior Members are welcome. Before that on May 12th we are running the Seniors’ Captain’s Charity match. Usually fun!  

When the clubhouse opens it will give me great pleasure to award the various trophies to the winners. In the meantime, enjoy being out there!  

Course news

Events News

From Nicola Callander, Events Manager: As we draw closer to the next level of restrictions easing, we are beginning to plan the start of our social calendar. We are especially keen to incorporate our Captains’ charities into as many of these events as possible to help raise funds.   

We will kick off with our “Dog Walking Group”, which will meet for the first time on Wednesday, May 19th. Our aim is to create a social group of Members and their families to meet and explore the planned route of our local footpath. Some of the walks will also have a BBQ afterwards for all to enjoy. Please contact me to sign up for the first event.   

I am sure many of you have missed out on celebrating birthdays, weddings, and life’s milestones over the past year. Why not celebrate this year in our newly refurbished event spaces? We have created a special party package specifically for Members. The package is for a minimum of 50 guests, so that you can see all your friends and family again and celebrate in style. There are still some key dates available this year, which are listed below. To make an enquiry please click here 

Member’s Party Package at £40.00pp:   

  • Room hire of the Lake View Suite & Terrace  
  • Glass of Bucks Fizz on arrival  
  • Seven-item finger buffet   
  • DJ

Peak dates left available:   

  • Saturday, July 10th   
  • Saturday, August 14th   
  • Saturday, September 4th   
  • Saturday, October 23rd  

Clubhouse news

From Chris Lee, Clubhouse Manager: I think the best way to start off this month is that we are nearly there in all aspects of getting to some type of normality. The Players’ Lounge is ready and May 17th cannot come soon enough for you all to enjoy the experience me and the team have to offer.   

For those of you lucky enough to have been with us over the past few weeks, I hope you have all enjoyed the terrace service so far and, in the last few days, the warmer weather as you are sitting out and relaxing. We are expecting the arrival of new furniture for the terrace, which we hope will make it an even better place to be after your round. We hope you will all have noticed the much wider range and quality of draught beer currently on offer via our new brewery Shepherd Neame.   

I am also pleased to announce that from May 17th, the lifting of Covid restrictions means we can open the new Players’ Lounge. We hope to have cask ale back on and we are working with The 3 Brewers of St Albans for this. They have a wide range of quality cask products which have won Camra awards so I am really excited about having their beer here at Mill Green and also to support local suppliers.   

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While we currently have a limited version of the main menu for use on the terrace, when we open the Players’ Lounge, we should have the new full menu on offer. Head Chef Darren and I have been working hard to incorporate more local suppliers in time for the reopening. For now, the team and I look forward to seeing you on the terrace after your round.  

Pro news 

From Mark Day, PGA Fellow Professional 

May 1st, 2pm-3pm The Power Hour: PGA Pro Mark Day will be sharing with Members how to increase and maximise club head speed in this series of sessions. This month Mark will be sharing with participants how your backswing influences speed through impact. During the session Mark will deliver a short clinic with the opportunity for you to explore new ideas and ask questions about how you can increase club head speed and hit the ball further. 

May 10th, 7pm-8pm Facebook Live Ask Me Anything: Mark will be live on Facebook in the Mill Green Facebook account answering all your questions about playing better golf and having more fun on the course, and in practice. Feel free to join in the conversation or simply listen in. To get in early simply send your questions to [email protected] or send a direct message through messenger and we will get your questions answered. No booking needed just logon on and join in.  

May 19th, 9.30am-10.30am Women’s Taster Session: This free taster session for women is an introduction to golf and the Mill Green Women’s Academy. This one-hour taster session offers you the chance try some skills and play some holes on the Par 3 course. Hosted by Mark, you will be able to ask any questions and discuss all that is available for you to progress and enjoy golf at Mill Green Golf Club.  

May 20th, 7pm-8pm — The Flatstick Challenge: This month’s Flatstick challenge will test your ability to control speed. Mark will be hosting an evening session on the putting green where Members will get the chance to ask any questions regarding the challenge and how you can improve your putting. We will have some fun and friendly competition on the evening and this month will be focusing on reducing 3 putts by improving speed control 

May 25th, 4.30pm-5.30pm — New Juniors 50Yard Challenge: This free session is aimed at new junior Members of Mill Green Golf Club. Mark will be sharing some top tips trick and techniques for mastering those 50-yard shots and then invite you to take on a 50-yard, Par 3 Challenge. 

From Jack Grogan, PGA Professional 

May 6th, 6pm Full shots clinic: Come along and practice your weaker shots (short irons, long irons, driving etc). Throughout the hour, I will spend time with everyone trying to give a more personal insight into your swing and supply you with some tips and coaching points for you to put into practice and so help improve a weaker area of your game. 

May 11th, 6pm — Adding spin to your chips: Everyone would like to add spin to the ball like the pros on tour. During this hour, I will explain the way this is achieved and give you some hints and tips on how to better control your chip shots. 

May 18th, 6pm — Full shots clinic: Come along and practice your weaker shots (short irons, long irons, driving etc). Throughout the hour, I will spend time with everyone trying to give a more personal insight into your swing and supply you with some tips and coaching points for you to put into practice and so help improve a weaker area of your game. 

May 20th, 6pm How to hit a fade and a draw: To be able to hit a draw, fade or any shot shape on demand is something that we all would like to be able to do. There are some fundamentals that must be in place at impact to ensure we can achieve this. I will explain the relationships between club face and swing paths needed to create these shot shapes and then work through ways to implement these relationships into your golf swings. 

Pro Shop news 

We have had a great start for the new Pro Shop, with well over 600 Members across the sites, logging in to see what we have to offer.  

We would like to encourage all of you to sign into your exclusive Pro Shop and get your special Member discount on a variety of new products, such as the current golf ball promotion we are running. 

  1. Buy 2 dozen Srixon AD333 for only £34.99 less your discount. 
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We can also announce that you are now able to top up your Club Card via the Pro Shop without having to purchase anything — i.e. you can add (beer) funds to your account from the comfort of your own home! 

WHS news 

We thought you might be interested in this information about your World Handicap System Index and Course Handicap — they are not the same thing! 

In the new world of WHS you have two numbers you need to remember:  

  • The first is your Handicap Index, which is the exact calculation of your handicap. This is equivalent to what was your CONGU handicap. This number usually expressed to a decimal pointis the average of the best eight of your last 20 scores in terms of the score differential. So, if you are asked, ‘what’s your handicap?’ That is your Handicap Index and that is how we compare each other now. 
  • The second is your Course Handicap. Whenever you play on a golf course, wherever you are, your index willchange, and you will have a different Course Handicap. It looks at the difficulty of that golf course for the scratch and bogey player and works out what your Course Handicap is based on the slope rating of the golf course you are playing. Your Course Handicap can change depending on the course, or even the tees from which you are playing. As we mentioned above, your Course Handicap could be vastly different to your actual WHS Handicap Index depending on the course you are playing. For example, say you are playing your home golf course: the white tees have a slope rating of 145, the yellow tees are 125, and the red tees are rated at 95. You are going to have three quite different Course Handicaps over those golf courses. You are going to lose shots on the red colour, you aregoing to gain a few on the yellow and you are going to gain quite a lot on the whites. 

It is all about the difficulty for the two players – scratch and bogey – playing that golf course. We are not comparing Course A to Course B. We are comparing the same golf course but for two players of different ability. 

Course Handicap 

Your handicap is no longer based on playing one single course. It is recalculated and that is why we call it a Course Handicap. It can change for every course you play. 

There are many ways you can check what your Course Handicap is going to be on any course. You can do it via the My England Golf app, IG Member app, via the club boards, or you even manually work it out if you know the calculations.Your Course Handicap is of primary importance because that is how we work out where you are going to get your strokes. 

So, if you know what your Handicap Index is, you will choose the right tee for your game on that day, work out your Course Handicap, and go out and enjoy your round of golf. 

Playing Handicap 

You receive a Playing Handicap during club competitions, but it does not affect the score that goes forward for handicap purposes. The playing handicap is purely for competition purposes. You may find the score you recordbecause that score is based on your Course Handicap will be different to that shown on the results sheet. 

That is to be expected. It is going to be slightly less if you play a medal, for example, because that format comes with a 95% allowance. Do not worry too much about the Playing Handicap, it is purely for competition results purposes. If you are recording your gross score, we will use your Course Handicap to work out your new Handicap Index. 

Social Rounds 

The idea of WHS is you have more opportunity to return scores for handicap purposes. It is not limited to competition scores or to scores played at your home golf club, as it was with supplementary scores. 

You can now return a score in general play whenever you wish, either home or away. So long as you play a measured golf course and pre-register your intent to score before you go out to play, you can return a score from anywhere. 

My England Golf App and IG Member App 

These useful apps have a range of features – primarily the ability to look at your handicap record. You have full access toyour scores and they highlight which scores are included in your handicap calculations. 

They also show your handicap trends. They have a Course Handicap Calculator, which allows you to select the golf course you are going to play, the relevant tees, and will do the calculation for you. They tell you what the Course and Slope ratings are and reveal, based on your Handicap Index, what your Course Handicap is.