From Phil Stokes, General Manager, Chris Lee, Food & Beverage Manager, Gary Walsh, Golf Operations Manager, Zara Houchin, Golf Days and Events Manager, and Andy Copeland, Course Manager: Welcome to the September newsletter. We hope you are all well and enjoying your golf!
Members will be pleased to know that we have a new Course Marshal in Shane Forde, who will be helping with the pace of play and any on-course issues for 20-30 hours a week. Do say hello. Shane’s main responsibilities will be to act as a starter and monitor and assist with pace of play, during busy periods. We will continue to grow our team and are currently recruiting for another Course Marshall/Golf Operations Assistant.
Under Get Golfing, as an operator we are becoming far more customer focused and, with time, we hope you will start to see a difference in the service levels you receive and the product we deliver.
While we have all experienced a rise in the numbers playing golf since the partial lifting of the lockdown in May, a good proportion of Mill Green’s historical trading has come from food and drink sales, as well as the events and functions side of the business, so overall trading has remained challenging to say the least.
Get Golfing, however, sees Mill Green as a key site and will be investing in it significantly over the coming years. That said, any support Members can give to the staff and Club in the meantime would be greatly appreciated. For example, it would be a great help if Members could make sure they regularly use the kitchen and bar offerings and could introduce their golfing friends to membership of Mill Green as well. If you use the Member referral programme, you will receive 10% of the new Member’s first-year subscription as a credit on your bar card.
Future development plans
Since Get Golfing took over Mill Green, work has been going on behind the scenes regarding areas for investment and establishing budgets and timings. We want to change the layout of the Clubhouse and outside patio area to provide a much better experience for all our Members and visitors. As soon as we have firmed up our plans for both, we shall provide more information. It is proposed that the work to the clubhouse will take place during the first quarter of 2021. After this work is complete, we will concentrate even more on the golf course.
Members can now switch from their current Crown membership contract to a new Get Golfing contract, which means you can receive the additional benefits that Get Golfing offers. Please click here to review your options, including our new Buggy Membership category, which gives you unlimited use of a buggy for £50 a month, or contact Phil via email ([email protected]).
Food and drink news
Members will be delighted to learn that our Head Chef Darren is back and the team will be producing fabulous food over a longer period than before. You can now order something to eat from 8am until 6pm. We will also have a BBQ service on selected days, details will be sent out via email.
You will also be pleased to know that you can order food to eat back in the clubhouse from the drinks buggy while you are out on the course and that the halfway house ordering system is back up and running.
We have also extended the seating on the patio area so that Members can enjoy a drink or a meal in the fine weather while it continues. Our current seasonal menu will run until late September and then an autumn menu will be introduced. As and when clubhouses are allowed to open further, the menu at Mill Green will be further expanded by Darren with daily specials and other dishes unique to the Club.
From Andy Copeland, Course Manager: It’s been eight weeks since Get Golfing took over at Mill Green and we have surged forward all aspects of the course. Its philosophy of the golf-course-comes-first, combined with its financial support both in terms of budgets and machinery will enable us to deliver a far-better-conditioned course than in the past.
Recently, the greens have been spiked and sanded to keep the surfaces true and smooth. It also helps ‘dilute’ the thatch underneath the turf. We used our new top dresser for the first time and it was so good, we sanded the greens the following week for performance. We now have a piece of equipment so good that we will apply sand (lightly) every two weeks until the weather stops us.
This will work both ways for agronomy and performance. Last week we applied a granular fertiliser to the greens to recover any worn areas from high traffic and our maintenance. The timing of fertiliser was perfect as we had rain straight after to wash it in. Once we hit September we will look at raising the height of cut to 4mm (currently at 3.5mm) to keep the greens healthy heading into autumn/ winter.
Over August 13th – 20th we have had 121mm of rain. That would have been a huge amount of rain for a full month, let alone one week! We applied a wetting agent to the fairways to help get the rain into the ground. Our timing was so good and the results have been amazing. We have along way to go but we have everything lined up to make sure we succeed.
We have taken delivery of a new Toro fairway mower￼ to replace our old, unreliable and poor cutting mower. As a result, we have started striping the fairways to give them a better look and more definition around the course.
To continue the improvements, we’ve been looking at ways to retain the grasses on the fairways. They become very dry and and hard in the summer, so we will be spreading 24 tons of a granular organic fertiliser on them. The entire golf course will see a huge benefit from this investment but fairways such as 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13 and 14 will see a significant improvement as it also helps retain moisture.
Get Golfing pointed out that the fairways and green surrounds needed over-seeding, so we have hired in a tractor and overseeder plus two tons of seed. We began the process from August 27th and expect it to take a week to complete the job.
At the beginning of the year, all the greens and tees irrigation worked OK but not to the level required by Get Golfing. In the last eight weeks we have audited all heads on greens and tees and replaced those that weren’t working well. To give you an idea, only four approaches functioned at the start of the year — due to a lack of both investment and management — but, in two months, we have now turned this round to have 15 working approach sprinklers.
The extra investment is also going into staffing. We have taken on a young man called Jake and he has a very bright future for Mill Green. He used to work at the Manor Of Groves and has a family background of green-keeping. We are also taking on Tom Jeffries (who used to work behind the bar) to take on the driving range responsibility. ￼￼He will pick up range balls, divot the tee and move markers on a daily basis. He will also take on light duties around the clubhouse. ￼
Mill Green is finally heading in a strong and sustainable direction thanks to Get Golfing. I assure all members that next year our golf course will be recognised as one of the best-conditioned courses in the county. I hope to see you all out there very soon.
The Romany 9
As many of you are aware, The Romany 9 has been greatly underused in recent years. Andy and the greenkeeping team’s continued hard work, has meant the condition of The Romany 9 has greatly improved. This has led to an increase in our par-3 membership and we now plan to hold monthly fun events on the course for all of our members, their families and friends.
Whether you are an experienced golfer, a beginner or have family and friends that you would like to introduce to the game, we would encourage you to come along for a fun-filled day, followed by a BBQ and a drink on the terrace. The first event will take place next month and the details will be published shortly.
Members will also be delighted to learn that we have a much-improved competitions schedule, with events throughout the month for men and ladies.
- September 1st: Ladies 18-hole Stableford NQ (combined with September 5th); Ladies 9-hole Stableford NQ;
- September 3rd: Men’s Midweek Stableford;
- September 5th: Ladies 18-hole Stableford NQ (combined with September 1st);
- September 8th: Ladies 18-hole 4BBB Stableford NQ (combined with September 13th); Ladies 9-hole 4BBB stableford NQ;
- September 12th: Men’s Stableford (7.04am-10.32am);
- September 13th: Ladies 18-hole 4BBB Stableford NQ (combined with September 8th);
- September 15th: Ladies 18-hole Stableford Q; Ladies 9-hole Stableford Q
- September 20th: Ladies 18-hole Medal 1. Q;
- September 22nd: Ladies 18 hole Medal 2. Q; Ladies 9-hole Stableford Q;
- September 24th: Men’s Midweek Stableford;
- September 27th: Men’s Trevor Cooper Texas Scramble (7.04am-10.32am);
- September 29th: Ladies 18-hole Stableford Q (incorporating Grannies Teapot); Ladies 9-hole Stableford Q.
It is also worth noting that you can now view and book all of the upcoming competitions on intelligentgolf.
Free Coaching Clinics by Mark Day: One of the quickest ways to lower your scores and make golf more fun is to avoid three putts. The key is to get that first putt as close as possible. If you can get good a distance putting it will not only help alleviate stress on short putts but will also transfer into some of your short game skills helping you chip it closer as well.
We’ll focus on top tips for putting better such as:
- Timing & Tempo
- Stroke Length
- The 10% Rule
- Games to Practice
September 1st: 5pm Members click here to book
September 8th: 5pm Women & Girls click here to book
September 15th: 5pm Juniors click here to book
September 29th: 5pm Visitors/Beginners click here to book
Online pro shop
With the closure of the pro shop, we are temporarily offering balls, gloves, hats etc at the check-in desk. Towards the end of the year, we will have our own online golf shop, which will enable members to buy their golf merchandise direct using their club cards and receive the relevant discounts that go with their membership category. Merchandise (including Club logo apparel) will be delivered to their home or on a click-and-collect basis at the Club. Get Golfing is confident that this will mean that members at Mill Green will receive outstanding value on their purchases and, if we may borrow a term, “never be knowingly undersold”. More information will become available in due course.