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Head Greenkeeper's Blog | December 2021 | Richmond Park

Head Greenkeeper's Blog

December 2021

Merry Christmas!

There is so much happening in December that we’ve had to call in some extra ‘green’ staff!

Bunker improvements were promised and I’m pleased to tell you that we’re making good on our pledge. The Duke’s 3rd bunker pictured below was very worn around its face and bank, so has now been and moved and graded. The size is the same, but we’ve shifted it a metre away from the green, meaning we can lower the bank. This makes it easier play from and safer to mow. In addition, less sand will wash out in heavy rain. The next step is to turf the bank and surrounding area to tidy up the presentation.

Bunker renovation on 3rd Duke’s

Another big part of our planned works is a programme of fairway improvements. The type of work we’re doing requires a big outlay and is normally the reserve of big dollar private clubs, so it’s great to see such an investment from Glendale Golf – it will really help tranform the quality of our courses. Contractors will be carrying out vertidraining on all fairways from early December.

Vertidraining on fairways

Meanwhile, our greenkeeping team we be working on pathway renovations, so it’s all go go go and very exciting!

We have taken delivery of a new Toro Reelmaster 3100-D ‘sidewinder’ mower. This is designed to cut both semi-rough and tees and creates attractive stripes. It’s already been put to good use and has been used to shorten the grass carrys on the 11th Duke’s and 7th Prince’s. Following feedback about the carry distance on these holes, we’ll be bringing the fairways closer to the tees in spring. Winter isn’t a time for cutting long grass, but the sidewinder attachment will shorten it very slightly without causing problems.

Toro 3100D Sidewinder

Over the years we have a built a strong relationship with The Royal Parks and have done what we can to protect the natural habitat of our wonderful green space. Richmond Park is home to an abundance of wildlife that depend on long grasslands. We are working with The Royal Parks biodiversity team to install a new pond next to the Duke’s 10th hole, which will create an improved habitat for the Great Crested Newt. These amphibians look like mini dinosaurs and are officially classed as an endangered species due to their declining numbers. The new pond will create a much-needed breeding site to help their population to recover.

Great Crested Newt

The new pond will also help the drainage in this area of the course – part of our winter programme is to install new a drainage system on the Duke’s 9th fairway, which will feed into the pond.

New habitat for the Great Crested Newts

The work we have planned to refurbish tee steps and pathways will also benefit the ecology of Richmond Park. There are many species of wildlife on the Surrey/Greater London border that struggle to find suitable habitats. Organisations like Surrey Wildlife are keen to create sustainable routes for animals to move around the countryside. If these routes are not suitable, the species struggles to survive, and some have even died out. We’ll be planting a range of suitable plants and flowers on tee banks to help create these routes, while adding a splash of colour to our golf course.

One last thing – look out for the Grinch. He’s turned over a new leaf and is helping us rake bunkers.

I’ll sign off with a suitably festive quote:

  “They who have not Christmas in their heart will never find it under a tree” (goes out to all the golfers who spend too much time in the woods)

So be happy, stay safe and Merry Christmas!

Mike Budd

Head Greenkeeper

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