Tom Collings The Point at Polzeath

Continued Course Improvements – Winter 20/21

The Course Continues to Improves despite this Winter’s Challenges

An Update from head Green Keeper Tom Collings

The world may have changed significantly over the last 11 months but here on the greenkeeping team we are determined to keep upping the standard of the course as our reputation grows.

As such, we thought a few pictures of the course and our work with some brief updates would whet your appetite. When the course does reopen and you are able to return to the fairways in the, hopefully, not so distant future we hope that you will enjoy all the improvements we have made.

Bunkers

Whenever we make any alterations to the golf course we always try and use materials from onsite where possible. So when we started re-shaping old bunkers, and building new, we decided to line the bunkers with turf. This is done to prevent stones coming up through the sand and act as cushioning between the sand and bedrock. Unfortunately due to the turf getting worn out through general play, the weather, and animals digging, we have had an increasing amount of stones coming up through the sand.

We have been looking at a number of solutions to this problem for a while now and have decided to re-line our bunkers using rubber crumb. The rubber crumb is made from cut up old tyres that are mixed with a wet pour binder which is then spread over the surface of the bunker, in a similar way you would spread concrete. The sand in the bunkers is also going to change. We have used dredged sand from Padstow estuary for a number of years but, with the new liner, we will need a more free-draining sand. It is still locally sourced, but it is quarried sand so we have more control over the quality. With the rubber crumb liner and a more free-draining sand, the bunkers will be more consistent and playable throughout the year. All the bunkers will eventually be re-lined, completing 6 to 8 bunkers each year over the next 3 to 4 years.

Scrub and Ditch Clearance

As with most years, the main aim this winter has been to improve water movement off the course by installing drains and open ditches, clearing old ditches and a general clearance of all scrub areas.

A drain has been installed on the path to the 11th tee. A natural spring comes out of the ground behind the 11th yellow tee and has been running down the path creating a big muddy puddle at the bottom of the hill. Now, with the drain taking the water off the path, the path should stay clean and dry.

The ditch running on the O.O.B side of 8th hedge has been cleared of debris and scrub. It has also been extended to run up the O.O.B hedge on the 9th to help drain the corner of the 9th fairway. It will eventually be extended all the way up the right-hand side of the 9th.

More ditch work has been carried out on the 3rd. We have cleared the ditch that runs between the 3rd and the airstrip and extended it around the back of the green. The 3rd has always been our wettest hole, which we have improved over the years by adding open ditches to take water across the fairway. This extension to the ditch will not only improve the drainage itself but also give us another outlet to run land drains into.

We had Tom Wills in just before Christmas with his mighty machines to cut back huge amounts of hard-to-get-to scrub areas. His machines are controlled remotely so they can navigate along steep banks, get into tight spaces and generally cut through really thick scrubland without any danger to the operator. Once these areas are cut back we are then able to keep them under control. Not only will this look a lot better but it will also allow more light and air to get through and improve turf quality.

Bridges

Some much needed repair work has been carried out to the bridge coming off the 10th green. The sleepers have been rearranged to make the crossing a little smoother and the slopes leading to and from the bridge have been re-laid.

The pedestrian bridge crossing the 14th stream had become rotten, so we removed the old bridge and re-built a new one with an improved rubber crumb path leading on and off the bridge.

New 7th Hole

The new par 3, 7th is edging ever closer to being open for play. The right hand side of the green has been cleared, shaped and seeded. The bunker has now been lined with rubber crumb and is ready for sand.

We still have a bridge to install, gorse to transplant and a general tidy up before opening in the spring. When we open the new 7th, the old 7th green will be maintained as normal throughout this season just in case we need to give the new green a rest from time to time. You can follow the progress, plan and more pictures from the development of the hole here

Thank you all for your support and patience whilst we get through this long winter. We hope to see you all back on the fairways very soon.

All the Best,
Tom Collings and The Team