Being my last blog of 2019, I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for reading and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. And if you manage to play some golf over the festive period, enjoy it!
I’ve decided that my “blog” is less a blog but more of a story-tale of Bramshaw. You have the good, the indifferent, the bad and hopefully a happy ending. I think we can safely say we are going through the bad at the moment; if you’ve been counting that’s now 18.5” of rain since September compared to 17” of rain for the 8 months previous. Certainly golf for the brave! As we approach the end of the year we’ve decided that it can’t get much worse and have now set up a composite 10-hole course on the Manor. Whilst we would like to have the both courses fully open, it’s just not feasible and I hope our members are appreciative that we are trying to look after the courses as much as possible. Being custodians of a very important piece of land in the New Forest, we have to be even more protective of the Forest Course. We hope its worth it in the long run; for when you actually want to play golf!
Anyway, on with the story…
Since mid-November (aside from the rain) there was more incredible news from the Bramshaw Junior section with Joe Buenfeld winning the 2019 Junior European Open!! Playing at Alcaidesa Links Resort, Cadiz (Spain) Joe played 5 rounds at the Championship venue (par 74) in scores of:
75 - 72* - 86 - 69* - 71* = Total: 212
With the best scores being take from Rounds 1 or 4, added to the best score from Rounds 2 or 3, and finally adding Round 5 (if you can follow that!) Joe had a grand total of 212 and a spot in the playoff! Victory on the first playoff hole, with nerves of steel holing a 15 foot down-hiller for par, Joe did the incredible and joined a very select group of winners! A competition that the likes of Luke Donald, Nick Dougherty and Justin Rose have all played in, but never won; a very proud moment for Joe, his family and the whole of Bramshaw. To view a full report, please click HERE. Superstar!
Winter Course Maintenance – Whilst the weather may have deterred all but the hardy (or fool-hardy) golfers, we have managed to make good progress with the Captain's Bunker on the 18th (Manor) – the first of the bunkers to receive the EcoBunker treatment this year. Changing the shape, slightly tweaking the angle that it sits to the green, installing new drainage and sculpturing the surround, we are hopeful in creating little run-off areas as well as a great bunker. Hopefully this will allow golfers to use their imagination in and around the green. I, personally, think it looks great already and we will be starting on the other green-side bunker in the near future.
Our major construction project will be taking place in the new year with the re-siting of the bunker on the 7th hole (Manor); the 18th green-side bunker renovations are certainly good practice for this much larger project to come.
Away from golf; we now have a conservative government with a healthy majority and it will be interesting to see the countries direction over the next 5 or so years. Unfortunately, I doubt Boris will have any control over the weather! I think if we are going to help with global warming (whether you believe it or not) we are all going to have to do our own little bit. We are constantly looking at being more sustainable at Bramshaw; whether it is stopping the use of chemical fungicides on the Forest Course altogether, or planting new copses, and growing new “meadow” or “Tiger-rough” in out-of-play areas (although I’m sure some golfers will still find them).
BUT, how can individual golfers help on this front? Well, repairing pitch-marks for one. The less open wounds on the greens, the less disease and the less chemical management we will have to use. However, what about plastic tees? I'm sure many of you have seen the report already, but I'll repeat it for those of you who haven't; Royal North Devon has now become the first club in the UK to ban plastic golf tees! Personally, I think this is a great step and long overdue. If you haven't read the article, please click HERE - Whilst we, at Bramshaw, have no documented cases of animals eating or getting injured by plastic tees; the lack of biodegradability should be concern. We already ask golfers not to use plastic tees (especially on the Forest Course) and without "banning" them completely (you can't frisk golfers or search their bags to make sure they don't have any plastic tees), hopefully the more in the public eye this issue becomes, the more golfers will reconsider buying that stocking filler this Christmas.
I can only imagine that as the demand for plastic tees becomes less and less, hopefully it will help the multi-national golf companies decide to follow suit and stop the production of plastic tees. We’ll have to watch this space...
Lastly, I’ll end on a positive of Golf Club memberships that is sometimes overlooked. The social side… December, for us in the office, inevitably means invites to sectional Christmas dinners, too much turkey and to steal a line from Madagascar.. lots of “smiles and waves”. However, having attended both the Seniors and Ladies Christmas lunches this week, I am constantly amazed at how welcoming the members at Bramshaw really are. Many of them have barely had much golf to play over the past 12 weeks; BUT the laughing, joking, comradery, raucous conversation, good will and general merriment between members, new and old, is amazing.
Last Thursday, I was invited to the Ladies Christmas Lunch. At the event, the Ladies section honoured Olive Lewis, a lady member who has been a staunch supporter of Bramshaw since 1964... 55 years. Listening to all her achievements, the fact that she endured being a handicap secretary for goodness knows how long, and the fact that she still plays and competes enough to maintain a handicap of 35; I wondered where I will be in another 30 years? Still in golf management? I highly doubt… BUT I could not dream of not being a member of a golf club. They are truly wonderful places. What an amazing sport, and what a great industry to work in.
That’s all from me. If you haven’t booked your golf day, society day or 2020 golf holiday, check out the website – www.bramshawgolfclub.co.uk - Organisers with confirmed bookings made through our online reservation service will also be entered into our quarterly prize draw to win a 4-ball on the Manor course WITH Bacon Rolls & Tea/Coffee on arrival. Worth it!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!