Beaconsfield Golf Club
Seer Green, Beaconsfield
Bucks, HP9 2UR
Beaconsfield Golf Club
Seer Green, Beaconsfield
Bucks, HP9 2UR
From the Captain
Whilst many of us had hoped for an earlier return to golf, at least we have some dates to look forward to. As ever a lot of thought has gone into the planned return to golf and full detail is set out later in this newsletter. Happily by the time we are allowed back the 6th and 16th holes will be in play and the bridge replacement scheme at 13 will be almost finished.
We are very conscious of the pent up demand for golf and the plans for return are tailored to give as many of our members as possible the chance to play. I am sure that everyone will play their part in the usual sharing approach.
A number of members have shown interest in the club’s financial position particularly as it affects subscriptions. Everyone will know that the club has invested considerable amounts of money on the course (the work on 6 and 16 courtesy of Network Rail) and our boundaries in the last 12 months. Notwithstanding, a modest surplus is projected in the current financial year and as a consequence the board has agreed there should be only a small increase in subscriptions (1.5%) coupled with a £100 credit on the cards of full members renewing their membership. Junior and social members will similarly receive a pro-rata credit. I suspect there may be pent up demand for the bar in particular so this may help ease the financial pain😉.
Those of you who have used the course for their permitted exercise will have witnessed the bunker work on 6 and 16. A joy to behold, I will say no more! The course as a whole looks to be in great condition and the scenery as lovely as ever. One of my regular correspondents sent me the following picture of the “snow moon” taken yesterday. No prizes for which hole!
One member who has managed to play some golf is Gemma Dryburgh who started 2021 in style by winning a warm up event in Florida earlier this week. Well done Gemma and fingers crossed for a successful year.
The clubhouse staff are all well and keen to get back to work. The plan is to provide a limited takeaway beverage and snack service from the 29th March with the bar opening on the 12th April. Full details are covered later in this newsletter. Finally, just 4 weeks to go and in the meantime keep safe and well.
Plans for Restart 3 - and a roadmap for the rest of 2021!
We have been eagerly awaiting the chance to write to everyone about Restart 3 and the Golf and Competitions Committee met on Tuesday morning, the day after the PM’s announcement setting out his roadmap out of lockdown.
Based on the PM’s announcement, our own high-level roadmap back to normality, with all progression subject to government and England Golf guidance, is as follows:
From 8 March – Still no golf
We are obviously disappointed that the government will not permit us to play 2-ball golf from 8 March and will be keeping an eagle eye open for any change of heart. Go for a walk on the course, perhaps have a picnic with a fellow member, and talk about the imminent return of golf!
From 29 March – Golf resumes
Return of 18-hole 4-ball golf to Beaconsfield with 9-minute tee intervals. All bookings will be for general play, from the 1st tee only, with no tee preferences. There will be no competitions, roll-ups, visitors, guests or societies at this time.
With the objective of giving everyone the chance to play, the system will limit members (for the first 3 weeks) to 2 tee bookings in any rolling 7-day period. If there is availability, you will be able to book any slots available on the day in addition to the limit.
We are asking everyone only to make 1 booking each weekend and for those who can play in the week to avoid weekends altogether if possible. For the avoidance of doubt we mean Saturdays and Sundays only for this purpose.
Bookings which include Anonymous will be completely cancelled by the system after 23 hours if Anonymous is not removed or replaced. The need for shielding should be reducing, but anyone who still needs to shield can select one or more of the Mr and Mrs Shieldings as their playing partners.
Bookings will open at 9am on 22 March (for play on 29 March), and at 9am daily thereafter for the day 7 days hence.
Please note that we still cannot have rakes or touch the flagsticks and that the rules on social distancing remain in force.
From 12 April – Outside catering restarts
Terrace catering opens – with the Rule of 6 or 2 households applying.
From 17 April – Competitions restart
Competitions will start, with the men’s Spring Meeting (Grange Cup) and the Ladies EG medal on the first weekend, the ladies’ first Thursday competition on 22 April and the first junior competition on 24 April.
We are still reviewing the competition diary for the summer, and plan to hold most if not all of the competitions that are scheduled from 17 April. We have decided to move Captain’s Day and the Team Championship back to dates where we can more likely socialise and celebrate those events properly.
Saturday competitions will be set up for the whole day with slots being released to general play on the preceding Monday if not booked. Ladies will have the tee booked from 7.30 to 1.00 on Thursdays but again any unbooked slots will be released to general play 7-days prior – to 2-balls before the competition and to 4-balls at the end of the ladies’ bookings.
The booking system does not count competition rounds in the limit of the number of games. This difficulty arises because the general play and competition play elements of the booking system are separate modules, and the system cannot apply a combined limit across the two modules. So when matches and competitions start, please self-regulate and keep yourself to the overall weekly limit to allow all members to get some golf.
From Monday 19 April – Booking limit raised and roll ups restart
The booking limit will be raised to 3 tee-bookings in a rolling 7-day period, unless there is a good reason not to do so. However, we will raise the limit earlier if we think that is the right thing to do.
The Monday, Tuesday and Friday roll-ups will restart with the same slots as before Lockown 3, but will not be treated as competitions in the booking system, so that entry will be counted by the system as part of the player’s booking limit, and the Wednesday night supper roll-up will work on a similar basis from 5 May.
The Saturday roll-up group will continue to use unreserved tee times and the Supper Greensomes will run as per the diary, starting on 14 May with outside catering.
From Saturday 24 April – Early 2-balls at weekends
We will reintroduce the 45-minutes of 2-ball slots first thing in the morning on Saturdays and Sundays.
From 17 May – Indoor catering, guests, societies and matches restart
Indoor clubhouse catering restarts – with the Rule of 6 or 2 households applying.
Allow members’ guests – initially 1 guest per member per week on Mondays through Thursdays only. We may bring this date forward if space on the tee permits.
Matches will restart.
Societies will restart. We will be cancelling the 18 society bookings between 29 March and 16 May.
From 21 June – All restrictions removed and tee bookings cease (hopefully!)
Subject to a review beforehand by the GCC, we plan to cease having tee bookings for general play and return to complete normality at BGC with all restrictions lifted.
Sadly, we have had to conclude that we should abandon the 2020/21 winter Bloomfield without completing it. There are still 84 uncompleted group stage matches in this foursomes competition, which is not compatible with restarting with 4-ball golf.
The 2020/21 Seniors’ Winter League, which is 4BBB format, will be completed as it is far more advanced and only 8 group stage matches remain.
The following summer knockouts will go ahead with sensible entry limits to ensure that we do not need a qualifying round with a small number of players:
Due to the demands on the tee bookings, it is proposed not to hold the following knockouts in 2021:
These will work in the same way as immediately prior to lockdown. The booking system will continue, primarily for track & trace reasons, so the facility can only be used with either a booking or immediately prior to teeing off. You are asked not to book 2 bays or areas for the same time and, initially, not to make more than 2 consecutive bookings when the facility reopens on 29 March.
Best wishes and we look forward to seeing you back on the course.
Nick Cray & Sue Schmidt
In the Golf Bag...... A Tale of Lost Balls
Tom, Dick, and Harry were playing in the first medal after lockdown ended. On the first tee, Tom got out a sleeve of new balls with his name printed on them “they were a Christmas present from the wife”. Dick and Harry did not want to be shown up, so found the cleanest balls in their bags.
On the 3rd hole, all three of them hit their tee shots into the trees on the right. Tom got out another ball and played a provisional down the fairway, but the others were confident they would find their tee shots.
They got to the trees and found 2 balls. Dick said, “that’s mine, it’s a pro V 1 number 5” and Harry said, “no mine’s a pro V 1 number 5”. On checking, BOTH balls were pro V 1 number 5, but neither had any identifying marks, so they did not know which ball was Dick’s and which was Harry’s. What is the Ruling?
Meanwhile, Tom walked over towards his provisional ball and was surprised to see 2 balls lying in the fairway, both with his name printed on them. “Great news” he said, “my first ball must have hit a tree and bounced out onto the fairway”. However, he then wondered which ball was his first and which was his provisional? What is the Ruling?
The answer to the first question is that because Dick and Harry could not identify which ball was whose, BOTH balls are lost and they both have to go back and play 3 off the tee.
The answer to the second question is that because Tom cannot tell which is his provisional and which is his first ball, he can choose which ball to play, BUT it is deemed to be his provisional, so he is now playing his 4th shot.
A cautionary tale about putting identification marks on a ball and making sure you can distinguish between a provisional ball and an original ball. A Sharpie marker pen could be the most useful accessory in your golf bag (other marker pens are available)!
I am fortunate enough to have seen first-hand all of the incredible work that has been happening on the course over the last month or so... despite the bad weather.
In previous harsh winters, the greenkeepers may have been tempted to stay inside cleaning the sheds with a cup of tea to keep them warm. Some tree clearing with a bonfire if they were feeling adventurous! Not this crew of hardworking greenkeepers at Beaconsfield GC!
I will let the imagery below tell the story of the recent progress made on our course. And I am sure you will agree what fantastic things we have to look forward to when we return.
For this month’s staff interview, we have Lee March under the microscope.
Lee is the First Assistant, and has been with the golf club for over 20 years.
He started in 2001 with Bill Paterson, and has enjoyed watching the progress of the course over the years. His favourite hole is the 14th with its strong bunkering making it a great par 5.
So, what does a standard day look like for Lee?
In addition to his greenkeeping duties, he is also the golf course mechanic, which is no easy task! Being the club mechanic means you have to keep all the machines in good working order, sharpen and maintain all rotary mowers and reel mowers, change tires, grease equipment, check oil, batteries, cables and starters, order parts, fuel and gas, mix oil, keep a running inventory pull out operators that get stuck on the course and so much more…
Take a fairway mower for example. It has five-cylinder reel units, which all need to operate at the same height, speed and sharpness. If one of these elements is out of sync, it will create a visible difference to the cut in the fairway. This machine alone would be used three times a week in the height of cutting season.
Consider our golf course- fairways, greens, tees, rough, approaches. Lots of machines that require a good mechanic to keep things to a high standard of play. It comes as no surprise that Stuart talks so highly of Lee.
His commitment and service to the club was evidenced during early lock down last year when conditions were really dry. Lee worked 72 days straight maintaining the irrigation system.
On a personal note, Lee has three children, and his wife is a school teacher. He loves all sports. He previously enjoyed playing amateur football, but is now enjoying golf more than ever, and the golf days that Stuart organises.
Thanks for your time Lee, and for all your hard work.
Well, having just listened to Boris it looks like we may be emerging from this nightmare period.
We look forward to welcoming golfers back from the 29th of March and we are currently discussing what we can offer in the way of take away food and hot beverages from that time.
We do know that we will be providing a full bar and catering service, albeit table service and outdoors only, from 12th of April.
We also know that indoor bar and catering will be allowed from 17th of May.
Further restrictions will be relaxed in June.
The team are desperate to get back to work and are really looking forward to seeing you all.
On a personal note, I would like to say how proud I am that the Board have honoured me with Honorary Membership of the golf club - just when you thought you had seen the last of me!!
I hope you are all safe and well, nothing much has been happening in the shop this past month, but there are encouraging signs that a return to golf is a possibility soon.
I have arranged with Foremost, my buying group, to receive a large amount of my new stock early, so we are fully stocked, ready for when golf starts again.
If there is anything you need or thinking of getting, drop me a line and we can arrange a collection time at the shop.
We do have a couple of deals:
Taylor Made TP5 / X ( 2020 ). £39.99 a doz or 2 for £75
Taylor Made Cart Bags £159 reduced to £99
We also have a number of ex Demo Taylor Made and Ping Drivers/ fairways & hybrids all in very good condition that will be 1/2 the normal retail price.
If you are in the market for a new driver etc let us know and we can see if we have anything suitable for you.
Take care and hopefully we will be back to golf soon.
The Pro Shop Team
News from the Juniors
The junior committee have been surprisingly active through this third lockdown via Zoom, sadly not dealing with the usual business of day to day organisation of our juniors but more backroom administration. Still no less important to make sure we hit the ground running when the course finally opens up. The first major decision we have taken is to rotate who contributes to the Niblick to give Dianne a break and perhaps add a different perspective. I have grabbed this issue because there's not too much to report so its an easy hit for me!! No doubt Janet, Tom, Gareth and Helen will have a lot more to say when it's their turn and the juniors are out playing again.
Rotating in this way gives the committee the perfect opportunity to openly thank Dianne Regan for all her hard work through difficult times, she is far too modest to do it herself !
We are very fortunate to have Dianne steer the ship which is no easy task, but on the up side through her efforts we have a healthy and full junior section and not surprisingly a similar healthy waiting list of approximately 20 juniors wishing to join. It seems the upsurge in golf generally has filtered down to the youngsters which can only be a good thing for golf in the long run.
Looking back over the last couple of months its been a barren spell, and planning anything at the moment is proving a challenge, for example on writing this article we are still waiting to hear if the Chiltern League matches get the go ahead, it would be a disappointment if they didn't more so given our success in recent years, but it's like everything at the moment we just have to wait and see. However, we are hoping to continue with an active programme of events through the year, Boris permitting, and Tom has been suggesting ways in which he can help the younger juniors obtain their handicaps when joining the section. He is also proposing to run his series of free, yes free, coaching sessions covering all aspects of the game. These have proved very popular with our youngsters so keep an eye out for dates when they are announced as spots do go quickly. No doubt Tom can expand on his ideas in more detail when it's his time contribute to the Niblick, In the meantime he foolishly says he is always available for some "close season" advice and tips on how to keep your swing in the best possible shape.
Finally, a reminder our new Junior Captain Tommy Evans and his vice, Thomas Creighton, are eager to get their year off and running and contribute to the success of the section, They are two delightful lads and I am sure they will do a great job and be a credit to the club, they have the full support of the committee, so if you see them around please make an effort to introduce yourself.
Bye for now!
Trophy Roll of Honour