Monthly Archives: July 2013

Greetham Valley’s Barry Ward on birdies, bunkers & bar stools…

Barry WardFew people know the extreme good fortune that converts a pastime into a career. Even fewer are those to whom such a scenario brings success and rewards beyond imaginings. Barry Ward, one of Greetham Valley’s senior members,  is one of the latter and after a life-time in golf writing he is still counting his blessings. He calls it his improbable journey, one which came about through a chain of events that almost defies credulity.

Introduced to golf by chance in consequence of an overseas posting, he virtually fell into golf writing within weeks of taking up the game and has never looked back. Now, after more than five decades of travelling the globe reporting on golf, its memorable places and the people who play it at the highest level, he is still playing and writing about the game he adores to distraction.

“Envious friends have frequently suggested I find a proper job,” he says, “but I can’t think of one that would bring such fulfilment and delight. In any event, I think I’ve left it a bit late to change tack.”

Now in his 81st year and as active as ever, he decided that the time was opportune to gather his memories and record them in book form “for my family and friends, and anyone else who loves this wonderful game of ours.”

Only then did he come to realise the difficulties he faced because “my early material, pounded out on a typewriter for newspapers, had long since gone into oblivion, my files lost for all time after countless domestic moves. Only material produced for magazines in the age of computers and word processors has survived, and indeed not all of that.”

So he has collated a small selection of the latter, “plus a piece or three dug from the memory bank or plucked from old printed publications that have somehow become fixtures in my golf library.”

The chosen pieces were written for various British publications, chiefly Golf Monthly magazine and, in recent times, his web site ( but also for Golf Links magazine, the original Golf News, plus a number of trade and consumer publications and newspapers, The Times of London among the latter.

“Like my career, producing the book has been a labour of love,” he says. “But that applies to anything with golf at its heart. May you enjoy the words as much as I have enjoyed the recollection.”

Birdies, Bunkers & Bar Stools is available as a paperback or an E-book from and/or

Ladies Lincolnshire Scratch League Victory for Greetham Valley

Gilly GrantEmma Tipping won the first game in the Ladies’ Scratch League match against Stoke Rochford in great style, she beat Pam Watson seven and six. Sophie Beardsall had been in Bermuda up until a couple of days prior to the match, representing the Isle of Wight in the Island games where she won the silver medal coming second to Guernsey. She beat Stoke’s June Miller four and two. Gilly Grant also won her game against Sue Booth by two and one enabling the team to take all of the points.

This win means that they have now won the Lincolnshire Southern Division Scratch League and they have really done it in style this year, having lost just one game along the way and, having amassed a total of ten points so far, they still have a game in hand. Their nearest competitors, Stoke Rochford and Belton Park have a total of four points each.

The Greetham Valley team have won the head to head final against the Lincolnshire Northern Division winners to take the title for the last two years. Last year they beat Elsham, this year they will play against Woodhall Spa at Kenwick Park on 9th September.

Team Captain Gilly Grant said that they would love to take a hat trick of wins but Woodhall Spa would no doubt like to stop them and take the title themselves! She paid tribute to all of her team members who have supported her and each other quite magnificently.

One hundred and forty Men and Ladies played in the Captains’ Day competition at the weekend, where every single hole was sponsored. Captains Trevor Smith and Sheila Douty said that the support from the members and sponsors was fantastic.

The Men’s competition was won with a magnificent score of 46 points by 22 handicapper Marc Joyce. Marc dropped six shots on the front and the same on the back nine, he was cut to 19. Second and third were settled on count back after three players scored forty four points. Ken Mason took second, Ross Mawhinney was third and Nick Pearce was pushed back into fourth place.

The Ladies’ competition was also settled on count back: Ladies Scratch team member Liz Haughton and team Captain Gilly Grant both came home with 38 points. Both Ladies dropped just three shots on the back nine but Liz won the competition thanks to a better final three holes. Lesley Young was third just one point behind with 37.

The weather for the Seniors’ Invitation was warm and dry with a stiff breeze for most of the day, apart from a twenty minute spell of thunder and heavy rain. David Wallace and playing partner Colin Allinson from Brampton Park won the event with 42 points in spite of suffering a blob on the par five second hole. Apart from that, David said that they played and gelled very well together, they had 20 points on the front nine after parring the rest of the holes. They scored 22 points on the back nine with just three shots dropped, a birdie and five more pars.  They beat last year’s winners, Greetham Valley’s Fred Aspin and David Jackson from Burghley Park who came in with 41 points. Third place was won by Peter Perryman and his playing partner P. Williams from Cambridge Menzies, they scored 40 points.

Neil Lowndes won nearest the pin on the twelfth hole, Les Stroud took it on the fourteenth and John Taylor won the longest drive on the eleventh.

Seniors’ Captain Rod Wells said that he was very impressed by the level of support that the competition had garnered and very pleased with the praise for the course from visiting players.

The Seniors had yet another big win to add to their results in matches this year, beating Sleaford at home by seven and a half to a half. Rod said that they will be travelling to Sleaford in just a couple of weeks time where no doubt their hosts will be out for revenge.

This green keeping job is a dog’s life…..

Divoting tees - it's a dog's lifeGolf course maintenance is of course a never ending process of different jobs on different parts of the courses. The August maintenance procedures specifically schedule in work on the greens to keep them in tip-top condition. Daily green keeping involves early morning starts throughout summer, making the most of daylight hours and quiet courses.

It is good, though, to see a fair number of members out there for a quick 9 holes prior to them nipping off to work, and thank you to those are interested enough in what we are doing to ask questions – just don’t get mowed down by a Toro – literally!

Judging by this photo, a green keeper’s dog has a very busy working life when helping with the divots on the tees – sometimes you’ve just got to take a rest!

Liquid Gold fertiliser and August course maintenance

Green after LiquidGold

Greetham Valley golf course manager Adi Porter and his green keeping team have recently applied a  fertiliser called LiquidGold to the greens at Greetham Valley – this image of the 4th green on the Lakes course, taken a day after the application, speaks for itself!

Course maintenance work this August
The renovation work carried out on the greens is an essential part of our programme to keep the greens at their optimum condition throughout the year. Carrying out the procedure in August gives us the quickest recovery time so less disruption to the playing surfaces. The soil and air temperatures are usually just right for the bent seed to germinate and maximise the benefits of the whole operation.

We firstly scarify all the putting surfaces to remove as much of the dead organic matter (thatch) as possible. This is followed by hollow coring the greens with 10mm hollow tines set at 2 inch spacing to a depth of approx 60mm. This creates the holes that will incorporate the 100 tonnes of sand that we then apply. This is then brushed in to fill the holes.We then apply the bent seed with a dimple seeder, at 4 gm per m2, ensuring that it is not too deep as such a fine seed will not germinate if it is.

The surfaces are then brushed again, and then we iron the greens several times to smooth out the surfaces. We will then keep the greens moist on the surface for about a week which gives the new seed every chance of germinating which then allows us to reduce the heights of cut to normal and everything is then back to normal.

We aim to complete 18 greens and have them back to 90% condition within 2 days. They will be back to 100% within 10-14 days.

Schedule for maintenance work
Valley course  Monday 5th August from 10.30am.
Lakes course Monday 12th August from 11.30am.

New mowers and happy greenkeepers at Greetham Valley!

New mower, happy greenkeeper!Robert’s spending on equipment for the golf courses at Greetham Valley continues!

The new mowers are working well, they can be out first thing cutting greens and then units changed (I have the changeover process down to 2 mins 30 seconds) and out cutting tees/surrounds.  Toro really have done themselves proud with these new mowers – they are expensive but quality equipment gives quality results – as I’m sure many of our members and visiting golfers will testify to!

Superb pieces of machinery, and as operator and Greetham Valley Golf Club’s green keeper Gareth Watkin says on Twitter ‘#happyworker’ !


Emma lifts Ladies’ Championship title

Emma TippingAfter the two day men’s Championship last week, it was the turn of the Ladies this last weekend, the difference being that the Ladies do their two rounds on the same day. Thankfully, the weather was a little cooler which made a tough day a little bit more bearable. The Championship was played on the Lakes course with the fairways running well and fast greens.

The Ladies’ Championships are played for two trophies, the Waycot Bowl for the best gross score and the title of Ladies Champion, and the Dryden Salver for the best nett. In the gross competition, one handicapper Emma Tipping, a member of the all-conquering Lincolnshire Ladies team, had an up and down round shooting three birdies but, uncharacteristically for her, a couple of double bogies too. That said, most golfers would settle for an up and down round of 74, just two over gross par to lead the field after round one. Liz Haughton, who recently returned to golf after a lay off of several years was second and Ladies’ Captain Sheila Douty was third. Emma also led the field in the nett competition with 73 on countback from Angela Wheeler, Sheila Douty was in third on 77.

Sheila DoutyAfter a very quick lunch, a change of socks and a mental rub down, the Ladies were soon back on the course for round two. The afternoon had clouded over a little but the humidity was still high and energy sapping. Emma got straight back into her stride with a couple of birdies and finished her round with a 77 to give her a total of 151 for the two rounds.

She said that there were no big moments, just good, clean, steady golf. She knew that it was very important when playing two rounds in a day, to pace herself properly and concentrating on each shot was the key rather than looking for the clever, but high risk ones. She went on to praise Adi Porter and his team for presenting the course in such good order especially considering the recent hot conditions. Emma will look forward to prize night on November 15th where she will pick up the Waycot Bowl from former President Mike Waycot. Liz Haughton beat her own first round score and finished in second place, Sheila Douty took third place just a few shots behind.

In the nett competition, Sheila Douty off sixteen had a great second round of nett 70 to win the Dryden Salver. She said that she was very pleased with her concentration level in both rounds but the second one in particular, she finished with a nett total of 147. Emma Tipping was second just two shots behind. Angela Wheeler took third place a further two shots behind Emma.

The competitors in the Men’s championship have great respect for the Ladies for playing not just two rounds but two with the added pressure of the title and two trophies in just the one day.

The Bunny Cup for Ladies with a handicap of twenty five plus was competed for over one round on the Lakes course. The winner was Greetham Valley director Hazel Hinch. Hazel, playing off thirty six came home with 39 points and was cut to thirty three. Bryony Batch was second with thirty one on countback from Glynis Sellars. Hazel was extremely pleased with her win after a couple of great tips from Greetham Valley coach Jim Hetherington.

First Team Captain Neil Harris, a regular on the William Hunt Trilby Tour, has qualified for the grand final yet again. He was one of only ten qualifiers, from the regional qualifier at The Nottinghamshire over the weekend. He will now go forward to the grand final to be played at Rockcliffe Hall in County Durham on 28th August. This is the second time that he has made the final and he hopes that the experience gained at the first one will stand him in good stead.

The Midweek Stableford played on the Lakes course was a very tight affair with second to eighth places all having to be settled on countback. This didn’t bother the winner, Andy Webb, he came in with 40 points, he was cut to seventeen. Tim Brown took second on countback from first team regular Andrew Frisby, off four, they both scored 39 points. Paul Child-Freeman and Paul Downs both scored 38 points and Ryan Tarrant, Darren Want and Keith Heppenstall all came in with 37 points.

Special golf society offer during August

Valley green maintenanceIt’s coming up to that time of year where Greetham Valley’s green keepers carry out their essential hollow coring of the greens. Adi Porter, Course Manager at Greetham Valley, explains the process:

‘The renovation work we carry out on the greens is an essential part of our programme to keep the greens at their optimum condition throughout the year. Carrying out the procedure in August gives us the quickest recovery time so less disruption to the playing surfaces. The soil and air temperatures are usually just right for the bent seed to germinate and maximise the benefits of the whole operation.

We firstly scarify all the putting surfaces to remove as much of the dead organic matter (thatch) as possible. This is followed by hollow coring the greens with 10mm hollow tines set at 2 inch spacing to a depth of approx 60mm. This creates the holes that will incorporate the 100 tonnes of sand that we then apply. This is then brushed in to fill the holes.We then apply the bent seed with a dimple seeder, at 4 gm per m2, ensuring that it is not too deep as such a fine seed will not germinate if it is.

The surfaces are then brushed again, and then we iron the greens several times to smooth out the surfaces. We will then keep the greens moist on the surface for about a week which gives the new seed every chance of germinating which then allows us reduce the heights of cut to normal and everything is then back to normal.

We aim to complete 18 greens and have them back to 90% condition within 2 days. They will be back to 100% within 10-14 days.’

The courses are not out of action during this time – far from it! They are closed for the first two days but are then open and very playable – and usually in even better condition than that of many other golf courses’ normally! To encourage golfers not to shy away from the courses during this time, we offer a popular, specially discounted society package. This outstanding offer is only available from Wednesday 7th to Friday 9th August on the Valley course and Wednesday 14th to Friday 16th August on the Lakes course. So why not make the most of the sunshine – grab a golf society bargain at Greetham Valley this August! Contact Gilly for more details.

Plus one golfer Jordan is 2013 Club Champion – at just 19!

Jordan Burdall For once the weather forecast for Rutland was absolutely correct! Saturday, the first day of the two day 0-18 Club Championships, was the hottest day of the year so far, thirty degrees and counting. A field of 120 took to the fairways but at the end of the first day’s play, only those within ten shots of the leader would make the cut to qualify for the second day.

Nineteen year old plus one handicapper Jordan Burdall shot a gross 70 which was the same as he scored on day one last year, he also won the lowest gross. Last year’s winner, two handicapper Trevor Smith, was in second place on 75, Ben Easson off five lay just one shot behind Trevor in third. Ryan Tarrant, Graham Smith, Ray Gladwinfield and Alan Bennett were all tied on 77.

The nett competition was very tight, Steve Anderson and John Sparks were first and second on countback with a 68, Dave Copley was one shot behind them and James Kearny was just one shot behind Dave. Ray Gladwinfield stood in fifth place leading a gaggle of six players on 71.

Ben Easson Day two dawned as a much cooler day, some six or seven degrees lower than the scorcher that wrecked many a competitor’s dream the day before. In the gross competition, Jordan went into day two last year with a four shot lead only to lose it to a marauding Trevor Smith. Jordan wasn’t keen to repeat that experience, he decided to ditch the driver and rely on his well honed course management. However, this still gave him a share of the lowest gross for the day, 74. Ben Easson playing in the second to last group ahead of Jordan, also adopted a similar strategy, he used his driver on the par fives but teed off with his three iron on all of the par fours. He also shot a gross 74. Andrew Frisby was just one shot behind with a gross 75, Adam Clegg recovered from an 82 on day one and shot a 76. Nick Cunnington had a slightly better day, he shot a 75.

The outcome was a win for Jordan Burdall with a total gross of 144. Jordan said that he had planned well for this year’s competition and was extremely pleased to have won it six shots clear of his nearest competitor. He would have liked to have gone for the course record but in the heat he decided that one thing at a time was a much better plan. Jordan is now Club Champion and will be presented with the President’s Trophy at the Club prize night in November. Ben Easson took second with150 and Andrew Frisby was third just three shots further back. Club Captain Trevor Smith, who had fought so gallantly last year to take the win, had a nightmare with his usually reliable putter, he finished in fourth on 156, Nick Cunnington was one shot behind Trevor to take fifth.

The nett competition, for the Cunningham Cup, was won by Ben Easson with a brilliant 140. Ben said that his tactics on day two really paid off, his score was two shots better than on day one and he felt more confident having a full shot into the greens. Dean Greetham off eight took second with 142. Iain Bain and Peter Zimmer Smith were separated on countback as they both scored 144, Iain took third and Peter fourth. Andrew Frisby took fifth on countback from Simon Bateman, Graham Smith, Ray Gladwinfield and Dave Copley, they all shot 145.

Bearing in mind how much the weather played a part over the two days of the competition, the Ladies, who will be playing their Club Championship (0-24 handicaps) next weekend, will be hoping for good weather without the abnormal heat the men experienced on Saturday. Their championship is played over two rounds on the same day. Can anybody stop scratch player Sophie Beardsall from winning a Club record ninth win?

Lizzie Taylor off twenty one won the Ladies Midweek Medal with a brilliant net 68. Chris Slattery took second place on countback from two handicapper Emma Tipping who also won the lowest gross, they both came in with a nett 69.

Brian Parker won the Seniors’ July Medal and the first division with a nett 69. Eight handicapper Ken Porter was placed second on countback with a nett 72, he also won the lowest gross. Nick Meyer, Robert Gray and Terry McNulty were placed third to fifth respectively, they all shot a nett 72.

In Division two the spoils went to George Cooper for his nett 71 on countback from Stuart Dodd. Charles Guttridge was third on 72.

July Medal win for Nick and team news

Nick CunningtonThe July Medal was played on the Lakes course in very hot conditions and without even a hint of a breeze. In Division One, three players were tied on 73 points and were separated on countback. Nine handicapper Dave Pusch was placed second, John Simpson, also off nine, took third and plus one golfer Jordan Burdall was pushed back into fourth. Jordan at least had the consolation of winning the lowest gross with a stunning 72.

The winner of the division and the competition, Nick Cunnington, got off to a good start with a par on the first then took a step backwards when he moved the ball while removing his marker, as a result he called a one shot penalty upon himself. Not a good start but it is even worse when you are off four and you have just thrown away 25% of your handicap. A lesser man may have wilted at that but Nick put it straight out of his mind and got on with the rest of his game. He birdied the next two holes and didn’t drop another shot until the eighth, unfortunately, he then dropped another on the ninth. This left him at one over for the front nine, he got back to level when he birdied the tenth. Nick dropped just two more shots for the rest of the back nine to finish with a two over par 74, nett 70.

Nick said that the penalty was a silly mistake but said that the rules are there for a reason. He is looking forward to the 0-18 Club Championship this weekend and feels that in a strange way, the penalty incident could be a benefit. He is confident that his game is in good shape but now says that he has no doubts about his composure and ability to handle the pressure of a two day competition. His mantra for the future is “make adversity work for you”.

Peter Ryan, off thirteen, won division two with a splendid nett 72. Three players came in with a nett 73 and were separated on countback. Club President Martin Boughton was placed second and he also won the joint lowest gross with Peter. Steve Burgon was third and seventeen handicapper Robert Bailey took fourth.

Keith Ross won division three and the lowest gross with a 90, nett 71. Countback was employed to separate the next two places: Graham Stark and Keith Heppenstall were second and third respectively after both scoring a nett 75.

The Ladies Scratch Team got off to a good start, winning their first match of the season a couple of weeks ago. This week they played Stoke Rochford away. The in-form Emma Tipping beat Pam Watson six and five to get them off to a good start. Sophie Beardsall played in match two and she beat June Miller by three and two. Team Captain Gilly Grant won the final match one up against Chris Rowley to make it a clean sweep and full points for the team.

Gilly said that they always enjoy games at Stoke and with the course in fantastic condition ready for the Midland Youth competition it was even more of a pleasure. Gilly went on to say “Two wins out of two, but we can’t take anything for granted and must concentrate on one game at a time in order to retain the County Scratch Team Shield”. Their next game in a couple of weeks’ time is also away to  Belton Park – always a tough place to get a result.

The Greetham Valley First Team welcomed the arrival of fellow title contenders Blankney Golf Club on possibly the hottest day of the year so far, unfortunately it was the home team that wilted in the heat of battle. The father and son combination of Paul and Adam Clegg started the ball rolling with a narrow one up victory. However, Chris Steele and Fraser Denholm struggled to hold off the visitors and finally lost out three and one. Andrew Frisby and Ben Gasson were taken all the way to the eighteenth but finally saw off the visitors with a two up win. Neil Harris and Ben Easson trailed at the turn two down despite playing level par golf, however the visitors continued to make birdies and ran out four and three winners to level up the match.

In game five Club Captain Trevor Smith and Bob Green had another epic tussle with the game going all the way to the final hole with the Greetham pair just failing to reverse the losing trend, they finished one down. However the contest was all over by then and a four to two victory assured for Blankney as game six had already been decided, George Grant and Ally McNaughton suffering an unaccustomed heavy defeat eight and six.

Team Captain Neil Harris said  “With the good work of the earlier season clash at Blankney undone, the league title is once again wide open. With any one of four teams capable of finishing at the top of the pile it is imperative we get back on the winning trail as soon as possible. All of the top four have tough matches to come, so picking up points in the remaining games is vital for all concerned.”

On  the other side of the coin, the Second Team travelled to top of the table Blankney who had previously beaten them at home. In the first game Richard Wilson and Carl Causbrook won two and one, Neil Crees and Peter De Kremer kept up the impetus, they won one up. The team suffered a slight reversal when Simon Bateman and Paul Jenkinson lost three and two.

Team Captain Alan Bennett and Steff Dutton won two and one to put them back on track. They took all the points when Steve Anderson and Elliot Clarke won two and one. Dave Copley and Tony Mould won two up to give the team a five to one victory and sweet revenge for the defeat at home. Alan said that they are not in the hunt for promotion this year but this result means that their place in the league is secure.

John Taylor won the first division in the Seniors’ July Qualifier on countback from Neil Bradbury, they both scored 41 points. Ken Moore and Tim Howlett were also separated on countback and were third and fourth respectively, they each came in with 38 points. John Taylor won the overall competition. Ken Upton won division two with 38 points. Dave Lucas, Ian Kellam and Frank Maguire took the next three places on countback, they all scored 34 points.

The Mixed Team led by Ladies Vice Captain Bev Dolman had a great four to two win against Thorney Lakes at home on Saturday. The result could have been better but one of the Thorney team managed to chip in from over sixty five yards to a very difficult flag position on the eighteenth to win their game one up. This was the first and only time that they were ahead.

Captains’ Weekend at Greetham Valley

Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th July
Greetham Valley’s 2013 Captains, Trevor Smith and Sheila Douty, are delighted to invite members and their guests to enjoy the annual Captains’ Weekend activities at the end of July.

mod-golf-news-from-the-greenThe Saturday sees the main golf competition, a full handicap stableford, being played on the Lakes course for lots of great prizes! Mixed tee times will be available for this competition. Trevor and Sheila are providing complimentary refreshments at the Halfway House, just to keep players well fuelled.


BBQ Barbershop quartetOn the Saturday evening, all members are invited to bring as many guests as they like to enjoy a BBQ and live musical entertainment from the fabulous ‘Encore’ Barbershop Quartet from 7.30pm. Members tickets are just £8, guests £10, available now from Reception.

On the Sunday, Trevor and Sheila have organised a mixed team fun golf competition – keep an eye on the Mixed noticeboard for more details.

Fingers crossed for some fine Rutland weather for this very sociable weekend!