Jordan smashes The Valley course record at Greetham Valley

Jordan BurdallSeventy plus years young Keith Heppenstall won the Midweek August Stableford on the par 68 Valley course with 41 points. Keith said that he has been playing well recently without getting a win so he was very happy with this result, he was cut to sixteen. Terry Dunlop was second, he was one of a trio of players who came in with40 points and the top places were decided on countback.

Nineteen year old Jordan Burdall, off plus one, has already won the 0-18 Club Championship this year but had to settle for third on countback in this competition. However, he wasn’t overly bothered about that as what he was really after was the course record! Jordan said that with his plus one handicap he has no realistic chance of winning a stableford competition so every time that he plays now, it is all about beating his previous score. The course record on The Valley course has been held by Sam Sharpe who is now an assistant Pro at Luffenham Heath Golf Club. Sam shot a gross 65 on The Valley several years ago. On the front nine, Jordan shot eight pars and a birdie, to get to level par . He really got going on the back nine with five pars and four birdies to take the course record with an incredible 63.

Jordan said that his course management worked really well, he only used his driver on the two par fives, the rest of the time he used a three iron off the tee to get himself into a good position. Some of the flags were quite tough but good iron shots gave him a lot of chances for birdies. He went on to say that his putter worked fantastically well and three of the birdies were also twos. Jordan’s next target is the course record on The Lakes course currently held by Club Captain Trevor Smith.

The Ladies’ August Stableford was held on The Lakes course in bright sunlight. Bryony Batch had one of her best games of the year to take the win with 38 points and was cut to 29. Cathy Steele had a chance of snatching the win but decided to visit one of Greetham Valley’s guardian lakes on the eighteenth. Cathy was cut to 23. Scratch team Captain Gilly Grant off 9 was third with 36 points.

The Sturgess Volvo Trophy was abandoned on Saturday after heavy rain, thunder and lightning made the course unsafe. It will be played for at a later date once Club Secretary Dennis Millington can find a slot.


Seniors’ Open and team match results

Over twenty clubs were represented at the Greetham Valley Seniors’ Open on Monday. On a windy yet warm day on the Lakes course, the scoring was quite brisk even off three quarter handicap. Three teams came in with 42 points and were separated on countback. B. Marriot and  E. Markham from Boston Golf Club took fifth, John Taylor and Peter Wood from Greetham Valley came fourth and M. Stevens and his partner G. Nickerson from Peterborough Milton Golf Club were third.

Seniors Captain Rod Wells and his brother Peter from Castle Coombe led the field with 42 points until almost the end of the competition but a 44 came in to snatch it away from them. This is the second time in five years that this has happened to them but they were philosophical about it and said that they had had a great day out with good company and know that their day will come, hopefully next year!

East Midlands Secretary and Greetham Valley member Neil Harris, off six, and his partner Wayne Wallace from Spalding Golf Club off five took the trophy with 44 points. Neil said that they both played very well and complemented each other. On the front nine they were one under, they went even better in the back nine playing to two under. Fantastic golf considering that they only had nine shots between them to play with.

Rod Wells thanked all the competitors but paid particular thanks to scorers Mike Churchill and Bill Smith. Malcolm Barnes who couldn’t play after a long spell in hospital but who wanted to help and be involved, officiated as starter for the day.

Neil Harris, who has a lot on his plate as an author, East Midlands Secretary, playing all over the country and qualifying for the televised Trilby Trophy, has also taken on the role as Secretary for the Lincolnshire Alliance. As a consequence, something has to give and Neil has had to relinquish the role of First Team Captain.

In their last match of the season, the Greetham Valley’s First Team entertained Sutton Bridge Golf Club at home. Andrew Frisby and Ben Gasson finished with a comfortable four and two win, Brian Birchall and Ryan Tarrant, Adam Clegg and Richard Wilson finished the next two games all square. However Neil Harris and Nick Cunnington cruised to a very comfortable seven and five win. Scottie Stevenson and Ali McNaughton battled hard to secure a victory on the last hole in a match which swung backwards and forwards throughout the round. George Grant and Ray Gladwinfield won the final game four and three to secure a five to one victory for Greetham Valley to finish off the season in style.

Neil said, “It has been a hard season and at one point we had the league title in our sights but the two home defeats cancelled out the three away victories and in the end we just didn’t have the strength in depth needed to take the title. All the players have battled hard throughout the season and it has been a pleasure to lead the team in my final season in the league”.

The Ladies had good weather for their weekend medal on Sunday. Playing on the Lakes course, Lesley Young came third with a nett 76. Scratch player Sophie Beardsall, who had the lowest gross of the day with a 75 took second place. Sue Brand won the medal with a fantastic nett 71 and was cut to eighteen.

The Mixed Team started their game away to Elton Furze Golf Club with umbrellas and waterproofs to hand but apart from a short two minute shower they got away with it. The wind, with gusts of over fifty miles an hour, kept the rain away but made play very difficult. After the first four matches Elton Furze, with home advantage, led by two and a half to one and a half but the Greetham Valley team fought back to take the final two matches and the overall win. Team Captain and Ladies’ Vice Captain Bev Dolman said that it was a very tough day but she was really pleased with the way that the team had played and supported each other.

The Second Team ended their season with a great draw away at Toft Golf Club. The result keeps Greetham Valley in division two for next year. Alan Bennett who has captained the team for the last three years will be stepping down but said that over the three years he has been Captain, he has been very lucky to have had a squad of keen, eager and very enthusiastic players to choose from, many of whom have gone on to play for the First Team. In all, he has had the services of forty two different players. In his first year they were promoted to the First Division, unfortunately they were relegated in the following year but have pushed hard each year to try to get back. Alan thanked and paid tribute to all of the players for their support and wished the new Captain, who is yet to be elected, and the team, all the best for next year.


Nick’s fine form wins Greetham Valley’s Limestone Trophy

Nick CunningtonThe Limestone Trophy is a medal competition for players with a handicap of eighteen and below. It was played over the weekend off white tees on the Lakes course in warm but very windy conditions. Four handicapper Nick Cunnington, who won the July Medal just a few weeks ago, was in fine form again. Nick just missed the birdie on the first to take a par but had a nightmare on the second and after putting his drive out of bounds, ended up with a double bogie seven. He is much more confident in his game and himself these days and he managed to put it behind him and start afresh from the third with a birdie. He dropped just the one more shot on the fifth but the rest was just great golf, two more birdies and the rest all pars to take the lowest gross of the day, seventy one. Nick shot a nett sixty seven to take the win by two shots.

Nick said that apart from underestimating the side wind on the second and hitting out of bounds he was very pleased with the way that he played and managed it overall. He was cut to 3.7 and hopes to take that lower still in the next big competition, the Sturgess Volvo Trophy on the 24th of this month. Keith Heppenstall was second with a nett sixty nine. The next two places were settled on count back, Stephen Wooldridge was third and Peter Dickinson took fourth. The winner of the Moore Stephens trophy last week, Robert Lewin was fifth.

The Ladies had a good turnout playing a medal competition for the Gill Christie Trophy on the same day. Former Captain Angela Wheeler who has also been playing well recently, won it by two shots with a nett seventy two and was cut to seventeen. Angela said that the wind which, for no reason whatsoever, kept changing making the course tougher than normal. Sue Brand and a resurgent Liz Haughton were separated on count back into second and third places. Sophie Beardsall won the lowest gross.

The Seniors’ August Medal was played on the Valley course as maintenance work was being carried out on the Lakes. Eight handicapper Ken Porter led the field with a gross seventy five, nett sixty seven in division one and also won the lowest gross. John Taylor took second place on count back from Jack Vernal after both men scored a nett sixty eight.

The overall medal was won by Mike Pare in division two, he shot a brilliant nett sixty six to take the medal, he also won the lowest gross. Mike was cut to nineteen. Dave Lucas was second and seniors vice Captain Radley Wardhaugh was third.

Tim Brown off twenty one won the August Midweek Medal. Tim shot a nett sixty eight and was cut to twenty. Alan Childerley was second with a sixty nine. Neil Lowndes took third place on count back from Andy Webb, both players shot a nett seventy. The lowest gross went to Ben Easson for a gross seventy eight.

The Ladies Midweek Medal was won by one handicapper Emma Tipping with a well crafted gross seventy three, she also won the lowest gross and was cut to point seven. Rena Lister was second with a nett seventy three and Bryony Batch took third place with a nett seventy four.


Moore Stephens Trophy wins for Robert and Jackie

Robert LewinFourteen handicapper Robert Lewin has been struggling of late with his driving, losing distance, trajectory and more importantly, confidence. Before playing in division one of the Moore Stephens Trophy at the weekend, he sent out an SOS to Greetham Valley coach Jim Hetherington. Robert said that Jim changed his swing plane, which had become very upright, into the correct swing path. That lesson paid off really well as Robert played to six under his handicap to win the Trophy with a gross 80. He had a round which included seven pars and two birdies to win with a nett 66 and was cut to thirteen. Robert said that he was thrilled to have won but was even happier with his new found confidence.

Simon Linnell playing off eight, was second  with a nett 69 and was cut to seven. Peter Zimmer Smith was cut to thirteen after taking third on count back. Trevor Smith off one won the lowest gross shooting a 74.

Jackie Friend

Les Kowal took the win in division two with a nett 71 and was cut to sixteen. Malcolm Gray off twenty four was second on count back with a nett 74 from Mark Hibbitt, both players scored a nett 73. Les and Mark also shared the lowest gross prize.

Jackie Friend won the Ladies’ Moore Stephens Trophy with a nett 73. Jackie said that it was a game of two halves, the front nine was dry and sunny and she struggled with her putting, three putting on three greens. However, as soon as it started raining and the wind got up, she started to putt better and had a much better back nine to take the win and earn herself a cut to seventeen.

Heather Morgan was second with a nett 74 on count back from Bev Dolman and Sophie Beardsall. Sophie playing off scratch won the lowest gross.

William Hopkins Rutland Junior Open winnerSix handicapper William Hopkins from Sleaford Golf Club had a fantastic round in searing heat to take the win in the Rutland Times Junior Open. William shot two birdies and ten pars to win the Gross trophy with a brilliant 76. Thomas Forster from Elton Furze Golf Club, playing off two, was second with 77. Third place went to Bradley Watkins from Ullesthorpe Golf Club playing off five, he came in with a gross 80. James Bright won the nett prize with a 69.

The Seniors followed their win against Sleaford last week with a four two win against visitors Cosby Golf Club. Captain Rod Wells said he was pleased with the win and looks forward to travelling to Sleaford next week.

The C Team also had an emphatic win during the week, defeating Kibworth Golf Club by seven to one at home. Captain Neil Sellars takes his team to Kibworth for the return leg this week.

The First Team travelled to Burghley Park Golf Club in the knowledge that any one of  four teams could still win the Division Two title. Burghley were keen to reverse the result from the previous meeting at the end of May when Greetham won. Most of the games were close through the front nine with a draw looking a likely result, but Burghley edged ahead in the front two matches with Adam Clegg and Fraser Denholm suffering a two and one defeat. The same scoreline against Andrew Frisby and Ben Gasson saw Burghley take an early lead. Trevor Smith and Bob Green saw their lead snatched away and they lost out on the final green to go one down. Paul Clegg and Richard Wilson recorded the first win for Greetham with a three and two victory, this was followed by a one up victory for Neil Harris and Nick Cunnington. However, a heavy defeat for Ray Gladwinfield and Scotty Stevenson meant Burghley took maximum points and now head the division two table. They head to Blankney in two weeks time needing only a draw to secure the title and promotion to the top flight.

Team Captain Neil Harris said, “We battled hard and at one stage we thought we would manage the draw which could have put us in a strong position to win the league but it wasn’t our day and we just didn’t have the strength in depth needed to overcome a determined Burghley Park side. We wish them luck in their final fixture.”
Rutland Junior Open winners at Greetham Valley


Coloured flag positioning trial at Greetham Valley a success

Greetham Valley flag positioning trialIn early spring this year, Greetham Valley commenced a coloured flag positioning trial, with feedback requested from members and visiting players.

All the positive comments and opinions certainly seemed to hail the trial as a success so flag positioning has now been permanently adopted across the Lakes and the Valley courses.

To remind everyone, the coloured flags are used to indicate hole placement on individual greens, as follows:

  • red flag – hole is positioned towards front third of the green
  • yellow flag – hole is positioned in the middle third of the green
  • white flag – hole is positioned in the back third of the green

Need an easy way to remember? Think of the location and colour of the ladies, gents and competition tees – red forward, yellow middle and white back respectively!

Happy golfing!


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 (www.posh-golf-travel.com) 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 www.lulu.com and/or  http://www.amazon.co.uk/


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’ !