Meet the head greenkeeper: Kevan Glass

Alistair
By Alistair November 18, 2020 12:55

The head greenkeeper at Brokenhurst Manor GC talks about course maintenance.

What are the challenges you and the team have faced throughout the pandemic?

As with many clubs we only had minimal essential staff in during lockdown, it didn’t help that throughout the entire lockdown it didn’t rain so with only me and one other member of staff in we were watering greens, newly laid turf, newly planted trees frequently and of course the priority areas on the course needed to be mowed and kept tidy.

Once staff started to filter back it was important to maintain the Covid restrictions and it has changed our working day, and now the second wave is here it is so important we all stick to it and do our bit.

I have tried banning talking about Covid through the working day, as it can get people down and it’s been important for me to keep spirits of the team high and look after the staff even more than usual.

The course, like many, had not suffered too much with the lack of manpower, the main fine turf surfaces are as good as they could be, probably best to describe the course as a little rough around the edges (excuse the pun), our members have been great and with preferred lies in the bunkers (I’ve not heard one complaint this year) perhaps it should stay this way!

Has the club seen an up-lift in membership has the club seen as a result of Covid-19 and what pressures has this had on the course and your daily maintenance programmes?

Yes. It’s like going back to the golf boom of the 90s, we have a waiting list for the first time for 15 years I’d say and now the club have to get the right balance of green fees / members’ tee times, in years gone by we would accept visitors and there would be no limits on this but the club has decided that no visitors are allowed until March 1, 2021, this allows our members to get as much golf in during the shorter daylight. I’ve noticed the car park full every day even this time of year when things are normally getting quieter and we have very little time and gaps to get on with our daily work so it’s been important to start work in the dark more often than we normally would.

You’ve recently purchased Tru Turf RB48 -11A greens roller, what was the appeal of this model, how are you using it as part of your programme and how often?

We had the Tru Turf on demo from Andy at Hunt Forest and straight away the feedback I received from the team persuaded me to add it to kit, the timing was such that we’ve just ended our recent five year machinery contract so it was a good time to make the switch.

Some of our greens are raised and run from back to front, it’s important that we have the best machine for the job and now even going into the wetter months with softer conditions the performance has been outstanding and all the staff that have used it have loved it.

Now that the mowing schedule is less frequent we’re rolling on average three mornings per week in rotation to mowing.

The club hosted the first of the Rose Ladies Series events, how did that go?

As lockdown was close to ending I was hearing that Liz Young, our LET pro, and our head pro Jason McNiven, were trying to get a one day tournament involving some pros coming down just too get a competitive game after no golf and nothing on the horizon.

This grew legs by the day and after announcing the comp on social media the support was amazing, then Kate Rose (Justin’s wife) who is good friends with Liz and Jason here at Brock got in touch and before too long the evolution of the Rose Ladies Series had begun.

After having two staff until May 13 I had four weeks to prepare the course for the event in mid June and having top LET players coming to little old Brokenhurst!

We performed some miracles over the coming weeks and produced a course to be proud off and it was surreal too see highlights of the day shown on Sky Sports.

I think the pressure was on us as the first event and the whole club pulled together to put a brilliant day together and a great test of golf for these great players, I had some great help on the day from some local clubs and without this it would of been impossible to present the course the way in which we did, so please let me say another thank you to them – they know who they are.

What renovation projects do you have lined up for the winter period?

We have some usual winter projects on going and planned mostly tee and path work, we’ve decided to keep things pretty minimal this winter as we’re hosting the Brabazon Southern Area Qualifier in early May and it will be important to make sure there are no projects left unfinished and adding any unwanted pressure onto what will already be a tough spring.

What feedback have you had in regard to the playing surfaces from the members since using the Tru Turf greens iron?

The members recently as well as the staff have commented on some quality putting surfaces since using the Tru Turf. I can’t say enough positives – having it as part of the kit, obviously seeing the results on the greens is great but more importantly having the staff satisfaction using it and feeling comfortable is a huge part too, this has been a massive upgrade to the kit and performance standards.

 

Alistair
By Alistair November 18, 2020 12:55

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