The aeration work at Burnham Beeches Golf Club

By Alistair August 31, 2021 08:27 Updated

Lee Bishop, course manager at Burnham Beeches Golf Club, has a adopted a simple way to highlight the need for renovation to his club members. He does a dummy run of the work on two practice putting and chipping surfaces to give an actual preview of how it will look.

“We do all the processes on two greens the week before to show how quickly it settles and recovers. It’s also a chance to set up the machinery in advance and means there are two fewer greens to do on the day. So, a win-win all round,” he quipped.

The Buckinghamshire club has two Wiedenmann Terra Spikes, a G160 and an SL6, purchased together in 2018 from dealer Farol at Twyford, which are key to all his plans.

“We’ve always had Wiedenmann and never wanted anything else,” declared Lee Bishop. “It’s the most impressive bit of kit on the market, without a shadow of a doubt.”

During the first week of August, Lee, and his team of five, tackled their traditional week of greens renovations.

“First off we spun out two tonnes of sand per green, then we used the G160 with 20mm tines down to 200mm, sand is brushed in. Then with the SL6, on 12mm tines, we go down to 100mm in a different direction. This is followed by a further brush to fill the SL6 holes; then we gave it the final top dressing and a drag mat, a roll, and a bit of water. On this occasion, we went three metres into the approaches and collars and filled them up with sand as well.

“It’s quite an aggressive programme but if the weather is with us its relatively quick to recover. For a short period, we raise the height of cut so we will lose a little bit of speed but then we drop them back down to summer height. The club is very supportive and knows it is entirely necessary.

“During spring renovations, we put on smaller tines. The G160 takes a 12mm, and the SL6 an 8mm. We’ll send them out in the same direction but this time we do two different depths with one operation, so one pass with two machines, job done.”

“Through the year we try to aerate greens monthly, or certainly when it’s possible, with the SL6, with nothing bigger than the 8mm tine, varying the depth from 200mm to 75mm in decreasing monthly increments of 25mm. When we reach 75mm the next time we revert to 200mm, but we’ll go in different directions. We do tees twice with the G160 and twice with the SL6. The SL6 is just so versatile… with its hole spacings, quietness and its variable speed and hole spacing, those are exactly the reasons why I bought it.“

The Buckinghamshire club was established in 1891 and is in a beautiful setting on the edge of the historic Burnham Beeches woodland. Lee has been there for 23 years, 16 years as course manager.

“Ours is a really tight team, with years of good service together. Everyone works hard for each other. This month we are taking on an apprentice through the national apprentice scheme. It’s a perfect opportunity to give something back to the industry.“

By Alistair August 31, 2021 08:27 Updated

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