A Mineral Goldmine
By Laurence Gale MSc
Woodside Golf Club is a family owned business that boasts a unique design and landscape. For any golf enthusiast the club provides excellent quality greens and fairways that are surrounded by the magnificent scenery provided by the lush Cheshire countryside.
The Club remains open 365 days of the year due to the rich, free natural draining sands and soils the land possesses. The area has a reputation for natural sand and quality soil profiles that run beneath the Cheshire countryside.
The course is able to withstand plenty of golf and machinery traffic during the wettest months of November to February, without getting any significant surface damage. This is only possible with the strategic management of resources (materials, machinery and labour) overseen by the present Head Greenkeeper Richard Corless who often works long hours to ensure the course looks its best.
Richard has been at the course for 6 years and has gradually seen the development of the course, helped with the watchful eye of the golf course director. He also manages a driving range at the site, this is again open to the public all year round.
To help maintain the high standard of the course and facilities, Richard has recently acquired two other staff.
The Woodside golf course directors have recently authorised the construction of a brand new, nine-hole academy course. The work began in October and is carried out in-house under the supervision of Barrie Gregson a golf design consultant whose previous work includes some De-vere courses and Mottram Hall Hotel complex, amongst others.
There are a number of factors that make Woodside a unique course:
- The new course has been designed to fit in a relatively small area, utilising effectively only 12 acres of land.
- This new nine-hole par three course has been specifically designed to test the skills and patience of the golfer.
- Each hole will offer different hazards and green topography to challenge the golfer. There is even a Mackenzie green thrown in for good measure.
- All the labour is carried out in house with Barrie working closely along side Richard and all other Greenkeeping staff.
- All the materials for the land shaping, modelling and constructing of the greens and tees will be resourced from site using their own machinery.
Under Barrie's guidance Richard operates the excavator and is also responsible for all the earth moving and shaping. Their challenge is turning a relative flat piece of land into a challenging nine-hole academy course in less than ten weeks.
All this is only possible due to the fact that the local soils at Woodside are made up of a perfect sand and soil composition. All the topsoil present on the site is consistent in depth (450mm) and is classified as a sandy loam soil. The underlying sand consists of a clean medium / fine sand, with an even particle size distribution, thus making it ideal material for green constructions.
Barrie has created a real challenge for the golfers at every hole and has worked the design around ideas, and experiences he has seen over the years working in the industry. Working with Dave Thomas has influenced Barrie in many respects. In that a golf course should compliment the area and topography of the local landscape. Woodside utilises and makes superb use of the natural features (trees, water, woodland) found within the land, to ultimately create a stunning landscape.
Barrie has also designed the course to feature a number of hazards, bunkers, water, trees and cunningly placed pin positions. One green is a plateau green offering a dome to hit from 100 yards, however, once on the green you may find yourself over putting, off downwardly steep slopes.
All the greens average about 250m squared in size therefore making accuracy an essential skill required when playing this course. Golfers short game skills will definitely improve from practice on this course.
As with the existing nine-hole course, all the greens will be sown with a mixture of grasses using Barenbrug's Bar Platinum seed mixture.
- 30% Bargold Perennial ryegrass.
- 25% Barcrown Slender creping red fescue.
- 25% Barpearl Slender creeping red fescue.
- 10% Bargreen Chewings fescue.
- 10% Heriot Browntop bent.
The tees have been made as large as possible to cope with the wear and tear. They have been sown with a ryegrass seed mixture, with some smooth stalk meadow grass sown in for additional stability.
A watering system as also been installed for the greens and tees, this will no doubt, be a great asset for maintaining the new nine-hole academy course.
It is amazing what can be achieved when all the resources are collectively available and the window of opportunity prevails.
- Woodside will be able to offer another challenging pay and pay facility for it members and customers.
- The Directors and staff have undertaken the experience of a lifetime having built their very own golf course.
- Barrie will have completed another milestone in his career of Golf Course Construction.
The golf course Director and the company Directors hope this new facility will improve the golfing experience at Woodside. Above all they want to encourage both the novice and experienced players to improve there golfing skills by tackling the challenges and intricate designs the course will offer when it opens in 2006.