Corporate Clients enjoy a First-Class Finish in Oxford
By Sue Meeken
REPORTING AN INCREASE year-on-year in corporate golf, Frilford Heath Golf Club in Oxfordshire has to maintain its courses to the highest possible standards.
Course Manager, Sid Arrowsmith, thinks it is vital to keep mower blades pristinely sharp by using Express Dual and Anglemaster grinders from Bernhard and Company.
"Many golf clubs are reliant on external income and we find our three courses allow us to have many visiting groups in one day and still have a free course left for members," says Sid, a master greenkeeper.
Large corporate companies, including Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz, together with banks, such as Barclays, arrange corporate golf days at the club.
"They enjoy having the course to themselves for the day," he says.
Boasting 54 holes of championship golf, the courses cover 700 acres and provide a mix of traditional and modern design.
The Red and Green Courses are characteristic of heathland courses, with gorse and broom, and the Blue has a links appearance.
Consistently sharp Good organization and planning is needed to keep ahead of the visiting groups. "Top presentation of the course is paramount," says Sid.
The staff of 18 includes two full-time mechanics who set up and maintain the fleet of more than 70 cylinder mowers - mainly Toro but with some John Deere machines too.
Sid finds his in-house grinding facilities invaluable." With so many cylinders and bottom blades it is not cost-effective to send our mower blades out to be ground," he says. "If there is a problem we can have everything back up and running very, very quickly. "I do not like contact as it does not do the mower any good.
"A crisp, clean cut makes sure the grass plants recover quickly and there is less chance of pathogens entering into the leaves and causing problems.
"Consistency too is vitally important.
"If greens are consistently quick or slow it does not matter, as long as they are the same," he says."Having a high standard of restaurant, which will seat more than 100 people, and dedicated chefs means we can offer a wonderful package to corporate clients," he says.
In 1996 the clubhouse was doubled and extensively refurbished and with the 18th of the Red Course just outside its windows members can watch colleagues coming in.
"The ambience in the summer time is really welcoming and we pay great attention to detail when preparing the courses.
"That is why we are so very busy and successful on the corporate front," says Sid.
Picture Caption: View from clubhouse at Frilford Heath Golf Club.