Lingfield Park Golf Club in Surrey has been gearing up for the PGA European Pro Tour visit in August by using Speedcut Contractors to enlarge one of their most attractive ponds and create two new bunkers.
Speedcut have enlarged and altered the contours of the well-established pond at the third hole, bringing it closer to the green, and filled in two ponds to create new bunkers at the 18th.
"Speedcut have done a brilliant job, really fantastic," says Lingfield Park estates manager Jon Harris, former head greenkeeper from 2002 until 2008 when he took over responsibility for the famous racecourse as well.
"Last year we had real drainage problems on the 17th fairway and Speedcut did an excellent drainage job for us then. Those problems have been solved by the drainage system they installed."
Being on clay in this Surrey countryside, Jon has been surprised at how well the course copes with wet weather.
"It is testament to the skill of the greenkeeping staff both now and in the past that we have developed such a wonderful venue which is really appreciated by the members and visitors," says Jon.
The golf club at Lingfield Park celebrates its 25th birthday next year but it looks older - because the original designers created a course that incorporates old woodland and established trees together with streams and undulating walks in superb countryside.
Head greenkeeper Kevin Weller has done a great job with the other seven greenkeepers to bring wildlife to the woods, including kestrels and owls, as part of a programme of encouraging wildlife.
"The team are very proud of the course," says Jon, who hails from Durban in South Africa where he was a deputy head greenkeeper before coming to England and joining the Lensbury Club in West London as they were establishing a new golf course.
Lingfield Park Racecourse, which adjoins the golf club, is one of the country's oldest racing venues and Jon has the challenge of managing the whole estate, with a total staff of 23, including gardeners.
The majority of the turf maintenance equipment on the site is John Deere. The owners of Lingfield Park - Arena Leisure - signed a partnership deal with the company last year.
As well as the 18-holf golf course there is an academy area with two chipping greens and bunkers with lessons given by training company Right Sided Golf,
HSBC have awarded Lingfield Park a silver award for being one of the best regional golf clubs in the country. The PGA European Pro Tour tournament is at the club from August 10 to 12, with a Pro-Am match on August 8.
"The golf course was originally created on a shoestring out of old farmland," says Jon, "so the fact that we have such a great course that looks so well-established is very much down to all that early work and the work of head greenkeepers over the years."
Speedcut contracts manager Barry Pace said: "It has been a very pleasurable experience working with Jon and his team at Lingfield. The finished result is one that we are very pleased with and we are delighted that Jon has been so complementary about our work."
The work on the pond at the third hole involved removing old timbers, enlarging the area of water and shoring up the new sides to create a smoothly-contoured pond that is next to a wood.
At the 18th hole two dilapidated ponds were excavated and replaced with material to create two new bunkers, which have had the surrounds turfed prior to new sand being added.
"The fairway on the 18th now looks down to a smart finish with the racecourse Grandstand visible in the distance," says Jon. "We are very proud of the course and Speedcut have done a splendid job, with great attention to detail."
DETAILS: Speedcut Contractors on 01865 331479. www.speedcutcontractors.co.uk