0 Long Ashton Golf Club - Marl and me!

JamesBraithwaite2Long Ashton Golf Club has recently undertaken one of the largest projects since the club was built 120 years ago. Under the stewardship of their Course Manager, James Braithwaite, they have rebuilt fourteen of their greens, working to a tight schedule with their preferred contractor, M J Abbott


Long Ashton Golf Club was founded in 1893 as a nine hole golf course, extended to eighteen holes in 1905 when more land was acquired. In 1937, following various re-designs, the famous partnership of Hawtree and Taylor were commissioned to advise and plan an 18-hole golf course which, in the main, is still played today.

LongAshton SoilProfileThe club has staged several major golf tournaments, notably The Martini International Tournament in 1966, won jointly by Peter Allis and Bill Large, and the Coca-Cola Young Professionals in 1972, won by Peter Oosterhuis. In the last decade, the course has also been the venue for the English Boys and British Ladies tournaments.

The parkland/heathland par 71 course measures 6384 yard off the championship tees and nestles amongst 220 acres of woodland and grassland on the Bristol downs. The soil profile throughout the course is a Red Keuper marl on a limestone base which means that, due to the small layer of topsoil, it is prone to drying out very quickly. However, with all the greens being soil push-up construction, these were often prone to flooding and remaining wet for long periods.

Long Aston had persevered with a robust topdressing programme to keep their greens playable which, in the main, was quite affective, but the recent wet winters took their toll on playability, forcing the club to use temporary greens that, as a consequence, led to chuntering members and a reduced income. It was clear that something needed to be done.

GreensDataSo, Course Manager James Braithwaite took a number of soil samples and dug trial pits to establish what could be done. One of the fundamental problems was that the existing modified soil profile was only 150mm deep and perched, as it was, on the Red Keuper marl and limestone effectively meant that there was no real depth of rootzone to establish hydraulic drive through the existing soil profile. In effect, any water that did manage to flow downwards was held back by the subsoil, making infiltration rates very slow.

After monitoring the performance of the greens (see tables), the club were left with only one course of action; to invest in the rebuilding of their greens.

GreensData SuggestionsAfter some months of discussion, securing funding and writing specifications the contract to rebuild fourteen greens was awarded to M J Abbott, with the proviso that the work had to be completed within two months.

So, in September 2013, to make use of good weather and ground conditions, Abbotts arrived on site, with James taking on the role of project manager.

Here, James provides a comprehensive diary of the project:

This major upgrade of fourteen greens and nine irrigation rings will take approximately seven weeks to complete, unless the weather takes a turn for the worse!

Day1 LiftingTurfDay 1 - was always going to be a slow start, getting all the relevant machinery in for the project, the enlargement of the overflow car park being the first port of call. The project kicked off with the lifting of turf from the 4th green.

Trials were carried out to see what depth of turf would give the best lifting results, the target being 13mm. Unfortunately, this was not practical as the turf would not hold together; the end result being around 18mm.

Day1 TopdressingRemovedThe turf was lifted and placed onto plastic sheeting. The top 150mm of seventy-five years of topdressing was removed first, with the remaining 250mm of base material to be removed later. This was followed by adding the required contours to the new base.

Turf was removed from the 3rd and 5th.

Day 2 - things started to run a little smoother with the completion of the core out on the 4th, followed by the installation of the drainage. There was a small issue with root from the folly behind the green and some large rocks, but this was soon overcome.

Day2 4thGreenDrainageThe 3rd green core out was well under way and we discovered an old drainage system on the left of the green only. This had clay pipes but, unfortunately, was capped with clay, so didn't work.

The turf was stripped from the 5th green with the core out starting on day 3. The weather had been kind so far, but it also meant that the stripped turf would need to be watered. M J Abbott were certainly putting the hours in whilst the weather and light were available. First light (6.30am) to dusk, locking the gates at around 7.10pm

Day3 Drainage gravelled on the 4th greenDay 3 - saw the realities of the sub-structure variances on our greens. The 3rd consisted of mainly clay with a stone pocket on the right hand side. On the other hand, the 5th was very rocky and extremely difficult to pull a clean line through for the drainage. The 3rd and 5th greens would be ready for drain pipes early the following morning.

The 4th green now had a 100mm gravel carpet in place with a final rake for contours before the rootzone was placed on top. The gravel layer was dipped for depth on regular occasions.

Day4 Chelford Medium Coarse Rootzone on the 4th greenDay 4 - saw the weather turn. 2mm of rain fell making the construction work a little more difficult. Trying to keep the materials clean was very difficult as the clay base became extremely sticky. The tracking for most of the course held up well.

The only consolation was that the stripped turf did not need another 4 hours of watering. The day saw the drainage lines and the gravel carpets (nearly completed) installed onto both greens 3 and 5, whilst the rootzone layer was almost completed on the 4th green.

Day5 Rootzone layer completed on the 4th greenDay 5 - saw the completion of the construction on the 4th green. This green is now ready for the final preparation and then turf to be re-installed. The day went well with the crews working flat out; in fact, they worked so quickly that the wagons coming from Cheshire couldn't keep up so, at times, they were waiting for material.

It also saw the rootzone installed on the 5th; all but the last corner was completed, along with the completion of the gravel carpet on the 3rd. The next port of call was for the sub-base to be removed and shaped on greens 8 and 9.

Day6 Drainage lines carved out with a hydraulic pecker on the 9th greenDay 6 - saw the completion of the rootzone layer on the 5th, along with half the rootzone layer on the 3rd. The rain overnight was a slight problem for the crew working on green 8, as this had made the sub-base rather sticky and potentially could have caused some contamination in the drainage lines. After the levels were put onto the pre-dug out sub-base, it was decided to concentrate on the 9th and get the levels and drainage in on this green. Contamination wasn't a problem here as the sub-base was so stony that there wasn't much clay below the level of 320mm.

The levels and installation of the drain lines took all day. At times, another machine with a hydraulic pecker attachment was needed to break the stone in the drain lines to get the correct fall. By the end of the day, the drainage was two thirds installed.

Day 7 - saw incredible time lost trying to install drain lines at the back of the 9th. The pecker was needed to carve lines that were then dug out to the required levels. This took a good part of the day and was followed by the pipe installation and covering with gravel. Once completed, they were then ready to put the 100mm gravel carpet on. This was taken as far as possible before they were ready for the next set of levels.

Green 8 had the remainder of the sub-base cleared to pre-set levels and was now ready for the final levels - drains were marked and then dug out.

Greens 12, 15 and 17 were sprayed in the morning with a preventative fungicide to protect the turf whilst it was on the plastic sheeting; also mixed in the tank was a growth regulator to slow the grass growth down. This was so it wouldn't be too long by the time we could actually get on to cut it. In the afternoon, they were sprayed with Dew Cure. This allows the dew to slip from the leaf blade into the base of the turf, helping keep the profile damp and the leaf blade dry. This also helps with disease resistance.

Day 8 - saw the return of the turfing crew which would now be on site for eleven days. Their start to the day was to final prep the 4th green, levels were taken, an organic fertiliser put onto the rootzone before the final rake. Once this was completed, the the turf was rolled back out onto the green surface.

The remainder of the rootzone was applied to the 3rd; this was now ready for final preparation, along with the 5th. Once this was finished, the slew operator moved over to shape the spoil piles alongside the 5th. This was then seeded.

The gravel carpet was finished on the 9th green and then the operator moved to start the core-out of the 16th green. During this time, the final sub-base levels were installed on the 8th followed by the drainage and a start to the gravel carpet.

We are slightly ahead of schedule!

Day9 Turf almost completed at the 4th greenDay 9 - saw the completion of the 4th - the turf is back on and looks good! The 8th gravel carpet and levels were finished ready for rootzone.

The 9th green was now ready for turfing and the turf was lifted from the 17th green.

The core-out on the 16th took some time as the crew hit some bedrock along the left hand side of the green.

Day 10 - saw some overnight rain making things tricky for the sub-base levels and drainage installation on the 16th. Slow progress was made but, eventually, the two tasks were completed, ready for the gravel carpet. Other progress was good with installation of the outfall drain on the 8th along with the installation of the rootzone layer.

Other progress saw the 9th green turfed down; on this green we swapped the turf from the 8th that was a little delicate when it was lifted.

Putting it onto the 9th green was the better option (in my opinion) to get the best results. The 9th gets a lot more light and air circulation. This will give the turf the best possible chance of a good recovery! The turf from the 9th would go back on the 8th.

Other progress saw the core-out of the sub-base on the 17th green. Surprise, surprise it was rocky again!

Day 11 - saw a wet start, with 13mm of rain the previous evening. Things were a little sticky under foot, but work proceeded. Progress was made on the 8th green, with levels checked and amended where necessary and turf rolled before the heavy rain stopped all work for the day.

The rain has come at a timely interval for hauling materials as most of the crew, bar two, were now on their three day break, leaving the turfing crew here to catch up. This would reduce damage to tracks and hopefully allow time for the ground to dry over the predicted good weather for the weekend.

There was also progress in the other areas in this short period of time. The gravel carpet on the 16th was almost completed, the sub-base cleared out on the 17th and some well needed drainage inserted in the 14th fairway.

As already mentioned, the heavy rain put pay to everything and, if anyone needed convincing that this was the correct way to go with regards to draining the greens, then they needed to look no further than all the clay based greens that were yet to be changed. They were flooded in minutes, whereas the greens that had been completed were nice and firm with no standing water!

Day 12 - saw the weather still not good for any type of construction work! The small gang that was left finished the drainage on the 14th fairway. Following this, they continued as far as the gravel on the 16th green would allow before eventually calling time and heading off home for a well-deserved weekend break.

The turfing crew were here all weekend, giving them time to catch up! They managed to complete the 8th green, bringing the total to three greens now fully turfed, and they prepped the 3rd ready to turf the following morning.

It was expected that some turf will need to be taken from the small practice chipping green and surround at some time during the project. Taking this turf first would mean we may not have to lift any turf from green 2a.

Day 13 - saw the return of some good weather. This would give us a much better chance to get the project completed on time. We had already lost two half days on construction and one half day on turfing due to the rain. Day 13 was a good drying day. The turfing crew were here all day and managed to get the 3rd green turfed and some of the final prep on the 5th.

Wire netting was placed in front of the greens that were seen to be in danger of stray golf balls landing on them. The last thing we needed was golfers walking all over the newly turfed greens retrieving balls.

Day 14 - saw the good weather continue - it was a cold start at 6.00am with all the stars visible as far as the eye could see. I even had to put the heater on in the Land Rover! Autumn had arrived!

The turfing crew got off to a good start and, by the end of the day, the green was complete. Five greens are now fully turfed and awaiting irrigation installment on some and drainage outlets on others.

The 4th and 9th greens had their first light roll and came up very well.

Spraying of greens 12 and 15 with dew dispersant also took place, ready for lifting the turf.

Day 15 - saw the return of all crews, and major work started again. The completion of the gravel carpet on the 16th led to the import of rootzone.

This took all day and good progress was made, with only approximately a third of the green left to complete before final levels and turfing.

The second excavation crew achieved final sub-base levels and installed the drainage in an extremely rocky base. The turfing crew worked hard, lifting the 12th green along with three quarters of the 15th. The 15th is to have some alterations to the left-hand side of the green and the surround due to the excessive problem with water holding here, so more turf will need to be removed.

The third excavation crew got to work on the 12th sub-base. On excavation, it became apparent why the back half of the highest green on the course was so wet. The sub-base consisted of pure clay - almost totally impermeable!

Day16 The 4th green rolled with a Turf Iron and hand cut at 8mmDay 16 - saw the start of what was first thought to be a good day for progress. The weather was supposed to be fine, but cloudy. The first couple of hours set off really well, until the first load of rootzone arrived! Two loads had to be rejected as it had not been mixed. One load had been tipped, so this had to be segregated, whilst the other load was returned to Cheshire. The tipped load was left free of charge and will be used to renovate tracks etc.

The construction went well, with the completion of the rootzone layer on the 16th and final levels put in. Turf stripping at 15, 11 and 14 was well under way.

The drainage on the 17th was completed, along with the gravel carpet. Rootzone was brought in but, due to the weather, transporting stopped to reduce track damage. The 12th saw the completion of the sub-base, the drainage installed and the gravel carpet started. The 15th was started with the sub-base underway.

Later in the afternoon, the 4th green was rolled with the turf iron and this showed a major improvement to the surface levels.

The rain was a hindrance for about an hour but, overall, another good day at the office.

Day 17 - another day of hard work; all crews are definitely earning their money! Today saw the final preparation of the 16th with the inclusion of Sustane 4:6:4, as has been applied under the turf on all greens so far. Turf was cut and lifted at 14 and 18 also.

Work on the 17th green saw the final levels of rootzone installed ready for final preparation and levels.

The 15th proved another difficult green with a massive amount of rock at the front and also some at the back, which was surprising! Some of it was extremely hard; the pecker had to be used again!

The 12th green had similar problem earlier, but only at the front as the back of the green had plenty of clay. The gravel carpet and levels were completed and the rootzone laid on top.

Measurements were set out for the upgrade of the 15th medal tee and the 11th Ladies and general play tee. Work started on scraping back the turf ready for the infill used from the core out of the 11th and 14th greens - waste not want not.

Day18 New 300 m2 tee going in at the 15th holeDay 18 - a very productive day. The completion of the rootzone layer at the 12th started the ball rolling. The core out took place with the excavated materials imported into the construction of the new 15th tee base. Once this started, the materials taken from the core-out on 14 were also moved to this area, with a shaper on this from about 1.00pm.

Very good progress was made all around with the completion of the sub-base and levels on 11, three-quarters of the same on green 14 and at least half of the sub-base completed on the new tee. The rootzone layer at the 15th was almost complete at the end of play for the day. The 14th green was found to be extremely rocky.

Day 19 - began with the completion of the rootzone layer on the 15th green. This wasn't the end of the work on and around this green, as it was the only one that needed a significant change to help water shed from the very flat surface. The major changes were to the surround at the back left. This shed water onto the green and then helped retain it along the left hand side. It had less than 0.5% fall from the back of the green to the front - the minimum recommendation is at least 1%.

To achieve this, without altering the green too much, it was decided that the best way was to hollow out the back left bank and allow the water to flow down into the hollow. Whilst doing this, it was thought best to re-shape this area and keep the difficulty of the return chip when the ball had rolled over the bank into the gully. Once the bank was hollowed, it would reduce the difficulty of our S.I. 1 hole. So, the hollow will be made deeper to compensate. This work would increase the time to complete this green, but it would be worth it in the end!

Work on the other greens was ongoing, with the completion of sub-base and drainage on greens 11 and 14. The gravel carpet was also completed on the 11th, now awaiting the rootzone layer.

The greens that have been turfed were coming along well, with 3, 4, 8 and 9 all having had their first cut at a height of 8mm. They were all lightly rolled at least four times with a hand mower and then double cut. Greens 3 and 4 also had the Turf Iron across them and look very good. Green 5 has been rolled four times and would receive a cut in the near future. Green 16 needed to settle and root before any treatment could be attempted.

Overall progress is very good at present and I am pleasantly surprised.

Day20 Re shaping at the side of the 15th green to allow surface water run offDay 20 - Another day goes by and the progress improves with the completion of the surrounds shaping at the 15th green. I believe it will enhance the green. A great deal of time and effort, with a very skilled operator, went into this.

The 14th green was finally completed with gravel and the start of the core-out on 18 leaves only the 1st and 10th to go. They were sprayed with preventative fungicide, along with the remaining greens in play. The 5th green had its first cut at 8mm and, on checking the root and grass growth at the 16th, that wouldn't be far behind. With the start of the core-out at the 18th green, this began the reconstruction of the 11th tee as the spoil from 18 and 10 would be used to build this.

Day 21 - started as it meant to go on; there had been some rain overnight and the course was damp. It was decided that work could continue with a little care and thought. Some progress was made with the completion of the sub-base core-out on the 18th green and some levels were achieved; the rootzone was going on well on the 11th green until the heavens opened around noon. From this point, it was decided to call it a day with regards to construction. The track in the range was starting to get muddy and that would lead to contamination of materials on the greens.

Taking the positives from the day, I carried out a course inspection around 2.30pm; on passing the 1st green it was already flooded. I continued the inspection around the rest of the front nine holes to find all the new greens performing as expected; firm and dry. No water pushing up underfoot at all, and no standing water. On reaching the notoriously wet 8th green at around 2.55pm (by this time, the rainfall had reached 9mm in just three hours), the bunker had plenty of water in it, but the green was firm and dry. I then proceeded to walk back to the 1st green, reaching it around 3.05pm to find the bunker and green flooded.

Day 22 - The day started well until the dreaded rain appeared. All hauling stopped for an hour. After 17mm of rain on Sunday, things became a little sticky again. Trying to get the sub-base levels and drains into the 18th green took an age. But, with a little patience and a couple of haul route changes, things were back on track.

Overall progress was good; all teams back on site which saw the 10th green stripped of turf, the 1st green half stripped. The core-out of the 10th followed this, and the 11th green was completed to rootzone layer and a small amount started on the 14th.

The drainage on the 14th fairway seemed to be working, the hollow was dry and, on inspection, there was a small amount of water at the pipe end in the inspection chamber at the soakaway.

The tracking has increased and there will be some repair work to do, but nothing serious and it was expected. So far, we have come off pretty well with regards to damage.

Day 23 - The weather took a turn for the better today and good progress was made all round. The completion of the turf lift at the final green (1st) has now enabled the turfing crew to be able to concentrate on final preparation on the remaining greens and get the turf back on!

Today saw the light at the end of the tunnel with regards to greens construction. The shaper and dumper driver moved to the 1st green, this being the last green to construct out of the grand total of fourteen. There is more work to complete, but getting the greens completed and turf back on was always the primary target. This will leave the irrigation, drainage outfalls and soakaways, tees 11 and 15, and then snagging.

The 14th was completed today to rootzone layer and the rootzone halfway through on the 18th green. The drainage was almost completed on the 10th green.

Today was also the tour of works for the membership. A few members turned out and asked some really good questions. It's always good to find out what they are interested in, and I think they enjoyed the morning.

Day24 Setting out the irrigation spacing for the 4th greenDay 24 - The start to the day was awful; it was dry at 6.00am but, by 7.00am, it was lashing down and continued to do so for the next four hours. This brought a total of 8mm of rain in this period and completely stopped everything, apart from setting out the sprinkler spacings for the new irrigation rings for selected greens.

It was time to sit and wait. The weather was set to change at around 11.00am. Midday came and went. By 12.30pm, the sun was out and the wind was up. After giving it a little time, we inspected and changed a few haul routes and managed to get started.

Good progress was made after a poor start. The 18th green was completed to the rootzone layer, the gravel carpet completed on the 10th green and we carried on for a while in the dark to move the piles of rootzone around the 10th green. The sub-base was completed on the 1st, and the 15th green was almost completely turfed.

Day25 Root growth on the 4th green 15 days after turfing!Day 25 - another wet start to the day, with the weather looking unsettled for the next few days. The main construction work was nearly over and, whilst there had been minor track damage, I always expected there would be some repair work after the job, but it's not going to be too much.

With some strategic replanning and haul routes changed, things were on the move again. The turfing crew had a good day with the completion of the 15th green; and the 12th green wasn't far away. The rootzone import to the 10th green continued and an outfall drain on the 1st was excavated and installed.

During all of this, the 16th green had its first roll with a hand mower and then cut. The 8th and 9th greens were rolled with the turf iron and root samples were taken on greens 3 and 4. The roots were developing well, with at least 75mm of root growth on the 4th green in 15 days.

Day 26 - with a dry start to the day, work started promptly. Most of the construction crew had gone home for their three days off. Two of the crew stayed and finished the rootzone layer on the 10th green and then switched to the gravel carpet on the 1st. By the end of their shift, the 1st gravel carpet was almost completed.

The irrigation crew made a start at the 4th green, cutting the green drainage outfall, and what a tidy job they made of it! They also made a start on the irrigation, channelling the line at the back of the green.

The turfing crew worked over the weekend and made some real progress, with the completion of both the 11th and 12th greens.

LongAshton Turf2The new greens were sprayed with a fungicide. Most of them were fine, but the 9th and the 16th were showing small signs of fusarium; the wet and mild weather not helping!

Day 27 - another day of poor weather for soil preparation. Each time the rootzone was fluffed up ready to turf, a light shower would set things back again! Some progress was made though, and the 11th green was completed. There was a small amount of remedial work to the front right-hand side of the 14th green to allow water to move across the surface and off the green. This area used to hold a small puddle. A small amount of turf was rolled out on the 14th green.

Overall, great progress has been made to get this far in the twenty-seven days of the project and we were still ahead of schedule.

Day 28 - the weather certainly seems to have taken a turn for the worse. Not much more construction work to do, with what I would consider minimal damage. There was always going to be some areas that were vulnerable to heavy construction traffic as the golf course has a few tight spots. The other problem with the logistics of getting the machinery around was that the course was still open for members and guests to play golf. This was overcome with great efficiency in my opinion. Great planning all round.

Although there was 4mm of rain overnight, the turfing crew managed to crack on! The weather was poor, but not as bad as had been forecast.
The 14th green was completed with turf, the 18th green was final prepped and around a third of the turf rolled out. The 14th and 18th greens turf was swapped (like the 8th and 9th) to give the turf from 18 a better chance out in the open.

LongAshton Turf3Day 29 - the day got off to a wet start, with 8mm of rain falling in a very short period. This delayed all works for a while. Once the rain had stopped and the wind got up a little, it was decided that work could continue. The hauling route was boarded to reduce wheel rutting to the 1st green. This allowed the gravel carpet to be completed. Once this was in place and all the final levels on this layer were completed, it was time to import the rootzone. Whilst this was going on, the turfing crew continued to turf the 18th green.

Good progress was made with minimal surface damage. The 18th green was completed with turf, whilst preparation work started on the 10th green. The team working on the 1st green pressed on and, by the end of the day, was two thirds completed with the rootzone layer.

Unfortunately, no progress at all was made with regards to the irrigation work.

Day 30 - the rain was with us again! It seemed like we completed the main bulk of the project just in time. The 1st green construction was completed and required levels achieved, followed by consolidation of the surface, ready for the final preparation before turfing.

LongAshton TurfThe 10th green was prepared and turfed. This left a small area at the top of the green short of turf due to some natural wastage (and, may I say, an extremely small amount in my opinion and M J Abbotts' estimation). This turf will be taken from the flat chipping green so that we can have the full use of green 2a this winter. Due to the weather, this task took much longer than the turfing crew anticipated but, by the end of the day, all turf was down and plastic sheeting cleared up.

The irrigation crew managed to finish the drain line at the 4th green followed by some track clean-up work.

Greens 3, 4, 5, 8, 9 and 16 had another cut and roll, whilst 17 had its first light roll with a hand mower.

We had some torrential rain storms during the day whilst I was hand cutting the greens. Usually, at this time of the year, after that amount of rain, we wouldn't entertain walking or playing on quite a few of our greens, let alone cut them! There wasn't a drop of surface water on any of them. This was great news! Also, via twitter in the afternoon, a major competitor to Long Ashton tweeted that they were open on 18 temporary greens due to waterlogging!!!

Day 31 - started with rain, the forecast was for this to blow over around 10.00am and the sun to come out. The plans for the day were to continue with the construction of the 15th tee, finish turfing the 10th green and start the 1st. Irrigation also to go in at the 4th green. The Met Office actually got it spot on, the sun came out and the wind got up. Unfortunately the damage was done with regards to the 15th tee; it was just too sticky to work on. The spoil heaps at the 12th and 15th were shaped and had a light covering of recycled rootzone and will be seeded with a wildflower mix, where appropriate.

The turfing continued and it was found that the back of the 10th green was short of turf. We knew this may happen on some greens, so it was decided to take turf, where needed, from the following green. This then meant that there was only one green at the end requiring turf from the chipping green. Approximately thirty square metres was required to fill out the back of the 10th green. As mentioned, this was taken from the chipping green.

The plan was to harvest the chipping green first and then green 2a if more turf was required. Fortunately this wasn't the case.

We have harvested turf from our own greens for the same reason that we re-used the greens turf. Firstly, for better establishment as it was used to this environment, secondly to reduce the chance of nematode issues.

The remainder of the day was spent on preparing the 1st green and then turfing it. We knew that there was enough turf to complete this green without harvesting from the chipping green as all the original turf was still there. None had been removed to help fill other greens.

Day 32 - started wet under foot, making all construction difficult. The main target was to get the turfing completed on the back of the 1st green and the turf lifted from the 10th tee before the turfing crew went home for their well-deserved three day break.

This was achieved and allowed work to carry on with the construction and elevation of the 10th tee.

All greens are now constructed and turf back on - there are snagging areas around greens and small amounts of shaping to finish, but the main thing is that the turf is on and will start to root down.

The base was put in on the 10th tee and tracked and sealed to stop the clay from turning into a boggy mess. Work continued on the irrigation, with the completion of the 4th green, installing four Rainbird 750 series sprinklers around the green and two Rainbird 700 series sprinklers on the approaches of each green.

T LongAshton AbbottsTeamhis was followed with the connection of the drain from the front of the 5th green to an open outlet in the bank to the right of the green. All open outlets will be fitted with a vermin grill to stop animals living in the drainage system of the green.

Late in the day it was dry enough to look at importing the rootzone layer onto the 15th tee. A start was made on this. Good progress was made throughout the day.

During the day, we were visited by the President and Head Greenkeeper of Bristol and Clifton Golf Club. They asked to look at the construction of the greens. Unfortunately, I had to decline, telling them that all the construction was finished and turf back on all greens. They couldn't believe that the project had been completed so quickly. They still came over to look, stating that it was an impressive job and something that they had been looking at for years and now needed to revisit.

LongAshton GreenkeepersTo sum up the project, M J Abbott have carried out a wonderful job, I couldn't recommend them highly enough. All the crews that I have worked with have been efficient, hardworking, tidy and conscientious in every aspect of the job. Graham Humphries, Steve Briggs and Mike Heath and all the M J Abbott staff have worked really hard on this project, making my task so much easier.

I couldn't have project managed without the support of my Deputy Course Manager John Bachelor and the rest of the team (Mark Cox, Peter Baynton, Allan Smith and Tom Wright) who kept the course in great condition during a difficult period. I would also like to thank my General Manager, Victoria Rose, the Chairman, Ken Trowbridge, and the whole of the committee for all the work carried out to get this project off the ground and, of course, for their continued support. I should also like to thank the membership for voting to carry out such a large project.


The Abbotts finishers l-r: Steven Morris, David Gillen, Graeme Black (Foreman), Declan Coolahan, James Braithwaite and Kyle Carruthers

The Long Ashton greenkeeping team l-r: Peter Baynton (Greenkeeper/Mechanic), Mark Cox (Assistant Greenkeeper), John Bachelor (Deputy Course Manager), Allan Smith (Assistant Greenkeeper), Tom Wright (Assistant Greenkeeper), James Braithwaite (Course Manager)

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