Influx of new members as course conditions improve at Warley Park Golf Club
New members are joining Warley Park Golf Club near Brentwood in Essex as a direct result of the improved playing conditions following the club's purchase of new turf maintenance equipment from local Ransomes Jacobsen dealer Ernest Doe and Son Ltd. Ransomes Jacobsen is a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company.
Steve Green, a director of the family-owned proprietary club, appointed a new course manager, Domenic Rodgers, in August and the transformation since his arrival has been significant.
"The course has suffered from various problems over the past few years and it was obvious that we needed to take action to return it to its previously high standard." said Steve. "We appointed Domenic and he drew up a five-year course improvement plan which included significant investment in new machinery. We looked at what was on offer and went with a £170,000 package from Ernest Doe which included Jacobsen fairway mowers, tees and surrounds mowers, a bunker rake, a Cushman turf utility vehicle with Turfco top dresser and a Gambetti sprayer plus other ancillary equipment. The improvement in the condition of our 27-holes has been remarkable in such a short space of time and is a contributory factor to an increase in membership this autumn!"
Domenic Rodgers, who was previously head greenkeeper at Channels Golf Club near Chelmsford, is relishing the task and has the full backing of the management team and, most importantly, the members. His first task was to draw up a wish-list of equipment and agree a five year rolling investment plan. After negotiations, he decided on the Ernest Doe package with a significant amount of Ransomes Jacobsen equipment.
"My aim is to introduce a lot more definition into the course with more layers in the presentation", he said. "The Fairway 305 is an excellent mower, easy to use, simple to set up and gives a superb finish. The TR3 has given us the definition I wanted around the greens and tees and on the approaches, while the AR3, with its articulated rotary decks has allowed us to sculpt the semi-rough."
Since August Domenic and his team of six have undertaken two major projects: the first was to rebuild the back half of a green, known to members as Old Slippery. It was almost impossible to play, but they have raised the sub-structure by two metres, installed drainage and replaced the irrigation pipes and sprinklers. It will be ready for the new season in 2007. The second project was resolving a badger problem on one of the tees, which has been an on-going issue for the past two years. After obtaining permission from DEFRA they moved the tee further away from the sett and sunk chain link fence, two metres below the surface around the tee to prevent access.
Other projects during the winter include levelling a number of tees, renovating bunkers and improving the pathways and buggy paths.
"I'm a great believer in communication and keeping the members informed of what we are doing", he added. "We have a monthly newsletter and it gives me the opportunity to update them on our plans and what we will be doing on the course in the coming months. I'm delighted with the support I've received from everyone here at Warley Park, the Ernest Does team and Matt Wise in particular. The influx of new members, in what is traditionally recognised as a quiet period in the autumn, means we are definitely going in the right direction!"
Ransomes Jacobsen is a subsidiary of Textron Inc., a $10 billion multi-industry company operating in 33 countries with approximately 37,000 employees. The company leverages its global network of aircraft, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO and Greenlee, among others. More information is available at www.textron.com.