On Fri March 22 2019, by Ieva Apsolone
Why Hartsbourne Country Club has some of the best Winter Greens in London
Winter greens often strike fear into the hearts of many a golfer.
Big divots, longer grass than the spring, summer, and autumn months and just general unpredictability can cause us to three-putt more than we normally would (even though in some cases that is not possible).
Due to the weather in the UK, we accept that playing the game in the colder months means putting on the short grass will be tougher than when the greens are in their usual pristine condition of the summer months.
However, that does not mean that playing winter greens has to be a torrid affair, and it shouldn’t be.
One of the many things we do at Hartsbourne Country Club in North London is take pride in the condition of our course throughout the year which is why our winter greens are some of the very best you will play on in the capital in and out of season.
So, what do we do to ensure that you get the most out of your putting game even when the weather decides to take a turn for the worse?
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
For us, preparation is everything and we are always one step ahead of the game when it comes to course condition.
Work for the winter months begins as summer draws to a close and nights begin to draw in.
One of the first things we do is to hammer the greens with the multi core and focus on aeration to punch little holes in the surface that opens up the growing room for our overseeding to provide much better grass coverage even in the colder climes.
However, aeration does more than just provide more growing room for seeds. The holes also help act as a drainage system (as we know we can get a lot of rain in Hertfordshire) and keep the greens as dry as possible.
Our aeration process also ensures we go a little deeper than most to improve overall drainage and promote root growth of the seed lower into the ground. No doubt you have noticed those little holes when playing in winter and now you know why they are there.
Something else that makes our winter greens so special is our attention to detail to verticutting. This helps remove unwanted thatch (unnecessary turf full on grit and other unwanted pieces of soil) and prepare the greens ready for overseeding to achieve that ideal putting surface will strive to play on in winter.
The preparation work is only the beginning of the job as throughout the winter months we spend a lot of time in our waterproofs and thermals ensuring the course (and greens in particular) stay in the best possible condition despite what mother nature may throw at us.
As you would expect, we mow the greens regularly (not everyday like in summer, but more than most to keep the surface short) with a hand mower which ensures there is less damage and wear to the greens maintaining a readable putting surface with impressive roll.
Along with regular cuts, we continue to roll the greens which retains the speed of the surface whilst maintaining our aeration responsibilities and verticutting as and when required for an ultra-smooth putting.
This also helps us prepare for the spring/summer months and keep the greens fresh ready for when the warmer months roll in and the course sees a lot more playing action.
What you can do to help?
One of the biggest damages to the green is pitch marks, we understand that this is part of the game and encourage you to land the ball as close to the pin as possible (obviously), but having an understanding of how to repair a pitch mark properly can make a real difference to the long term quality of the green (especially for those playing behind you).
Speed is of the essence
It is a well-known fact that if you repair a pitch mark within ten to fifteen minutes, the surface will fully repair in less than 72 hours. However, leave it, and it can cause long term damage such as discoloration, and damage to the roots.
The correct method
If you find yourself landing a plum pitch onto the green leaving a mark, the ideal way to repair it is to go into the turf from the side and gently push the grass to the centre of the pitch mark and then tap the grass with the flat of your putter to smooth the surface over.
One thing NOT to do is dig deep down with your pitchfork and pulling up the grass as this will damage the roots and most likely end up killing the grass.
Take advantage of the new rules
The new golf rules that came into effect from the 1st January from the USGA and R&A now work more favourably for green maintenance.
It means that now you are able to wider damage such as shoe damage from spike marks, animal damage (yes it happens) and damage caused by the flagstick (should you choose to remove it rather than leave it in – another new rule).
Whereas before you were unable to repair any of this until after you had played your shot, now you get the benefit of a smooth line and speed up play by getting rid of any deliberations as to what actually caused the damage in the first place.
With the course in full preparation mode ready for spring, now is the ideal time to head to down to the club and see for yourself why our winter greens are some of the best in London.
With 27 holes to play on across the Willows, Fir and Oaks, you will quickly see why we want to make such a song and dance about the pride we take in ensuring every green is kept in the best condition all year long.
If you have played a round this winter then you will know what we mean but if you haven’t, then it’s time to experience Hartsbourne Country Club for yourself.