Abbeydale Golf Club



Golf Course Policy Document

This document will be used by the Board of Directors and the Green Committee to ensure that the needs of Abbeydale Golf Club and its facilities are met.

Section A – Course Administration Policy.

Section B – Course Maintenance Policy.

Section C – Course Development Programme.

Section D – Environmental Management Plan.


The overall aim of this policy is to ensure that all aspects of the Abbeydale Golf Club golf course and associated grounds are maintained and presented in the best possible condition throughout the year, so that it is recognised as being one of the best courses in the area. Also, to ensure there is a structured and clear plan for the ongoing improvement of the course, aimed at enhancing the enjoyment of members and visitors to Abbeydale Golf Club, by providing a fair test for golfers of all abilities.

Section A

Course Administration Policy

1. Roles and Responsibilities

  1. The Board

The Board is ultimately responsible for the overall management of

Abbeydale Golf Club, including policy, forward planning and financial management.

1.2       The Green Committee

Chairman of Green                                                                                 

Vice Chairman of Green

Head Greenkeeper

A balanced representation from the club membership

The Green Committee will meet bimonthly. Additional meetings will be arranged if required. The Chair of Green will also hold a weekly meeting with, the Head Green keeper, Deputy Green keeper, Golf Manager & Golf Professional/s.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  • To Produce a Course Management Policy Document which should serve as an agreement between the Board of Directors and Green staff detailing how the course is to be managed, the expected standards of maintenance and presentation, and the future development plans for the golf course.
  • To set a budget on an annual basis to meet the aims and policies contained in the Course Management Policy.
  • To produce, within the financial capability of the club, a ‘rolling programme’ for the replacement and purchase/lease of new machinery, to meet future requirements.
  • To devise a rolling course improvement programme.
  • To ensure that any changes to the course e.g. woodland management, new greens, new bunkers etc, are in the long term interest of the club and its members.
  • To ensure that the staffing levels and training are adequate to maintain the course in the condition and to the standards set out in the Course Management Policy.
  • To ensure that the club discharges its obligations to meet Health & Safety Legislation.
  • To have in place a robust mechanism for communicating and educating members on policies and decisions made by the Green Committee.
  • Have a clear responsibilities laid down in regard to closure of the course and its re opening.
  • Policy to define the extent of course preparation for competition days.
  1.       Role of Chairman of Green
  • To liaise on behalf of the Board with the Head Greenkeeper on all matters relating to the maintenance of the golf course.
  • To oversee the maintenance of the course and ensure that standards are maintained and policy implemented.
  • To report to the Board on matters affecting the course.
  • To call meetings of the Green Committee at regular intervals.
  • To advise the Competitions Committee of the existence of such playing or other condition on the course which require protection by local rules or otherwise.
  • To oversee the winter programme in accordance with the Course Development Plan, and any other changes to the course authorised by the Board.
  • To advise the Board of the staffing level and training needs required to maintain standards and implement the Course Administration and Maintenance Policy.
  1.       Role of Head Greenkeeper
  • To maintain the course in accordance with the Golf Course Management Policy.
  • To manage the Green keeping staff and to discharge the duties as defined in the Head Greenkeeper job description.
  • To determine the daily work programme and allocate tasks to the Green staff accordingly.
  • To ensure that all Green keeping operations are carried out with due regard to the Health and Safety Policy of the Club.
  • To keep up to date with all developments in Green keeping machinery, and play a key part in the formulation of the capital rolling programme.
  • To liaise with the Chairman of Green, as necessary, on all matters affecting the course.
  • To liaise with the Chairman of Green on administrative and disciplinary matters.
  • To maintain records as necessary.
  • Appraisals

2.        Health and Safety

  • To ensure that the Club’s Health and Safety Policy complies with Government Legislation.
  • To review policy on an annual basis.
  • To ensure that the Green staff wear protective equipment at all times and only undertake work for which they are trained.

3.        Capital Equipment Provision

  • To plan for replacement of capital equipment, machinery upgrading and purchase/lease of new machinery. This will take the form of a five year rolling programme.
  • Likewise, it is recommended that a sum of money is set aside each year for the expressed purpose of funding the rolling capital equipment programme.

4.       Control of Revenue Account Expenditure

  • The greens expenditure budget shall be set at the start of the financial year taking account of previous years spend and any anticipated changes to the spend pattern.
  • Expenditure shall be monitored on a monthly basis. Any variance will be investigated.

5.       Record Keeping

  • Consumables used.
  • Service and repair of machinery.
  • Staff training
  • Any accidents or incidents.

6.      Training

  • Training of the staff should be encouraged by the Club.
  • Staff will be encouraged to attend recognised courses and seminars considered to be of potential benefit to the club and will be allowed time of work, normally, with pay to do so.
  • It shall be condition of employment that trainee staff attend college and successfully pass relevant examinations and assessments.

7.        External Consultants

  • A decision will be taken on an annual basis in regard to advisory visits by a recognised Agronomist or Course Consultant.

8.         Communication with the Membership

  • Members must be informed of any application of a chemical substance with a hazard to health.
  • Members will be informed where possible of any course maintenance operation that is likely to disrupt play e.g. verti draining or hollow coring.
  • The contents of the winter programme should be communicated to the Club members.

  • Members should be made aware of the Clubs arrangements to discharge its obligations to Health and Safety Legislation.
  • Members should be made aware that in order to maintain the course to a desired standard there will be times when work has to be undertaken that causes inconvenience and disruption to play, e.g. aeration and top dressing.
  • The contents of Agronomy reports and similar reports should be communicated to the members.
  • Consideration should be given to holding a Green Forum for members.

9. Course Development

  • A five year programme for Course Development should be drawn up by the Green Committee and endorsed by the Board.

10. Competition Days

  • The Head Greenkeeper will be provided with an annual fixture list and it is his responsibility to ensure that satisfactory arrangements are made for all competitions held at the Club.

11. Use of Pesticides

  • Pesticides and fungicides will be used as necessary to maintain the health and appearance of the turf.
  • All chemicals applied to the golf course will be applied by certified trained staff, using up to date modern turf management and pest control strategies.

12. Winter Golf

  • Whilst it is the aim of the Golf Club to offer year round golf to its members, there will be occasions when the course is deemed unfit to play. A ‘Traffic Light System’ will be used daily to indicate the course status. The Head Greenkeeper, Deputy Head Greenkeeper or senior member of Green staff will be the sole arbiters in the decision.
  • With regard to the main greens, when possible a selection of greens will be kept open, i.e. the naturally drier ones or those less susceptible to frost. Temporary greens will be prepared in advance of possible use, to present a decent surface on those occasions when the main greens are out of commission.
  • Measures to control traffic movement around the course will be taken during the winter months as deemed necessary, which members must observe at all times.
  • Use of buggies will be determined on a daily basis subject to ground conditions.

13. Complaints

  • All complaints and comments should be made to the Golf Manager or Chairman of Green.
  • When appropriate, such complaints shall be requested in writing and brought before the Greens Committee for their consideration.

Section B

Course Maintenance Policy                     

General Overview

Much essential work has to be completed before certain time each day, and within certain timescales during the season. As far as possible any restrictions to the golf course will be kept to an absolute minimum. During special instances a policy of closing of individual holes/greens may be adopted, in order to permit uninterrupted work to be carried out. Any such program will be notified to the members well in advance. It is the insistence of the Board, the Chairman of Green and the Head Greenkeeper to plan course work well in advance. Members will be kept informed via e-mails and the golf club web site of any essential work and restrictions to play. The co - operation and understanding of Members will, however, be required if the Club is to maintain the present high standards. Green staff have priority on the golf course at all times.

1. Greens

  1. Maintenance objectives

The aim of maintenance is to provide firm, receptive and true greens that remain playable throughout the year and are economically and environmentally sustainable.

  1. Promoting a healthy covering of grass on the greens.

Annual meadow grass is the predominant species on all greens. Although the long-term objective is to introduce some fine bent grass into the sward, which will aid disease resistance, this cannot be done too quickly, nor at the expense of the meadow grass. The maintenance programme will be adapted to ensure that both grass species thrive. Over seeding will take place in September when ground conditions are warm enough for seed germination.

  1. Fertilizer and irrigation

The policy is to use suitable fertilisers throughout the year, based on soil analysis. The irrigation system, coupled with hand watering will be used to maintain healthy grass and achieve target moisture content.

1.4 Aeration and top dressing

The greens will be verti-drained in April to relieve winter compaction. Thereafter they will be tinned at regular intervals with 8mm solid tines or chisel tines during the summer months. In winter they will be deep tined to a minimum depth of  12mm, followed by deep slitting in November and December. Top dressing will be applied at the rate deemed suitable by the Head Greenkeeper to achieve a successful putting surface.

  1. Height of cut and surface refinement

The target heights of cut for the greens will be:-

Summer           3.0 – 3.5 mm

Winter             5.0 – 5.5 mm

The greens will be ultra groomed and or brushed on a regular basis to reduce ‘puffiness’ at the surface and therefore improve ball roll. The greens will be cut by triplex machine or by hand mower.

  1. Green Ironing

Weather permitting, the greens will be ironed on Competition days and special events. Also, on the days where the Head Greenkeeper decides not to cut in order to give the greens a rest.

  1. Hole changing

The holes will be changed twice a week during the main playing season and once a week in the winter. Also, before all handicap qualifying events the holes will be changed.

  1. Use of fungicides

Fungicides will be sprayed to combat against disease ingress as and when

required, and applied in accordance with manufacturers instructions.

1.8 Performance Management During the playing season progress on the greens will be closely monitored and performance managed using the following key performance indicators:

Indicator                                      Method                        Target      Frequency

1.Reliability (Trueness)                        Green Tester              8/10                 Weekly

2.Speed                                     Stimpmeter                 9-10ft             Weekly

3.Moisture content                    Moisture meter           Average 25%    Weekly

4.Firmness/Receptivity            Clegg Hammer           80-100 G           Fortnightly

5.Soil Samples                          External                                             Annual

6.Grass species content            External                                             Annual

Results will be published monthly and an explanation given for any variance.


2.1 Maintenance objectives

The main aim is to provide a firm, level and well grassed teeing platform on each hole.

2.2 Maintenance programme

The tees will be cut by triplex mower, approx. 3 times a week. They will be scarified twice during the playing season when growth is strong enough for a quick recovery. In the autumn the tees will be verti-drained and top dressed. The tees will be fertilized in March with a slow release granular fertilizer, and then liquid fed as required during the rest of the year.

2.3 Height of cut

      The height of cut will be 10mm.

2.4 Divot marks

The tees will be divotted daily. In addition all tees will be over seeded twice a year.

2.5 Movement of tees

The tee markers will be moved around the tee areas daily, so ensuring wear is      distributed evenly. For qualifying events the white/red tee markers will be set up in the morning before play begins.      

2.6 Strategy for using alternative routes to tees to minimise wear.

During the winter months alternative traffic routes will be used. These routes will      be guided by the use of white lines and signs.

3. Fairways

3.1 Agreement on shaping and contouring of fairways

The shaping of all the fairways will be agreed at the beginning of each golf season   and reviewed annually.

3.2 Agreement on the cosmetic look of the fairways.

The fairways will be block cut.

3.3 Height of cut

      The fairways will be cut at 13mm.

3.4 Assessment of weed and worm control

      This will be reviewed on an annual basis.

3.5 Removal of leaves

      During the autumn the fairways will be kept free of leaves.

3.6 Aeration

The fairways in the autumn will be de compacted using a imants shockwave deep aeration machine.

4. First Cut

4.1 Maintenance objectives

The purpose of the first cut is to punish a wayward shot. This should be achieved being mindful of the searching for golf balls and the impact on the speed of play.

4.2 Height of cut

The first cut will be cut at a height of 20mm, and cut approx. 2 times per week. This height is sensible because it allows for a reasonable expectation that a ball will be found.

4.3 Weed Spraying

       This will be reviewed on an annual basis.

5. Bunkers

5.1 Frequency of raking

The bunkers will be mechanically raked every other day and always part of competition presentation. On other occasions, when not being mechanically raked they will be foot printed.

5.2 Monitor sand levels.

In early March all sand levels in the bunkers will be checked for even distribution and additional sand added where necessary. Any new sand installed in a bunker will be soaked and vibratory compacted to a depth of 100mm.

5.3 General bunker upkeep

Bunker fringes will be edged and trimmed to a height that will permit a ball to be gathered into the hazard. The edges will be trimmed every 7-10 days.

5.4 Bunker rakes

       Each bunker will have its own rake, 2 - 4 rakes for the larger bunkers.

5.5 Bunker sand

Bunker sand is an emotive issue that most clubs have trouble with. We currently use a sand, ‘Mansfield 35’, which has good colour and compaction properties.

6. Collars

6.1 General maintenance

The collars around the green will be cut with the triple mower 2- 3 times per week. The collar is approx. 2 triple mower widths wide and is cut at a height of 10mm. The collar is scarified twice a year and is sprayed for weeds as required.

7. Green Approach

7.1 General maintenance

The approach to the green is cut by triplex mower approx. 3 times per week. It  varies in size and width, and is cut to blend the fairway in with the green. The height of cut is 8mm. The approach is scarified and tinned twice per year. It is fertilized throughout the year. Weed spraying of the approach is achieved annually. Watering will be as weather conditions dictate.

8 Native Rough

8.1 General maintenance

Any areas outside of the cut rough identified as being well off line, will be left in their natural state, for ecological and practical reasons.

9. Trees

9.1 General maintenance

The cut areas under the trees will be cut approx. every 10 days with a ride on rotary mower. The height of cut will be 40mm.

10. Practice Ground

10.1 General maintenance

The practice ground will be maintained to a high standard. It will be cut approx. 2 times per week. The practice tee will be cut at 10mm, and the practice green maintained to the same standard as the main greens out on the golf course.

11. Paths

11.1 General maintenance

The paths around the golf course will be maintained and kept tidy. They will be cleaned of debris and re surfaced with red shale as required. In addition they will be sprayed for weeds, approx. 2 times per year and the drain channels kept clean. During the winter all log edges will be replaced if they are broken or deemed unsafe.

12. Woodland Management

12.1 General maintenance

A strategic approach helps to understand tree stock and the role it plays. Trees alongside fairways or in the rough will determine golfing challenge on some holes and need to be preserved through sound management. Nevertheless there is compelling evidence that trees do need to be managed to allow light in and air to circulate in order to allow the grasses to grow and reduce the incidence of disease. The Green Committee review the woodland management programme on an annual basis.

Section C

Course Development Programme

 A rolling long term plan has been formulated for Golf Course Development projects and has taken into consideration:

  • The need for green drainage to meet objectives.
  • Upgrading of tee areas.
  • Installation or upgrading of pipe drainage.
  • Upgrading bunkers to meet objectives.
  • Development of other infrastructure i.e. greenkeeper compound facilities.

The plan is a list of proposed projects to be completed on an annual basis but with enough flexibility to allow for movement of individual projects forward or back a year in accordance with limitations of weather and finance.

The time frame for actions detailed will be reviewed annually and looked in detail up to six years in advance. Developments of over six years distant will be highlighted but only developed in detail once they become a practical project. The time frame for actions will 3 – 6 years.

Members will be informed of development projects as and when they have been agreed by the Board of Directors.

Section D

Environmental Management Plan

Environmental planning

valuation and planning helps Abbeydale Golf Club to balance the demands of golf with its responsibilities to the natural environment. An initial site assessment, followed by yearly review, helps the golf club to responsibly care for the land, water, wildlife and natural resources upon which the course is sustained.

Wildlife and habitat management

Implementing environmental management practices enhances existing natural habitats and landscaping on the golf course to promote wildlife and biodiversity conservation. Consideration must be given to identifying core habitats, such as mature woodlands, wetlands, or stream corridors. Furthermore it is paramount that the dominant native plant communities are identified and preserved.

Wildlife habitat enhancement

The key objectives in delivering wildlife habitat enhancement on the golf course include:

  • Maintaining natural wildlife habitats in a minimum of 50% of the golf course.
  • Connect small and large natural areas as much as possible to improve wildlife movement throughout the golf course and from the course to neighbouring natural areas.
  • Maintaining or planting varying heights of plants, from ground cover to shrub and tree layers in habitat areas such as woodland areas, and allowing herbaceous plants to thrive in tall grass areas.
  • Leave dead trees standing when they do not pose a safety danger.
  • Maintaining a water source for wildlife with aquatic plants.
  • Maintaining nesting boxes, when appropriate, to enhance nesting sites for birds or bats.

Habitat protection

The key objectives include:

  • Protecting wildlife habitats, and any important plants, from disturbance by golfers and maintenance machinery.
  • Avoid disturbing known bird nests or den sites until after the young have dispersed.
  • Restoring degraded habitats, such as eroded slopes, soil and polluted water.


It is important to communicate all environmental goals, objectives and projects to the membership and wider public. This can be achieved by regular updates about progress and accomplishments.

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