Our October 2023 Update
We hope you’re enjoying the start of autumn! Here’s our update for October 2023 from the whole team at St Mellons Golf Club.
Update From The Board
Chairmans Report – 6 month update
We the Board, are conscious of the need to be as transparent as possible and pass on important board room decision making to the membership. We normally use this monthly newsletter as our primary means of communication but will also post board room resolutions and other important information such as rule changes and policies into the document folder on V1.
As guardians of the assets and resources of the golf club, we have a duty to report back to you periodically on the general state of play and our performance to date. Please find our review of our efforts over the last 6 months commencing April 2023. We detail below our goals scored, as well as goals conceded in the season so far.
Goals for 6
1) Green fee income – thanks to the new BRS booking system launched in May, we are on target to achieve £90k of revenue for the first six months of the season (April – Sept ). These funds will help to subsidise our membership fees and pay for course improvements.
2) Junior membership – from a start position of near zero active Juniors, we now have over 45 Junior members receiving top class coaching from our professionals. Many of these new members attended finals day along with their parents in what proved to be a very successful and well attended day.
3) Grant funding – we were successful in applying for and securing £10k of funding from Wales Golf to kick start our Junior training. We are currently applying for a further £50k of funding for Academy facilities and all weather paths. You will find details of the planning application for the Academy in the document file on V1.
4) Member loans – this scheme reached its target and has successfully financed the much needed upgrade to the irrigation system. Other schemes will be launched to fund similar important initiatives in the future.
5) Rental income – we will shortly be receiving rental income from the Cricket club for use of a small parcel of land for car parking. This is in addition to income from the former Stewards flat and workshop in the Greenkeepers yard.
6) Communication – a new website has been developed plus weekly and monthly newsletters emailed to members and posted on the club’s website. All the new governance and policy documents are available in the document file on V1.
Goals against 3
1) Membership numbers – although there was a net gain in membership income there was a net loss of 5 full-time members this year. Whilst it is disappointing to lose anyone, it is not unexpected against a trend of nomadic golfing. We are hoping in the future to turn this around and convert the many guests we have had this year into next years members.
2) Feedback – we have received many complaints from members regarding access to the course, especially on a Friday. This one is a bit of a conundrum; Friday midday anywhere is peak time for society bookings and to balance the books we need this valuable income or face increased subscriptions from our full-time members. The board is exploring the possibility of utilising a course marshal recruited from the membership. This would be to police issues such as dress code and etiquette, as well as speed of play when medium and large societies are booked to play – more on this to follow. We have also reviewed the situation with shotgun starts and limited them to very occasional events.
3) Catering profit – this has historically been a loss leader but still disappointing especially when we have so many more visitors to the club. We hope in the future to remedy this by improving the dining experience with new menus and renovations to the clubhouse.
Verdict – Half time. 6 – 3 ahead in the game
A bit of a mixed bag with our goals to date, but generally, we are in a much better place than we were a year ago and are on course to meet our targets and budgets for 2023. Our objectives however remain the same, the provision of a first class golf course with prudent financial management.
Click below to view our Strategic Plan for the coming years:
The board have produced a readable document that details all the decisions made at Board level over the last 12 months. Click below to view.
Furthermore to view our exciting plans for our new Academy practice area. Click the button below to view those plans.
Finally, we regret to announce Toby Hunt will not be renewing his contract with us next year to be our resident PGA Professional. Toby has been associated with SMGC for 20 years and has graduated from a Junior to a Club Champion. Toby was appointed our head pro 2 years ago and has since provided great service and tuition to our members.
Toby has enjoyed considerable success this year in PGA events and wishes to focus on competing at the highest level. It is for this reason we the board have accepted his desire not to renew his annual contract with us as we do not wish to hold back a promising golfers career.
I’m sure Toby will maintain close contact with the club and I’m sure we all wish him well and all success in his future playing career. Toby will be finishing his service on 29 th December 2023 and has assured the board there will be a smooth transition to his successor.
Quiz Time! – You should know the rules of golf – Do you?
Test your golf knowledge with these questions below!
Q1 – A player can’t find his/her ball having played it, so after looking for it for a couple of minutes. The player announces that they will go back and play a provisional ball. Is that allowed?
Q2 – Playing a foursomes game, whilst driving on a particular hole, a player puts the ball out of bounds. Who plays the next ball?
Q3 – A player announces, fearing that they’ve lost their ball, that they’ll play ‘another one’. Is that allowed?
Q4 – Can you lift your ball to identify it?
Q5 – In stroke play a player on their practise swing hits the sand in the bunker. What is the penalty, if any?
Find the answers at the end of this newsletter.
A Message From Our Captains
From Our Mens’ Captain
With the winter fast approaching it’s time we turn our attention to this year’s winter league, as some of you already know we will be trialing a new league system. We are due to start on Sunday 22nd October 9am shotgun start,the first game will a 4BBB, the results will determine where you start on the board, teams will move up & down the board depending on if they win or loose. The winning team will be the team with the most points (not necessarily the team at the top),
The main reason for the trial is the amount of games we lose to the weather, so this way, if we only manage 8 games, there will still be a winner and if games are lost to the weather the fixtures will just roll over.
To register to play in the winter league, we are using the BRS app: –
- Entry into the winter league is £15 per person so you have to make sure your BRS competition purse is topped up.
- To top up your competition purse, go into the app and click the “Top up” button. It will show your current balance and if it is less than £15 you will have to press the blue “Top up” button again, and then select the amount. If you haven’t entered your credit card details, you will be prompted to do so now. You can also top up your BRS competition purse with the Pro Shop or Office.
- Once you have sufficient funds, navigate to Sunday 22nd October.
- Put you and your partner’s name in any vacant slot (so you are either player 1 & 2, or player 3 and 4 in the same time). You will have to make sure that your partner has £15 in their competition purse.
Winter League Rules
1. Cost £30 per pair, money will be used for prizes and a meal at the presentation evening in March (Subs who wish attend the presentation will be charged £10)
2. Better Ball Match play, handicaps taken from the lowest in the group. Maximum handicap Men 20, Ladies 36
3. All matches will be played from the winter mats
4. Games will be a Shotgun Start at 9:00am
5. We will have a pool of substitutes, teams will be allowed there own subs, teams with their own substitutes will not be able to use the pool
6. Games played in the top half table (A,B,C,D) must be played to a outcome with the winners gaining 3pts
7. Games played in the lower half will be for 2pts for a win 1 pt for a draw, in the event of a draw the team on the left will move up the board and the team on the right will move to the left
8. Substitutes, Must play with another member of the original team and cannot play on there own
9. In the event of teams with the same points at the end, position will be determined by a, Head to head b, most wins. c, in the event of more than two teams on the same points, then BB Stableford will decide positions
10. If the course is open then games will be played,
11. If there is a ban on trolleys then games will still be played
12. Failure to turn up without contacting the committee before Sunday may lead to a points reduction will be loss of game
13. Failure to turn up with notice, points will be awarded to the other team
14. All entrants must have at least 5 scoring cards in 2023
If you want to talk to me about any off the above please give me a ring
From Our Ladies’ Captain
Congratulations to all of the ladies and junior girls who played in our club’s Finals Day and especially
to our winners. Unfortunately where there are winners there have to be losers, but to play in a final
is always an achievement to be proud of.
The annual match against the senior men proved once again to be a very popular event. Great
weather, scores and golf prevailed and the senior gentlemen offered us an honourable half!
Our ladies have played some excellent golf to be deserving weekly winners. Jo won the WG medal
with a fantastic gross 77, the lowest gross of the season, while Kenvyn won the Bridesmaid Cup and
Bev S won the stableford competition.
My thanks must go to the ladies who travelled to Carmarthen GC to play in the Wales Golf finals
week and to support. Although success wasn’t to be, representing St Mellons GC in a Welsh final is a
Our MacMillan golf and coffee morning was very successful, raising £240 for Macmillan Cancer
Support. We enjoyed homemade cakes and our silent auction generated much fun! Our golfing winners were Rachel and Roseanne. Well done ladies.
As we head into autumn, we have been busy preparing our autumn /winter golfing diary. With a
mixture of fun, match play and handicap competitions planned it is hoped that everyone will
continue to enjoy their golf throughout the colder days.
Looking forward, we have our annual Solheim Cup, a very popular fun competition in the ladies’
calendar. Whether you support USA or Europe, there will be much chanting and enjoyment to be
had by all!
What’s On At The Clubhouse?
This month’s events at the clubhouse:
Halloween Party – Friday 27th October from 7pm
Fancy dress optional, prizes for best dressed!
DJ & Karaoke, Mexican menu on table.
£10 per ticket, bookings available now. Contact the clubhouse to book.
Also, please check out our latest menus for Sunday Roasts, Christmas and the Festive Period below.
Book and pay at the bar.
From The Proshop
We still have 153 members with money on their account in the pro shop.
A reminder, THIS MUST BE USED BY 24/12/23.
Any outstanding credit passed this date, cannot be claimed with either myself or the incoming professional.
It’s time to use it or lose it!
EX DEMO EQUIPMENT
As the date for ordering equipment has now passed, we can now sell our ex-demo clubs and rental trolleys.
Drivers available from £300:
Ping G430 SFT
Titleist TSR2 & TSR3
Callaway Paradym 3D, Standard & X
Fairways available from £200:
Ping G430 MAX & SFT
Taylormade Stealth 2 HD
Callaway Paradym X
Hybrids available from £200:
We have a variety of shafts available and the Professional Team will be happy to advise which is best for you.
We have 2x Powakaddy FX5 GPS ex rental trolleys for sale @ £300 each.
Both have been recently serviced, are hired out regularly, come with a lithium XL battery, three prong charger and GPS with thousands of golf courses preloaded.
If you’re interested in a brand-new trolley with a long warranty, we have Powakaddy and Motocaddy trolleys now available from £599
St Mellons Golf Course – Autumn / Winter Development Plan 2023 / 24
When reading the plan below, it must be borne in mind that much of the work is dependent on the weather and ground conditions but we will try to carry out as many of the tasks as possible.
Winter Greens – For the aprons to reach a suitable standard to be quality temporary winter greens will take a few years of preparation but this will commence this year. So, all the aprons will be spiked / pro-cored to a depth of 3”. (It is impossible to go any deeper as there will be stones etc). They will be top-dressed primarily with sand to help with percolation and trueness of ball-roll. They will be cut to a height no lower than 8mm (more likely 10mm) as any lower would stress the grass out and it would just become a muddy area.
This process will be repeated every autumn / winter resulting in steady improvements. Obviously creating winter greens on the aprons will also benefit the quality of the aprons for the main season.
Fairway slitting – Slitting all fairways during September will open up the surface and allow percolation of the winter rain. It will also help transfer oxygen to the roots helping plant health and increasing resistance to disease. This was carried out in September.
Trees – A significant number of trees have been identified for pollarding / cutting back the canopy / felling. A long-term programme needs to be devised involving an arborologist but in the meantime, the following trees need attention this autumn: –
• 2nd hole – tree furthest into the fairway impeding 2nd shot from large area of fairway. Removed in September.
• 3rd hole – two conifers front left of green are inhibiting growth and causing disease. Remove • 3rd hole – five ash trees in same area near the tennis court have Ash die-back. Remove • 4th hole – trees RHS of tee and one in the grounds of the country club on LHS are inhibiting growth due to lack of sunlight and airflow onto the tee. Remove
• 5th hole – canopy of all trees LHS off the tee. Removed offending limbs in September. • 8th hole – two conifers / pines on RHS of tee inhibiting growth due to lack of sunlight and airflow onto the tee. Remove.
• 15th hole – tree stump front right of tee. Eyesore so remove.
• 18th hole – trees on RHS (2 near green and 2 approximately 30 yards short). Serving no purpose on the course and block sunlight from the patio. Will also improve the features on the 18th for last impressions.
Greens Renovation – The team will pro-core greens to 5” depth, top dress with approx. 25 tonne of sand, minimal seed except if there are any bear patches due to recent disease. 2nd & 3rd October.
Safety netting – Contractors to fix netting RHS of 13th tee. Carried out in September.
Tees – Again, there should be a long-term programme for tee renovation / replacement but we should make a start on addressing the worst few. The aim is to reconstruct and re-lay 4th, 10th, 15th & 17th (yellow) tees. Which order this is carried out is very much dependent on the conditions. The ladies tees on 2nd, 10th, 13th & 18th all require levelling but this may be possible through dressing rather than full reconstruction.
Ditch Clearance – In amongst all the above works, there will be periods of time whereby the ditches will be cleared. The purchase of an excavator (up to £10k) has been authorised so this will be used to clear the ditches. Yet again, there will be a long-term programme to cyclically address every ditch but
initially priority will be given to the ditch RHS of 10th fairway, the ditch alongside the driving range making sure it connects up to the main ditch on 2nd and the pipe under 1st fairway.
Sand-banding 4th Fairway – The 4th fairway habitually drains poorly and yet there is a perforated pipe linking two ponds either side of the fairway. So, as a trial, we will carry out sand-banding on the LHS – creating narrow channels thus breaking up the surface and filling them with sand so the surface can remain porous allowing water to fall into the drainage system.
Drain 12th Green – The middle of the green often suffers from ponding during heavy downpours, so initially, we are using the G2Air machine to break up the sub-soil. If that doesn’t work then a drain will be sunk and an outlet channel created to move the water away from the centre of the green.
Paths – Utilise the free issue planings to create an all-weather path on the RHS in the rough ground. There will also be a branch of this path to allow safe access to the 5th winter tee.
The Works below are dependent on a successful grant application to Sport Wales: –
Winter mats – There are currently 18 winter tees on the course but varying sizes and materials so the emphasis is to create 18 consistent teeing grounds. Part of the grant application is to purchase such mats which will then be bedded in and surrounded by timber.
Paths – Implement the path programme for holes 1 to 3 as per the course development programme.
James Hawkins, Russell Thomas, Ron Boyce
Head Greenkeeper, General Manager, Director of Greens
A remarkable man!
Many of you will have seen one our members playing from a wheelchair. Well Keith’s (Keith Roberts)
story is truly awe inspiring. So much so that we’ve asked asked Keith to let us into his history.
What a read, what an example of determination!
Keith Roberts – A Remarkable Man!
On the 31 st of January 1986 the eve of Wales v Scotland at the age of 18 my life changed for ever following an RTA in rural West Wales resulting in a spinal cord injury and being paralysed from the chest down. I had tickets for the game in Cardiff, but instead of going to the match I went to the Cardiff Royal Infirmary, by ambulance.
After 12 weeks bed rest and a further 4 months intensive Rehab at Rookwood Hospital I was let loose as a permanent wheelchair user not knowing what life would hold for me. I went back to Pembrokeshire College and finished my course where a lecturer suggested I think about going to university, I then ended up back in Cardiff late 1987 at university to study Architecture. How that really happened is beyond me as 2½ years earlier I’d seen my mother’s face in shock when I presented her with 1 0-level pass at school. But everyone around me at that time were so very supportive.
After graduating with a BSc and BArch I realised there were no jobs at that time in architecture due to a building recession. So, after some time out travelling to Australia, New Zealand and the obligatory 5 days carnage in Vegas I had to do something and found myself doing an admin job for the NHS wheelchair service. I went onto spend 27 years at the service retiring early last year as the Assistant Directorate Manager based ironically in the grounds of Rookwood Hospital!
Before my accident I had been a keen sportsman (Rugby, Cricket, Tennis, Golf) to a reasonable standard, I was a member of Cardigan Golf Club off 12 at the time, I had been given new clubs for my 18th and was really enjoying the game but had only managed 5 months use of the clubs. They ended up in the shed for 2 years until my dad said to me one day, did I mind him starting to play using the clubs. 6 years later he was Captain of the club, I like to think I have inherited his great social and communicative skills.
I tried wheelchair sports but was put off by the politics and grading systems that they had. Fast forward to 2015 and having completed the London and Las Vegas marathons (Vegas an excuse for 5 days reliving carnage again) for the Wales Air Ambulance in memory of my dad I thought there must be some sort of disabled golf around. Whilst in Ireland on holiday the kids wanted to use the driving range, so we all went and had a go, surprisingly I managed to hit the ball from my wheelchair one armed. After a lot of ‘Googling’ I came across my now good mates Terry and the https://handigolf.net(Handigolf Foundation) and Mike at the https://wdga.co.uk/about-us (Welsh Disabled Golf Association).
Terry got me a buggy as pictured above asap and Mike before I knew it had me in a range hitting balls and having some lessons. I started playing in some local WDGA Race2Wales events and loved the fact I could play again on proper courses with other players, who for whatever reasons had acquired a disability but who all have a great sense of humour and are able to make comments amongst ourselves that others would find too risky these days. Disabled sense of humour is cutting at times!
I joined St Mellons 5 years ago and acquired an official handicap, and since then have managed to play and experience some amazing courses and events, for example, playing for Wales in the Phoenix Cup at the forest of Arden against Scotland, England and the USA, yearly matches against England where so far I have not been on a losing team; the British Disabled Opens; and all the wheelchair golfing tournaments in the UK. Next year I would love to venture into Europe and try some wheelchair tournaments there.
Over the time I have been playing I have only had to deal with a small handful of issues and abuse about me being on greens with my buggy, I always make sure I access and exit in straight lines and if I feel I am marking the area in any way I stop. But at the end of the day, I am a 5th of the weight of a mower and strive like us all to keep my weight and waistline down weekly!
I am very grateful to all the greens staff and members of St Mellons for welcoming me at the club and allowing me to play between March to October when the weather dictates, I appreciate most courses struggle to handle rainy weather outside of those months, and I do wish my golfing year could be extended. St Mellons like many courses is striving to extend their buggy paths, and this would certainly help me maintain my form over the winter months rather than being confined to the range. Access to many older buildings can be challenging for anyone with a disability and again I am grateful for the club starting the process of making the club house and patio areas more accessible, I need to spend what’s on my bar card!
If anyone wishes to know any more about disabled golf in Wales or the UK, I am more than happy to
receive e-mails or calls!
1) You cannot ‘go back’ and play a provisional. Once you play another ball that becomes the ball in play. Rule 18.3
2) The partner. Rule 20.3
3) No, it must be clearly stated that it is a ‘provisional’ no other term is acceptable
4) Yes you can lift your ball to identify it but the spot must be marked and the ball
returned to the exact same spot. One stroke penalty if you don’t. Rule 14.1a
5) Two strokes. Rule 12.2b
How did you do?
That’s all for this month’s update. Thank you to everyone who has contributed and thank you to all who have left feedback. If you wish to leave feedback, then you can do so using the form below.