The installation of 300 sq yards (250 sq metres) of Huxley Golf all-weather teeing surfaces at The Wisley Golf Club, near Woking, Surrey, have produced a superb practice area suitable for use in all weathers throughout the year
Planned and managed by PGA club professional, Denis Pugh, the golf practice area at The Wisley comprises a combination of natural turf and Huxley all-weather practice tee surfaces, the latter measuring 75 yards (69 metres) long by 4 yards (3.66 metres) wide. The resulting area of 300 sq yards (250 sq metres) – one-third of it under cover – makes the installation the largest all-weather golf practice area supplied and installed to date by Huxley Golf in Europe.
“The winter practice area at The Wisley has evolved from temporary hard rubber mats to high quality Huxley Golf surfaces which look, feel and react to a golf shot just like natural turf,” commented Denis Pugh. “Laid on a prepared base and then sand-filled, the Huxley all-weather surfaces accept a normal tee peg while also allowing the ball to be played straight off the pile, enabling back-spin to be generated without jarring of the hands or wrists.”
The search for a more acceptable surface for winter practice and tuition began at The Wisley in the late 1990s, recalled Denis. “At the time, we were using some 15 temporary rubber mats, laid on top of the turf at the very front of the driving practice area,” he explained. “Although taking pressure off the turf for around five months of the year, they were unattractive, unforgiving and did not encourage natural shot-making.”
Researching the market, Denis spoke with a number of fellow professionals including Keith Williams, national coach with the EGU, who recommended Huxley Golf’s all-weather surfaces. An initial order was placed by The Wisley for an area measuring 4 yards (3.66 metres) wide by 25 yards (23 metres) long, a length which has been extended twice since to produce a total span of 75 yards (69 metres) today. In mid-2001 the central section was covered and in late 2002, eight Huxley premier nylon tee turf mats were inset into the existing Huxley Golf surface beneath the roofed area.
“We now have a practice facility which ranks among the very best of any golf club in Britain and continental Europe,” commented Denis. “The central covered section allows teaching and coaching to continue in all weathers while the new inset nylon tee turf mats are ideal for high-intensity iron shots. Alongside and outside, the original sand-filled Huxley all-weather practice tees provide a truly excellent surface for golf shots played with an iron or a wood, with or without a tee peg.”
In addition to increasing the level of golf practice, coaching and lessons, the all-weather facility has reduced the pressure on The Wisley’s greenkeeping staff who do not have to worry about repairing damaged or worn turf over winter.
However, the synthetic surfaces are not totally maintenance free, pointed out Denis. “To keep the pile in optimum condition it is brushed every week and the sand-filled surfaces are also scarified by hand at least once a month,” he said. “We try to remove walked-on soil promptly and golfers are encouraged not to play shots repeatedly from the same spot. Our efforts are paying dividends and club members are very complimentary about the entire practice facility. This is reflected in the high level of daily use for practice and for teaching from early in the morning until dusk in all weathers.”
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