Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey, one of Britain’s “Top 100” clubs, has been having further substantial improvement work carried out by Speedcut Contractors of Oxford.
Rebuilding the surrounds of the greens and banks by the 17th and 18th holes, they have also been responsible for building bunkers and carrying out tree clearance and grading work. Major tree clearance was necessary to the left of the 10th fairway, as this area was severely hit by the big storm of 1987 leaving chestnut trees ripped out.
Tandridge course manager Neil Baker says, “We have been working with Speedcut Contractors now for three years and I can only give praise for the professionalism, cost and attention to detail in all of the projects carried out for me.
“In particular this year extensive remodelling and grading of my 17th surround and bunkers and adjacent 18th tee banks, new tee design and tee extension have all added to making the 17th a fantastic golfing hole from an elevated section of the course.
“I think it is very important if embarking on any main course construction that you get the feeling of working with somebody that you can trust when doing major scale renovation.
“We have a long-term relationship with Speedcut contracts manager Barry Pace, who has carried out major projects for us – including rebuilding the three bunkers that you see from our signature tee on the fourteenth.”
The magnificent view across the valley from this tee is one of the most picturesque in golf, which the club – designed by Harry Colt in 1924 – is justifiably proud of. The course has extensive views of the North Downs together with neighbouring Kent and Sussex.
“We are constantly improving the course and our environmental management,” says Neil (32), who has been at Tandridge for three years.
He is particularly pleased to have reduced the fertiliser and chemical input at the course through improved management practices, which he has developed with his deputy Iain Dye.
Neil began his career at the age of 16 straight from school at the Weston-Super-Mare Golf Club in Somerset. After five years there – becoming deputy head greenkeeper – he joined Royal Porthcawl Golf Club as senior assistant head greenkeeper.
Five years later he became assistant superintendent at Pyle and Kenfig GC in Wales, and three years later joined Tandridge as course manager. His professional qualifications include an NVQ Level Three in sports turf management. He is an A1 assessor and plans now to do an HNC is sports turf management.
“Speedcut Contractors have done a tremendous amount of work for us,” says Neil. “They work against tight deadlines and have achieved excellent results across the course.”
Last year Speedcut installed three 84,000-gallon tanks at Tandridge complete with automatic circulation and transfer pipework and pumps.
The club is now able to store mains water when it is cheaper during the winter months. Three years ago they were hit by a Drought Order, forcing them to tanker in expensive grey water (partly treated drainage water unfit for drinking) to keep the greens alive.
Speedcut contracts manager Barry Pace says, “Tandridge is a superb golf course and we have an excellent working relationship with Neil and his team. Working on such a magnificent course is a delight and we are very proud of what we are achieving for them.”
Speedcut Contractors have been busy across the UK with many projects on golf courses, including major drainage, greens and bunker work at Foxhills Golf Club and Resort in Surrey, drainage at Wimbledon Park Golf Club and at Hampstead Golf Club, and work at Sene Valley GC near Folkestone, Kent, Moor Park GC, Hertfordshire, and Cotgrave Place GC, near Nottingham.