Founded in 1910, the course is one of the finest in the region and is an oasis of beauty and tranquillity located just a mile from the centre of Norwich.
The course was designed by JH Taylor, four times Open Champion, and is a challenging test for golfers of all abilities. It is an attractive parkland course, extensively tree-lined and it demands accurate and intelligent shots, especially off the tees.
There is an interesting mix of tempting par 5s which may be reachable in two for the longer hitters, moderate length par 3s which require a precise shot if you are to score well, and a mix of long and short par 4s where some thought on the tee is generally rewarded.
The course measures 6,118 yards (par 70) for men, and 5,562 yards (par 72) for ladies.
Greenstaff Blog - August 2017
Thanks to the recent favourable weather and a lot of hard work, the course is currently in great shape, but over the next week the aim will be to get the playing surfaces in the best possible condition for the Club Championships. Weather permitting, this will involve reducing the fairway cut to 16mm and the cut on the greens by .5 mm. You will have seen from the Chairman’s recent update, that we are expecting delivery of the groomer and vibrating rollers in the next few days. Once these are operational members can expect to see the greens running faster.
As a diversion from the usual update I am responding to suggestions from members that it would be helpful to be able to put names to faces with the greenstaff. Our new Course Manager, Robert Ransome, will take up his post on 11th September and I will include a profile of him in the next issue. I shall also discuss with Rob how he wishes to take the blog forward. The rest of the team are as follows:
Steve Freestone (Deputy Course Manager)
Steve, nickname Silverback, started working at Eaton in April 1981. He enjoys golf, playing off a handicap of 22 and still plays football at the age of 53.
Paul, nickname Fred, has been working at Eaton since 1988. He is a keen Nowich City fan and enjoys cricket and socialising.
Richard, known as Nodsy, started at Eaton in November 2005. He is a keen golfer playing off a handicap of 9 and also enjoys playing and watching football.
James, known as Jam started at Eaton in July 2007. A gym junkie he is now attempting to master golf.
Ben, known as Mutley, is our newest recruit, starting in April 2016. A qualifed tree surgeon Ben enjoys outdoor pursuits and strange ciders.
Mick, known as Metal Mickey, is our longest serving staff member having started at Eaton in March 1972 and was until recently our head green keeper. Mick enjoys rock and roll and riding his BSA motor bike.
John, known as AJ is our gardener. He is 87 years old and now only works 4 hours a week, but still manages to keep our garden in an amazing condition. AJ has also been working at Eaton for over 40 years.
Chris Cooper & Steve Freestone
Greenstaff Blog - July 2017
Now that we are well into the playing season members will appreciate that there is no radical work planned for the next month. Work will concentrate on maintaining playing surfaces in the best possible condition notwithstanding the lack of rain.
The cut on the greens will be maintained at 3.5 mm and the works programme will involve light scarification to remove procumbent (lateral) growth. We will also shortly be conducting a test of the ATT Turf Management System. This involves a range of smart cassettes for various applications which will fit into our existing mowers. We will be looking particularly at the ultra grooming module which works to remove procumbent growth and firm the green surface with a vibrating roller. This should speed up the greens and the test will include before and after stimp meter readings.
The plastic liners have now been removed from both fairway bunkers on the 10th hole. There has been some inconsistency in the depth of sand in our bunkers and during this month all bunkers will be tested and topped up where necessary. So far we have used 20 tons of sand on 7 bunkers.
Members have been concerned about the condition of the new turf around the 14th green. This is being addressed by the use of seep hoses. The staff have also renewed the sprinkler system on part of the 14th green which will allow water to spray on to the top edges of the front two greenside bunkers. Further work on the sprinkler system is underway.
Limestone has been laid on the path adjacent to all 3 tees on the 11th hole.
A drain will be dug at the top of this path to prevent rain washing the limestone away.
Members have commented about the heavy growth of clover particularly on the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 17th holes. The first part of the spraying programme was carried out in mid June and will be repeated whenever the weather is suitable.
Richard (far right on the photo above from cc 1986) will retire on 13th July after 43 years service on the greenstaff at Eaton. The photo below again shows a youthful Richard working on the bunker on our 2nd hole before it was sleepered in 1983.
Most recently, Richard has done an excellent job laying the oak sleepers at the sides of the 11th and 14th tees. Richard has been a stalwart member of the team throughout his service at Eaton and we wish him a long and happy retirement.
Chris Cooper & Steve Freestone
Greenstaff Blog - June 2017
The recent warm weather and very welcome rain have promoted rapid growth and the work planned for June will concentrate on getting all playing areas of the course into top condition.
The greens have recovered well from the deep scarification and with the warm weather the grass is now growing rapidly. Greens are being cut daily and the cut height has been reduced to 3.5mm. However, the speed of growth is such that the greens will be noticeably quicker in the mornings. The intention is to aerate the greens with pencil tines which will promote healthier growth. This is not a radically invasive technique and the holes, which are only a few millimetres in diameter should disappear within a few days. This will be followed by the application of a wetting agent to encourage water absorption and another application of fertiliser later in the month.
The black liner has been removed from the front bunker on the 2nd which leaves just the two bunkers on the 10th hole and the liners will be removed from them this month.
To improve the condition of the aprons they are now being treated the same as greens and will be scarified, spiked, top dressed, seeded and fed this month.
The fairways have been scarified and over-seeded. They were also sprayed 2 weeks ago with a seaweed based fertilizer to aid colour and root development. The current cut of 18mm will be maintained with the rough cut to 2 inches.
Whilst we had the equipment on site we took the opportunity to overseed most of the tees. Work is continuing on the 11th tee. Oak sleepers have been laid to form the edge of the tee and the sprinklers are being repositioned, hence the earthwork in progress. Once finished we will move on to the 14th tee.
Old Oak Tree
You may have noticed that one of our older oak trees, behind the first, and to the left of the 3rd fairway has fallen down. This tree, which our environmental expert had estimated to be over 300 years old, was dead and covered in ivy but had been left in line with hos recommendation as it provided an excellent wildlife habitat. We plan to clear the part of the tree which is protruding into the rough but leave the remainder in the tree line where it can remain as a habitat for wildlife.
Greenstaff Blog - May 2017
Now that we are slowly emerging from winter and the grass is growing the emphasis will change from work on the structural changes to the course to getting the playing surfaces into top condition. Key areas of work for the month ahead are as follows:
It is now a month since the greens were deep scarified and they have now been treated with fertilizer. The cut has been reduced by half a millimeter and if there is no further frost the cut will come down a further half millimeter. A wetting agent has also been applied to help the greens retain moisture and this process will be repeated at monthly intervals.
To keep the greens in the best possible condition please repair all pitchmarks.
The black plastic liners have been removed from all bunkers with the exception of the two on the 10th and the front bunker on the 2nd. These will be removed as soon as possible. The new bunkers on the 14th are being filled with sand as I write and will be then be in play.
Would members please note that the new rakes in the bunkers on the 14th and 15th holes require the correct technique to prevent ruts forming in the sand. Please do not pull the rake towards you with one hand. The rake should be held in both hands and the sand pushed away from the body.
New flagsticks, flags and cups are now in place. Please note that the new flagstick has a lock. On replacing the flag please give the stick a slight twist to engage the lock. This will prevent the flags from falling over in windy conditions. The new Black and White tee markers are now in place.
Cutting Fairways and Rough.
The fairways are currently being cut to 20mm. This will be gradually reduced in accordance with rainfall and the health of the grass. The rough will be cut to a depth of 2 inches in all areas including tee banks.
The various tree stumps around the course have now been ground down. The next step is to clear up the chippings and fill the holes with soil and seed. Weed killing around the base of all trees in now underway.
The new ball washers are now all out on the course. The broken post on the 5th tee will be replaced shortly.
Greenstaff Blog - April 2017
Greens. The spiking of all greens and aprons has now been completed and the areas treated with sulphate of iron. The next stage of work commences on 27th March. We have hired the Sand Slitter for a week and this will be used for the deep scarification, top dressing and over seeding of all the greens. Time permitting, the aprons and tees will be similarly treated. Clearly, there will be some inconvenience to members who will be taken off the specific greens/tees while the work is completed. Please be patient and give the staff due consideration. It is in everyone’s interest that the greens are fully prepared for the season.
Ball Washers. Five new ball washers have been ordered and are due in shortly. These will replace the worst of the existing washers. The remaining washers will be thoroughly cleaned and regularly replenished and serviced.
Bunkers. The Black plastic linings trialled on 10 bunkers have not proved to be successful. Four have been removed to date and the remaining 6 will be removed as time allows. The new bunkers on the 14th hole have been lined with reversed turf; this should reduce the incidence of stones coming through.
Storm damage. Storm Doris caused damage to several trees around the course and there is a health and safety issue with some trees to the right of the 11th hole. We have therefore hired in a cherry picker so that the damaged trees can be made safe. Although this work is essential it has diverted staff from the work on the 14th, which will now be completed as soon as possible.
Cutting. Now that we are in the growing season, cutting of the rough will commence during April. This work will also entail clearing twig and other debris.
Environmental Matters. I know that many members take a keen interest in the course environment particularly our splendid trees. The recent environmental survey identified the oldest tree on the course as the major Oak to the left of the 16th tee, which was estimated to be some 360 to 400 years old.
Recycling Bins. As a further contribution to environmental protection, we will be putting in 2 new blue recycling bins. These will be for cans and bottles and will be sited by the 2nd and 11th tees.
Greenstaff Blog - March 2017
As our weather slowly warms up there will be a lot of activity on the course as we prepare for the forthcoming golf season. The aim of this blog, which will be updated monthly, is to inform members of planned green staff activity so they are better informed as to what is going on and also appreciate why and when there will be some impact on their enjoyment of the course. While we will aim to be as accurate as possible with timings the vagaries of our weather will inevitably lead to some rescheduling of tasks as appropriate.
The fairways had their first cut last week to 22 millimeters and the greens will now be cut twice a week.
From the beginning of March spiking of all greens and aprons will commence as will the application of fertilizer. All tees will be treated with sulphate of iron this week then scarified. Following work on the tees, all greens and aprons will be similarly treated.
We will take delivery of our new sprayer in mid March and spraying of fairways will start in late march. The new sprayer will cover 4 times the area of the old 200-litre sprayer thus reducing refilling stops and improving efficiency. On 27th March we will hire in a Sand Slitter machine for a week; this will be used for the deep scarification of the greens. The machine works by taking out the thatch while simultaneously adding a sand and seed mix.
Everyone is aware of the problems we have with fallen leaves every autumn and the impact they have on play. Some members will have noticed that we were undertaking a trial of a new leaf vacuum sweeper/collector last week as a possible replacement for our 15-year-old machine. The new machine performed extremely well and the Board will now consider the options.
Whatever, the outcome of this particular trial, we are committed to improving the collection of leaves next autumn.
Finally, the staff are aware of members concerns over the state of the ball washers and the need to disinfect them on a regular basis. Some of our washers are in a very poor condition and we are looking at options for replacements.