Harpenden Golf Club is proud of its course and has received numerous accolades over the years as one that is maintained to the high standards required by the modern player. The club is looked after in this respect by a team of highly qualified Green staff under their Course Manager, Neil Robson. The main aims of the both Green staff and the club’s Green Committee - the committee responsible for seeing that correct procedures are being followed - are to improve overall standards and playing performance of the golf course and to carry out any necessary improvements to the drainage of the greens.
The club manages this under its five-year plan; this is always under review for any other work thought necessary both on and around the course. All Green staff have received appropriate training in this respect and gained the necessary qualifications as they further their knowledge and experience into the future.
Recent course history
In 2002/3 major drainage work was carried out, including the creation of many boreholes, over the whole course. This was followed with the planting of 3,500 trees over a three-year period. Five years later more improvements were made with the erection of a new Greenkeepers’ shed; new tees at three holes; and, five new bunkers. Other bunkers were either re-shaped or improved. A water tank was built. Various other improvements were undertaken then, including new huts and a shelter; new and improved pathways; and, improved practice facilities.
One of the innovative ways the Green Committee and Course Manager decided to go down was the acquisition, and use, of a Graden machine in 2008; the Harpenden Club was only the third in the country to use such equipment. This has the effect of removing between five to twenty per cent of the greens’ playing surface and, while ‘back-filling’ with sand, improves drainage and firms up the playing surface.
Additionally, in the past two to three years, 8-inch diameter boreholes have further improved drainage on the greens; Harpenden was the first club to use this method of greens management. The result (for the technically-minded) is that the Hydraulic Conductivity within the greens now stands at 103mm/hour. The aim is to increase this level to 120mm/hour: US Specification greens are around 150-mm/hour.