Newsletter - February 2024

February 6, 2024
11 minutes

Welcome to the February edition of our newsletter. I want to start my welcoming our new Members. We are delighted that you have chosen to be a member at Bondhay Golf Club.

Over Christmas and New Year we advertised a 15-month membership for the price of 12 months. This offer was extremely successful and we saw an increase in our 7-day memberships. Our current membership prices are extremely competitive and remain at the 2023 rates. We do not charge a joining fee and have recently introduced a women’s pathway membership and continue with a variety of associate memberships.

The Senior Section is keen to recruit any members who are over the age of 55 to join them. They meet on a Tuesday and a Thursday (8.30am start in the winter and 8am start in the summer) and play 20 matches a year, 10 home games and 10 away games. Single and team games are also played between the section. Everyone is welcome.

It has been brought to our attention that a number of people have been circulating a rumour that bondhay golf club is in administration/liquidation and will cease trading. There is also a rumour that we have failed to keep up with a loan repayment on the Trackman Range. These rumours are completely false and malicious.

Firstly, I would like to remind people that Bondhay Golf Club is a privately owned business. This means that we have to pay VAT on all memberships and green fees. Municipal courses and members’ clubs do not have to pay VAT on their green fees or memberships. Bondhay is now owned and operated by Bondhay Golf Club Ltd, and was previously owned by Nationwide Leisure Ltd and Bondhay Golf & Fishing Club Ltd. After several meetings with our accountants and solicitors in 2023, we made the decision to close both of these limited companies. In short, they were two businesses that were doing exactly the same thing, with one financially dependent on the other. It was clear to see that the businesses had been somewhat neglected over the last couple of years and required an injection of cash in order to repair, rejuvenate and renovate the course and the facilities. I have now invested a considerable amount of personal money into the businesses which has been spent on machinery (paying off equipment and machinery that had previously been on finance), the course and the clubhouse, plus over £86,000 on Trackman. Trackman was not financed using a loan.

This year we plan to continue to invest money into the course and the clubhouse which will attract new members, retain our existing members and bring societies and visitors to use the courses, driving range, clubhouse and function suite.

We believe that some of these rumours have originated from a local establishment and we will take legal action where appropriate. There is plenty of room for everyone in the local golfing scene. This sort of gossip can be damaging to any business, so it is unfortunate that people known to Bondhay Golf Club are involved in the spread of these malicious rumours. A big thank you to all of our members past and present, and friends of Bondhay who commented on our Facebook post regarding the rumours. Your support is very much appreciated.

I hope that this will answer any questions you may have had (I am aware that people have been talking about it in the Clubhouse) and put a stop to some of the chatter. Please feel free to come and see me in person if you have any further questions. We operate a proud open-door policy at Bondhay.

On a more positive note, we are continuing to refurbish the clubhouse. We have purchased two log burners, one for the bar/restaurant and one for the area outside the Pro Shop, with installation hopefully complete early February. Our plan is to continue to renovate and refurbish the wider Clubhouse, Function Suite, kitchen, Pro Shop, toilets and locker rooms. This will take time. Work required to conform to health and safety, fire regulations etc will take precedence over any cosmetic alterations. Please be patient with us while the works are underway.

Ellis, our Course Manager, and his Green staff have been busy on the course over the Christmas and New Year period. The rain, at times, has been relentless and torrential. We had to close on a couple of days but remained open on others, although on temps, with a couple of hole closures to aid recovery. Many of the surrounding courses were closed which is is testament to our greens team. The rain and weather in general has at times scuppered the plans in place for the maintenance on the course. Please be patient with the Greens team as they complete their work. At times, they may start work on a particular area of the course and have to leave this to complete work elsewhere. This can be due to a number of factors such as demand, weather etc. Ellis is always available to answer any of your questions or queries. Please continue to repair your divots, pitch marks and rake the bunkers while out on the course. Buggies must be kept to the paths at all times.

We will be replacing our fleet of buggies in February/March with an upgrade to lithium batteries rather than lead for greater efficiency and reliability. We intend to have 10 buggies for use on any given day. Unfortunately the purchase price of the buggies has increased by around 30% in the last 4 years, so a reluctant hire price increase will be in place once the new fleet arrives.

I have asked our Pro Shop staff to take extra time to check buggies before and after hire. I have recently received a bill for just under £1000 for the repair of one buggy. All members and visitors using a buggy must complete a form which holds them responsible for any damage caused to the buggy whilst in their possession. All members using a private buggy must now report to the shop before going out on the course. The Professionals in the shop will update you with any restrictions that are in place on the course on that day.

Thank you to the members, visitors and wider customers who continue to support the club. Here’s to a successful 2024!

Lisa Hardisty - Managing Director

Club Captain's Update

Welcome to 2024 and a Happy New Year to you all. It has been almost 3 months since my Captain’s Drive In on that cold and wet November morning and it hasn’t been much better since. It has been the wettest winter that I can remember, but thankfully our fantastic green staff have maximised our opening times and with the daylight hours extending every day – and spring fast approaching – we can get back to some real golf in shorts and tee shirts.

Roy Cullis

Secretary's Update

Firstly thank you to everyone and their families who attended “The Christmas Dinner and Dance”. Once again a great evening and hopefully next year we can get more members to give it a bash…you will not be disappointed.

All trophies will be engraved and the Honours Boards should be updated in February.
I have now paid the annual fees to the “Sheffield Union of Golf Clubs” which enables the club and individual players to participate in the Union season events, this allows the Scratch Team and 6-18 Team into their respective leagues. For the over 50s the Taskers Team fees are also paid giving the gents section 3 teams to compete in competitions through 2024.

As a Club we are always looking for volunteers to join and represent the membership be it on the Main Committee or Handicap Committee. If anyone is interested please have a word with Barry Hurt, Roy Cullis, Phil Bonewell or myself.

Mark Highfield

Course Manager's Update

I’ll start by saying that the amount of rainwater that we’ve had this autumn and winter has been like something we’ve never seen before. It wasn’t helped by a particularly wet September before it. Going into autumn already saturated is not a good start on most soil types and then with the continuous rain and storms on top, you can start to see why areas flood. For us in sports, turfs that no longer have chemicals such as carbendazim (suppresses worm activity) only adds to the problem – worm casts on the surface makes fairways, tees etc sludgy and much softer. That being said, the greens have drained well, but accessing the greens to do work isn’t easy in these conditions. Greens mowers and rollers/irons don’t have tread on the tyres. The way the greens have drained with less work being carried out on them proves to me that the thatch is decreasing and the soil profile is improving, and if you look back to our previous reports in 2020 that’s what we set out to achieve.

Disease pressure has been at an all time high through autumn and winter, and with the lack of daylight, excess moisture and little spraying windows, we’ve not done too bad. However, you never know when a bad disease attack is around the corner and we’ve still got a bit to go before normal growth and recovery is here.

The main aim this winter was removal of trees on certain holes. Although we’ve managed to get a large amount done, I had hoped to be been further on by now. The weather through October, November and December slowed the job up but we will continue with this until the end of February. We use a PTO tractor-mounted stump grinder which will go out as soon as we’ve finished tree felling and the ground becomes firmer to avoid rutting. With the size of the team we’ve got, it is impossible to keep on top of bunkers every day while trying to prep the 18 hole, 9 hole course and driving range for daily play. With the weather being as bad as it has been, I would sooner prioritise working hours on jobs that are more important and have limited windows, such as tree removal. The fairways at the moment are a little longer than I would like them and will be cut back in as soon as they are firm enough to take machinery on. Hopefully greens maintenance will take place at the beginning of March with hollow-coring and top dressing. Later when soil temperatures become higher and more stable, we will spike and over-seed.

Although a lot of people are wanted and are happy with tree removal, we have had a handful of comments telling us that they are not pleased with the removal and don’t like the change. So many trees were planted in the first place because we didn’t think that the survival rate would be high… how wrong we were! Further to this, when you are planting on an open field (as we were twenty to thirty years ago) and trying to create shape, it doesn’t always turn out as you would expect and can cause problems you didn’t have back then. We had chemicals for turf disease that we are no longer allowed to use, so it’s important to improve light and air flow the best we can to do some of the same job. As winters become wetter, air flow and light will help dry the surfaces and improve the quality of the turf. Greenkeeping is all about trying to provide playing surfaces against the odds!

As always, if you have any further questions please contact me through the office.

Ellis Wilson

Marketing Manager's Update

Now that the festivities are out of the way, I am sure that you’re all eagerly awaiting the return of the golfing season and hopefully some decent weather to go with it. Off-seasons don’t seem to exist in golf anymore, but during this quieter spell we are taking the time to tackle a number of tasks that prove more difficult in prime season such as repairs and renovations, whilst making plans for the rest of the year and into 2025.

This year’s fixtures for the Men’s, Ladies and Senior sections are listed on our website, plus the details of and entry for this year’s four Opens. I have just agreed the addition of the US Masters Texas Scramble event on 4th July 2024, giving members and visitors alike the opportunity to win a trip to the 2025 Masters in Augusta. More information and entry can be found on our website.

Starting in the nearer future, we intend to introduce a range of socials and events here at the Club. One thing that keeps getting mentioned is a quiz night (anyone fancy being a Quizmaster?) which I hope to launch soon, alongside more Course and Range events, including the return of Golfer/Non-Golfer and more Trackman Range sessions. A Summer Ball or social BBQ is also in the pipeline. Your support is requested and greatly received.

The ongoing Junior Coaching and Ladies Night sessions have been a roaring success and are going to be extended and expanded from the conclusion of the current run of dates. You can find all dates on the Events page of our website and Facebook channel.

If you haven’t already, please consider joining us with your family and/or friends for Sunday Lunch. It is proving popular with the public and I’d love to see more members enjoying what we have to offer beyond the course. Mother’s Day and Easter Sunday are both fast-approaching which are available to book now.

We are currently working on an updated food menu for the Clubhouse with a view to launching this in March 2024. This will include all the usual favourites, plus a few new and revised items alongside clearer pricing and a number of weekly and daily specials.

For those who use the Trackman Range, you may have noticed a slight chance to the operating times before Christmas. The Range and Pro Shop open from 7am and until 9pm on weekdays and 7am until 7pm at the weekend. However, the bar and restaurant is currently closing earlier than the aforementioned, but we have introduced a range of bottled alcholic beverages into the Pro Shop alongside the usual soft drinks and range of confectionary, including crisps and chocolate, to ensure that people can continue to choose from a wide selection. This is perfect for both users of the driving range and the two courses if desired. The Drive Thru kiosk – which was paused for the winter following feedback – will be open more regularly throughout the spring and summer months, with additional opening for busy periods and events. Opening hours will be extended on the whole as the days get longer.

Alongside the usual golf-related focuses, my attention has turned to the promotion of our Function Suite. I am currently working on a new brochure and packages to showcase the space with more information about events, parties, baby showers, wakes, meetings and corporate events, alongside weddings. The Suite can comfortably accommodate 120 for a sit-down meal and holds up to 250 stood/mixed. If you need a space for your next gathering or business event, please consider us.

I know that many of our members are successful business people or work for a variety of businesses and I’d like to increase the opportunity to promote the wide range of talent that we have an offer. One way to do this is through sponsorship opportunities and a Club business directory. I will be publishing more information on this soon, but it will include packages to sponsor the Club itself, the Range and the many events that we host throughout the year.

As always, if you have any questions, feedback or want to find out more about anything I’ve mentioned, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Josh Clarke

Bar Manager's Update

We hope you had a fantastic January full of joy and positivity! As we transition into the new year, I just wanted to introduce the new beer the we’ve have added - Cruzcampo. A delightful lager that gives you an authentic taste of Spain, as it is the country’s most popular draught beer! As well as that, have also added Old Mout Cider Berries and Cherries, a special blend of strawberry and raspberry with notes of blueberry. Finished off with a refreshing burst of juicy apple… this is going to be one for the summer! And by the way, it’s pronounced moot…

Despite the challenging weather conditions, with the cold and gloomy days, we can finally see a glimmer of hope as the days start to get better and the course is starting to recover. And what better way to enjoy the ‘improving’ weather than by coming into the clubhouse, enjoying a glass of one of our refreshing beers or ciders, having a bite to eat, all while watching logs burn on our newly installed log burner… Toasty!

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