November is new Captains’ Drive-in time at Verulam. This year we welcome Steve Ashley and Mo Roe as our Captain and Lady Captain. Both their Drive-ins were blessed with a break from the rain – and both smashed monster hits to signal their intentions for the coming year! Here are some photographs from the events (click on any picture to view them in full size as a gallery):
The following is the text of a Press Release relating to our new irrigation system:
Verulam Golf Club in St Albans, Hertfordshire, has become the latest venue to benefit from Toro’s Golf Decoder Controller (GDC) irrigation system.
The 18-hole course is known as the ‘home of the Ryder Cup’ after Samuel Ryder first conceived the idea for the famous tournament while playing at Verulam. But the club now has a further tie to the tournament – state-of-the-art Toro irrigation products as used at past and upcoming Ryder Cup UK venues, including 2014 host Gleneagles.
The Toro GDC field hardware and SitePro central control system software were specified by irrigation consultant Adrian Mortram from Robin Hume Associates and installed by contractor MJ Abbott. Club manager Robin Farrer says that the new greens and tees irrigation system is a far cry from the previous system, which – at 25 years of age – had reached the end of its useful life.
As he explains: “We decided we needed to do something about our ailing Toro system some five years ago. The pipes had started leaking, the sprinkler heads had become inaccurate and you could not water the greens or tees without surrounding walkways and shrubs getting drenched – it was wasting a lot of water. After organising the finance and overcoming some planning issues, we finally had the system installed last year and we’re pleased to have upgraded.”
Due to this year’s washout summer, Robin says that course manager Chris Carpenter and his team have had limited use of the system so far. But Robin is sure of one thing – with Verulam using a mains water supply, the new system’s improved efficiency will bring significant water savings. “Our watering is now more focused and concentrated,” he continues. “Our old system watered by the minute, but being able to water by the millimetre is much more precise. We pay by the cubic metre, so we’ll certainly save.”
Adrian Mortram’s specification includes Toro DT35 Series dual trajectory sprinklers for the greens so that Chris has the flexibility to apply water to other areas of the course and alter the arcs. “The strategic sprinkler layout has certainly made for more efficient watering,” Robin adds.
Robin also reports that Chris is getting on well with the SitePro PC-operated control system. “Chris used a wallmount system at his previous club, but says that the move to PC has made life easier and he finds it more user-friendly. He’s particularly looking forward to getting trained up on the map function as he expects that to be a very useful tool. Overall he’s looking forward to getting full use of the system in the coming summers.”
In their final game of the season, the Scratch Team could only manage a 6-6 draw at Letchworth, a result which means relegation back to Division 3.
Needing 8.5 points to ensure survival a strong start was essential, but the morning foursomes were drawn 2-2, with only Louis Matamala & Callum Walker and Steve Fownes & Richard Hill winning their matches. In the afternoon singles, Louis and Richard were winners again, as was Dave Salter in the bottom match, but with Steve Fownes and Eric Keith only able to pick up halves in their games, and Callum, James Surridge and Dave Hopps all losing, we finished up 2.5 points short of target.
This was a disappointing season after the step up into Division 2 last year and the team will be looking to bounce back quickly next year. Next seasons opponents in Division 3 will be Letchworth (also relegated), Ashridge, East Herts, Mid Herts, Mill Green and Whipsnade.
A heavy defeat away at league-leaders Welwyn Garden City on Saturday has left the Scratch Team on the brink of relegation, with just one game remaining. For the second game running, a four-nil morning foursomes defeat left too much ground to make up, and with only James Surridge and Steve Fownes able to pick up wins in the singles, the team were well beaten 10-2 overall.
One brighter note was an encouraging performance from 14 year old Callum Walker on his Scratch Team debut, acquitting himself well against strong, experienced opposition.
This result means that to avoid relegation the team now need to win by at least 8.5 – 3.5 in their last game, away at bottom-of-the-table Letchworth on 22nd September – a very tough task, but certainly not an impossible one.
Best of luck team!
Sunday 9th September
Open to all Junior members playing with a ‘parent’.
‘Parent’ includes close relatives – grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, etc.
Entry free for members, £5 for non-member ‘parents’.
PARENT-JUNIOR CUP (18 holes – fourball betterball stableford)
Men, Boys over 14 or handicap under 32: WHITE Tees
Ladies, Girls, Boys under 14 with handicaps above 32: RED Tees
Handicaps adjusted for SSS differences, each player receives ¾ of full handicap
UNDER 14’s COMPETITION
Due to small field and ability of the younger competitors, who have all played on the Herts Futures Tour this year, they are included in the main competition.
* juniors without official handicaps have been given the same handicap and Sam Moore based on performance on the Futures Tour.
The Scratch Team suffered a disappointing 9-3 home defeat to Old Fold Manor on Saturday. Verulam were comprehensively outplayed in the morning foursomes, losing four-nil, and with only James Surridge, Eric Keith and Steve Fownes able to pick up wins in the afternoon singles the team suffered their first defeat at home in more than 2 years.
The result leaves the team dangerously close to the bottom of Division 2 with only two away matches remaining. Strong performances in both these games, against Welwyn Garden City and Letchworth, will now be needed to avoid an early return to Division 3.
Verulam finished in a respectable 7th place in the Herts Champion Club at East Herts on Sunday with a score of 238.
On a tough windy day, Tommy Ashton’s 75 was bettered by only 3 players, whilst Gareth Hodges scored 78 and Donald Longmuir 85.
The event was won by Letchworth with an impressive score of 219.
The Scratch Team were disappointed to only come away with a 6-6 draw in their home game against Porters Park on Saturday. Despite a promising 3-1 lead from the morning foursomes, Verulam lost the afternoon singles 5-3 against a strong Porters side who were clearly pleased to find Verulam less hard and bouncy than on previous visits.
The foursomes saw fine wins for Louis Matamala & Gareth Hodges, Eric Keith & Dave Salter, and for new pairing David Dobinson & Calum Marjoram, whilst James Surridge & Tommy Ashton suffered a rare defeat. In the afternoon only James, Louis and Eric were able to win their matches and we were forced to settle for the draw.
The next match is a tough away fixture at South Herts next Sunday.
Verulam’s James Surridge reached the quarter finals of the Hertfordshire County Championship at West Herts on Saturday, coming through qualifying on Friday and then beating Scott Bailey of Moor Park in the last 16 round. In his quarter final, despite being under par James lost on the last green to Glen Portelli of Brocket Hall.
James had qualified for the last 16 matchplay stages on Friday with an excellent score of 76 in very wet and windy conditions, and then coming though a remarkable 9-man play off for the remaining places. Verulam’s other representative, Tommy Ashton, finished in 37th place in a field of 66, with a score of 80. Qualifying had been reduced from 36 to 18 holes on Friday because of a waterlogged course.
In their first match in Division 2 for 8 years, the Scratch Team recorded a comfortable 8.5 – 3.5 home win against Brickendon Grange. On a hot but breezy day Verulam won the morning foursomes 3 – 1 and then wrapped up the afternoon singles 5.5 – 2.5. This was a fine all-round team performance, with two excellent wins each for James Surridge, Tommy Ashton, Louis Matamala and Dave Salter. The other points were secured with a win for David Hopps and Eric Keith in the morning foursomes, a comprehensive afternoon win for Calulm Marjoram and a half for captain Steve Fownes.
Our next match is also at home, against Porters Park on 23rd June.