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Chippenham golf club

The greenkeeper diaries: Chippenham Golf Club

We talk to Chris Sealy about how he keeps Chippenham golf club in shape..
 

Chippenham golf club

Name: Chris Sealy

What projects are you doing at the moment?

The 10th fairway and gully has been reshaped. The bank was between the tee and green and, if you hit it straight down, you were up against a wall of turf. On the 18th, the back of the green was very steep. People were always slipping down it and it was a health and safety issue. It’s now much safer to walk down. We’re also putting in new paths on the 1st and 10th tees.

What don’t golfers understand about your role?

I don’t think they really understand what goes on daily to maintain the golf course, how many qualifications you need to manage a course, the health and safety, the budgets, the pesticide updates that you have to keep abreast of. I don’t think they understand what the role is at all.

Chippenham golf club

If you could ask golfers to do one thing, what would it be?

Repair pitchmarks – more often and better – and follow signs. In the winter, we rope off quite a lot of areas and golfers will walk under the ropes and through the mud. It would be nice if they didn’t do that.

Pitchmarks are my big thing. Every course in the country is trying to give players a firm, hard, smooth putting surface but people will not repair their pitchmarks.

How has the job changed over the years?

Hugely. From a presentation point of view, when I started everything was peaked for Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday. Then, people didn’t worry too much during the week. Players demand much more presentation all through the week now. The demands of golfers have grown hugely over the last few years and it is becoming more and more difficult with the withdrawal of various chemicals.

What is the best part of the job?

The best part is when players come up to you and say that the course is fantastic and that they have had a wonderful game and are really appreciative of what you do.

Two to three times a year, I look at the course and think ‘that looks good’ – not very often because I have to be very critical of it. There have been many alterations over the years and I always pass the comments on to the boys.

Tom Irwin

Tom Irwin

Tom is a lifetime golfer, now over 30 years playing the game. 2023 marks 10 years in golf publishing and he is still holding down a + handicap at Alwoodley in Leeds. He has played over 600 golf courses, and has been a member of at least four including his first love Louth, in Lincolnshire. Tom likes unbranded clothing, natural fibres, and pencil bags. Seacroft in Lincolnshire is where it starts and ends.

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