Recent Weather/Course Conditions
Despite having a few dry days in a row, the rainfall throughout August and into early September has been quite concerning - hopefully this trend won't continue or else we might have to endure a very wet course all winter.
Generally speaking though, the course has held up well, with the greens in particular being in excellent condition at the moment - which is always the way whenever we get to this time of year and the autumn aeration work of hollow tining, scarifying and over seeding of the greens needs to be carried out.
This work is pencilled in to commence on or around Monday 23rd September, to enable sufficient time for the playing surfaces to recover when the soil temperatures are still reasonable, there is enough growth to enable decent recovery and to ensure the greens are in a strong position going into the winter period.
Our bunkers continue to be a cause for concern any time there is heavy rainfall - please be assured plenty of work will be carried out over the winter months to rejuvenate many of the existing bunkers which have been giving us problems.
In addition to this, funds have now been set aside as part of the 2019-20 budget to enact a more substantial programme of bunker replacement/improvement, with the hope to utilise a similar specfication to that of the new bunkers currently being constructed as part of the upgraded/improved short game area at the rear of the clubhouse.
Having played golf in the Scratch Shield at the weekend, I was disappointed to note the number of unreplaced divots on the course and the attached photo illustrates the problem well (taken on the 9th fairway) - why someone needs to take divots during their practice swing(s) I will never fully understand!
Although the green staff continue to divot the course on a regular basis, Council would encourage everyone who uses an electric (or pull) trolley to take a bag of divot mix with you on the course and together we can help ensure the fairways stay in pristine condition.
I/we would also like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that the current policy at Malone is for trolleys (pull or electric) not to be taken between the greenside bunkers and the putting surface (i.e. along the collar/apron of the green) - instead we would ask that trolleys are taken around and outside the bunkers, which will reduce wear and improve the aesthetics/overall presentation of the green surrounds.
Recent Events/Team Performances
The men's Junior Cup team secured a fantastic win against Warrenpoint GC at Lisburn on Saturday afternoon to become Ulster Champions for the second time in three years - congratulations to Philip O'Sullivan Snr and his team, who now go on to play in the All-Ireland finals in Westport later this month.
Unfortunately the ladies' Challenge Cup team were unsuccessful in their Ulster Final on Sunday against a strong Moyola Park team, but it was still a great achievement to get this far - well done to Penny Kennedy and her team.
The men's Scratch Shield was re-run on Sunday 1st September, with 20 players taking part in the morning round and 15 went out again for the second round after lunch.
This year's winner of the Scratch Shield is Matt McClean with a gross score of 144, on a better second eighteen holes from Paddy Cunnane, who suffered an unfortunate rules penalty towards the end of his second round which would eventually cost him the outright win.
Fionn Dobbin (who at just 13 years old is now down to a handicap of 2.7) ended up in third place and won the prize for the best gross score on the second eighteen holes with a 77.
Upcoming Events/Diary Dates:-
Every year in December, one of the men's Saturday competitions is traditionally utilised for the Malone Christmas Trophy, which is a fourball better ball competition played over nine holes.
The trophy is an interesting one, which rarely sees the light of day before retiring back to its usual storage location, but it has been played for since 1936 and always attracts attention!
To add to the uniqueness of the trophy itself, it also has an interesting story in that it was damaged in 1972 when a bomb exploded in the clubhouse - the Club's centenary book contains some information on this for anyone who is interested in finding out more on the (sometimes weird and) wonderful history of the Club.
More blog posts to follow in the coming days and weeks (sorry/not sorry!)...