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Newsletter of Pollok Golf Club: June 2011

This wonderful Club
As we enter June, I have completed nearly half my term as Captain. It has been a challenging, most rewarding six months. I have asked a lot of your Committee during this period and they have responded to the challenge. Our new sub-committee structure has worked well, allowing the burden to be better shared, tapping into the diverse skills that your Committee possesses. After a beautifully warm and dry April, May has been a great disappointment. Like most of you, I am fed up playing in rain and wind. The Course survived the recent storm, with only one major tree falling, and the Green staff have done a power of work to clear up the debris so quickly. I must be the only Captain ever to close the Course in May. Despite all this, the Course is in excellent condition, the greens have fully recovered from the harsh winter, are running very true and should it stop raining the speed will pick up. The 17th Green has seen a marked improvement this spring and hopefully the putting surface will be more similar to our other Greens this Summer. This is one of the priorities set by your Green Committee. We have completed a review of the Green staff’s summer working routines and this, combined with the new equipment, has allowed us to increase the volume of work, maintaining and improving the quality of presentation on the Course. In addition, we are already working on a detailed winter programme, reflecting our desire to improve the management of the Club’s affairs. In terms of House, there has been a significant backlog of maintenance, but the re-introduction of a House Convener has helped to deal with this issue. For instance, the caddy store has been refurbished, and the presentation of the approach has been improved with the planting out of the flower beds. On the social front, the numbers at the opening Shotgun Dinner were disappointing - two regular large groups were away on holiday. But it was enjoyed by all who attended - and we raised over £500 for our Juniors. The Royal Medal was a terrific success, not only with the

C Fu OU N ll E R D SE W et can ai PL Captain’s Comment think of ls A a few old Members who In NS might benefit from si this as well! We have de produced a list of Do’s

in this Newsletter to cover a number of points your Committee are receiving regular complaints about. My particular hobby horse is pitch marks… especially true when the greens are wet. If we want smooth and true greens, it is very important that pitch marks are repaired. If everyone made an effort to repair two per Green there would not be a pitch mark issue and we would save valuable Green staff time. In terms of major developments, the Members enjoying a fine day on the main new shed is complete and there only Green, but we also sold over 80 buffets. remains the demolition of part of the old The monthly dinner and carvery remain sheds to create standing areas for our as well-attended and popular as ever. In terms of golf, the medals have been materials. This will stop our top dressing, sand and the like from becoming very well supported despite the weather. contaminated by standing on soil. We Our first “major”, the Spring Meeting, have now received heads of terms for the held in truly awful conditions, was won lease of part of the field to the left of the by Alan Prentice, and the Turner 18th fairway and are in detailed Johnston Salver for the best net score by Tom Hamilton, who is looking forward to discussions over these terms. If we can secure this field as a Practice Area, this making his first speech at the Prizewill be a major additional facility for our giving Dinner. Tom’s performance was Members. particularly impressive as his round was We have been successful, as ever, in played in the worst of the weather. The Club Championship is under way, attracting new Members to the Club, but with the final on the afternoon of Sunday the Club is not full. We would encourage you to promote the benefits of being a 5 June 2011. I would encourage you to Member of our wonderful Club. attend this event – a free buffet is Lastly, I turn to the Long-Term provided by the Club for those involved in the final and spectators. Conor O’Neil Course Plan, which is covered in detail has returned from the States and has been on the next two pages. As I said at the selected for the SGU Elite Squad, a great AGM, a change to the Course will reflection on his ability and on the club. inevitably stir up controversy in the I now turn to the issue of standards. I Club. We all have particular likes and adamantly believe we should not have dislikes about the Course. Over the last lists up all over the Club telling three years, a lot of effort has gone into Members what is and is not acceptable the Plan; it is not the whim of one in terms of dress and behaviour at the Club. I would expect Pollok Members to individual Captain, Green Convener or know instinctively. Having said that, for Committee. The Plan is seeking to address a number of issues, which we a number of new Members, a guide have clearly laid out on the next pages. would be helpful. So, over the next six We very much welcome your views on months, we will prepare a New what we are trying to achieve. Members’ Guide to Pollok – though I

Published by Pollok Golf Club: Managing Secretary Donald McKellar 0141 632 4351 90 Barrhead Road, Glasgow G43 1BG

Long-term course development plan
Recent Committees have spent considerable time examining the issues that face our Club and producing an overview of how we would like it to develop over the next 10 years.
The agenda is broad and the challenges are many. We want to continue to develop the course which has always had a high reputation. We want to improve the facilities available to members and to this end are looking at creating a new practice area on the field to the left of the 18th fairway. We want to improve our entrance and our car park. And we want to maintain and improve our Clubhouse. We now have a clear idea of where we want to go. Conscious that journeys cost money, we have also developed a stringent financial model which indicates that the goals we want to achieve can be met from within existing projected resources and will not involve the imposition of any considerable increases in subscriptions or levies. A vital part of this vision for Pollok is a long-term development plan for the course. It is on this that this consultation process is focused. As was stated at the last AGM, the Committee in 2008 commissioned a review of the Course with a view to establishing this long-term plan. Three years on, this plan has now been completed and, after detailed discussion, has been approved by the Green SubCommittee. The Committee has agreed it is time to seek Members’ views on the proposed changes to the Course. The plan achieves the following objectives: - It improves the positioning and nature
of the hazards on the Course to take account of the distance the ball is now hit and the loss of strategic trees; - It improves the quality of the bunkers; - It completes the Blue Championship Course; - It extends the length of the playing season and reduces general wear and tear; - It improves the quality of the playing surfaces; - It improves the quality of the tees; - It improves the drainage through reopening ditches/canals; and - It enhances the visual presentation of the Course.

One key benefit of the plan is that the course will be easier to maintain and therefore allow the current staff time to improve the overall quality and presentation of the Course, or alternatively maintain the Course at its current standards more cost-effectively. In addition, the existence of a template will discourage future Captains and Committees from ‘tinkering’ with the course on the basis of personal preferences. Instead there will be rational, considered guidelines to follow. Under the plan the course will be more interesting and enjoyable to play. The altered course will reward good play and encourage players to think more carefully about their shot selection. In essence there will be a greater emphasis on risk and reward; the hallmark of MacKenzie-designed courses. There are no fundamental changes to the course; the only green that is to be re-built is the 13th; which is more to do with maintenance than design. The overall length of the White medal course will remain at 6,400 yards. Two holes (13th and 6th) will be shortened and “Hazards should be placed with an object, two others (10th and 15th) will and none should be made which has not some be lengthened, shown in red on influence on the line of play to the hole.” the planned new scorecard. The Dr Alister MacKenzie Yellow tee course will be shortened to 6,000 yards, reflecting the We are conscious that changes to the requirements of our increasing number of Course can be disruptive; as a consenior Members. sequence the majority of the work will be The completion of the Championship completed in the early Autumn to allow course, which will be approximately the alterations to be ready for the next 6,800 yards in length, will raise the playing season. The plan will not be profile of the Club through attracting implemented on the basis of working National championships. This will from Hole 1 to Hole 18. Rather, priorities improve the calibre and number of golfers seeking to join the Club. It should will be established to centre on three be remembered that in the 1960s Pollok initial objectives: hosted both the British Boys’ and British First, to compensate for the loss of Youths’ Championships, and at that time certain iconic features and to improve the Glasgow Amateur Championship was the quality of the bunkers. one of the highest profile amateur Secondly, to complete the Championchampionships in Scotland. The Course ship Course. has not been adapted in structured And thirdly, to improve draining and manner to take account of the advances in the aesthetics of the course by opening technology or more importantly the loss ditches. of strategic trees.

While the plan does not specifically deal with trees, a woodland management programme will be developed to document formally the recent excellent work in thinning out the copses and re-instigate a strategic tree-planting programme. The plan will be available to view on the website in the Members’ Area, and hard copies will be available in both the Reid and Jamieson lounges. A presentation on the plans will be made to the Members on the evening of Thursday 23 June 2011 at 7.30pm in the Jamieson lounge. The evening will be attended by Malcolm Clapperton, the golf architect who has been advising the Committee. The Committee welcomes general, and for that matter specific, comment upon the plan. It is just as important to hear what you like as you dislike about the plan. You will have an opportunity to voice them at the presentation, or put them in writing to Donald McKellar ( The Committee will listen to the feedback and make any changes where there is an overwhelming view that the proposed Course Plan should be altered. A significant amount of the work is minor and, to some extent, has been held back by your Committee’s view that the Membership should be fully appraised of any changes before they are made and that they should be done in the context of an overall strategy for the course. The only area that possibly requires consent from the membership is the re-building of the 13th green. This will be one of the last projects and should be approved by the Membership at an AGM at the appropriate time. In terms of costs, if the plan was fully implemented and completed by external contractors, it would cost approximately £200,000. The exact costs will only be known when full architectural drawings are prepared and the work is put out to tender. One of the major benefits of using external contractors is the speed at which the work can be completed; however, considerable savings on these costs could be made if the work is done in-house. It is not the current Committee’s intention to undertake this work in one year, but only as and when the Club finances permit. The work has to be set against other demands on the Club’s finances, such as repaying its debt, and other capital projects such as the car park and proposed driving range and practice area listed above.

Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Par 4 4 4 4 4 3 5 4 4 36 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 4 4 3 4 4 5 4 3 4 35 71 Blue 390 340 438 405 372 173 550 400 440 3508 431 427 184 360 410 543 335 185 420 3295 6803 White 383 330 373 378 372 155 502 386 428 3307 412 387 167 330 400 518 329 172 396 3111 6418


Yellow 367 320 347 320 357 132 481 351 420 3095 366 373 152 310 368 476 317 163 382

It will be for the Committee of the day to ensure we achieve best value in implementing the plan. Each part of the plan will be subject to detailed drawings, costing and firm quotations. It is your current Committee’s view that no work will be commissioned which is likely to put an additional strain on membership subscriptions. So as not to overburden the Club finances, and to allow an element of latitude to future Captains and Committees in terms of their priorities, the timescale for implementing the plan has been set at 10 years - though, having said that, with a fair wind and commitment it could be achieved in a shorter time frame.

As I said at the AGM, the Club is a broad church with members of all abilities. It is important that the course remains enjoyable to play by the higher handicapper but also provides sufficient challenge for the everincreasing number of better golfers in and joining the Club. This is the fundamental principle with which Dr Alister MacKenzie approached golf course design. Your Committee and I believe that this plan achieves these objectives.

2907 6002

Alick M Bisset, Captain

Questions and Answers
There seems to be an increase in the number of bunkers on the course, will this not lead to additional maintenance? One of the persistent complaints from Members is the poor and inconsistent condition of our bunkers. While the number of bunkers will increase, the bunkers themselves will be smaller, and if anything the total area of sand on the course will be reduced after the work is completed. More importantly smaller bunkers are easier to maintain and the playability more consistent. A number of the bunkers are only moved a short distance and being divided into two, is this not a lot of cost for little benefit? As mentioned above smaller bunkers are easier to maintain and have a more consistent playability. The majority of our fairway bunkers are relatively large and in the rough. A key principle of Dr MacKenzie was a bunker should influence a player’s line of play. The 10th is one of the few holes where the fairway bunkers achieve this goal. While the adjustments are often small, the subtle changes are designed to have a significant impact on the way you play the hole. What will the new bunkers be like? Being smaller they will be more penal. The ball will not run through them as now and you will not readily be able to hit a rescue club out of the fairway bunkers. There will be fewer sharp edges which will make for easier maintenance and they will look more natural than they currently do. How will the changes affect the Course CSS? We will not know for sure until the Course is re-assessed. However, with the opening of the ditches and bringing the bunkers into play we do not believe there will be any reduction. The 17th Green seemed to take ages to bed in. Will the same be true of the planned work? One of the reasons for the slowness of the 17th settling in was a result of over-seeding rather than laying turf. It is our intention to lay turf, often reusing lifted turf. This will considerably increase the speed of recovery and reduce cost. Why do we not use our own green staff to complete the work rather than external contractors, which would make considerable savings? Our Green staff have little experience of constructing modern bunkers. It may be possible when completing the initial work for the external contractors to use our staff. This way they will develop the necessary skills to undertake the majority of the work. This would result in considerable cost savings. Will there need to be a large rise in the subscriptions or a levy to pay for the Course alterations? No, the purpose of setting a longer-term plan is fund the project out of existing resources. Currently, if we break-even on the Income and Expenditure Account, we generate £75,000 per annum in cash which we can apply to capital projects or debt repayment. There is no need to have above-inflation subscription rises or levies to fund this or other projects being considered by the Committee.

Our Juniors 2011 Fleming Watson League campaign started with three heavy defeats away to Whitecraigs, Cathkin Braes and Williamwood.
The team was narrowly defeated by Eastwood in its first home game. Whilst we do not have the strength and depth of the surrounding clubs, the boys continue to enjoy the comradeship and team spirit that comes from playing in the Fleming Watson League. We have had a reasonable turnout for our Sunday medals so far this season and our top player Andrew Dempster qualified for the knockout stages of the Club Championship. Junior numbers now stand at 24 and we really need to increase this number if we are to have an active Junior section in future years. As ever, we actively encourage Members to promote the Junior Section to relatives and friends - not only is there a great comradeship, the boys are given access to the course that is significantly better than any of the surrounding clubs.

The Pollok Do’s

Pollok Golf Club Senior Golfers’ Society
The season started well with a home victory against Turnberry at Pollok. Our next two away matches against the Royal Perth Golfing Society and Kilmarnock and Barrassie Golf Club were less successful in the golfing sense but a great successful socially which is really what Seniors golf is all about. Last season the Society played 10 matches and this year we have added Bothwell Castle Golf Club to our rota. The inaugural match will be played in September at Bothwell Castle. The Senior Golfers’ Society is open

to all members of Pollok Golf Club over the age of 60. The Society currently has around 65 members but we are always looking for new blood. Anyone interested should contact Richard Morris on 0141 637 3146.

joining Pollok Curling, you should contact the Club President Gordon McQuilkin ( or Secretary Brian Anderson (

Pollok Curling Club
We have had a very long association with Pollok Curling Club, as they originally curled on a outdoor rink in the field to the left of the 18th tee. The Curling Club is based in our Clubhouse, with a trophy cabinet in the Jamieson Lounge, and hold its AGM, Annual Dinner and Christmas Ladies’ Night in the Clubhouse.

Who’s Counting?
Maurice Paterson had his sixth holein-one in a Friendship League Match against Eastwood, using a 4 iron on the 6th hole from the white tee.

Said Maurice: ‘I have had holes-inone in 1980, 1986, 1998, 2002, 2005 and 2011. While the rest of my game has been in gentle decline in the current century, this trend is more encouraging. I played about 12,000 par 3s to have Like all clubs these days it is seeking fresh blood. Whether a complete novice my first one and about another 8,000 for two more, but the last three have or experienced curler, you would be most welcome. If you are interested in come in only a further 7,000 or so.’

Staff Issues


The Captain was playing the first round of the Mann Cup. He lost the first two holes and when about to play his second shot on the third hole he discovered he had 15 clubs in the bag. What should he do?

There have been a number of staff changes over the last 2 months, Jim, our caddie master, has retired and has been replaced by Kevin, and John Regan has been brought in to assist him. Our assistant Chef has left and has been replaced by Bill McLelland, and lastly we have recruited two temporary staff to provide security cover at the far end of the Course. We appreciate that with staff leaving there have been a number of gaps in the high service you quite rightly expect. Your forbearance during this period has been much appreciated.

First he should tell his opponent and declare a club out of play, he can carry this club for the rest of the round however if he was to use this club during the remainder of the round he would be disqualified. Second the Captain and his opponent should play out the third hole, if we assume the hole is halved the Captain would be 2 down after 3 hole. The score is then adjusted by a hole for every hole the 15 clubs were available to play up to a maximum of two holes. As the 15 clubs were available on three holes the penalty is 2 holes. The match score is adjusted by 2 holes so the Captain is now 4 down after 3 holes.