3rd January 2020 – Finlay’s First Bunker

During the month of June 2019 we welcomed our new Apprentice Greenkeeper to the team, Finlay Hyder. Finlay joined the team following the completion of his GCSE exams and recently celebrated his 17th birthday. Finlay has fitted in brilliantly with the team, embracing all the challenges thrown his way. He was recently tasked with building his first revetted bunker, under the supervision of Assistant Greenkeeper Tristan Martin.

A number of bunkers around the golf course have been earmarked for renovation as part of the teams winter maintenance program. The duo were assigned the job of rebuilding the smallest of three greenside bunkers on the 13th hole, highlighted below.


The revetted bunkers at Royal Cinque Ports are built to the highest possible standards, with the stepped turf wall constructed at a 65-degree angle. Finlay was guided through all elements of the construction process. He learnt how to laser level the bunker base, shape the bunker, backfill and taper the stacked turf edges to blend in with the surrounding topography.


Reconstruction of the revetted wall was finished in just under 2 days. Finlay is pictured below, standing proudly in his first creation.


All that remains to do once the wall has been constructed is to re-turf the bunker rim. Turf is harvested from various sites at Royal Cinque Ports. Using our own, homegrown turf maximises the chances of successful establishment as it is already preconditioned to the environmental stresses of the site.


The bunker will be reopened for play once the sand levels have been reinstated. Well done Fin, the first of many!

December 9th 2019 – Norwegian Greenkeepers Association Talk

Course Manager James Bledge was invited out to Spain this week to talk in front of Norwegian and Swedish Greenskeepers. James talked about his career, the history and development of RCP over the last 7 years and what the future has in store. Sadly this was the only photograph that was taken!


We were lucky enough to play golf and James had Fanny Sunesson on the bag! (just for the photo!) Fanny was also out talking at the conference about golf course set up. A great experience meeting her and listening to some of her stories from her unbelievable career.


December 7th 2019 – Focus Group Visit

Today we have a visit from Greenkeeping royalty! A group Course Managers were formed over 10 years ago to visit each others courses, discuss progression and help each other out, each year they visit a few courses and this year they decided to drop in to the East Kent Links courses.


L-R, Selfie taker Chris Haspell (Coul Links), Ben Williams ( RCP), Chris Mailley (Skibo Castle) James Bledge (RCP), Innes Kinght (Kingsbarns), Lee Strutt (Royal Automobile Club and Bledge’s Mentor!), Stewart Duff (Gullane), Sean Mclean (Princes) Lee Campany (RCP), Eoin Riddell (Royal Dornoch)

The group discussed turf conditions, potential improvements, machinery, staff and architecture. There is so much to be learned by all and for many of the group it was the first time they had set foot on our site

Chris Haspell was particularly interested in the architecture as he is hopefully about to embark on the most exciting new build golf course in modern times. Coul Links is currently awaiting planning permission as the site is on a site of special scientific interest. The course will be designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore backed by Mike Keiser who is responsible to some of Americas most stunning golf courses. You can find some more information on this site, keep your fingers crossed for them!



December 6th 2019 – Screening Sand And Topdressing Fairways

One of the improvements that can be made to the course is the firmness and texture of fairways especially during the winter months. Without spending an incredible amount of money we have worked out a solution. Natural England would prefer to return rank grassed areas on and around the course to dune land by removing the topsoil and exposing bare sand for finer grasses and dune plants to take hold. We can take advantage of this and mid the sand to be used as topdressing. The field opposite the 12th tee is large enough for us to dress the fairways, tees, surrounds and flows every winter for a number of years.


A screener with very fine screens (20mm over 10mm) was hired in and we produce around 60 tons a day which would cost us £3000 to buy in. It is a slow process as the sand is wet and we apply a thick dressing due to us only having the resources to do this once a year.


Fairways 7-14 will be finished before Christmas, weather permitting all of the tees, flows, walkways and surrounds will be complete before Christmas before returning to finish the rest of the fairways in the New year.


The fairways are brushed in after, this isn’t as effective during winter due to dampness so ¬†please be patient with sandy fairways until grass grows through and rain washes in.


The quality of sand after screening is impeccable with no stones or organic material. Applied by the Rink DS3800 which the club invested well in a few years ago, it has proven to be a fantastic tool.

December 5th 2019 – Meet The Team 2019


L-R, Finlay Hyder (Apprentice), Nick Machin (Assistant Greenkeeper / Irrigation Tech) , Dan Fisher (Assistant Greenkeeper), Chris Clark (Assistant Greenkeeper), Tristan Martin (Assistant Greenkeeper), Stevie Bledge (Team Dog), Lee Campany (Deputy Course Manager), Ben Williams (First Assistant) Keith Pooley (Mechanic), James Bledge (Course Manager), missing from photo Mac MacDonnell (Assistant Greenkeeper)