24th November 2017 – YGC Conference

This week, Course Manager James Bledge spoke about the club at Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Club. The Young Greenkeepers Committee is a fantastic organisation within an organisation, run by an extremely motivated and talented group of young greenkeepers from all over Great Britain. James’s talk is entitled ‘Les Cinque P’s and it talks about the past, presentation, planning, presentation and progression as opposed to the 5 p’s of proper planning prevents poor performance. It gives an insight in to every maintenance regime at the club and all the little things that make it the most special club in the country with emphasis on everything that includes our club colours! Special thanks go out to Stuart Imeson and Jack Hetherington for showing such excellent hospitality.



23rd November 2017 – Nick Machin’s Article

A week ago, David Cole the managing director of Toro visited the club to re unite Nick with his Student Greenkeeper Of The Year Award. The club have also been awarded a plaque for the clubhouse.


An article was written that will appear in a dozen papers and magazines across the county:


Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club’s thirty-one-year-old Nick Machin has been crowned this year’s winner of the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award, a competition that brings together the best greenkeeping students in the UK.

To mark this accomplishment, Nick has won an eight-week all expenses paid Toro Scholarship, which includes a six-week residential turf management study course at the University of Massachusetts, a trip to the Golf Industry Show and a visit to the Toro factory in Minneapolis.

Award sponsor and UK distributor of Toro machinery, Reesink Turfcare’s managing director David Cole says: “The award is in its 29th year and we’re continually heartened by the quality of the applicants we see coming through. This is something that must be attributed to the standard of education in the industry, and Nick is the epitome of that. He was an all-round worthy winner with a good knowledge of greenkeeping.”

Nick says: “I’ve always known about the awards and wanted to compete in them. This year I felt confident in my knowledge, so when my course manager suggested putting me forwards I went for it! It felt pretty unbelievable to hear my name called out at the finals. I did a lot of work in preparation for the awards and feel proud that it paid off.”

There’s few better pay offs than a scholarship to the University of Massachusetts, which consistently ranks in the top 100 of The World’s Most Innovative Universities.

Nick says he’s looking forward to the knowledge he’ll gain there: “So far in my career I have been mainly exposed to the practical side of things, whereas in the US I will learn far more about the science behind the job. Enriching my technical knowledge is the main thing I’m looking forward to – and American food too of course!”

David says: “Nick is the first winner to result from his employer’s nomination. Up until last year, only college lecturers could nominate. As a result, Nick’s course manager

James Bledge will join Nick at the GIS show in America. We hope this will bring benefit to the club to have two of its greenkeeping team enjoy this fantastic learning and networking opportunity.”

James explains why he nominated Nick: “In this industry, we are very lucky to have great opportunities like the awards to progress and develop our careers. I knew the competition would be perfect for Nick as I really believed he had the likeability, skills and attitude to win.

“I’m immensely proud of Nick’s achievement and had no idea I’d be joining him in the US. I was lucky enough to go to the GIS in 2016 and it was one of the best weeks of my career so I’m excited to get back over there to take it all in.”

Nick says he owes a great deal to James and the team: “I’ve learnt a huge amount from the experiences of those I work with at RCP [Royal Cinque Ports], and I wouldn’t have got where I have without their help. James is always driving us forward to succeed and working at such an ambitious golf club is a great environment to learn in.”

As for the future, Nick has made plans for his return from America: “For now the aim is to complete my level three at RCP and, further down the line, work in management at a Links golf course. Winning has helped get my name out there, which I think will ultimately help me achieve this.”

James has every confidence in him: “With his love for ecology, hard-working attitude and friendly demeanor, I’m certain Nick will climb the ladder into management. I am looking forward to following his progress in whatever form it takes.”

Nick’s achievement means a lot to the club, James explains: “The greenstaff, clubhouse team and members are over the moon for Nick. We’ve been working hard over the past five years to enhance our standards in the greenkeeping team, so his win is the icing on the cake. The team is better than ever and I am hoping people will see what a great place RCP is to work. I am a big believer in education so any future employees can expect to have the same opportunities as Nick.”

22nd November 2017 – 18th Black Tee Renovation

Much like the 5th white tee last year, the decision was taken to change the appearance of this tee, it was constructed years ago and does not fit the surroundings as well as it should, mainly due to the symmetry of the bankings and course grasses. The bankings were pulled down and roughed up to mirror the marram bankings that lie behind. The tee platform has been widened to over six meters and will be re turfed whilst the bankings will be sprigged with marram grass much like the 5th white tee.


All of the old course grasses have been taken off site to compost.


21st November 2017 – New Excavator Arrives

An excavator is an essential piece of kit on any golf course, especially one where course upgrades are frequent. The previous excavator was 1.5 tons which is under powered, it was also very old and in a state of dis repair with a lot of money needing spent just to bring it up to an acceptable health and safety standard. The decision had to be taken to replace it as soon as possible.


We opted for a 4 ton Kubota excavator which is second hand but in a very good condition. The club will get many years use from this machine now there is a strict maintenance policy. The reach and extra power means we can dig and clean out our own dykes and turn our own compost without having to hire in a machine. There is a great deal of work to be undertaken this winter with this machine so you can expect to see it out working most days, also expect the operator to have a massive smile on his face.

15th November 2017 – Hayling Visit

In the spring of 2017, Deputy Course Manager Greig Easton moved on from Royal Cinque Ports to take up the position of Course Manager at Hayling Golf Club. The entire team with the exception of Mac went on the long drive to see how Grieg was getting on in his new role. Everyone was really impressed with the set up and condition and look forward to seeing how it progresses over the years under Grieg’s guidance. Thanks to member Roy Smith for driving us down in his incredible mini bus.

IMG_4050The golf on the day was won by Nick Machine with 34 points, followed by James Bledge on 32 points. Stevie particularly enjoyed running around on a new links.


From L-R, the team at Royal Cinque Ports:

James and Stevie Bledge, Lee Campany, Ben Williams, Nick Machin, Chris Clark, Darren Burton, Tristan Martin, (Greig Easton, Hayling) Keith Pooley.

14th November 2017 – Burning Rough

For the second year in recent times we have continued burning rough, Last year proved to be a massive success with huge populations of dune grasses and wild flower appearing shortly after. These areas will be burned on a rotation which would mean returning to the same area every three years or so. Please look back on the blog to October 2016 for more information on burning.


10th November 2017 – Frost Policy Review / Trail

As it stands, the frost policy dictates that there is to be no play from the main greens during spells of frost or frozen ground. Last year play was allowed on the putting green as a trial to see if there were any adverse effects on the sward. The results were positive, Thanks to modern greenkeeping practices and our knowledge of plant nutrition, the rootzones have improved and the plant and roots grow strong and healthy.

This winter we will be trialing the use of the main greens during spells of frost. If there are signs of damage due to prolonged use or greens freezing after flooding then there will still be an option to use winter greens.


Golf buggies will still be banned during frost and members will always be encouraged to carry if possible, however this is not a winter rule.

We will soon know if this has been a success and if so it will enhance everyone’s enjoyment of the golf course.

Although we intend to use the main greens each day, visitors and guests are advised to check the clubs course status on the website each morning to see what greens are being used. an email will be sent to members if there is a change in the status.