GOLFERS at Henley-in-Arden Golf & Country Club are being treated to a course in wonderful condition thanks to the efforts of a dedicated group of senior volunteers.
The Ground Improvement Team Seniors, more affectionately known as GITS, work alongside or in addition to the ground staff in cutting back hedges, seeding, planting and providing general maintenance.
The GITS are the brainchild of 68-year-old retired teacher Jim Griffith, who took up golf 18 years ago when he joined Henley in 1998.
He said: “Over the last two years I have organised a group of volunteer senior golfers to help maintain and improve aspects of our golf course, working on the course after playing golf.
“We call ourselves the Ground Improvement Team Seniors or GITS for short.
“Our numbers have swelled to 14 this year and we also decided to develop a flower project, having seen the magnificent displays at Gaudet Luce Golf Club in Droitwich.
“Flowers can enhance even the most picturesque of golf courses and our efforts have been the source of many appreciative comments from club members and visitors to Henley Golf Club.
“Such a project is not an easy option as we found.
“We identified relatively small areas around the course, areas where golf balls were unlikely to be hit.
“We bought seeds from Limagrain UK, weed killed and rotovated. We found this job particularly hard work over the solid clay that covers our golf course.
“We seeded in May 2015 and had flower displays from July through to November.”
This year Jim and the team doubled their area size, using existing and additional plots and discarding areas where results had been poor.
He added: “Using the same format as last year we seeded in late May.
“We experienced more weeds this year which we had to methodically get rid of and our efforts were finally rewarded with magnificent displays.
“Comments from members and visitors have again made this particular project worthwhile.
“We will continue the project in 2017 along with other aspects of our volunteer work.
“Such a project is time-consuming, needs effort and perseverance, but the ultimate results make such efforts absolutely worthwhile and I would be very willing to offer support to anyone interested in a similar project.”
There have been more reasons to smile at Henley Golf Club as Jim has recently been nominated and shortlisted for the 2016 Warwickshire Golf Awards in the Unsung Hero category.
Also shortlisted for an award at the event at The Belfry in November is Henley course manager Adam Moss thanks to the tremendous improvement he has made to the course since June 2015 when he arrived from Blackwell GC.