Conservation at Cumberwell Park

Summer 2017

It’s been another fantastic summer for conservation here at Cumberwell Park. From planting to bird monitoring, we’ve been working hard to keep the club in tip top shape for golf and wildlife alike.

I have been lucky again this year to have had the opportunity of joining Nigel Lewis and his raptor monitoring team in the Wylye Valley area of Wiltshire. Nigel has been monitoring owls and kestrels for over thirty years and, with more than 1800 boxes to check, has had a very busy summer indeed! It has been a year of mixed results for our breeding owls and kestrels here at Cumberwell Park. Unfortunately we did not have any barn owl chicks successfully fledge this year for the first time since having nest boxes on the course, we think due to parent fatalities. However, a better time was had by the little owls that successfully reared four healthy chicks. This is the first time that little owls have bred in one of our nest boxes despite being present on the course for a number of years, hopefully we’ll be seeing them breed here again next year! The kestrels did equally well this summer rearing five chicks. This success rate can, in part, be attributed to the diverse mosaic of habitats that are found on the course and in particular the areas of long grassland. The tall, tussock filled, rough on the course is the habitat of many small mammals such as the field vole which are the primary food source of the birds. To have both little owls and kestrels do so well this year demonstrates the value of long rough areas on the course. Rough grassland is ecologically rich and also likely to support other species such as insects, butterflies and bats.

Our ringing morning was very well supported with more than sixty people braving the elements to come and see the birds. Thanks to Dr. Emily Joachim and Colin Morris who came along to assist myself and club member Keith Wright in ringing and weighing the birds, hopefully we may have inspired a few of our younger visitors to take up monitoring in the future?!

Joe Smith & Jon Keepen planting in the par 3 lake.

In addition to our bird monitoring we’ve also been busy planting. The new wildlife ponds and rockery are looking fantastic and have really added a burst of colour to the par three course. All of the plants were sourced locally and are providing a great nectar supply for bees and butterflies alike. Planting in the main par three lake has also started with a range of native plants including purple loostrife, white waterlily and marsh marigold being put in to create a habitat for birds and amphibians.

Jon Keepen – Head of Conservation, Cumberwell Park


The PGA EuroPro Tour visited Cumberwell Park for the fourth consecutive year from Monday 26th June – Friday 30th June and yet again it proved to be another hugely successful event with a large amount of praise from the Players and PGA EuroPro Tour officials.

The course was in fantastic condition all week and the greens received high praise from players and officials.

The pre tournament Pro Am was played on Monday 26th June where 52 teams of members and sponsors competed over the Red and Yellow courses (the biggest Pro Am on the EuroPro tour during 2017) and had a fabulous day with the amateurs thoroughly enjoying there game with a EuroPro Professional.
The warm and benign conditions meant scoring was very low and the team from Gems Solutions scored a superb 98 points to win the Pro Am. The Professional individual title went to Daniel Owen with a 64 closely followed by our very own Will Brown with a 65.
The results of the pro am can be found here – PGA EuroPro Tour Pro Am Results

Another superb tournament of low scoring and lots of birdies lead to it needing another play-off to decide our champion, both Neil Raymond and John Henry birded the 18th (the 1st play off hole) so it was back down the 18th again before Neil birdied the hole and took the title and winner’s cheque for £10,000.

The write from the event can be found by clicking on the link – PGA EuroPro Tour Write Up

A big thank you must go to all of our members who volunteered throughout the week ball spotting, scoring and car parking! – Without these volunteers the event would not be the success it was, so a big thank you!

Thanks also to GRENKE for their support of the event for a 3rd consecutive year. Gary Standen from Grenke was at the Prize Presentation Ceremony to present the trophy to winner.

Picture below of Winner Neil Raymond with Grenke Sales Director Gary Standen

Photos of all teams are below. If you would like your individual photos whilst teeing off then please contact Ali James – alij@cumberwellpark.com


The Ladies Section have been very busy over the past month with lots going on…

Over the weekend of 3rd and 4th June the Wiltshire Ladies and Junior County Championships took place at Ogbourne Downs Golf Club and Cumberwell swept the board!

Laura Curtis won the Wiltshire Girls Championship shooting a superb 70 Gross.
Lisa Benham won the main Wiltshire Ladies Championship beating Laura in an all Cumberwell final referred by our own Lady Captain Linda Brown.
On top of this Lisa, Laura and Sarah Cheverton won the Team Shield by a superb 13 shots!

For full details and scores click here

A fantastic weekend for the Cumberwell Ladies – well done.

Internal Club Competions are well under way and 2 of our winners are pictured below:

Veterans Trophy 2017

Congratulations to Judith Groves who won the 2017 Vets Trophy.


The Lady President’s Trophy – Saturday 3 June.

On a blustery summer’s day, the Lady President’s Trophy was won by Tracey Dunn with Angela Hannam, runner up.

Cumberwell Park is delighted to be hosting the HotelPlanner.com PGA EuroPro Tour for the fourth consecutive year and is delighted to announce that GRENKE will be the Headline sponsor once again after the success of the 2015 and 2016 GRENKE Championship.

Cumberwell Park has now established itself as a firm favourite amongst the players on the tour and the week begins on Monday 26th June with the biggest Pro Am on the Tour Schedule with a huge 56 teams taking part. The Professional winner of the Pro Am has the added bonus of automatic entry into the Ablrate Shoot-Out where 1 of 25 Pros has a chance to win £100,000.

Gary Standen, GRENKE Sales Director spoke about sponsoring the event and said: ‘It’s great to be associated with HotelPlanner.com PGA EuroPro Tour and we are delighted to continue our Headline Sponsorship at Cumberwell Park for the 3rd consecutive year. It’s a great event to be involved in and a week enjoyed by all who take part.

With more than 30 years’ experience in the leasing business, GRENKE is a financing specialist with the industry expertise to offer its customers tailored leasing and Factoring solutions. Independent of vendors and banks GRENKE holds a market leading position across Europe for  SME’s looking to lease equipment such as IT hardware & software, copiers, telecoms, CCTV and office furniture to name a few. With branches all over the UK GRENKE offers a personal, local service.

Daniel Godding, Director of Operations for the HotelPlanner.com PGA EuroPro Tour, said “Cumberwell Park has become a firm fixture on the EuroPro and a course the players love to go back to and it’s great to have GRENKE supporting the tournament once again. Cumberwell Park has everything; first-class practice facilities, a brilliant Championship golf course and one of the warmest welcomes on tour.

“The par-three course at Cumberwell Park is absolutely fantastic and I’m excited to showcase it on a special episode of our highlights programme. I’m sure every player on the tour will enter our tournament at Cumberwell Park in the hope of taking home the £100,000.”

Ali James, Golf Manager at Cumberwell Park said: It’s absolutely fantastic to have the tour returning to Cumberwell for the 4th year and we are very pleased that GRENKE have renewed their Sponsorship for a 3rd year.

The whole team here have been doing a great job over the past few months preparing the course which the players will find the course in great condition again this year, and with scores between 10 and 13 under winning in the last 3 years I would expect something similar to take home the trophy this year.

Spectator entry is free throughout the 54-hole stroke play tournament, which will be proceeded by a pro-am on Monday 26th June and Par 3 Challenge on Tuesday 27th June which will see 26 Pros earn the right for 1 shot at £100,000!

Pictured below is Ali James (right), Golf Manager at Cumberwell and Gary Standen Sales Director of GRENKE.

On a chilly but dry day 37 Teams (111 Ladies) arrived at Cumberwell from all over the South West for the annual Ladies Open.

The Seniors provided excellent guidance as Starters. Thank you to all the Lady members who supported the day on reception, at registration, setting out the course, helping with the Halfway House, taking photographs, providing an excellent array of Raffle prizes as well as all of the Committee.

The Cumberwell Ladies provided the ever popular and well-stocked halfway house with cakes and Pimms and the Lady Captain’s Charity Raffle raised over £400 for Save the Children.

Testing conditions meant the scoring was always going to be a little tough but we had a tie at the top of the leader board with a superb 81 points in the best 2 from 3 bowmaker – with the trio from Farrington Park of Carol King, Bridget Ryland and Fiona Hassard taking 1st place on count-back.

Full Results below:

We hope to see you all in 2018!

Spring Meeting Wed 12 April 2017

On a lovely spring day, 67 players took part in the 18 and 9 hole competitions. The bowmaker format helped team spirit and the increasing run on the ball, brought out some good scores with only 3 shots dividing the prize winners.

After a lovely meal, the serious business of the Cumberwell Bake off was judged by our own ‘Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry’ (Becky and Ali). The support and cake baking was impressive with 17 entries and very hard to judge. However a winner was decided and the winning entry was auctioned off.
The rest of the cakes were sold as portions for pudding.


The grass may have stopped growing with all of the frosts we’ve been having, but that doesn’t mean that the greens team can take it easy over winter! We’re well underway with our annual winter conservation work here at Cumberwell and there’s still plenty more to do.

Throughout January we have continued the planting programme on the Par 3 course. Further blocks of hawthorn, blackthorn and cotoneaster have been planted which will help to add definition between the fairways. A seventy metre hedgerow has also been planted using a ‘Stewardship’ species mix including: hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel, guilder rose and spindleberry. The hedgerow makes for a more natural looking border to the course and also provides a wildlife corridor for mammals to move around more freely.

The flowerbeds surrounding the island green lake are now well established and the dogwood will provide a vibrant colour display in the coming year. We have been adding woodchip mulch to the beds and around the base of the newly planted trees, helping to reduce weed establishment and aiding in water retention around the roots in the dryer summer months.

The rockery surrounding the amphibian ponds on the main driveway has now been planted with an array of grasses and ground cover, and will provide an eye catching display this coming summer.

Conservation work has also started on the main course with the coppicing of hazel. By reducing hazel stands down to a stump we can increase light to surrounding plants and encourage new growth. Coppicing also allows dead and diseased wood to be removed and helps to extend the life of the plant. We don’t remove every hazel stand each year as the course would lose some definition and character (and because there are so many!), but instead coppice selected individuals. We will also be thinning out other hedgerows in the weeks to come, particularly those surrounding greens. Opening up areas around greens will increase airflow and light, encouraging stronger greens with less disease.

Ditches around the course will also be cleaned out shortly as plants and silt have reduced the water flow.

Our tree survey is always ongoing and aims to ensure all of our established and ancient trees are safe around areas of play. Some of the trees around the car park have now reached maturity and are beginning to encroach on each other. We will be removing some of these trees to preserve and encourage the remaining specimens.

The birds at Cumberwell don’t get forgotten over the winter months either. During February we will be cleaning out and checking the condition of our smaller bird boxes. These boxes are occupied by blue tits and great tits and usually have a high occupancy rate. We will be repairing and replacing these as appropriate to encourage more birds to the course. The larger boxes for the owls and kestrels will also be checked and the bedding refreshed for the coming season.

So there’s plenty of conservation work to be done in the coming weeks and hopefully you’ll be seeing the fruits of our labours as you’re playing in the, hopefully, much warmer summer!

Jon Keepen – Head of Conservation