Cumberwell Park Golf Club in Bradford-on-Avon

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All the latest from Cumberwell Park

Latest News

February 2023

Cumberwell Park awarded GEO Accreditation

Cumberwell Park is proud to announce that it has recently achieved GEO (Golf Environment Organisation) Certified® for commitment and efforts to achieve a credible standard for sustainable golf course operation.

GEO Certification is assured by GEO Foundation – the not-for-profit organisation dedicated to delivering programmes that help people on the ground to evaluate, improve and credibly communicate their sustainability work across the agenda of nature, resources, community and climate action. 

GEO Certified is the symbol of a great golf environment, confirming that Cumberwell Park satisfies all GEO certification criteria; meeting a credible standard in the areas of nature, resources and community and is committed to continual improvement.

The club is delighted that this global accolade recognises the outstanding work of the course management team and clubhouse staff involved.

Achieving this certification is just part of an ongoing commitment. Cumberwell Park is excited to continue striving for excellence in sustainable golf.

Golf and Sustainability Among all sports, golf has a particularly close relationship with the environment and communities, golf facilities can bring many benefits to people and nature - from the protection of greenspace and conservation of biodiversity; healthy recreation for all ages; local supply chains; and jobs, tourism and other forms of economic value. Adopting a more sustainable approach is also good for golf. It’s about presenting a high-quality golf course and providing a memorable experience in natural surroundings. It’s about being as efficient as possible. And it’s about supporting the community in a range of ways that bring increased recognition, respect and contact. At a broader level, it's important that golf credibly demonstrates its commitment, and its social and environmental value – strengthening the sport’s image and reputation for the long term.

For a summary of the report, please see the link below. If you have any queries about this please contact Course Manager Matt James.

GEO Certificate

January 2023

Tree Planting project underway on New 9 Hole Course

A tree planting programme is currently underway involving the establishment of 4,700 trees. The aim of this is to provide definition between the holes as well as creating new habitats. 680 metres of hedgerow will be planted which provides a valuable corridor linking up habitats. Some planting will be in blocks in order to create small woodland habitats whereas the larger trees have been planted in clumps ranging from 3 to 7. All trees are indigenous and sourced from a nursery in Somerset.  

Tree Planting

Greenkeepers assist with Chairty Christmas Tree Chipping

Two of Cumberwell Park’s green keeping team were involved with the annual Dorothy House Christmas tree collection. The team were based at an allotment in Keynsham where over 150 trees were chipped using the golf club’s tractor and chipper. The chippings were made available for allotment users. An amazing £75,000 was raised for the hospice with over 5,000 trees collected and chipped in total.

Tree Chipping

December 2021

Conservation at Cumberwell - Autumn 2021

This year at Cumberwell Park we have directed our attention towards the insect life present on the course with a particular focus on butterflies and moths. We are wanting to better understand which species we have on the course and what we can do to encourage more to call Cumberwell ‘home’. To help us better assess which species we have here already, we have partnered with the Wiltshire branch of Butterfly Conservation to assist us. Butterfly Conservation is a charity devoted to saving butterflies, moths and their habitats throughout the UK.

Our first survey was a moth trapping session conducted in late 2019 which revealed an incredible 53 species present in our wildflower meadows. One notable species found was the Four-spotted Footman which is nationally scarce and fantastic to be found here.

Surveying for butterflies began in 2020 but was unfortunately interrupted by the pandemic with only four butterfly species able to be recorded. This year a further seven butterfly surveys were conducted across the summer with and additional eleven species being found. The surveys encompassed the full range of habitats here on the course, from hedgerows and woodland margins to the wildflower meadows and highlighted the benefits of habitat diversity.

Butterfly Conservation will be returning next year to carry out more surveys and will also be conducting moth trapping at various times of the year as different species are active in different months. All being well our list of species here at the golf course will increase in the coming years. The hope from these surveys will be to not only record what we currently have on site but to help us improve the habitat diversity to encourage even more species. To see a full list of species found during the surveys, please check the Conservation Corner noticeboard in the clubhouse.

Our winter work has now also started and you will see us throughout the coming months managing the woodland to maintain tree health and member safety. With the ash dieback disease now established in the UK, it is more important than ever to check that trees are safe especially around paths and areas of play. We will also be managing other vegetation around the course to maintain access and playability where these border tees and fairways

Jon Keepen

August 2021

Captains Charity Draw

As part of our fundraising for 2021 we are running a Grand Draw in aid the Captains chosen Charity - the NHS Forever Friends Appeal.

Follow the link here to see further details of Tony Kujwa's efforts this year We hope to acheive our target of £13,000 during 2021 as this will mean as a Club over the past number of years we will have rasied £50,000 for the appeal and gives us the opportunity to have naming rights to a room in the new Cancer Centre at the RUH which is due to open in 2023. This would be an amazing acheivement from all involved over the past years.

The Grand Prize Draw wil take place at the end of September and for just £10 per ticket you have the opportunity to win a huge number of superb prizes which are listed below:

  • 18 holes with Steve Surry and Matt Banahan
  • 18 holes with Ali James and 1 of the Proshop Team
  • A lesson with each of our PGA Professionals
  • Premier League Referee Shirt signed by Lee Probert
  • 4 Ball's at numerous Clubs throughout the South West including:
    • Ross on Wye
    • Minchinhampton
    • Long Ashton
    • Bristol and Clifton
    • Clevedon
    • Long Sutton
    • Worlebury
    • The Kendleshire
    • The Players Club
    • Lyme Regis
    • Ashley Wood
    • Cotswold Edge
    • Ogbourne Downs
    • Yeovil
    • Wrag Barn
    • Weston-super-Mare
    • Knowle
    • Filton
    • Wareham
    • Dudsbury
    • Salisbury and South Wilts
    • Bridport and West Dorset
    • Tidworth Garrison
    • Bath
    • Rushmore
  • 2 x £100 restaurant Vouchers
  • Window Cleaning Voucher
  • Bottle of Tattinger Champagne
  • Numerous other Bottles
  • Numerous Golf Items

March 2021

Course Update

This coming Monday signals the return to golf, hopefully without further closures. We are pleased to report that the recent settled weather has allowed the course to dry out and is in a very good position for the resumption of play. The lockdown periods have allowed the green keeping team to carry out tasks which otherwise may have been limited. Nonetheless, the weather dictates how we go about our work whether the course is open or closed.

We usually carry out maintenance to the greens in March in the form of hollow coring and sand top dressing. Once we were instructed to close the course on 5th January, we made the decision to carry out this work at the earliest opportunity so that disruption to the surfaces and course closures, were kept to a minimum once golf returned. We were able to find a window in the 2nd week of January to hollow core the yellow course and practice putting greens. This window was limited and meant some of the team working two weekend days to incorporate the sand dressings on the only dry days available. After this period, we were subject to a very unsettled spell of weather including rain, frosts and snow. The 24th February was the day we were able to resume this work and this was completed on the 9th March.

The yellow course greens are currently in a good position as they have had a significant time to recover. The remaining greens still have visible signs of the hollow coring works and it is very much a waiting game for full recovery to take place. Cutting heights need to stay at 5mm for the time being whilst we await this recovery. Please bear this in mind when you return to play. We will apply a further light sand dressing today to take out any remaining unevenness and this will be combined with light rolling whilst growing conditions remain limited. Growing conditions are always a challenge on the greens at this time of year. This is in part due to the nature of the sand constructions which are more sensitive to drops in overnight temperatures. We also experience variable growth from the different grass species coupled with the seeding of the annual meadow grass.

In terms of further major operations, we will be scheduling an overseed to the greens during the summer months. This will be complimented by non disruptive works such as pencil tining and light top dressings through the rest of the season.

Although the weather limited our greens maintenance progress, we were able to make good progress with the construction of pathways. This has been taking place on the 11th, 17th and 18th holes and these will be completed in the next few weeks. The Projects Team will be switching their attention to renewing bunkers and this will continue until the autumn. The aim is then to return to pathway construction so that we have a continuous loop around the yellow course by this time next year.

Please may we remind you of some actions on your return to play:

  • Bunker rakes will not be in place for the foreseeable future. Please be responsible for smoothing your footmarks with your feet. Entry and exit of a bunker should be from a level area and not from the face.
  • Ball washers will remain out of use.
  • Bins are in place on approximately every 3rd hole. Please use the bins available, or take your litter home – do not discard cups and bottles around the course.
  • Please repair your pitchmarks – this will help maintain good putting surfaces for all.
  • Only carry bags are permitted on to tees – all trolleys should be kept on paths or at the bottom of tee banks.

Finally, the green keeping team would like to take this opportunity to welcome you back as we look forward to an enjoyable golfing season.

Course Picture

December 2020

Jon Keepen named Conservation Green Keeper of the Year

During December, our Head of Conservation, Jon Keepen, was named winner of the STRI Golf Environment Award for Conservation Green Keeper of the Year. We are delighted for Jon and he fully deserves this recognition. As you may be aware, we aim to develop and enhance the habitats on the golf course and Jon has played a major role in this drive over the last 8 years. Jon’s flagship project has been managing the bird boxes, in particularly for our raptors. We have seen great success with the breeding of both barn owls and little owls as well as kestrels. This involves maintaining the nest boxes as well as liaising with registered bird ringers. Jon is currently working towards holding his own ringing license.

The awards are nationally recognised and it highlights how highly Jon and our site are recognised but also other golf courses across the country. We will look to continue our association with our conservation partners including Butterfly Conservation, UK Little Owls and the Lewis Raptor Group.

Jon Keepen - Award

October 2020

Tree maintenance schedule for winter 2020-21

We are fortunate to have a diverse range of trees on the golf course. Much of the mature woodland is classified as ancient and this provides a great habitat for a number of species. Many trees were planted during the initial construction, which helped provide definition to areas which were previously open farmland.

All trees require some form of maintenance during their lifetime. At this time of year, we take a tour of the course to build a schedule of tree maintenance for the forthcoming winter. This may include lifting of canopies in the semi rough for practical reasons such as mowing or allowing golfers to find their balls more easily.

We also have a number of waterways around the course. It is important they are kept clear of obstructions. Willows are a common waterside tree and they require regular coppicing to keep growth under control.

There are a number of trees that can cause problems out on the course. Poplars can grow very quickly and have an aggressive root system that spreads beyond the tree’s canopy. An example of this can be seen on the 4th hole white tee where the roots from the nearby trees have risen to the tee surface. These roots will need to be removed this winter. Similarly, a number of White Poplars were removed from the 24th tee bank for the same reason last winter (pictured).

There may be occasions where trees need to be totally removed, but this decision is not taken lightly. We have to consider the safety of older trees that may lose limbs in strong winds. We have the additional concern of Ash dieback which is affecting trees across the country. We will monitor individual trees to see if they pose a health and safety risk.

A number of the green keeping team are certified chainsaw users. We also invested in a woodchipper so that much of the arisings can be used as a mulch on the gardens. We also aim to create log piles where practical and this adds to the biodiversity of these areas. Many of these winter projects are overseen by our Head of Conservation, Jon Keepen, who has a keen interest in this area of golf course maintenance.

Tree Maintenance

September 2020

Work commences on drainage programme

The end of September signalled the time to carry out planned drainage works to a number of areas around the course. This was primarily with a gravel banding machine (pictured) which installs clean stone in 35mm channels and to a depth of approximately 250mm. These channels connect into existing gravel and piped drainage systems that carry the water away to the many open ditches around the course. The areas targeted are the ones that suffer most from waterlogging during the winter such as 17th tee to fairway and 27th fairway. The operation has previously been carried out here at Cumberwell Park with great success. The work was carried out in house by the green keeping team. It is anticipated that a significant improvement to playing conditions in these areas will follow.

After two weeks of gravel band installation, we welcomed ALS Contracts who carried out solid tine aeration to all fairways. This was completed in 2 and a half days by 3 machines and assists with decompacting surfaces. This has the added benefit of allowing water to drain away more effectively through the winter months.


August 2020

Greens maintenance gets underway

A programme of greens maintenance started during the first week of August, with 9 holes scheduled on a 3 weekly basis. The soil temperatures during August and September provide a great opportunity for recovery. The progamme included a double scarify, solid tine, top dress and overseed. The primary object was to remove excessive organic matter and replace this with sand. The final operation included overseeding with browntop bentgrass. The cultivars we used have an excellent shoot density, fineness of leaf and good resistance to fusarium disease.

We aim to carry out two major renovations to the greens each year and this is supplemented by more subtle operations such as pencil tining, slitting and light top dressings. A selection of our greens are tested annually by an accredited agronomist which allows us to tailor our management programme accordingly.



Conservation @ Cumberwell – Spring 2020

Welcome back to Cumberwell Park! You may have already noticed that a few things have changed out on the course since the last time you played. The weather has improved dramatically, the course has dried up, and the wildlife may look a little different as well. Whilst there was no golf to be played, it’s been life as normal for the fauna.

Many of the water birds have had their young already including our overwintering Canada geese that now have young goslings with them. Mallard ducks can also now be seen with their ducklings on the par 3 lake and the great crested grebes have paired up on the main lake.

The hedgerows are also a hive of activity now with smaller birds busily nest building or using one of the boxes that we’ve put up around the course.

It looks to be another bumper year for our larger raptor birds including the owls and kestrels. Our resident pair of kestrels are currently sitting on 5 eggs which should start to hatch in about a month’s time. We also have a pair of barn owls in one nest box that are incubating 3 eggs at present, whilst another pair are a little further ahead and have 3 chicks already. The little owls are also doing well and have 5 chicks, the largest brood that we’ve had since they started using our nest box.

With all these new birds on the way they’re going to need somewhere to live. My brother Chris and I made use of the wet winter weather to build a new barn owl box which can be seen on the par 3 course and is already being used. I have also installed a new kestrel box on the orange course with the help of Deputy Course Manager Dave.

The winter months also gave us the opportunity to extend the tree planting programme on the orange course. In addition to the 50 trees that were planted in spring 2019, we have planted a further 40 trees on the orange course and include species such as oak, sweet chestnut and silver birch. Further tree work has also been carried out on trees in the semi rough to remove some lower limbs and improve playability.

This winter, Cumberwell Park has also signed up to the Golf Environment Organization (GEO) award scheme to help reduce our impacts on the environment and improve sustainability. As a part of the GEO award we will be looking at ways to be more environmentally friendly right across the golf club, from the greenkeepers to the clubhouse, from waste reduction and recycling to energy saving. If you have any thoughts or suggestions for things you think we could improve on or do better, then please feel free to email me:

I hope you continue to enjoy the course and all the wildlife that call it home.

Jon Keepen – Head of Conservation


We are currently exhibiting a tree as part of the annual Christmas Tree Festival at the Holy Trinity Church, Bradford on Avon. The tree has been harvested from the golf course and decorated in a golfing theme including golf ball style lights, mini flags and golf tees. There are over 60 trees on show over the period from 3rd to 8th December. If you are in the area, please take a visit and give your support for this fantastic festive event.

Xmas Tree Trinity


Cumberwell Park named 2020 Golf Environment Awards Finalist

We are delighted to be shortlisted for the Operation Pollinator Award as part of the 2020 Golf Environment Awards. This is recognition for the work we carry out in managing and improving our rough grassland habitat on the golf course. We have also made links with Butterfly Conservation this year who are helping us monitor the butterfly and moth species found in these habitats. The awards are managed by the Sports Turf Research Institute and endorsed by the R & A. Founded in 1995, the awards aim to recognise, reward and promote outstanding individuals and golf courses for the time and effort they have put into protecting and preserving their unique surroundings. Course Manager Matt James and Head of Conservation Jon Keepen will be attending the awards dinner in Harrogate on 22nd January 2020.

Jon Keepen - Head of Conservation


South West Kids Charity Golf Day raises £2,700 for the Bristol Children's Hospital Grand Appeal

Club Member Richard Body along with some former colleagues and fellow Members has raised £2,700 over the past 2 years from the South West Kids Charity Golf Day - as superb effort and they hope to continue the success at the 2020 Golf Day (details will follow on our website)

Pictured below at the Cheque Presentation (left to right)

Ali James (Cumberwell Park Golf Manager), Alan Baker (Club Member), Kate Jones (Grand Appeal), Richard Body (Organiser and Club Member), Keith Edwards (Club Member)

Grand Appeal Presentation

Autumn 2019 - Conservation Report

As we head into autumn and the leaves begin to fall, it’s a good opportunity to look back on our environmental work from earlier in the year.

Now that summer is over, we have been cutting the areas of long rough around the course that form the backbone of many of our environmental projects. As many of you will be aware, the wide expanses of long rough that we have here at Cumberwell Park are the ideal habitat for mammals such as voles and mice that help sustain our raptor bird population. This year we once again had two pairs of breeding barn owls, a pair of kestrels and a pair of little owls. The pairs of barn owls each raised one chick whilst the little owls and kestrels reared four chicks each. All our raptor chicks were ringed by members of the Hawk and Owl Trust with the records sent to the British Trust for Ornithology to help build a picture of populations nationally. In addition to supporting birds, the long grass has also been a magnet for butterflies and moths. This year we have partnered with Butterfly Conservation to survey our wildflower meadows. A night time survey for moths revealed more than thirty species present on the course, whilst daytime butterfly surveys were conducted for the big butterfly count. Cumberwell is also participating in Operation Pollinator to look after and increase our wildflower meadows for wildlife.

As well as our grassland habitat, Cumberwell also contains many aquatic habitats used by fish, amphibians and birds. Kingfishers are present here on the course and we have created a habitat to simulate a shear riverbank, their natural breeding site, to help increase numbers on the course. Keep an eye out for a flash of electric blue if you are by one of our streams!

Conservation never stops at Cumberwell and we will be continuing our work throughout the winter. As we coppice hazels and remove trees which may pose a safety risk, the wood will be used to create other wildlife habitats or be chipped and used on the flowerbeds to ensure nothing is wasted.

This year we have again entered the Golf Environment Awards (which are endorsed by the R&A) to highlight the work we do around the site in promoting a more environmentally sustainable and conscious mindset to golf course management. In October we will be visited by a representative from the GEAs who will look at our work, fingers crossed we will be shortlisted for the finals!

This year has also seen the arrival of ‘Conservation Corner’ in the clubhouse. Our new noticeboard will keep you updated with all our latest environmental work, provide identification guides for wildlife on course, and give you the opportunity to record any sightings whilst you’re out playing. You can also contact me directly with queries via email at

Jon Keepen

Head of Conservation, Cumberwell Park


Tarmac Paths installed at Cumberwell Park

This week saw a number of paths undergo a transformation with the laying of a tarmac surface. The paths in focus have been the 8th green to 9th tees, 16th tees to 16th green, 31st green to 32nd tees and 35th green to 36th tees. We chose these areas as they are prone to washing out and create an unstable surface for golfers. Our in house Projects Team undertook the preparation work which involved installing wooden edging and minor re-routing paths in some areas. We aim to install more of this surface in the future.

Tarmac Paths


Cumberwell Park Sponsor Local Rugby Club Payers

This is the second consecutive year that we have chosen to sponsor 2 of our green keeping team members who play for local rugby clubs. We feel this is a valuable link between our staff, local sports clubs and our golf members who are associated with them.

Jon Keepen has been working here for over 7 years and is an established member of the team. He has been playing for Avonvale RFC for 12 years as hooker and in that time has been captain, awarded player of the year and also been involved with junior coaching. Cumberwell Park is also host to an Avonvale Golf Society as well as the club’s Annual Dinner.

Sam Jones started work with the green keeping team in 2018 during his break from university and returned to help us again in 2019. Sam has been playing for Bradford on Avon RFC since he was a junior and normally plays fly half. He was recently award a first class honours degree at Swansea University where he was studying sports science. Sam was involved with the Junior Academy from a young age with his brother Harry, who also joined us on the green keeping team this summer. Bradford on Avon RFC has close links with the James family as Chris and Adrian were founder members in 1982.

Jon and Sam Rugby Sponsorship

Autumn 2018 - Conservation Report

It’s been another fantastic summer for wildlife here at Cumberwell Park and, with the season changing once more, there’s plenty to reflect on. Our raptors have had another successful year with Barn Owls, Little Owls and Kestrels all raising young.

The Barn Owls once again made use of the par 3 course and nested in one of the boxes located there. The pair laid three eggs that all hatched and reached fledging age which was a fantastic result.

Our pair of Kestrels returned to the nest box on the 35th fairway this year and reared three chicks. There are approximately 46,000 breeding pairs of Kestrels in the UK and the species is currently placed on the ‘Amber’ list of endangered species, so to have a returning pair to the golf course is a great result.

For the second year in a row, we were fortunate to have Little Owls breeding here at Cumberwell Park. The pair used a nest box on the orange course and raised three chicks.

For the Little Owl ringing session, we were again joined by Dr. Emily Joachim. Founder of the UK Little Owl Project, Emily has studied Little Owls for over a decade and is an authority on the species. In addition, we were joined by Megan Witty, organiser of the Minerva’s Owls of Bath trail which was raising money towards the UK Little Owl Project. Many of you would have seen the Cumberwell Owl outside of the clubhouse that was part of the trail. The Owl has now flown the nest to be auctioned off with the other owls on the trail to raise money for the UK Little Owl Project, the Royal United Hospital Cancer Centre, B&NES young carers and the Roman Baths Archway project.

As well as the raptors, other wildlife has also been thriving despite the very hot summer. Once again both little and great crested grebes have nested on the course lakes alongside ducks, coots and moorhens. The grey herons have been ever present throughout the summer months along with the illusive muntjac deer. Many of these will stay with us throughout autumn and into winter so keep your eyes peeled next time you’re playing!

Head of Conservation, Jon Keepen


Greenkeepers take on Bristol Half-Marathon

Course Manager Matt James & Assistant Green Keeper Chris Keepen successfully completed the Bristol Half Marathon on Sunday. Although for some the weather may have seemed a nuisance, it provided good running conditions for the 10,000 participants. Chris completed the course in a stunning time of 1 hour & 34 minutes whilst Matt finished with a time of 1 hour & 52 minutes. The main beneficiary of the run has been Macmillan Cancer Support where Matt & Chris have raised a combined £1,500. Two of our green keeping team members, Mike Moore & Laurie Vines, both suffered from cancer earlier this year and the green keeping team wanted to show their support for Mike & Laurie in some form. Thankfully both are back with us at work on the golf course.

GK Half Marathon



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