We love mum, and there’s nothing we love more than spoiling her rotten with lots of wonderful gifts on Mother’s Day.
In light of this, we’ve carefully selected some of mum’s all-time favourite ‘things to do’ at Bowood to help you when choosing the perfect gift for her this Mother’s Day.
There truly is no better way to spend a day together than by taking her on one of our divine Spa Days. Each of our Spa Days include a treatment, which can be enjoyed either individually or together, as well as full use of our spa facilities.
Want to Gift this Experience?
Use Mother’s Day as an excuse to treat mum to some much-needed R&R this spring. When she’s not unwinding in the spa or sipping cocktails in the bar, she can take a walk around the estate and watch springtime unfold.
If she’s lucky, she may even spot some of our resident deer, pheasant and other wildlife roaming freely.
Deluxe Spa Break | From £129pp – View Details
Indulgence Spa Break | From £190pp – View Details
£40 per couple
The ultimate Mother’s Day gift, afternoon tea. Treat mum to some of our freshly prepared, home-made cakes and pastries while gazing out across our picture-perfect golf course and woodlands.
Our Afternoon Tea experience is available daily from 2.30pm – 5pm.
Want to Gift this Experience?
Sunday 31st March
Spending time with mum on Mother’s Day is far more important than a gift.
Why not bring her and the rest of the family to Bowood for either an à la carte lunch in The Shelburne Restaurant or a more relaxed carvery in our Kerry Suite?
Want to Gift Sunday Lunch at Bowood?
£40 | 30 Mins
Leave mum feeling fabulous with a relaxing holistic facial.
Our 30-minute facial uses award-winning skincare from Eminence Organics which reawakens and rejuvenates tired skin and can be customised to your specific skin type.
Natural exfoliation and skin renewal along with a décolleté massage will leave mums skin looking radiant and replenished.
from £20 – £25
When it comes to improving your swing, there are many areas where physical conditioning is at least as important as a sound concept of technique.
So-called early extension is a great example. We can think of early extension as ‘standing up’ through the ball, a move that changes your body angles and compromises the delivery of the club.
In this article you’ll learn how it happens, why it matters, and what you can do about it. As so often in the golf swing, a little extra mobility in the right areas can make a massive difference to your game… and your scores.
What is ‘early extension’?
At address we create body angles that give us the space and opportunity to move the club freely around us on a good plane. If those angles change excessively during the swing, the path and angle of the club changes, and that creates problems with strike and accuracy.
One key set-up angle is pelvic bend, which you can picture as the tilt of your belt. In elite players, this is usually around 20º. During the downswing, the sheer act of hitting the ball hard causes this angle to flatten – in other words, your belt line becomes more horizontal. In elite players, this angle typically flattens to around 5º at impact.
Why early extension is so common
The problem here is that we need this pelvic angle to flatten without the head and upper body lifting up… and that demands a certain degree of flexibility in the lower and mid spine. If you are too stiff through this area, your upper body will simply lift as your pelvis becomes more horizontal. Often the hips and pelvis move in towards the ball, causing heel strikes, and the lower body struggles to rotate.
Ahead of the curve
The elite golfer has enough flexibility in his mid back to allow that pelvic angle to flatten without his head and shoulders lifting up – a move that puts a certain amount of curve through the spine. If you can work developing similar mobility, your problems with early extension will ease.
Drill 1: Mobility
Your first step to improving that important mid-spine flexibility is a simple mobility drill. It works in two stages:
Assume your regular 5-iron golf posture, your hands outstretched and leaning on the head of your driver as shown. If you have alignment canes, stick one through your belt loop to accentuate your pelvic tilt. Now, without changing your shoulder and head position, tilt your pelvis back as far as possible. This is the move that rounds your back and makes the cane (belt) horizontal.
Now go as far as you can the other way. Tilt your pelvis forward, the move that arches your back and creates more angle in the cane (belt). Repeat these two extremes in a slow and controlled manner, focusing on creating as much forward and backward tilt as possible. In doing this, you will slowly but surely increase your mid/lower back mobility.
Drill 2: Tell tail sign
Perhaps the surest indicator of early extension is when your rear and tailbone are closer to the ball at impact than they are at address. You can use a cane or old shaft to check this, and also improve your ability to retain your address angles through the swing.
Stick a cane or old shaft into the ground behind your lead heel. Angle it so that, at address, it is around a hand’s width away from your lead glute. In transition, as you move forward, feel your pelvis rotate to allow your rear to touch the cane. Your lead glute should retain contact all the way to the finish. Work on this both as a check, and as a drill to encourage the correct motion.
Celebrate with us this spring as we host an extra special Summer Ball with live music from The Deloreans, accompanied by a fabulous four-course dinner in The Kerry Suite…
from £20 – £25
So far, we’ve spotted some swelling of buds, the odd insect that you really only see later in the year, but most apparent to me is the growth of bentgrass on our surfaces. From daily observation and keeping an eye on our clippings when we mow, the bentgrass is really showing growth as we go through this mild spell. This is great news given that our Poa populations will most certainly be sitting still for some time to come yet. Competitive advantage at work!
Rainfall-wise, we have a had a dry start to the year with February rainfall (and of course snow for that matter!). We’re currently sitting at not much over 50mm (2 inches) on top of the totals of January which really only hit half of average, at 35mm. Drier soil conditions have given us a great opportunity for fairway and semi-rough aeration which is most effective when the soil can crumble.
Our three main bunker renovation projects have included the greenside bunkers on holes 1, 5 and 12. As I write, the team are wrapping up the fifth and twelfth hole projects which have seen minor adjustments to their shape. The focus has been on the reconstruction of the edges and removal of any accumulated sand splash. In some cases, this was approaching 300mm depth as noted last month. The first bunker has been re-shaped on the front right, which at times gave quite a restricted backswing.
As we assess and undertake the work to these bunkers, we are trying to design sand faces and edging that will allow the ball to roll back away from the front faces. This will both reduce sand splash forward and provide fair ball lies but also stay in keeping with the original design. With all, comes compromise but we are looking at all perspectives.
Spring green renovations are upon us again. As required through all renovation and improvement operations, we tailored the techniques we used to match the conditions with which we’ve been dealing with. This spring, our operation had a primary focus on scarifying followed by micro-tining and sand topdressing to finish off the work.
The summer of 2018 threw challenging conditions for all of our turf surfaces and the consequences of these conditions are being seen now, six months on. Heat and absence of natural rainfall created stressful conditions for plants outside the normal tolerances of cool-season grasses through this period. These conditions reduced the vigour of growth and the overall health of our grasses. This has provided an opportunity for mosses to get a foot in the door where turf density was reduced.
Pre-treatment of green surfaces the week before our work with specific fertilisers stressed moss populations before mechanical operations were undertaken, the first of which was scarifying. Similar to verti-cutting, scarifying is effectively like power raking where both moss and organic matter are removed from the turf sward and collected for composting.
Following on from this, we applied pure sand topdressing which was brushed into the surface to reduce the density of organic matter and introduce structural stability back into the surface to aid recovery and smooth surfaces. Topdressing with sand is integral to our fine turf management programmes and we undertake this process throughout the year at varying rates of application from very light dustings hardly noticeable to heavy, hollow core filling applications that are apparent on the surface for a number of days after.
After topdressing was applied and brushed in solid micro-tining was undertaken which aided the smoothing and levelling of the surface and also, very importantly, provided an aerating effect to the soil that offers an opportunity for oxygenation of the soil and promotion of root development that is so crucial in the early days of the growing season. Root growth is at its highest in spring as soon as soil temperatures begin to rise. Healthy root growth provides the plant with an opportunity to access more groundwater, more soil nutrition and subsequently acquires an inherent ability to manage stress more effectively.
Aeration of soils should really be considered a fundamental part of turf management.
As is always the case with early season work, recovery is wholly governed by the weather conditions following the work. Cold overnight temperatures will maintain cold soil temperatures and therefore reduce or even stop plant growth. Our fertility programme following this work will be tailored to match the weather conditions always with a view to minimising recovery time and restoring play promptly.
Carrying over from my points on ground conditions, the team have been mowing regularly and shaping areas for the coming season. Fairways have had minor tweaks and approaches are blending in to match these. As our temperatures begin to rise, we will be addressing more of the shortcomings from last summer. This including scarifying and overseeding selected areas including tees and high traffic rough areas. Make sure you keep an eye out for the work and watch how long seed sowing takes to germinate.
Following a call from the greenkeeping team to help with improving bunker, playability we have changed our greenkeeping bunker rakes from the traditional landscape style rake to one with a tooth pattern that matches the on-course rakes. The teeth are shorter and much more closely spaced than the previous rakes but given the consistency across all of these tools, we have been seeing a real improvement in sand preparation since this change was made. The sand firms up more but the short teeth still provide a fluffy, shallow tilth for improved ball lie.
Remember last month – our rakes work best when you push them!! Get the word out, please!
Thanks for your time reading and as ever don’t hesitate to collar me and ask about anything that may be on your mind regarding the golf course.
from £20 – £25
By the time of Queen Victoria’s and Prince Albert’s births in 1819, the 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne had held his title for 10 years. Born in 1780, Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice had been appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer at the tender age of 25 and went on to serve under eight prime ministers.
In 1869, the now 5th Marquess of Lansdowne was appointed a Junior Lord of the Treasury, aged 24, going on to distinguish himself as a statesman. During the latter part of Queen Victoria’s reign, he served as Governor-General of Canada and Viceroy of India, for instance. Queen Victoria offered both the 3rd and 5th Marquesses dukedoms in recognition of their political service – both declined!
Set in The Orangery and curated by Bowood’s archivist Dr Cathryn Spence, The ‘Victoria, Albert and the Lansdownes’ exhibition (30th March – 3rd November) will draw on Lansdowne family correspondence, diaries, paintings and photographs.
Heading up to the House’s Exhibition Rooms – which showcase the Bowood Collection of art, antiques and historical artefacts, for example, the gilded chair and footstool used by Queen Victoria at her wedding in 1840 and a sprig of orange blossom from her bouquet are on display in the Victoriana section, having been given by her to the 3rd Marquess who attended the wedding as Lord President of the Council. The Indiana section then contains gifts received by the 5th Marquess during his time representing the Queen-Empress as her Viceroy from 1888-1894.
The Victorian age witnessed a growing vogue for walled gardens to serve large country houses with fruit, vegetables and flowers for their day-to-day purposes and more elaborate entertaining. Well ahead of this period, Bowood House’s own four-acre plot had been created in 1754. Situated behind Bowood House, it comprises four distinct, one-acre squares comprising formal borders, a picking garden, glass houses and a working kitchen garden packed with fruit and vegetables. Lord and Lady Lansdowne open up their private Walled Garden to the public for scheduled weekday morning or afternoon guided tours. Angled around the season and what is in bloom at the time, the 60-minute tours also take in the Italianate Terraces that front the Diocletian wing of Bowood House and the Pleasure Grounds surrounding it.
More reflections on Victorian horticulture are to be found within Bowood’s Woodland Garden, two miles from Bowood House. It was here that the 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne, around 1854, started the planting of rhododendrons on a narrow strip of green sand (key to the garden’s standing today), running between Poole and the Wash. 1850-60 saw the first of three stages of rhododendron planting in the UK (the other two being in 1900 and 1950).
The planting tradition begun by the 3rd Marquess has continued down the generations with his grandson, the 5th Marquess, adding significantly to the garden on his return from India having been inspired by the species and colours he encountered there. His great-grandson, Charlie Lansdowne (today’s 9th Marquis) has – since 1972 when he took the helm at Bowood – continued the planting undertaken here by successive generations of his family. Setting to work in 2006 on what became a seven-year labour of love, Lord Lansdowne then unveiled the Woodland Garden’s new, additional four-acre ‘Jubilee Garden’ in 2013.
With the spirit of the Victorian garden drawn into the present time, the Woodland Garden’s heavenly display of bluebells, bluebells, magnolias and azaleas covers some 30 acres today. It will again open to the public in 2019 for its annual six-week run from late April-early June.
Yes, Valentine’s is only a short period away. How are you planning to show that special someone how much they mean to you this Valentine’s? If you’re unsure, then we can help.
This Valentine’s, why not treat your significant other to one of our exclusive and unique Bowood experiences from our Valentine’s Collection. All of which can be purchased as either gift vouchers from our online store or our Valentine’s Rendezvous which is bookable here.
Use this Valentine’s as an excuse for some much-needed R&R. When you’re not unwinding in the spa or enjoying some delicious cuisine in the restaurant, take a leisurely stroll around the estate and observe the many stags and deer, pheasant and other wildlife roaming freely across the estate.
Please note: Must book at least 3 days prior to arrival.
There truly is no better way to spend a day together than on one of our divine spa days. Each of our spa days includes a couples spa treatment which can be enjoyed either individually or together as well as full use of our spa facilities.
Brunch Time Spa Day | From £140 per couple
Afternoon Tea Spa Day | From £140 per couple
Luxury Rejuvenation Spa Day | £230 per couple
Twilight Spa & Dinner | £220 per couple
Want to Gift this Experience?
On Thursday 14th February 2019, join us for a five-course Valentine’s Dinner like no other.
The menu has been crafted with love by our Head Chef, Ed Fortune and his skilled team of chefs and features fish, foie gras, côte de boeuf and more. A vegetarian menu is also available.
This Valentine’s, snuggle up in front of our roaring log fire in The Library whilst sipping on a refreshing glass of bubbles and an abundance of traditional afternoon tea delights.
Our Champagne Afternoon Tea experience is available 7 days a week from 2.30pm – 5pm.
Want to Gift this Experience?
There’s always an excuse for a sophisticated Sunday lunch here at Bowood. Our traditional Sunday Lunch is served from 12pm in The Shelburne Restaurant and prepared by our talented team of chefs.
Our Sunday lunch menu features favourites including, traditional roast beef and pork loin, as well as Cornish Sea Trout for seafood lovers or a fresh mushroom pappardelle for vegetarians.
Want to Gift this Experience?
from £20 – £25
In this series, we are learning how improved physical conditioning can improve your technique. This month we turn to the bane of club golfers everywhere… ‘over the top’.
This classic out-and-over move from the top of the backswing, which sees the club attack the ball from out-to-in, typically matches with an open face to produce that hated slice.
But simply by working on your mobility, you can forge a more effective move. Here’s how.
Where does over-the-top come from?
Over-the-top is usually the result of overuse or over-dominance of the upper body during the downswing. When your upper half dominates your more passive lower body, the club is typically thrown outside the intended swing plane and the club is forced to attack the ball from out-to-in.
Over-the-top can be linked to a golfer’s inability to work their lower half independently from the upper half – something that’s often called ‘separation’. To beat ‘over-the-top’ you need to wake up and mobilise your body from the waist down. Here are two drills that will help you.
Drill 1: Ball throw
Get your lower half more active at the change of direction, then build the feeling of separation.
Swing Back and Hold
For this drill you need some kind of ball – a football is ideal. Hold the ball with your palms facing each other, and take your regular stance. Now swing slowly back until your lead arm is parallel to the ground and hold the position.
From here feel your arms and the ball hold their position, just for a second or so, while you let your lower body lead the change direction. Allow the weight to shift back into your lead foot, and your hips to begin their rotation. Resist your arms and the ball moving with this lower-body motion. Your upper and lower halves will feel separated.
After holding that position for a second, let it go and continue with your hip rotation. But as you do, throw the ball straight down into the ground; it should bounce behind the outside of your trail foot. That intention helps prevent your shoulders simply opening out with the hips, and preserves your feeling of upper/lower-half separation.
Better Path, More Power
Keep working on this drill and you will start to develop a feeling for your hips and lower body leading the downswing, and your arms and shoulders following. This will help train a better path for the downswing, as well as a more powerful movement sequence.
Drill 2: Step change
A full-speed drill that adds dynamism to your ability to separate upper and lower body:
Take your 6-iron, and a regular stance. But just before you swing the club away, bring your lead foot across and next to your trail foot. The ball should now be just outside your lead foot. Swing the club forward, over and past the ball; you will begin your swing from here.
Swoop the club back, over the ball. But as soon as it passes your legs and begins to gain momentum, begin to step forward with your lead foot. Plant it in its regular position. You are creating a situation where the club is going back while your lower body is moving forward… which will help you feel and train separation.
Continue with that feeling of the lower body moving towards the target and the upper body swinging away from it. Done at speed, you will begin to create a powerfully stretched feeling at the top with your lower body – weight shifting and hips rotating – are already leading the downswing.
This drill works by helping you feel the all-important sequencing that allows your body segments to work in the right order on the way down. Work on this feeling of the lower body leading your upper half and you will find yourself able to deliver the club from a neutral or even inside attack path… and leave over-the-top behind for good.
Back to our usual round up for the month, firstly the weather. Following from our very wet spell through the middle of November into December we had an unseasonably dry spell over Christmas and New Year with the first rain of note falling as I write this news. On the horizon seems to be a shift in the wind to a northerly and hence a drop in temperatures to more expected levels.
On the back of cool temperatures we are seeing limited growth on surfaces in line with typical January conditions. Mowing greens once or twice a week is seeing little clipping removal at 6mm height of cut but it is giving us an essential tidy up of the surface. In addition to mowing we are generally rolling twice a week and have been taking the opportunity to undertake regular, low impact aeration with micro-slitters.
Our spring greens renovation is most certainly at the forefront of our minds as, in addition to solid tine aeration to promote a healthy root zone, we are looking to tidy up excess moss. The moss has been the hang over from heat stress through the hot spell of summer 2018, long reaching consequences it seems.
Scarifying and topdressing will move us forward on this issue and provide the basis for a good start to the growing season when soil temperatures start to creep up, a kind request has been made for a snow-free spring this year.
As I am sure everyone who plays Bowood understands; we have a large number of bunkers on the golf course, some of which are quite expansive. Maintaining these hazards takes up a large part of the team’s working week and in addition to regular raking, all of the bunkers require edge and bank mowing, usually by hand, and edge trimming.
Beyond these obvious tasks by far the most labour intensive operation is sand redistribution. Every time a shot is played and the bunker is raked the sand is shifted and by the virtue of the direction of play and walk in/out points of the bunkers we end up with accumulations of sand in some areas and a lack of sand in others.
When raking and maintaining the bunkers the greenkeeping team employs a technique that redistributes the sand and rakes it smooth ensuring an even coverage and providing a fair surface to play from. This aside, there is still a requirement to schedule a dedicated session of sand redistribution throughout the year to compliment the little and often approach of daily raking.
Bearing this issue in mind there was a conscious decision regarding the bunker rakes that we have selected for golfers to use but as with everything there is a compromise. Accuform rakes are widely acknowledged to offer the finest finish to a variety of bunker sand conditions provided that they are used a particular way.
This image shows distribution of sand by pulling the rake toward the body.
The best way to use our bunker rakes is to push them away from the body! This will avoid pulling the sand toward the body which is usually towards the fairway edge of the bunker.
Pushing the rake will leave the hazard with a smooth finish without the head depression at the beginning of the rake stroke and ridge of sand at the end of the rake stroke – ultimately a better finish for you to play from.
This image shows distribution of sand by pushing the rake away from the body.
The eighth tee is now at a stage where we are growing in the surface to prepare it for the season’s play. A programme of rolling, mowing and fertilising will result in an established surface in the coming weeks in time for early season play.
Further winter renovation work is underway on the twelfth greenside bunker to remove the banking of accumulated sand splash and re-establish the bunker edge. It is fascinating to see the depth of sand accumulation on some of our more-used bunker hazards, we often see a foot of sand accumulation on greenside edges which occurs purely from shot making from these bunkers.
Our Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort joins the elite group of PGA Branded Properties around the world, including past Ryder Cup venues The Belfry and Gleneagles, together with other exceptional resorts like Aphrodite Hills as the PGA National Cyprus and Antalya Golf Club as the PGA National Turkey.
“This partnership with the PGA takes Bowood to an entirely different and exciting level and firmly puts us on the golfing map. Not only as a PGA Golf Course, but also as a PGA Golf Academy. Our 5 resident PGA professionals coach all levels and ages, from juniors right through to European tour players.”
“The PGA is delighted to welcome Bowood Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort to the group of world-class PGA Branded properties. Bowood has been long recognised as a first class golf course which will be tested to the full as the host venue for the final of the English PGA Championship in July 2019.”
As part of the hotel’s new relationship with The PGA, Bowood will also become the home of the English PGA Championship for the next three years and will prove to be testing examination for the 144 players playing in this iconic event at this quintessentially English venue.
“We are delighted to have been endorsed by The PGA as an accredited golf course and academy and we are extremely proud that our championship golf course has reached the high standard required to bear The PGA name. This endorsement reflects the dedication of our outstanding team at Bowood.”
Our Stay & Play golf breaks include a round of golf, overnight accommodation (based on two sharing), a three-course dinner in the Shelburne Restaurant, breakfast the following morning and full use of the Spa facilities.
from £20 – £25
The R&A and the USGA have released golfs new rules, which will take effect on 1st January 2019. Here are five of the most significant changes…
How to Drop a Ball
You will drop your ball from knee height into the relief area.
Time for Ball Search
Three minutes will be the maximum allotted time to search for a ball, rather than the current five minutes.
Repairing Spike Marks
You will be allowed to repair spike marks and any other damage on the putting green by a person or an animal or maintenance practices.
Leaving Flagstick in the Hole
If you make a stroke from on the green and your ball hits the flagstick in the hole there will be no penalty.
Relaxed Rules in Penalty Area
You will be allowed to ground your club and move loose impediments in a penalty area (an extended concept of water hazards that does not include bunkers).
This places considerable physical demands on both hips, which need mobility and strength to permit and stabilise that twisting motion back and through. If your hip region is weak and/or stiff, you invite a series of technical issues with your swing. Most common are excessive lateral movement – swaying or sliding – poor weight shift as your hips refuse to take the load, and standing up out of posture. But how do you know if you have adequate hip strength and mobility? This test will help you find out… and if you should fail it, there’s a plan to help.
Build 60º ANGLE
Lie your 6-iron on the ground in front of you, its face showing to the sky. Place a second iron along the sole of the 6-iron, as shown. This sets up a 60º angle between the shafts, which becomes a key part of the test. Place a third club across your belt, in line with the 6-iron on the ground.
REPEAT FOR THE FRONT LEG
Create a mirror image set-up with the clubs and perform the same test for your lead leg and hip. Again, you are looking to get the shaft across your belt at least in line with the club on the ground. Failure to achieve this indicates you will have difficulty posting up properly onto the lead leg…which can lead to standing up and hanging back through the ball.
MATCH THE ANGLES
Withdraw your lead foot, balancing yourself on your trail foot and lead toe cap as shown. Now, keeping the club in line with your belt, rotate back; can you get the club across your hips to match the angle of the second shaft on the turf?
HOW TO IMPROVE HIP ROTATION
If you passed that test, congratulations – 60º of rotation back and through reveals you have enough mobility to rotate through your core without the need to sway or straighten up. If you couldn’t quite get the shafts to match, the best advice is to repeat this test three or four times a week. It doubles as a stretch, and in time will increase your range of movement. But in the meantime, here is one other thing you can try.
WITHDRAW YOUR TRAIL FOOT
Take your regular stance. Typically we’ like to see feet, hips and shoulders all in line with each other, aiming parallel left of you target. On this occasion through, we are going to pull the trail foo back by half the length of the lead foot.
As you do this, take care not to pull your shoulders and hips out of their initial alignment. By pulling the trail foot back we are simply going to give that trail hip a little more freedom to rotate. You can also flare the toe a little to improve mobility.