Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Course

Welcome to Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Course

Links Golf Since 1793



The winter season has seen more of a typical Highland winter this year with some snow and a lot of frost days thrown in. I wonder what is yet to come!

We have completed the alterations to the 6th hole and developed a new winter tee for the 7th. All the excavated material which has been dumped along the coastline at 6-7th will be raked out and seeded in the spring. Some whins have been cut out here and there and any regrowth will be treated this year to eliminate future growth with a view to ultimately pulling out the rotting roots and stumps. Meanwhile please take care and be vigilant of any stumps when the grass starts to regenerate within.

Every opportunity over the next few weeks will be spent on bunker renovation of the most difficult bunkers at 2nd, 9th & 13th holes. We have a new liner to install and a new sand to start the replacement process. There is some turfing work to be done around the 16th shelter and the ladies tee plinths all need to be set in properly.

Frosty weather work – we still have some whin pruning work e.g. Roadside at the 9th and at the 13th hollow. All the pathways require re-surfacing to shed the water from them and there is plenty machinery maintenance and cutting unit sharpening to do.

The red lateral water hazard markers are in a poor state and will all be renewed for the start of the season.

We acquired our new greens verti-drain/hollow coring machine in December and took it out over the greens with solid 1/2’’ tines to a depth of 8’’. This aeration work leaves them a little soft initially but the benefits are freer draining greens and increased root density which all leads to healthier and more resilient turf in times of poor weather or heat stress. Following our next hand cut we have a Calcium/Magnesium and Humic acid mini granule product to go on which is geared to encourage soil microflora and gently raise the pH.

George Paterson – Head Greenkeeper

Please click onto the link below to view the report relating to proposed bunker additions and alterations on the 6th hole. The link below the report will show you the image/plan of the proposed works. This work is scheduled to commence during the off-peak season as part of the greens staff winter programme. The greens committee and council would welcome any comments from members in writing or by e-mailing

A Report on the Proposed Bunker Additions & Alterations to the 6th Hole – 2017-2018

Image/plan of the 6th Hole – 2017-2018

It’s not been much of a summer out on the links with only a scattering of decent days and plenty of horrible weather thrown in. The water system has remained unused since the end of May which is quite remarkable for here, being such a dry place in general. The high level of rain brings with it its own problems in that the grass seems to be growing quicker than ever when growth should be receding by now. This has put pressure on us to keep the course looking tidy and we have been ‘chasing our tails’ literally with the grass cutting. One benefit is that the seed in the devoting has been germinating quickly which is of great help to the tees and fairways.


We encountered an oil leak while out cutting on Sunday 20th August and 7 greens and the top putting green were affected. This was unfortunate as we had swapped the greens cutting units over to the tees machine on the Friday as the greens machine developed an electrical fault that morning. The oil leak started on the 7th and was dripping from a pipe (power steering) under the operators seat and into the middle grass box and then through the box and onto the turf. As the hydraulic oil is clear it went unnoticed for the remaining greens as it only reacted with the turf a short while after. Not much could have been done on the day as we had an Open on and hopefully no long term damage has taken place.

We gave these greens a double verti-cut on the Monday afternoon to try and lift as much oil drip from the turf as possible. We have also micro cored some of the more noticeable scars and sanded and seeded these bits. Hopefully with still plenty of growth through the autumn the drips and streaks will become less evident as like a drop of grease which recover after a few weeks.

The green staff have been advised to be especially vigilant while working on the greens and we will be adding a dye to all the hydraulically operated grass machines which will highlight any leaks quickly should they happen in the future.

Our two machines are now repaired and passing comment to the engineer that things always come in threes, sure enough the fairway machine developed a leaky seal in at the flywheel and engine! The fairways at 7th and 8th have been mildly affected with some drips but nothing too serious.

The competition and Open schedule has been intense and the greens are being cut on a daily basis at 3.9mm and rolled as much as time and manpower allows us. It is difficult to maintain consistent good speeds >9ft when the weather is soft as was highlighted at Kingsbarns for the Ladies British Open when they were only achieving 9ft 2’’. We are also having to do a lot of wet cuts and it is never the same as a good dry cut.

Overseeding – we have done a little seeding at the entrance side to the bottom putting green which has been weak all year. Our own Sisis Variseeder was used but was not that effective in that the Fescue seed found it difficult to find the small holes that it produced. These two greens seem to suffer most from ‘Anthracnose’ which is the yellowing and basal rotting of Meadow grass plants that are under environmental and physical stress.

Lately we micro cored the two putting greens and overseeded both with a demo Blec Multi seeder. The Blec machine produced thousands of small holes but not big enough for the Fescue to drop in successfully. Our plan for this autumn is to shallow solid tine with 10mm tines starting on Monday 25th Sept and then broadcast seed and sand to provide cover for the seed. We have several bags of greens Fescue seed in stock which will be used this time around. This work should have the greens back to a reasonable standard within a few days.

Bunker Renovations & Alterations

Starting in November we will be working on reducing the depth, renewing faces and changing the sand in several bunkers. These are RHS 2nd green, front 8th and 9th greens and the approach bunker at 13th green. Proposed alterations are planned for the bunker between the 6th and 12th fairways to return it to a larger splash bunker with a small Marram island within. The LHS greenside bunker at the 6th and also middle fairway bunker which have proven both difficult and unfair have been proposed to change to grassy hollows/swales.

Bunker Additions

In order to keep the 6th hole as a challenge it is proposed to add an additional fairway bunker 35 – 40 yards beyond the current bunker on the right hand side of the fairway. This is designed to catch the longer hitters that leak shots to the right and also give a bunker that can pose a threat and be seen from the tee. In addition to this it is also proposed to reinstate the approach bunker short left of the green which will tighten up the 2nd shot. It is planned that any alterations and new bunkers will be made less punishing and will be easier to maintain longer term.

The intended bunker areas will be spray paint lined at their proposed location out on the course We also intend to add a bunker liner to bunkers that give us trouble with stones coming through. This is a permeable fabric specifically designed for both keeping the sand in place on slopes, keeping it consistent in depth and keeping it clean from underlying debris. Hopefully with this in place and with the new sand, ball plugging will be greatly reduced and shot making will be more predictable. A plan for these bunker additions and alterations will be displayed in the clubhouse notice board for your interest and comment.

Autumn Renovations

Renovations to the greens this autumn are with the solid tining / sanding starting 25th September and a verti draining with 1/2’’ tines in November, date tbc. The tees and approaches will be hollow tined during the autumn at some point, date tbc. All the tall roughs will be cut and collected during a dry spell this autumn.

Winter Renovations

Along with the bunker work we hope to do some turfing work at the 4th hole on worn areas, the 16th shelter surround and the path leading down from the 18th to 1st fairway and the worn bit by the 12th tee. Whin reduction/eradication on the RHS and also over the main ridge on the 4th hole and also the whins in front of the tees on the ridge at the 15th hole.
A list of the planned winter work will be displayed on the main notice board next week.

George Paterson – Head Greenkeeper

Welcome to my first golf course report since returning to where it all started back in 1985. There have been some changes to the course and the vegetation has shot up dramatically in places. Playability is my big aim for the course over the next few years which will enable all levels of golfers to enjoy their golf and not go home frustrated! The ball has started to roll in that regard with the whin removal undertaken last year and with plenty to do in the future.

The bunkers as we all know are difficult to play out of and as greenkeepers are also difficult to maintain. The windy weather of late has played havoc with the sand and we have repeatedly had to shovel and reshape to bring them back into order. The sand will not pack and when it is dry will only lead to some plugged balls unfortunately. There is plenty work to be done over the next few winters to reduce the depth and improve sand quality and performance. We will be trialing a new bunker liner in the bases of bunkers which will help contain sand on the faces and also stop any stones coming through.

A plan for any bunker alterations will be made available before the winter programme is decided.


The STRI visit on June 7th highlighted good progress with regard to firmness, trueness and general speed. Their visit fell after we experienced a whole days rain the day before and results may have been slightly affected compared to a few weeks earlier during the dry spell. Nonetheless the sand dressings over the past few years are proving beneficial in keeping the surfaces firm and true. The verti draining done in late March was probably a little bit late and with some Leatherjacket activity has rendered a few holes that are still slow to fill in. Combine this with a lean fertiliser strategy and coolish weather means that some areas of greens ie. RHS 12th will take a while yet to completely fill in.

Light verti – cutting, grooming and sand dressings will continue through the summer period to further enhance trueness and complete grass cover. Moving forward we aim to increase Bent grass levels through some late summer over seeding. We still have some Fescue grass seed in stock and if the opportunity occurs will also try to get this into the sward.

Aprons & Approaches

These areas received a verti – cut last month and were sanded recently. These jobs aid sward refinement and turf performance. Some rye grass within needs to be sprayed with ‘Rescue’ graminicide to help clean up their appearance.


All tees have been sprayed for weeds and more recently been given a summer feed.


The fairways are performing well and the recent wet month of June has kept them from drying out too much. Regular divotting and tidying up of divots is greatly improving the look of the course and many thanks to the volunteers who have given their time to help us. Most of the weed spraying has been completed.

I have decided not to white line dash approaches to greens for buggy users but would ask that the buggies be kept back a few metres from green edges and not be taken onto the tees. Thank you.

Semi-Rough & Roughs

We have sprayed most of the weeds in the semis and widened them in places. The taller roughs are getting to the stage where they are needing cut and this will be done in the next couple of weeks during some dry weather if we get it? The ‘Laser’ herbicide has worked well in keeping the bases more open and reducing the time spent finding your ball.

LHS 5th hole. The mounding left behind after the car park works has turned into a weedy mess and as a result we have strimmed it down and sprayed it for weeds. There are still plenty of stones in the area so it has been white lined and made GUR. There is 1no. drop zone in use.

17th Green Pole. A new pole has been made by David Grigor and will be in place very shortly!

George Paterson Head Greenkeeper

All the areas of gorse that we intended to remove and turf over, have now been completed. I would like to thank Willie Gray and his staff for the added help. It is very much appreciated. Due to added help from his landscaping team, we were also able to clear some of the gorse from the banking along the right-hand side of the first fairway, which will help the ball roll back down to the semi-rough.


The greens have come out of the winter much better than previous years and are looking extremely healthy. It’s encouraging to see a lot less poa annua on the greens and the start of fescues coming through the bent grasses.

We have recently tined the greens again to help them breathe a little which allows cation exchange to take place and also relieve compression from winter play.

The greens have already had a top dress and a verticut in the last month and when we start to have more grass growth we will start to regularly repeat these procedures. The height has just been reduced to 4.5mm from 5mm.


The tees have had another verticut to reduce the thick lush growth of the poor grasses and encourage better finer grasses to in fill. We will continue to verti cut as we see fit and overseed with fine grass species. They are due a liquid feed and an application of wetting agent, this will be done once we get a break from the windy conditions.


The amount of fescue that has come through on the fairways is amazing, the cover is now a good 60 – 70%, a vast improvement on previous years.

The regular applications of iron and wetting agents plus annually overseeding with fescues has made a huge difference. Hopefully, in the future, this will continue. We have started regular cutting of the fairways.


The roughs have just had a spray of laser herbicide to help reduce the coarse grasses and this will be done again at the end of the season once the roughs have been cut down. The purchase of new machinery will help massively with maintaining the rough around the course, and some progress has already been made in that regard. The areas of roughs will be reduced in main play areas this year which will allow for greater runoff and a better chance of being able to play the ball as it lies, as well as speeding up play.


All areas are due to be sprayed soon for weeds as daisies are starting to pop up all over.

I would like to thank Alistair tait for all the help that he has done on the course over the winter from signs to markers, arranging for the carpark holes to be filled etc. His help has been invaluable.

I would also like to thank all the members who are involved with the work parties picking up litter on the course and devoting fairways and semi roughs. Olf courses need more people like you!

Thank you

Mark Campbell ex-head greenkeeper

The weather has been fairly good over the winter so far, without too many days of frosts, rain or snow.

Work has begun removing gorse on the first 4 holes of the course, with backfilling happening at the same time. Areas on the right of the 2nd and 3rd have been turfed over. The stumps on the 2nd and 18th have yet to be removed but should happen shortly.

The bunker on the 7th has been completed and should be easier for members to play out of, it will be back in play at the end of March.

The greens have been vertidrained and are due to be tined again with smaller thinner tines.

The tees and aprons have been tined twice so far over the winter period and are due a light feed to take them into the springtime.

The fairways have been tined in November and given a spray of iron sulfate and have just been tined and given another spray of iron and wetting agent.

The rock armour has now been completed along the 6th and 7th coast and infilling between the stones and the top of the bank has started, this will then be seeded to finish.

We are starting to experience some colder mornings now and as such the rate of grass growth has dramatically fallen back.


The greens were cored, seeded and topdressed towards the end of October and had an application of iron, potassium and wetting agent to help them through this period. The height of the greens has now been brought up to 5mm from 4mm.


The tees were over seeded at the start of October as were the aprons, with some of the tees being seeded again at the end of the month. The winter tees are due to be reinstated on the 14th November. This may change, though, as the coastal erosion works are also scheduled to begin on this date at the 6th and 7th holes. Members will be kept informed through the usual means.


The fairways are starting to be sprayed with iron sulphate to help reduce a build up of moss, this will also help to keep casting worms down and promote better grasses by acidifying the soil.


We have started cutting back the roughs this week and removing the clippings which will help to improve the quality of the grasses.

Winter work

We will be carrying out the following work over the winter, as well as normal care and maintenance of the course and practice ground.

1. Reduce / trim gorse bushes on 1st 2nd and 3rd holes

2. Reinstate area along the side of the course where the erosion works are taking place

3. Repairs to bunker heads and backs

4. Repairs to bare turf areas around course

5. New banking in areas along roadside to prevent cars parking

These works will be planned to tie in with the priority areas identified in the member’s consultation response. As the work associated with the coastal erosion works is currently unquantifiable, the plan may need to be adjusted. Again, members will be notified of any changes which may occur.

Summer has just arrived and there appears to be an end in sight for the continual rain, which creates its own challenges for the greenkeeping staff. The occasional warm weather and the continual wetness have ensured that there is plenty of growth around the course.

Unfortunately, the work that was carried out at the chanory car park to improve the parking and traffic flow is also presenting the club with a few unwanted problems. The increase in the number of vehicles going through the course and the narrowing down of the roundabout at the car park is causing more traffic to become bottlenecked in front of the 5th tee and green.

We have already had to block off the access to the old nursery at the rear of the 12th green and access to where sand and soil is stockpiled, as the visitors were using this as an overflow carpark. New signs have been put up to warn drivers that there is no parking at the sides of the roads. We are also in constant contact with the highland council to make them aware and we await some action to help improve the current situation. As well as the parking problems in this area, the contractors have left the area to the left of the 5th green in a state which is less than ideal. We have had one meeting so far to discuss the way forward, and another meeting is arranged for this coming week to try and come up with a solution which is acceptable to the club.


The greens are continuing to be regularly verti cut, topdressed and rolled. With all the rain we have had, the greens are softer than during a normal dry summer and we are starting to see more pitch marks again. Obviously, it is in everyone’s interests to repair their pitch marks as they go. Recently, I was approached by 2 members playing in the sweep to say that the side of the hole cup at 10 was damaged. This turned out to be a pitch mark right on the edge of the hole cup and was not repaired which affected the roll of the ball into the cup. So please repair your pitch marks.


The aprons have had a second verti cut and topdress to help improve the surface


The weaker tees have all had a second feed of 12:5:20 slow release granular fertilizer to help improve the grass cover and appearance. The club’s policy of allowing play from all tees obviously has had an impact on some of the teeing grounds. This is more evident on the white tees, which are obviously proving to be the more popular of the teeing options. To try and help the situation on some of the more well-worn tees, we are trialing a box filled with divot filling mix on the 5th tee. This has proved to be beneficial, and we may extend this to other tees which are showing signs of wear and tear.


The fairways are improving all the time with fine grass content and cover and are due to be barrel tined soon to let them breathe.


The rough will have another spray with the grass herbicide and weed killer towards the end of this month, to help thin them out again before we cut the rough down in October.

Work will be starting next month behind the 9th tee area. This is to remove some of the gorse in this area to allow access and storage for the erosion works on the west side of the course which is due to begin in October. These works will comprise rock barrier works extending for approximately 200 metres to reinforce the existing sea defences. A contractor has been engaged to complete the heavy works, whilst the greenkeeping staff will carry out the finishing earthworks and seeding of the area.