Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Course

Welcome to Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Course

Links Golf Since 1793



Once again, summer has supposedly arrived. You know it’s still cold though, when the greens staff are still wearing their winter coats and lined snowsuits! Spring has been its usual cold, windy self with a few hot days thrown into the mix, but we are now starting to see a continuous amount of growth around the course and are now cutting all areas on a regular basis.

The amount of fescue has been greatly increased on aprons, tees and fairways. Whilst the uptake of fescue on the greens has improved, I would like the rate to increase so that we can have a true and consistent putting surface. This should improve if we have a relatively dry summer. The poa grasses on the greens are seeding at the moment, and produce the small white heads on the surface. The poa grass has been put under stress with the weather conditions and the limited amount of feed that we give the greens and the seeds will disappear shortly.

This is a perennial problem which will disappear entirely when the fescue programme is complete. We are now 3 years into a 5–7 year programme, and we should see improvement year on year. So that the Council can be assured that the fescue programme is on track, we are once again engaging the services of the STRI to examine and report on the state of the course grasses. The last report they produced in 2014 was positive and confirmed that the fescue programme was the correct strategy to employ.

We have begun regular verti cutting and top dressing of the greens and this will continue throughout the year. The tees have been verti-cut once so far this year and will be done again shortly and once more towards the end of the season. The aprons are on a more regular verti-cutting and top dressing regime than the tees to help improve the surface and quality of the grasses. The fairways have been sprayed with iron and wetting agents during April and will have another spray of wetting agents shortly, to help them through our summer weather.

The 1st and 18th fairways are being treated with a more expensive different product provided by a manufacturer free of charge, in return for regular condition reports. There has been a noticeable improvement in the condition of the fairways and hopefully this will continue. All areas of rough are coming along nicely – we have sprayed the rough with a grass herbicide and this has allowed only the finer grasses to grow. The rough is fine and wispy, allowing you to find your ball, but still provides a tough test when trying to extricate your ball! The fairways and semi rough have also been sprayed to reduce daisies and plantains.

The areas where whins have been removed along the sides of the 10th and 15th are slowly starting to recover. Once enough growth has been established in the new grasses, we will tidy those areas which are currently Ground Under Repair, with the ultimate aim of returning those areas to playable parts of the course as soon as possible.

Lastly, I would like to thank all of the members who turned out to help in the divoting exercise earlier in the year. This is much appreciated and helps us focus on those parts of the course which need attention.

Mark Campbell Head Greenkeeper

This winter has seen a lot of rainfall so far, with 56mm of rain in November, 131mm of rain in December and a further 28mm of rain up to the 10th of January 2016. We have been far luckier than some courses but this is still a lot of rain for what tends to be a dry course. We have tried to keep greens in play where possible but at times we have had to rest them and let them dry out, even when the puddles have gone from the surface the greens are still at saturation point and are very soft. We could do with a few weeks of dry weather to let the course dry out fully.


With the wetness and cooler temperatures, some areas over the greens have died back and are not looking the best. These areas will return once we start getting better drier weather and warmer temperatures. We will also help to bring these on with the addition of some light fertilliser. The greens were vertidrained at the start of October but will be done again when we can take a tractor over the surfaces without causing any damage. They have also been barreled tinned several times to allow air into the green.


The winter tees were also barreled tinned during December to let more air in. These will be topdressed in the near future too. The fairways, have had a treatment of sulphate of iron at the end of October to reduce the moss but because of the constant wetness, some moss is coming back so we will have to repeat this after the fairways have been tinned again.

Winter work

We have removed some gorse from the rear of the 17th green and down the right-hand side of the 18th winter tee, this will help air flow around the winter tee and help to keep it drier. We have also carried on removing gorse down the right side from the tee to help improve the view of the 18th green.

We took the opportunity whilst the road through the course is closed to start work with a local farmer to cut back the gorse along the said area and this will definitely help with finding lost golf balls and provide a clearer view of the traffic and pedestrians using the road. It will also improve the health of the gorse as it has become weak and leggy. Once this area is finished we will start cutting back the gorse beside the 15th tee.

Mark Campbell head greenkeeper


New mounding left side of 11th green between gorse bush in front of winter tee up to next gorse bush.

Gorse trimming around course. Gorse front right of 15th tee. Along the roadside through the course.

Remove stone line in front of 6th apron on the fairway.

Core greens, aprons and tees.

Verti drain greens, using 1/2” tines

Barrel tine fairways, walkways and other wet areas in roughs.

Patching of worn areas as required.

Reinstating banking alongside the 6th coastline if coastal erosion repairs go ahead.

According to the met office, may has been colder, wetter and windier than average. I think we can all agree with this! As a greenkeeping process its not been the best month for growth and has been sporadic at best. We are just now starting to see a decent growth pattern to the greens and tees and are generally about 4 weeks behind, growth wise, to were we normally would be and are only just starting to verticut and topdress on a regular basis, the greens tees and aprons were verti cut during the first week of june followed by the greens, aprons and first fairway being topdressed afterwards.

The greens and tees have just had a light feed of nitrogen and potassium to help them come out of the cold spell and the fairways will follow suit in the next couple of weeks.

We did not overseed the tees and fairways during may as it was too cold and windy for the seed to take, but have now completed seeding the tees and are hoping to overseed some of the fairways this month.

Weed killing was carried out on tees and on some fairways, the rest of the fairways and greens will be completed during the warmer weather, as will the practice area.

The only area on the course that is really coming on is the rough! In general it is looking very clean with only a few areas that is thick and clumpy, these are the areas we will look to target with herbicides, to thin the grasses out and encourage finer grass species to dominate.

A new shelter has been installed left of the 6th green amongst the gorse, this shelter at the moment is very clean and fresh looking but is tanalised and will weather to a grey colour in the future.

There is an oyster catcher nest in the rough between the 16th and 17th roughs and has been marked with white hoops, please where posible can you avoid this area until the chicks hatch and have left the nest

Mark Campbell head greenkeeper

On the whole April has been a dry month with many warm sunny days, but still some cold nights, grass growth is still slow and patchy but hopefully, in the coming weeks this should improve as long as we do not have any more snow!

Because of a lack of growth, we have only been cutting and rolling the greens when deemed necessary. Greens can be a bit uneven at this time of year due to the variable growth between different grass species. The use of the turf iron at this time helps to smooth out the putting surface.

The greens and aprons have had their second dose of wetting agent and are looking good for this time of year, a lot of seed from last year has come through on the greens and is establishing well, the aprons are also starting to fill in nicely and will be verti cut soon followed by over-seeding for the second time this year, both will continue to be regularly top-dressed. There has been some leather jacket activity on some of the greens, most noticeably the 8th green, the greens have now been sprayed with an insecticide to kill the grubs off.

The poorer fairways have had a granular feed and have been treated twice with a wetting agent, whilst all the rest have only been treated once, there is quite a good recovery rate on the poor fairways, with a lot of the seeded fescues coming through and establishing, this is very noticeable on the 1st fairway!

The fairways will be seeded again through the month of may using the over-seeder. There was again a great turn out for the divot evenings and all we need now is for more warmth and the occasional shower for the seed to take, thank you to all those members and staff who turned out to help.

The rough between the 7th and 11th fairways has had a light spray of selective grass herbicide to weaken the coarse thick grasses and allow the fescues to come through stronger, hopefully this will improve play and how long it takes to find your ball! This will be monitored and given another dose of spray if deemed necessary.

If this spray has the desired effect, then we will be treating other areas in the future.

The new mound on the 12th has taken extremely well and looks like it has been there for a long time, we will not be cutting down the grass on the bank as we are not trying to make the course easier, we will be encouraging the area of land in front of the bank to establish better and look more like the rest of the roughs around the course.

Since my last report we have had a new member of staff start, Ryan Day, he is a fully qualified svq3 greenkeeper, who comes from Glasgow.

Mark Campbell

Head greenkeeper

Since Christmas, we have gone through a period of bad weather, more frost and snow in one month than we received over the whole of the previous winter. We are now looking a more settled period of weather and hope to return to patching areas of the course, in the next week we have turf arriving for finishing the patches that are all ready opened, as well as turfing over where the shelter on the 11th was. The committee is looking at areas to site a replacement shelter.

The Greens since Christmas have been barrelled tined but nothing else done to them due to the weather but we are looking to give them a light feed and a topdress in the following month, to help them recover over this cold snap.

The Tees have had a similar treatment to the greens and will also be fed in the next month, followed a couple of weeks later by coring and overseeding.

The Aprons will receive similar treatment to the Tees and topdressed.

The Fairways have been barrel tined twice and will receive a further tine over the next week or so and have had a covering of soluble iron, to reduce the moss and will have another spray in the next couple of weeks. This will help them recover quicker going into warmer weather.

During the third week in February we will be starting to strip the area to the left-hand side of the 12th (opposite the 13th tee) leading towards the 12th green. This area will be raised and banked to bring more definition to the hole itself and to improve the playing surface with stones coming through the turf at this time. We have marked an area that allows a crossing to the 13th tee. This will not be banked.

You may have noticed some gorse clearance going on around the course, we are trying to hit the worst areas and take the bushes down to the bottom growing buds to help re-establish the plants, this will help to allow the plant to put its energy in growing thicker and not leggy. In time we will cover all the course, but it is not possible or practical to do everywhere at once, or you end up with stumps everywhere all at the same height needing worked on in the future all at the same time, also having some mature areas around the course still provides habitats and wildlife corridors from predators and does not give the course a heavy maintenance feel to it.

Mark Campbell

Head Greenkeeper

Returf areas

Patches at the start of the 1st fairway and semi-rough, front right of the 1st green.

The right of 2nd right greenside bunker & the track at the start/left side of the 3rd fairway.

Patches around the 3rd green semi-rough & right of the 5th green.

Stone patches on the left of 6th fairway, level with 7th black tee.

Patches left of the 6th green & right of the right-hand fairway bunker on 10th including patches at the rear of 10th green.

Around shelter on 11th and shelter at 16th and left of 1st left bunker on 18th.

All turfing will be done just using basic hard wearing turf but not using any meadow grass.


Overseed all aprons, with the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 12th getting several passes. Fairways will also be overseeded again, both towards the end of the year when we still have the weather and at the start of next spring.

We will use just fescue grasses for reseeding, as this is drought/disease tolerant and is indigenous to the area and gives a better playing performance.

Gorse renovation.

This is to take place all over the course. Trimming down to the first bud area in the worst of the woody mature gorse, this will help put all the energy of the plant back into re-growth. Most other areas will just require a trim back, to tidy up and prevent branching out.


Greens to be verti-drained using 1/2” tines, no verti-draining to take place on the aprons and fairways as this is causing stones to come to the surface and poke through, shallow tinning would be a better plan of action using the barrel tinner.

All tees are to be aerated using the barrel tinner, for the same reason as the fairways.

Mark Campbell

Head greenkeeper