Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Course

Welcome to Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Course

Links Golf Since 1793


Greens Blog

Autumn greens renovations

Pot seeding of all greens took place on September 10th – 12th. 160kg (17 grammes/m2) of Bar Fescue seed was broadcast over the open tine holes created by our versatile SL6 Wiedenmann machine  with solid 16mm tines set into the turf about 30 – 40mm deep. A heavy sanding of around 15 tonnes in total went on first and when it had dried enough it was all drag matted back into the tine holes. Further brushing and rolling took place to help fill up the holes and restore the greens for play.


The benefits of introducing Fescue seed into our greens are that it is firstly a perennial fine leaved grass native to links environments. It is a hardy grass as it is deep rooting and requires less water and fertiliser to keep it happy as oppose to Meadow grass (Poa annua) Ultimately the fineness of leaf offers less resistance to the golf ball and a better all round / year round putting surface. If we can achieve some success from over seeding it would be great to achieve a blend of Fescues / Bent grasses and Poa reptans.

The reasons for doing this kind of work just now and not in October is that it will turn noticeably colder then and that would result a very poor strike rate. With a warmer soil as we have now and some decent rain the greens recovery rate and seed germination success are much improved. Fingers crossed!

We have raised our height of cut to 4.5mm and are rolloing the greens on alternate days and this will give the new seedlings a chance to emerge.

A week later we have sprayed the greens as a little coating and helper for the seed with some liquid seaweed, wetting agent and a little feed.


Wow… what a summer!

Course report – Friday 20th July

At long last a dry and warm summer has brought firm and fast playing conditions to our links. Rainfall figures have been low for the past 3 months – April saw 31mm, May 21mm and June 13mm. Combine this with almost furnace like heat and the turf doesn’t take long to dry out. We have been watering the greens on a regular basis apart from the odd shower of rain that we’ve had. Today the heavens have opened and we have puddles everywhere apart from on the greens. That’s good news. The rain will soak in and help the grass recover along with giving some well needed moisture to the divot filling.


The Scottish Boys U16 Championship went well with a couple of dull and damp days to start then a lovely sunny day to finish. We were nursing the greens along as it was so dry before the event and doing a bit of hand watering to areas under stress. When the rain came it greened up the greens and prompted more growth than I would have liked. We double cut and rolled the greens for the last 2 days and gave an extra roll before the final round producing a perfect speed and test for the boys to enjoy. We had a truly International field and the winning score of -9 par was excellent from Italian Matteo Cristoni.

Our fairways had only been cut once in a month just before the boys U16s and this week just to go over any green bits. I prefer to keep a bit of grass on the fairways during drought weather as it really does help them sustain cover in difficult times. We are also saving on diesel! The wetting agent applied in spring also provided a little insurance. Thank you again to all the helpers giving up their time to help with the fairway patching.

Irrigation system – the system has been put to the test this summer and has had it’s fair share of problems. The system was installed in 1981 and is now 37 years old! I was noticing some greens were looking more stressed than others and others particularly green looking and realised that  some greens were sticking on and others not coming on at all. There have been a few issues with valves needing cleaned out or renewed, electric coils and decoders replaced and 3 burst pipes to contend with. The tees sprinklers on most tees are at most inefficient and wrongly placed and need re configuring for more efficient water use.

Burst pipe next to 6th greenside bunker


Old glue joint failure in valve box

This uncertainty has required the irrigation cycles to be watched at night to see that everything is getting water as it should because it seems like we are getting one problem after another. Just the other morning the 4th green stuck on and it got 50 minutes of water before it was noticed. Not easy to keep the greens consistent when this happens.

The system is limping along with old components at breaking point and it is around 10-12 years overdue in being replaced. Speaking to an irrigation contractor recently he indicated a renewal price of roughly 130-140k for a full replacement of the system.



The tall roughs received a cut back of a few metres in early May and there has been little regrowth since then. The remaining uncut taller roughs have thinned out as well and the balance seems fair with not too much searching going on. No complaints so it must be ok!!

Overseeding – the competition calender eases a bit in the middle of September and it is then that we hope to spike, seed and dress the greens in order to improve the grass cultivar quality. Longer term this improves turf hardiness, appearance and playability with reduced water reliance. Dates are 10 – 12th Sept for this work.

Hoping for a continued warm and dry summer


Geeorge Paterson

Head Greenkeeper










Spring maintenance work

18th April 2018

Spring has finally arrived after a prolonged cold winter this year. The fairways received there first cut last week and other areas are starting to show a little growth as the soil slowly warms up.

Following on from hollow tining the tees back in March we have recently verti-cut to refine the sward and today applied a slow release feed. We applied 14 bags of 16.2.10 + 2%Mg + 3%Ca + 6%S which equates to 50kg Nirtogen per Ha / 6kg Phosphorus and 32Kg potassium per Ha. This is the recommended rate to give the turf 3 to 4 months of required nutrient and steady growth to enhance the appearance and aid recovery from wear and tear.

The greens were also vert-cut last week and the height of cut lowered to 4mm. Our 4th sanding of the year went on this Monday to help fill in any imperfections and the 17th green and two putting greens were spiked and seeded to try and ultimately promote some denser turf cover. The greens were also given their base feed today with an organic mineral fertiliser. This contains 5 different forms of nitrogen for a gentle release as temperatures rise.                                                  13.5 bags were used over the 20 greens and this provided 17kg N and K/Ha. This is intended to last for around 7 to 8 weeks to which point liquid feeds will take over as we enter into the hotter summer months. The greens will be slightly slower for a few days until the feed has fully broken down into the grass sward.

Leatherjacket grub activity so far has been minimal and maybe it is due to the cold spring? I’m keeping my fingers crossed that numbers will be low and not cause any real superficial damage as and when they do start to feed on the roots and fill out.

Bunker work

We have over the past couple of months replaced the very fine sand in many bunkers. Some have been dug out down to the membrane and new sand put in and others have had an up turned sod base put in before the new sand added. It seems to be working with not nearly as much sand blow as previously which will save a lot on our labour.

New swailes at 6th hole

These two swailes are taking a little longer to bed in than first expected and mainly due to so little growth. They have been previously sand dressed a couple of times and also rolled, fed and given a flymo recently. Once some regular cutting takes place they will begin to fill out properly and be brought into play then.



6th Hole alterations

We have removed the centre fairway pot bunker and created a swale in its place. In addition to this a new right hand side fairway bunker has been created some 35 yards past the first one. The reasoning behind this is to reward a good drive that holds the fairway in a prevailing westerly wind and in turn tighten up the landing area for the longer hitters. The depth has been kept fairly shallow to offer a longish recovery shot should you go for it. 

The splash bunker between the 6th and 12th fairways has been largened with a small grassy island installed within.


The approach to the green has been tightened up with the re introduction of the left side approach bunker. This has been set a little closer to the green than previously and the front lip lowered to allow easier access. 



The coffin bunker to the left of the green has been removed and a grassy swale developed in its place. This will be cut at fairway / surround height and allow for a variety of recovery shots from within and through it.

Winter 2017/18 bunker renovations – Hole 2

Right hand greenside bunker – Hole 2

This is one of the bunkers very prone to sand blow and it took up a lot of our time having to re shape during dry and windy weather. The depth of sand was also an issue leading to plugged balls when the sand dried out and the unpredictability of the recovery shot within.

So much of the fine sand was dug out and the base re shaped with the use of old revets /turves before a fleece bunker mat was cut and pegged in. We added back in some fine sand and topped up with a 3” layer of new sand from Balachladich quarrie Muir of Ord.

The new sand once settled and weathered in should offer a more consistent depth and firmness allowing a more predictable bunker shot.

Like all of the turfing work it takes time to knit in and establish therefore we will hope to have all newly completed bunkers open around the middle of March.




Course Report – January 2018

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

Plans for the 6th Hole – Bunker Additions & Alterations – Winter Programme – 2017-2018

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

Course Report – September 2017

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

Course Report – July 2017

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