22nd March 2023
We’ve had a mixed winter with periods of snow, frost and a few milder days thrown in. It was good to see some snow as it gave the course a little rest during these periods. March has been very cold which will give a slow start to the season unfortunately. We’ve had very little growth so far and not much weather to work with.
Rainfall last year amounted to 510mm which is relatively dry compared to the previous couple of years. We undertook some pot seeding work on the greens which although was a little late the weather played ball and we achieved a good seed strike. A mix of fine Barenbrug Fescue seed was used in a longer term approach to increasing the percentages of finer grasses that will withstand drought, increase ball roll, fewer chemical inputs, less aggressively managed, less seed heads etc. Many benefits to be had if the greens are given the chance for these grasses to colonize and survive.
We also invested a £3000 in seeding the 8 worst affected fairways last September. Castlestuart Links kindly lent us their disc seeding machine and although conditions were not perfect as the ground was pretty hard at the time a reasonable seed strike was achieved. We have recently sprayed all the fairways with a wetting agent and iron spray during a lovely wet day. This will help retain soil moisture and the iron will help deter moss. A follow up spray in a few weeks with more wetting agent and some slow release Nitrogen will be given which will help the younger grasses survive into the season.
Our winter work has mostly consisted of re vetting bunkers of which 12 were completed this year. New sand has been added to them all and will be a little soft until they have bedded in. We also did some re modelling work to the left hand side of the 8th green where the whin line has been taken back several metres and some mounding put in. This area will remain GUR for another 2/3 weeks as the area under the sheet has been seeded and although germinating we have had no warmth recently. Some fairway whin edge lines have been trimmed back and the left approach at the 13th taken down to waist level as it will offer better view of road users whilst playing the 13th. These will grow back in a year or two.
We also dug out the last group of whins on the left of the 4th fairway which gathered a lot of golf balls. We have created another sandscrape which will again catch the stray shot and make for a tricky recovery, meanwhile speeding up play.
Some recent work included replacing the clubhouse borders that were old and shabby looking. The soil was dug out and re filled with dune sand and then replaced with Marram grass plants. The finished look looks much more inviting along with the recent up grade of the outside seating area front of clubhouse.
Looking forward we are in the process of getting a test borehole drilled to replace the need for mains water for the water system. This will be carried out in the whins next to our water tank in November later this year. We have had a geological survey done and it is estimated that drilling will find water around 55m depth into bedrock below. Drilling will only confirm this and quantities of water to be confirmed but hopefully in the region of 7m3 per hour. Savings from using mains water would eventually pay for the borehole in around 4 years. Further ahead if the borehole is successful then potentially some fairway irrigation could be added to the system, initially to 7 fairways. This would be used sparingly in times of drought and would help greatly in divot recovery on our most highly used fairways. (1 to 4, 7,12 and 13)
Enjoy your golf this season
George Paterson – Head Greenkeeper