Greens Report (2017) for AGM 2018
The past year was all about the weather, particularly in the final three months of the year where we had wave after wave of firstly wet weather and then frosty weather which meant that from early October onwards the course was only fully open on a very intermittent basis. More commonly only the back nine was available and latterly in December, the course was often closed entirely. Even on those rare sunny days when it looked from a distance to be playable, icy conditions underfoot meant that the club could not risk opening the course.
Given that most course problems this year were caused by excessive and unrelenting rain, to try and drain some of the excess water off the greens, drain caps were installed at the 1st/4th, 15th and 16th holes.
On a positive note, when the weather conditions smiled upon us (yes I know it wasn’t often) the course was back to its beautiful best with some spells during the summer when it was magnificent.
Following an early year meeting, permission was sought and subsequently granted to, fell a small number of trees and to trim back some others within the back nine in McDonald Park. This work was carried out later in the year largely by a tree surgeon on our behalf, with some work deferred until the autumn due to our late start.
Club Council decided when the winter greens began to be prepared, that normal play off these greens once prepared, but not in use, would require a compulsory lift and free drop to protect these greens whilst not in play. Subsequently, it was decided to extend this compulsory lift from winter greens to apply to the 14th winter green only all year round.
The Club leased a new Kubota L4240 Mk.2 Tractor and a Wessex 3-Gang Rough Mower to replace existing equipment which was getting beyond its best. The rough mower was initially purchased for cutting the rough to a more acceptable level, but the adjustment capability is such that it can also be used to great effect on fairways where its 4.2m wide cut makes short work of long and expansive fairways. The cutting height can be reset in 10 – 15 minutes as opposed to the 2 – 3 hours on the last rough mower.
The pump in the pumphouse at the 6th green was also replaced as part of an equipment review as it was found to be in need of a repair the cost of which was equivalent to the cost of a new updated pump.
The winter maintenance programme is now on the notice board and this year work is focused upon drainage along the 1st fairway, irrigation pipework along the 2nd fairway, reshaping the bunker and right-hand approach at the 12th green, and the creation of a 4-hole target green mini-course in the practice area between the 16th and 17th fairways for the training of our juvenile members.
As usual all bunkers will be checked, repaired and then refilled as necessary during the winter season. During last years winter work, a new path and associated drainage was installed between the 5th tee and the bridge.
Club Council decided to install blue disc markers at 150yds from the green on each par four fairway for our junior member to tee off from at these holes. This decision seems to have gone down well with the juvenile members as it gives them their own distinctive teeing area at each hole and has removed some of the more difficult hazards and difficult rough areas for newer young players to have to carry over. The markers themselves were far more distinctive than the existing 100yd red markers and new red markers of a similar type have been ordered for the new season.
This year we have reaped the benefit of a mostly fully staffed greens team (Bill, Innes, John & Phil) and this was supplemented during the summer with both Andrew and Michael returning during the peak work period. We have also been fortunate to have junior member Findlay Smith working with us every Wednesday since the summer on work experience from Ellon Academy.