As I started my tenure as Greens Convener in April I have included a summary of the report from Mike Morrice’s Greens report in March




The greens were sprayed once with winter feed as part of the winter programme and although this hardened the grass, low ground temperatures have meant there was no growth in March. The greens were top-dressed using sand with 20 tonnes being applied across all the greens.


Work was completed on the 12th Hole with the bunker/drainage changes agreed in the Winter Maintenance Programme. The winter green was in operation for a few weeks more at this hole to complete this work.



Nothing to report.


Fairways, Rough and Bunkers

Overall it was another virtually wasted month due to the persistent wet weather as it had been a battle to keep the course open as much as possible with a lot of staff time being utilised to spike the fairways with the Slitter and the Verti-drain to assist in draining the fairways.


The irrigation line along the left side of the 2nd fairway has been completed and pressure tested, has had a new tap outlet fitted and the termination box relocated to the front of the green as its previous location will require some drainage as it is always very wet during the winter months. This will enable drainage work to be undertaken during next winter without having the worry of striking the water line when digging down to drains.


Drainage work at the north side of the 2nd fairway has been successful, and the area has dried out.

The drain which was dug out between the 4th and 5th fairways had now been piped and stoned,


Another blocked drain at the 3rd hole coming from the field at Auchterellon Farm was flooding and Bill Shepherd crawled up the main pipe in front of the 3rd tee to rod the drain until the blockage was successfully cleared. Bill says next time he will wait until the water is warmer!


Machinery and Equipment

All the machinery has now been sharpened and serviced apart from the small tractors and they will be serviced soon. No other issues with machinery and equipment.




We made good progress on the greens but the dry weather this month held back the seed germination which showed as bare patches on some of them.

They were fed with liquid fertiliser which has improved growth but we were having to water them every day just to stop them from getting worse.

Hand watering the greens with water retention pellets had also been applied to bare patch areas to help with the water run-off.

The mower height was been reduced to 4mm and the unit speed increased but we were still not up to full speed.

To try and smooth out the rough areas grass collection boxes weren’t used as the meadow grass was seeding. We actually got free grass seed which should helped the affected areas.

The dry conditions prevented daily cutting.



Nothing to report.


Fairways, Rough and Bunkers

Soil and seed were applied to all winter wear areas that have been white lined but due to lack of rain the seed germination has been zero.

We could only water these areas using a sprayer, as they are far away from the water outlets, trying to moisten them to get the seed to germinate.   

The fairway mowers were set to 13mm as spraying the daisies took place.

The first cut rough was reduced to 2 inches.


Machinery and Equipment

There was a problem with the John Deer 256B breaking down on the course with a complete loss of power. The cause was a faulty proximity switch on the brake which has been replaced and the tractor repaired.

There was a problem with a burst irrigation pipe at the 12th which burst. We had difficulty repairing the pipe as it is an old imperial size fitting. Using a water tight sealant will hopefully fix the problem.




The greens have been cut to 4mm and have improved greatly in the last month. Bill and his team have been out early every morning round about 4 am to water them.


The tees have been fertilised and seeded this month.


Fairways and Rough and Bunkers.

The water pipe at the twelfth has been fixed now.

The small mowers have been out and a lot of the drainage work has been completed.




The greens have been cut to 4mm and have improved greatly in the last month. Bill and his team have been out early every morning round about 4 am to water them.



The tees have been fertilised and seeded this month.


Fairways and Rough and Bunkers.


The water pipe at the twelfth has been fixed now.

The small mowers have been out and a lot of the deep rough after the first cut has been cut down. This is still ongoing.


There is a stones issue with the left hand bunker at the 15th green

Bill has been informed of this.

The area around the large sand feature at the 6th fairway has been cut and is no now ‘very very very untidy’.


Machinery and Equipment.

Nothing to Report.




The greens were watered day and night during July because of the bright sunlight and heat during the day.

Water retention agents have been applied weekly. This has been helping the centre of the greens and now with the rain that we have had the edges of the greens are coming back as well. Liquid fertilizer has been applied which has also helped growth rate.

The greens are being mown at 4.5 mm and won’t be reduced to 4mm,(Mower speed 2200 rpm) until greens have fully recovered.

I was advised by Sandy from some of the members that there were bare areas at the front of some of the greens on the back nine. These areas have been re-seeded.

There are a couple of fungi that are being/needed treated. Fusarium Anthracnose is being treated with spraying chemicals. The fairy rings will be treated after the Pro-Am. Meanwhile Iron sulphate will be used to harden and green up the greens. This will also cover up the fairy rings.



Still some areas with growth problems mainly on the back nine. Not enough time and water to treat them all. The burn had to be dammed up at the holding tank as the water flow rate was not enough to keep the pump supplied. The tees will come back after we have had some more rain.


Fairways, Rough and Bunkers

The mound area to the left of the twelfth has been landscaped and seeded and should green up before the Pro-Am. The fairways have had the mowing depth reduced and a complete round of divot repair and reseeding has been carried out. This will be done again before the Pro-Am but will need more rain for the seed to germinate properly.

Some rough areas have been cut back. Mainly for looks but also to help speed up play.


Machinery and Equipment

Nothing untoward this month other than normal running costs except a new tyre on two mowers due to wear. New blades for the hole cutter was required as the ground has been a lot harder and it’s been a lot more wearing on the blades. 




Mostly recovered this month with the rain fall at the end of July. There are a few scars remaining but there is a huge improvement.

Mower height has finally been lowered to minimum 4mm and the reel speed turned up to maximum.

Superficial fairy rings have been pretty widespread this year throughout the country due to artificial watering. Granular feed was applied as that was suitable for the ground conditions and this should clear the fairy rings up.

Looking at the weather forecast before the Pro Am water penetrate wetting agents was applied to draw down the water if heavy rainfall were to happen. Heavy rain did fall and play was suspended but once the rain stopped the agent did its job and there was not a lot of water to clear off the greens. Play was resumed half an hour later.

However, Bill has said the PGA official did not ask how long it would take to clear the green and if they would be playable afterwards. Also asking golfers to mark their balls and stand under the trees to shelter was bordering on nonsense.



Slower than green to recover as no water could be applied to them during the drought.

This month they have been spiked with round tines mounted on the John Deere Aercore 1500 to help water penetrate the surface and aid recovery. Some over seeding will be required.


Fairways, Rough and Bunkers

Greened up and growth returned with full cutting programme resumed. Took the opportunity to mark out the drain lines when the conditions were still dry as these lines show up in extremely dry conditions. During this exercise the old field drains system showed up and Bill will investigate if using these old drain systems could help the drainage on the first hole.  I also spoke to Bill and got the out of bounds posts between the fourth and fifth painted black on the fifth side.


Machinery and Equipment

A generator belt for the Cushman and the rough mower were replaced. New hole cutting blades were purchased and at the end of the month a half shaft went in the greens mower and had to be replaced by Fairways.


Hiring an Air2g2 will prolong the season and help water movement when the weather does turn.




Greens lightly scarified before terra-lift product applied to aid thatch reduction and will be scarified deeper to remove more thatch when ground conditions allow.  Wetter conditions have forced the green mower to be raised 20 5mm as lower cut was stressing the grass. During the wet spell the greens were also solid tined to aid drying out. There were large amounts of unrepaired pitch marks evident when the conditions were wet. With the drop in temperature the greens are not being cut every day.



The tees will only be cut once a month now as that is all the time we will have due to Michael finishing. Divot repair continues and the tees have also been solid tined. 


Fairways, Rough and Bunkers

Fairways and rough are still seeing vigorous growth and some of the worst fairways have been seeded with divot mix. There has been a lot of clearing up of leaves and branches after the storm and this has taken up quite some time.


Branches from the garden at the 7th green have been removed by the greens staff and 5 hours golf club time was taken to do this. Thoughts of an invoice to the offending house?


Winter Greens

The greens will be marked out and cut as the summer greens maintenance programme starts. This will mean the summer greens will be out of play while staff continue to work on them.




Greens again scarified with a lot of lateral grass removed as ground conditions were dry and firm with the wind helping as well.  Hollow coring was also done. The dry patches on the greens made the machine vibrate on the surface which is not good for the machine. All the greens were then top dressed using Lovie sand. Winter feeding programme has started with two applications of seaweed, iron and calcium applied. Leaves are being removed most days but with the wind and dry leaves keeping them clear is almost impossible. Bill is happy to keep using summer greens as they are still firm and growing. Contacted Chris Patterson with regard to using the air2g2 but was advised to leave until March for the best results. The only procedure left to do and cannot be done due to missing tines on the 22 year old machine is the verti draining. This will not be used on the greens as the heave is not even enough. This month’s report will include a price for renewal as a new machine was demoed last spring. Another type of soil de-compaction kit will be demoed this month. (No quote yet)



All tees were solid tined and was again very hard on the machine. The recovery from the dry summer is still taking time. Cheap iron feed was bought in to aid the condition and will be applied when the weather is suitable.



Some limbs blown over during the last month have been removed and cut up for logs.


Fairways, Rough and Bunkers

The fairways are holding up but the 12th fairway is still not recovering. Bill has spoken to a couple of reps to see what they advise but there is no magical solution Mechanical aeration has been done twice and the reps have suggested top dressing with sand to retain water on the slope. This is going to be done as soon as possible as the slope is becoming slippery.

A quote for tee discs to replace markers on the tees has arrived. The discs are the same material as the 150 and 100 yard markers and are £6.50 each or £234 + VAT. These will be better looking and more visible than the £10 blocks. This offer is for a limited time




Weather still decent and playing on summer greens still ok to continue until frost, snow or wet conditions decide winter greens come into play. 12th, 15th and 17th greens were hollow cored again as had recovered from first pass and as previously stated thatch and black layer holding water on surface mechanical removal will benefit quicker results than chemicals. Spraying programme continued with winter programme applied again and good results being achieved, also applied systemic fungicide to hopefully combat any fusarium patch we got last year that resulted in a few greens needing more spring work to aid recovery.

Tees and fairways


No problem staying on tees as they provide firmer flatter surface to play from as well as maintain course distance but as with fairways would be better for all golfers to play using their own mats to protect grass. Some use them but when tees makers moved big divots still evident. 12th fairway been spiked with both slitter and sorrel roller, sanded and wetting agent applied with tee makers moved to lower point to reduce walkthrough worst area. Slight improved but will probably that most of winter to recover fully. Drainage caps fitted at 17th fairways and should stop water forming like last year and laying any length of time that rotted out grass. All fairway drains checked and only block was drain through trees at 9" which always accumulates tree roots in it. Cleared and working again. Area at front of 8" tee very wet so will try some drainage and see how it performs as depth of outlet not very deep but if successful will add to system at later date. If improved will allow fairway to come right back to tee and not make hole so daunting for ladies. Maker blocks for tee distance ordered.



Unfortunately the Verti drain which was only partly working after 2 tine mounted holder snapped last year well now a second holder went whilst doing 9th fairway. Machine been here since 1998 and been well used for de-compaction uses allowing water to percolate from surface making machine at Ellon especially important during seasons prior to this one in keeping course open. Ground maintenance equipment is becoming more important than ever with climate change and keeping golf sustainable. Three types of machine are available on market at present time verti drain which we have used here for past 20 years




We have been switching from Winter to Summer Greens whenever the weather has allowed. The hollow tine holes done during the month are knitting together nicely.

Bill and the team have been mowing and maintaining the greens throughout the month.



Tees have been maintained and mown during the month.



A fallen tree to the right of the 14th tee has been removed. This was done in conjunction of ‘earthing up’ the leaves that have been dumped there. This is done to stop the emissions of gas as the leaves decay. The area will be seeded and left to regrow.


Fairways, Rough and Bunkers

Some parts of the course have been roped off to keep the winter traffic damage to a minimum.

Bill and the team have again been mowing and maintaining the fairways throughout the month.



Author:          John R Wilson, Greens Convener

Information: Bill Shepherd, Head Greenk

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