We’re currently utilising the bad weather days to create the new tee markers and tee yardage posts.
They will all be made in-house along with the other items of course furniture. This allows us to control the theme making sure everything has a similar look as well as keeping costs as low as possible.
Two new pieces of equipment have arrived with us ahead of the new season.
We have recently bought a new Progator heavy utility vehicle and a set of pallet forks for the front loader.
The Progator utility vehicle has been brought in to replace an existing one which at 17 years old is still fully functional but nearing the end of its useable life.
The new vehicle can carry out a variety of tasks including spraying, topdressing or simply being used with a cargo box as a run around.
The pallet forks attach on our front loaders and are useful for a multitude of tasks. Their first job pictured here was to stack the IBC containers neatly in the shed allowing us to reorganise and create more room for the new equipment.
Space is becoming quite limited as our shed fills up with all the modern tools we need to continue development of the golf course.
We’ve got off to an early start with the topdressing this season which helps us out as opportunities may be limited in such a busy year.
Growth is still limited at the moment so we have applied the sand at a lighter rate than normal, 6 tons/Ha rather than the normal 10 tons/Ha.
We’ve also taken the opportunity to trial the new topdresser. It is essentially the same as our other one but is trailed rather than mounted on the utility vehicle.
These machines take a while to configure to get the best spread of material but we had a head start given that we already have one properly set up. A bit of a tweak to the paddles and it was spreading perfectly evenly.
Now that we have two topdressers we can dress all of our greens in just over an hour which is a huge leap forward in efficiency.
We will have much more time to allow the sand to dry before brushing in with our homemade Brush/Sorrel roller combination.
The brushing works best for us when the sand is still quite damp. It works the sand into the sward more effectively than a dragmat allowing it to ameliorate more quickly. The dragmat tends to smear the sand over the surface when damp so we always brush first then finish off with the mat when dry.
The sorrel roller adds thousands of small holes across the surfaces which are around 10mm deep. They cause minimal disruption to play but allow air and moisture penetration into the surface.
Our course manager Chris has recently returned from a few days in Germany visiting one of the John Deere factories.
Although the majority of the equipment we use on the golf course is manufactured in the USA the principles and processes are the same at this agricultural tractor factory.
The factory visit was nothing short of staggering, a real insight into how these machines are put together. From start to finish it takes just 12 hours to build one and, if required, the factory workers can produce 240 in a single day which gives some idea of the demand for tractors worldwide.
The scale of the operation is hard to describe but you can see the attention to detail at every step.
In addition to seeing the machines being built there was also a visit to the European parts distribution centre. Here we were introduced to the procedures involved in guaranteeing that we the golf course receive any spare part we require by 9am the day after ordering. The centre is vast and stocks almost every conceivable part, the level of organisation is beyond belief but then it has to be with literally tens of thousands of different items stacked on shelves up to 17m tall.
There were also short seminars on John Deere as a company detailing how it began and how it grew into one of the largest brands in the world today.
We were also shown some of the new turf equipment both golf related and some for more commercial purposes.
The stars of the show though were the enormous agricultural machines.
Here Chris is standing next to a 900hp forage harvester which could make a useful rough mower in the future at Scotscraig. At a cost of around €640,000 however it might prove tricky to justify to Council…
A short video clip showing how the vertidrain helps us relieve soil compaction.
One of our greenstaff has just returned from a week of tournament support at the Phoenix Open in Arizona.
Volunteering at large competitions presents several benefits. These include meeting many new people and contacts, seeing different ideas and methods of doing things and last of all it helps in building a good CV for the future.
It will be interesting to hear about the differences given the slight difference in climate between Fife and Arizona!
While Michael was away he took the opportunity to visit other places including other golf courses, stadiums and sportsgrounds.
It is rare to leave trips like this without improved knowledge and creation of new friendships.
The new bunkers on the course are nearing completion.
1 new bunker has been put in on the left of the 11th fairway and 4 new bunkers are in at the 16th. This includes 2 drive bunkers and 2 approach bunkers one of which is pictured here.
The bunkers are built and the turf has been relayed around the tops.
We are in the process of filling them with sand to get them in play as soon as possible.
It should be noted that while the bunker is in play the surrounding turfed area will be whitelined and set as Ground Under Repair.