During and after the Tartan Pro Tour event it was good to hear lots of praise about the course not just from the competitors but more importantly from our members on the condition of the course.
Our temporary head greenkeeper Paul Teviotdale tells us it certainly lifts staff morale when he speaks to them in the mornings and he can relay members’ feedback on the course before the team heads out to prepare the course for the day’s play.
You can see them hard at work on the eighth green here.
Over the season, we are hoping to share some of the technical knowledge and expertise of our greenkeeping team.
The member survey reinforces the keen interest that is taken in both the condition of the course and the reasons behind it.
Hopefully looking at the issues in more depth will give members more insight into the course. And of course there is always the opportunity to ask questions and make suggestions.
Paul starts with a look at the importance of moisture levels later in this article, following a dry and cold month of April.
The Broomfield 9th
As many members will know, the 9th tee on the Broomfield was moved last summer after notes of complaints from a few home owners adjacent to the course.
More recently, there has been damage to vehicles and a member of the public was struck with a ball while on the path by the 9th fairway.
Montrose Golf Links has taken these occurrences seriously and while dealing with the residents, vehicle owners, members of the public and elected politicians, we had to take decisive action to minimise the risks to the public.
So, a trial was carried out with the tee moved to mats on the old tractor path to the right of the hole. This was to see if the area was suitable for a new permanent tee, followed by a trial par 3 tee further up the hole on the left during the winter.
Both tees showed positive results with limited amount of balls leaving the course for both sets of tees.
It was decided in early 2021 on a site for a semi-permanent tee to be installed, to make 100% sure this would be the correct position for a permanent tee to be build during the winter 2021/22.
Unfortunately after just one weekend, balls were already being reported exiting the course and a quick decision was required.
This was done the following week with the tee being moved back to the site of the winter position.
Work will start soon on the installation of a semi-permanent tee before a permanent tee is installed during the winter season.
We are continually looking at other changes to make the 9th hole as safe as possible for both golfers and the general public and we keen to listen to ideas for the members especially members who play the Broomfield most.
A busy fortnight of scarifying the putting surfaces followed by a top-dress and a fertiliser application.
This also tied in an application of a wetting agent for the water moisture levels.
You can see how all the work in the video fits together in the earlier video, with this guide to what everyone is doing.
Connor is manning the scarifyer, which has removed a good amount of thatch from the greens.
The main reason we do this is to remove thatch already buried in the soil and help open up the surface for topdressing to mix into the existing root zone.
The sand will help dilute the thatch layer and this will lead to improved water percolation through the soil.
Topdressing and fertiliser have also been applied and we should start to see signs of improvement within the next few weeks.
Fertilising was applied to add nutrients to help the recovery and aid improved growth and improve the performance of the putting surfaces.
Cold and dry
Over the last month it’s been cold but it has also been considerably dry.
Only 12mm of rain has fallen in the last 30 days and 18mm in the last 42.
With the frosty mornings it’s been difficult to have the irrigation system on overnight but we have had it on when we feel the time is right for a bit of night time watering.
When manpower allows we have done some hand watering, but our temporary head greenkeeper Paul Teviotdale says he’s happy with the moisture levels now currently in the greens (currently between 20%-30%).
We’ve included an annual comparison of April growth degree days and growth potential from this year and last.
You can see there’s been a lot less growth at the start of the month but it is starting to move in the right direction.
Water: is it heavy, sticky or just wet?
Soil surfactants (wetting agents) are staples of turf maintenance programmes.
They treat dry patch, mitigate soil water repellency, improve root zone water delivery and development, water use efficiency, improve nutrient access and enhance overall plant health. They can even help reduce dew formation
Traditionally, wetting agents had two clear and distinct functions: to move water away from the surface or to retain water in the soil profile.
Penetrants move water down from the surface through the soil profile, effectively by making water wetter.
This means each water droplet spreads more easily and can penetrate soil more readily (so making heavy water) ideal for winter applications due to the wetter months
Polymers hold water within the soil profile as their molecules are far larger and effectively bond water molecules onto the soil particles. These particles would otherwise dry out more quickly (so making sticky water) which is ideal during the summer season, especially when no rain is forecast
We mostly use wetting agents on greens and tees. However we do apply wetting agents to mound tops on fairways from time to time, where they have a tendency to dry out during dry spells.
Meet the team
It’s good to have Ricky Watt back on the greenkeeping team after an extended absence.
Ricky says he has missed working and is glad to be back down on the Links