Saturday, 18 March 2017

A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE - WOODLAND TRUST TREES

The Woodland Trust have been running a " Free trees for schools and communities" scheme which offered  a variety of different tree packs to applicants that fitted their criteria. Fortunately Montrose Golf Links was successful and we recently received a Wildlife pack. In total it contained 105 trees, spiral guards and canes. 6 different species of trees were included in the pack.
Trees, spiral guards and canes arrived by post.

105 Trees, 6 different varieties.

An area of rough ground to the right of the 10th Medal hole had previously been planted out with a mixture of native trees including Silver Birch, Rowan and Hawthorn. The pack from the Woodland Trust also included these 3 species so we planted around 70 of the trees in this area to compliment what was already there. 

Ricky starting the planting to the right of the 10th Medal fairway.

The area to left of the 18th Broomfield fairway was chosen for the remaining trees. We already have a couple of small stands of pine trees which help screen and protect the adjacent houses and nursery school. This area is also home to our bug hotel and a number of bird nest boxes so hopefully these new wildlife attracting trees will enhance this area.


Planting to the left of the 18th Broomfield fairway beside our bug hotel.

Rompers nursery school and their children have previously helped sow an area with wild flower seed and were keen to involve their kids in the tree planting. We chose Silver Birch to plant next to their nursery. We had 8 helpers aged 3- 4 who were all very keen to get involved and showed a great interest in the planting.

Watching how its done.

Getting a helping hand.

Another tree planted.
Firming up around a newly planted trees.



More firming up around a tree.

Putting a guard and cane around one of the trees.

As the children left to go back to their class they could be heard telling each other which tree they had planted and that it was their one.
 Hopefully the enthusiasm that the children showed will continue and they will want to discover more about the outdoors. the golf course and the wildlife that is on their doorstep.


Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.
























Friday, 10 February 2017

BEACH WORKS NOV 16 - JAN17

Between November 2016 and January 2017 Angus council, together with their contractors, carried out rock moving work adjacent to the 2nd and 3rd holes of the Medal course.
 Prior to the recent work both the 2nd and 3rd tees had been protected by rock armour, however over time the area to the front and rear of the 2nd tee had been eaten away by the sea, while at the 3rd it was cutting in behind the main tee and threatening the medal tee.
 If the rocks at the 2nd had been left the way they were then the first green would soon have been under threat. With no other short term options available to Montrose Links Limited it was agreed that the rocks from the 3rd would be removed and re-sited to the north and south of the 2nd tee to help protect the 1st green and protect the area to the rear between the tee and the beach access ramp
Unfortunately, it was acknowledged that by carrying out this, the existing 3rd tees would soon succumb to the sea and new tees would have to be built slightly further in land.

Work starting beside the access ramp.

Rock armour from the 3rd being moved to the ramp area.

Increased protection to the access ramp.

Looking back from the 2nd tee towards the access ramp. Rock from the
3rd was used to protect this area.

With the area to the front of the 2nd tee severely under threat it was agreed to extend the rock armour approximately 30 yard further north to help protect the 1st green and out towards the start of the 2nd fairway.


An example of how bad the erosion has become. this photo was taken
looking back towards the 2nd tee from what was the path to the 2nd fairway.


Rock protection to the front of the 2nd tee prior to work.

Starting to protect the front of the 2nd tee with the rock from the 3rd tee,
which can be seen in the distance.


Continuing work to the front of the 2nd tee.

Rocks now in place.
After the rocks from the 3rd tee had been removed it didn't take long for the sea to start eating away and the erosion has already crept onto the back of the main tee. It had been hoped that we would still be able to use these tees for a few months at the start of the season however this is now highly unlikely.


Erosion to the rear of the 3rd tee.

Work to create new tees is in progress and it is hoped that these will be completed sometime in February.
 All of the above should ensure that golf can still be played over these threatened first 3 holes in the immediate future. However it is far from ideal and is only a short term solution as the erosion will continue to bite into our historic old links if left to its own devises.

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited,


Thursday, 22 December 2016

WINTER WORK UPDATE

The winter this year has so far been very mild with only a 2 week spell when the winter greens were in constant use. Due to this unusually mild weather we have seen grass growth right through December and have had to continue with the occasional cutting of the greens and approaches.

Erosion
 Erosion of our Links continues to be a major problem. Angus council together with their contractors have recently been moving the rocks protecting the 3rd tee and transporting them back to the 1st green/2nd tee. Although far from ideal, it was essential that the erosion around the 1st green did not continue to get worse. As a consequence of doing this, we will in due course lose the existing 3rd tees.

 Contractors placing rocks to the front of the 2nd tee.

We have started work to construct new tees for the 3rd slightly further inland but due to the lack of suitable space we were limited as to where we could site them.
  So although this will not solve the erosion problem, this work will give us a bit more time and hopefully a long term solution can be agreed and put in place.

 Clearing the vegetation from the new 3rd tee complex.
The area for new tees cleared and roughly levelled.

Bunkers
A number of bunkers around the courses which would not have lasted another season have been rebuilt using the traditional revetted face method.

Work in progress to right hand greenside bunker on the Broomfield.

A newly completed bunker to the left of the 1st Medal fairway.

Practice area
Work has started on improving the bunkers at the practice area. When teaching clients the professionals' found that the current bunkers were too difficult to play out and can often dishearten those that struggle with this kind of shot. They are going to be reshaped and lowered, hopefully allowing for all standards of golfers to learn how to successfully play out of bunkers. In addition a new  tee will be built where the professionals 'TrackMan' teaching equipment can be positioned which will help in delivering their coaching work.

Turf cut.
Turf lifted and the old bunker in the process of being dug out.
Work progressing well.

Paths
We have removed the old tennis court astro turf from the path at the 2nd Broomfield tee and replaced it with the better quality astro turf that we acquired from Montrose FC. We still have a number of rolls left and hope to continue to carry out similar work around the courses as time permits.

Newly installed astro-turf.

Gorse Management
Due to the mild weather we haven't carried out a great deal of gorse management to date. So far we have improved the sight lines from the tees on the 11th and 12th Medal holes. The view from both these holes had become badly obscured by encroaching gorse. A hedge trimmer was used to reduce the height and where this did not achieve the desired result a chainsaw was used to remove bushes in their entirety. 

The badly obstructed view of the 12th green from the tee prior to work.

The much improved view of the green. 

Aeration
Aeration plays an important part in our Autumn and Winter maintenance programme. All greens, tees and approaches together with all walk offs have been verti-drained to a depth of 8 inches using our own tractor mounted Wiedenmann machine. In addition a contractor was hired to verti-drain the Medal fairways, this has been carried out for a number of years alternating with the Broomfield fairways.

Aeration taking place on the 14th Medal tee walk off.

Rabbits
Rabbits continue to be a problem on the two courses, digging holes and continually making small scrapes everywhere.  Turfing the worst affected areas is a time consuming  process but is on-going throughout the winter. Shooting is also carried out to try and keep numbers down.

Machinery
The mechanic is in the process of servicing and sharpening our large fleet of machinery. All grass cutting units have to be stripped down before sharpening takes place.

A few of the units undergoing servicing.

I hope that this gives you an insight and keeps you up to date with some of the work that has been  carried out over the first part of the winter.
 I also plan to do a separate article regarding the recent erosion works and the new 3rd tee project once all the work has been completed.

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.







Saturday, 17 December 2016

A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE - RECENT ECOLOGY PROJECTS

We have completed 2 new projects over the last couple of months, both of which adds to the variety of other Ecology measures that we have already implemented.

Barn Owl Nest Box
The Barn Owl nest box scheme is a project that was funded by the Angus Environment Trust and run by the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership. Littlewood Land Care who help deliver the programme on TBP's behalf recently visited the Links and provided us with a box.

Ricky helping to erect the box.

Barn Owls can be seen and successfully breed in nearby areas such as Kinnaber and Rossie so there is a high chance that they visit the Links. Hopefully the nest box will attract a pair in the coming years.

The box in its final position.

Insect Hotel
We have built an insect hotel using pallets and other materiasl including reeds, cones and logs that we collected from around the courses. A number of other golf courses around the country have already been involved in this initiative, so rather than burn or get rid of our spare pallets we decided to create one ourselves.
A  pile of our old pallets.

It is planned to use the insect hotel together with other ecology measures that we have carried out such as the bird boxes and the wild flower area to support the Golf Trail education programme. We are into the third year of this programme which is delivered to all primary 4 pupils in Montrose and the surrounding area. This a joint partnership between Links Park Community Trust, Jason Boyd (Golf Professional) and Montrose Golf Links Limited. The children come to the golf course for a full day where they are involved in a number of  fun and challenging golf related workshops including the rules and etiquette, course design and playing golf. This will be the first time however, that ecology will form part of the programme. Hopefully this will help in giving the children an interest in nature.

The finished article.

The insect hotel has been sited to the left of the 18th Broomfield hole just passed the small group of pine trees.

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.



Friday, 11 November 2016

11TH MEDAL HOLE - IMPROVING SIGHT LINES FROM THE TEE

The encroachment of gorse over the last few years has compromised the view from the 11th back tees. In addition, the right hand side of the tees couldn't be used due to a bank of high gorse obscuring the fairway all together.

The view prior to work being carried out.

We used both a hedge trimmer and a chainsaw to cut the gorse. Some of the areas were just reduced in height while in others, where the view was obstructed, we removed the gorse in its entirety.  

The much improved view.

 The visibility of the hole is now much improved while still retaining the character, especially the carry which is an important stategic feature of the hole. We will also be able to utilise much more of the teeing ground when positioning markers which will help reduce wear.

We plan to carry out similar work at the 8th, 12th and 18th Medal holes throughout the coming winter months.

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE - SUMMER SIGHTINGS

Throughout the summer there has been lots of wildlife to be seen on the links. Swallows Swifts and Sand Martins were often seen overhead but will soon be migrating to Africa for the winter. Roe Deer are also often seen, especially on the Broomfield course. Although rarely spotted because they are more active at night, foxes are present on the golf courses.

 During the finals of Open week this Common Lizard was seen sun bathing on the first tee, not at all bothered by all the golfers.


A family of Wrens were spotted outside the greenkeepers sheds. There were at least 5 young, one of which can be seen in the photo below.

Butterflies and Moths can frequently be seen. A few photographed over the last couple of months are pictured below. 

 Garden Tiger
Small Tortoiseshell
 Common Blue
 Six Spot Burnet
Brimstone Moth
Common White Wave Moth

The golf courses have always got a great variety of wild flowers that flourish within the rough grasslands. Some like the Foxgloves are quite dramatic while others like Thyme and the rare Maiden Pink can easily be missed
Foxglove
 Wild Thyme
Maiden Pink

It's been another typical Scottish summer with a lot of rain together with the odd sunny day. It won't be long now until the distinctive sound of the Pink Foot Geese can be heard overhead, a tell tale sign that Autumn is on its way.

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
 Montrose Golf Links Limited.