Tuesday, 15 December 2015


 A couple of birds that are not commonly seen on the Links have recently been spotted. Both the Redwing and the Fieldfare are members of the Thrush family. Although they breed in Scotland they are mainly winter visitors arriving in flocks from Scandinavia and Northern Europe when the weather turns colder. When feeding in groups they can be quite noisy. At this time of year they will mainly feed on berries such as rowan although worms and other insects are also eaten.



Unfortunately I couldn't get close enough to get good photos but if you keep a look out you may be lucky enough to see these colourful birds for yourself. Both the Redwing and the Fieldfare were seen near the practice ground / greenkeepers' sheds. Although they were both on their own, there is a chance other flocks will pass through in the coming weeks.

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.

Thursday, 10 December 2015


We plan to commence vertidraining of the greens on Monday 14th December. Weather permitting, it should take around 6 days to complete the work over the 2 courses. We carry out this operation every year in order to relieve the compaction caused by the mowers, turf irons and golfing traffic.
  With the weather we have seen recently a few of the greens have also started to flood, with the water taking time to drain away during spells of heavy rain.  Vertidraining will help alleviate this problem and will result in firmer healthier greens.
 We will roll the greens afterwards to help smooth out the surface and will endeavour to keep disruption to a minimum.

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015


  Two Short Eared Owls were seen on the golf courses today. They seemed to spend most of the afternoon hunting along the 2nd, 3rd and 4th on the Medal course, together with the area around the burn on the Broomfield course. Although there have been a few sightings over the last week or so its the first time that I have seen Short Eared Owls for a number of years.

 The Short Eared Owl is one of the few species of Owl that can commonly be seen flying during daylight hours.
  I managed to get a few photos of one of the owls when it landed close to the 4th Medal hole. It is quite a large bird, only slightly smaller than a Common Buzzard.

 In Scotland, numbers are not high with the majority breeding on higher ground and moorland although lowland rough grassland and coastal dunes are also used. 
 In winter the upland birds often leave and move to the east coast dunes and grasslands, with some of these coastal birds also originating in Scandinavia.
  If you are out on the links over the next few days keep a look out for these great looking birds as there is no guarantee that they will stay in the area for long.

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015


Anyone who has played the Broomfield course or passed along Traill Drive this week may have noticed the work that is in progress on the 18th hole. For those not aware of what was planned, we have started to realign the 18th Broomfield hole. The changes were necessary due to problems regarding stray golf balls damaging an adjoining property and house holder's vehicles. This in turn meant that Montrose Golf Links have faced a number insurance claims against the damages.

The 18th Hole prior to work being carried out.

Plans were drawn up by our course architect to try and minimize the danger whilst at the same time improving the overall look of the hole.

Turf removed from the main work area.

 The work will be carried out as quickly as possible to try to keep disruption to a minimum.
  Once all the work has been completed I will post a full report on the project from start to finish.

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015


At this time of the year many types of fungi can be seen on the links. There are good numbers on all areas of the golf courses.  They come in all shapes, sizes and colours and should be on show until the first real frosts of the winter arrive. A selection that I have recently photographed around the two courses can be seen below.

Fly Agaric
The Fly Agaric is one of the most distinctive of all the mushrooms, with its red cap and white spots. It is quite toxic and also a hallucinogenic. This one, which was part of a small group, was photographed under the pine trees beside the 12th Broomfield hole.

The Parasol mushroom can grow to quite a large size, about the size of a dinner plate. Quite a few have been seen this year, especially around the 7th and 8th on the Medal course.

Slippery Jack
 Given its name due to the slimy nature of its cap, the Slippery Jack is normally found under pine trees. The group above were seen close to the greenkeepers sheds.

Puff Ball
Another distinctive mushroom is the Puff Ball, with large numbers found on the links this year.  The white flesh which is edible when young, changes to black as the spores mature. These spores are released into the air where they are carried in the wind. This young one was seen growing to the right of the 2nd Medal fairway. 

Golden Waxcap

Blackening Waxcap

Snowy Waxcap
  There are over 40 varieties of Waxcaps found in Britain and come in all shapes, sizes and colours. Waxcaps prefer short grass and are intolerant of chemicals. Their presence indicates high quality unimproved grassland.

There are many more types of fungi to be seen, so if you are on the golf courses, keep a look out as you will never be far from one species or another.

Les Rae,
first Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.

Thursday, 29 October 2015


Sight lines from two winter tees on the Medal course were being compromised by gorse bushes. Over the years these bushes have expanded and gained height resulting in restricted views and the possible knock on effect of slow play. It was therefore decided to remove the offending bushes prior to the change over to winter tees.

18th hole
The 18th winter tee prior to gorse removal.
The view of the 18th Medal hole from the winter tee was very poor with the bunkers and the majority of the fairway out of sight.

Tractors on site and work underway.

Gary using the back hoe to remove the gorse.

In the past we have used chainsaws to remove gorse from around the courses. This method is very time consuming and still leaves stumps that have to be dealt with. The addition of a back hoe for one of the tractors has resulted in us trying a different method, pulling out the gorse bushes complete with their roots. Initial indications are good, with the work carried out quickly and little mess left to tidy up behind. 

The much improved view from the tee.

The hole now looks much more appealing with the hazards and fairway all now in full view. Where the gorse has been removed the areas have either been re-turfed or will be seeded with a rough grass mix next spring.

9th hole

The view from the 9th winter tee was similar to that of the 18th with little if any of the fairway visible. Having completed the work at the 18th with the tractor and back hoe successfully this was the next area to be tackled.
The view from the winter tee showing the limited view of the hole ahead.

The first patch of gorse removed.

Steve doing some tidying up work.

The view after gorse removal.

Other areas of gorse that are impacting on the playability of the courses will be addressed over the coming months.

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.

Thursday, 22 October 2015


The Medal course welcomed 3 visitors from Sweden today, not only did they play using hickory clubs they were also dressed in period clothing. Although a beautiful sunny day it was also accompanied by very strong winds. However they said they really enjoyed the links and coped well in the conditions

Thomas, Johan and Owe Eriksson who are all members at Bro-Balsta golf club, Stockholm, have been competing in the word hickory championships over Carnoustie's Championship Course.  This year is the 10th world hickory championships and since 2012 it has been staged in Angus with Montrose playing host in 2013.

Les Rae,
First Assistant, 
Montrose Golf Links Limited.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015


Work to relieve the surface compaction that has developed through the course of the season has started. Compaction is caused by foot traffic and golf course machinery. The introduction of greens irons over the last few years, which are used to smooth and speed up the surfaces, may well increase surface compaction over the golfing season. We have put off disrupting the surface of the greens for as long as we could but due to the recent localized flooding to a number of greens we feel that this intermediate measure will alleviate the problem until we carry out our deep aeration later. We have our own tractor mounted John Deere Aercore machine which punches holes into the putting surface.

 Aerating the 6th Broomfield green.
The work to aerate all 36 greens over both courses together with the putting greens should take around 5-6 days to complete.

 A close up view of the tine holes.
The aercore is set to punch holes to a depth of 3-4 inches. Due to the small diameter of the tines, disruption to the surface of the greens will be minimal.

 The aercore in action.

Our deep aeration programme using our Wiedenmann Terra Spike will commence later in the year and will include greens tees, aprons and walk off areas. It is also planned to verti-drain the Broomfield fairways. This machine will relieve compaction down to a depth of 8-9 inches.

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.

Friday, 2 October 2015


For some reason there didn't seem to be quite as many butterflies and moths to be seen during the summer as there was the same time last year. However one that was seen regularly and which I photographed last week was the Common Blue.

 The most common of all the blue butterflies to be found in Britain, the male has bright blue upper sides which can be highly variable while the female is primarily brown.

 They can spend hours feeding on plants such as fleabane,  the caterpillars food include bird's-foot trefoil and clovers of which there is a good supply of all over the links.

Les Rae, 
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015


If you are out on the Medal course in the next couple of weeks keep a look out for this small flower. The plant grows to between 7-30cm in height and has white flowers which are streaked with purple lines. Eyebright is semi- parasitic, feeding off the nutrients from the roots of nearby grasses and other plants such as clover and plantains. For this reason it is quite a useful plant in terms of keeping vigorous grasses at bay in order that wild flowers thrive.
 A close up photo of Eyebright.

The plant seems to be thriving on the links this year with lots to be seen around the Medal course, especially in the rough bordering the 5th, 6th, and 7th holes.
One of the many patches of Eyebright that can be seen on the Medal course.

Over the years herbalists have used many parts of the plant for a number of remedies including treating eye strain and to relieve inflammation caused by colds, sore throats and hay fever.

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.

Saturday, 29 August 2015


                                          Overseeding being carried out on the 1st green on Broomfield.

                                                               Disc seeder lines on green.
                                                 Overseeding being carried out on 7th Medal fairway.

Saturday, 22 August 2015


New signs for both the Office / Pro shop and the golf courses were recently purchased and erected.  The old signs that were previously in place required upgrading, while there was also a need for more information to help direct visitors to the various key locations.
The new information pole situated close to the car park.

Removing the old sign from the side of the pro-shop.

The newly erected sign on the pro-shop wall.

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.

Thursday, 20 August 2015


At this time of year the bright yellow flowers of Ragwort stand out amongst the rough grassland of the golf courses. Although a poisonous plant and sometimes given a bad name it is a very important plant ecologically.
 At least 30 insect species are totally reliant on Ragwort with many more using it as a food source. It is also an important nectar source for a large number of other insects. These insects in turn provide food for birds and other mammals.
 Although there is a code of practice act for Ragwort control it does not place any legal responsibilities on the landowner to control the plant, we do however try and keep the population down so that it doesn't become out of control. The removal of the plant is carried out by pulling by hand but we will always leave enough to grow around the courses for the benefit of all the insect life.

Hand pulling Ragwort to the right of the 6th Medal fairway.

Some of the insect life that rely on Ragwort can be seen below

Cinnabar caterpillar.
2 Ringlet Butterflies and a Meadow Brown on the right.
Six Spot Burnett.
Antler Moth.
Small Tortoiseshell.
One of a number of species of bumble bee that can often be seen on Ragwort.

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015


New Toro Tees mower
We have recently bought a new Toro Reelmaster 3100 D mower. For the last 2 years we have been cutting all the Tees on both courses using a single Toro reelmaster 2000 machine so this new machine is a welcome addition to our machinery fleet.

Gary cutting the 1st Medal tee with the new Toro Reelmaster 3100 D.

New Greens Iron
The Tru-Turf takes the place of the Graden roller which was years old, was unreliable, and had a number of major faults.

Steve rolling the 14th and 18th greens using the Tru Turf Iron.

New Irrigation Controller
The Aquarille automatic irrigation controller has replaced our 25 year old Watermation TW2 controller which was unreliable and is now no longer manufactured making spare parts impossible to get hold of.

Aquarille Touch.
The old Watermation TW2 controller.

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montose Golf Links Limited.