Monday, 26 January 2015


Here is brief update on how this years winter programme has been progressing. We have been  carrying out these tasks alongside our more routine maintenance duties such as raking bunkers, moving holes, rolling greens etc.


Fairway bunker - 2nd Medal, before refurbishment.

 Fairway bunker - 2nd Medal, nearing completion.
Right hand greenside bunker - 14th Medal.

The bunker work being carried out over the 2 courses has been progressing well with only 5 out of the planned 25 still to be started. The weather up to now has been kind, however hard frost set in and we had to move on to other work but will carry on with the bunkers as the weather allows.


 working on the 13th Medal green.

An example of the tine hole pattern, There is a 2 inch spacing between holes.
All the greens on both courses have been aerated down to a depth of 8 - 9 inches using our new Wiedenmann Terra Spike. In the coming weeks all of the tees will receive the treatment.


As many of you are probably aware we recently suffered vandalism to the Medal course and in particular to the 4th green.
 Quite significant damage to the 4th Medal green.

 Repair Work underway.
Re-turfing complete.
Because of the extent of the damage we had to use  a turf cutter and remove all the affected  turf. To try and get as good a match as possible we decided to use turf from the perimeter of the green  and then reinstate this with turf from the large putting green. Although this involved extra work hopefully it will mean the repair work will be less noticeable. We will still need to give this area extra topdressings in the weeks to come to try and smooth out the surface.


Because this area was unmanageable and full of rank lush grass it was decided to remove this uneven mound. The dark top soil was removed off site
Turf stripped from the perimeter of the mound.

Gary using our digger to remove the mound.

The old mound nearly cleared.
The area will be re-contoured into a more natural and manageable state. Once this is complete turf from the  old driving range will be used which is more in keeping with this area of ground.


Because the weather had been fairly kind we hadn't undertaken a great deal of gorse work, however with the onset of the hard frost last week we made a start on several areas around the courses.

Andy cutting out young gorse growth behind the 2nd Medal green.

Steve using the hedge trimmer alongside the 5th Medal path.

13th Medal hole.
It was decided that to increase visibility from the 13th tee towards the fairway that all of the gorse to the right of the path would be removed. In doing so it will also be a less intimidating tee shot for the high handicap golfer. Our aim is to maintain this area as natural rough grassland.
This was the view of the 13th Medal hole prior to work being carried out. As you can see because of the gorse very little of the fairway or bunkers are visible from the tee.

Paul carrying out chainsaw work at the carry to the 13th fairway.
The view from the back of the 13th tee after all of the gorse was removed.


12th Medal tee.
The set of steps at the 12th Medal tee were removed and full length sleepers installed. Hopefully this will help spread the wear leading onto the tee surface.


The painting of all the course furniture is well underway. All the tee markers , benches etc  all get stained or painted during days of bad weather. A winter task that is never a favourite of the staff, although Liam and Jamie look happy enough in this picture!

16th MEDAL -  PATH

In the coming weeks we hope to make a start to work on the gravel path leading from the 16th Medal tees,  extending it to the service road. This area has always been uneven and unsightly. I will post before, during and after photos of this on completion.

Les Rae,
 First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited. 

Thursday, 22 January 2015


Throughout the winter months our mechanic Sean has been busy servicing our large fleet of machinery. This includes everything from our small powered machines such as blowers and strimmers  up to our larger Kubota tractors. During this time he still has to deal with any day to day issues that may arise.

The main workshop where all the routine tasks takes place. The large metal hose that can be seen on the wall to the right is a newly fitted extractor. It can be extended and moved into place ensuring that harmful fumes from any running engines are removed directly outside.

The back workshop where all the sharpening of the cylinders and bottom blades is carried out. All the large drums of hydraulic and engine oils are also stored here.

Sean using our Anglemaster, this machine is used to ensure that bottom blades for mowers are straight, true and sharp.

One of our cylinder cutting units in the process of being sharpened in the Bernhard grinder. All our cylinders are sharpened at least once a year with some receiving extra attention depending on wear and tear. In total there are over 30 cylinders to be sharpened.

Sean in the process of changing the oil and servicing one of the Toro reelmaster tees machines.

A few of the oil filters that will be used during the servicing work. We also stock a selection of other spare parts that are likely to be required throughout the season.

I hope this gives a brief insight into some of the work that takes place within the workshop during the winter months.

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015


Following on from last months blog when I highlighted the Scottish Wildlife Trust reserve at Montrose basin and the adjoining visitor centre, this month I will give an insight into St Cyrus National Nature Reserve. The reserve, which can be seen from various points of the golf courses, lies about 1 mile north and is separated by the river North Esk.
A view from the 3rd Medal tee  looking over Montrose beach
towards the cliffs at St Cyrus.

 Any visitors to Montrose who have a spare couple of hours should try and include a to visit this scenic beach and natural dune land.
Looking South back towards Montrose.
 A high line of cliffs form the backdrop to the reserve. Fulmars can be seen nesting here in the spring and summer months. Peregrine Falcons live on the cliffs year round and usually raise one young, which can often be heard shrieking around the skies in early July.
 It is also these volcanic cliffs that provide the dune land with shelter, which help a number of plants species to survive at their northern UK limit. Many of the plants growing at St Cyrus are more commonly found in southern and eastern England. This micro climate together with soils produced by the volcanic rocks allow plants such as meadow saxifrage and hairy violet to grow in large numbers. Together with the vast array of wild flowers, butterflies and moths also thrive here, with many different species to be seen.
A great example of the extensive dune land.

 The sheltered dune grassland also has pockets of gorse growing here and there which add another splash of colour throughout the year. These bushes also provide nesting sites for a number of birds. Both the stonechat and the more unusual whinchat breed here.
The walled Kirkyard can be seen in the distance.

  There are a number of old fishing houses and an old ice house which were once used by the salmon fishermen, their nets and equipment. Nether Kirkyard, said to date back to 1242 can also be seen nestled under the cliffs. The small building in the corner of the graveyard was used as a watch hut to guard against body snatchers.
The visitor centre.

 The small visitor centre at the start of the reserve was once a lifeboat station, however it now stands high and dry after the river North Esk crashed through the dunes and straight out to sea in a storm fuelled with flood waters from melting snow in 1879.

A few photographs together with and a video clip which were taken on the courses over December  can be seen below.

 Velvet Shank.
These mushrooms were found growing on a healthy looking gorse bush to the left of the 6th Medal fairway.

Herring Gull.

Burrow in burn bank.
I believe this is a burrow made by a water vole. The holes are in the side of the burn banking that crosses the Broomfield course. There are two entrances, one at each side of the clump of reeds. There are also a number of other holes along the length of the bank.. So far, only one of the greens staff has had a sighting and he thought it looked like a water vole. Hopefully in the future I will manage to get a photo of the vole. If it is indeed a water vole then it would be a great addition to life on the links as they are very rare with numbers falling by more than 90% since the 1970's

And finally, a photograph of a robin. One of the birds most associated with Christmas time. It is during the winter months that sightings of this familiar bird are most common.

I have been asked by a season ticket holder if I could explain why there are always some gorse bushes in flower on the golf courses no matter the time of year. So next month I will write a feature on this colourful bush and will again include any other photographs of interest taken through January.

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.