Sunday, 15 October 2017

A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE - MOTH SURVEY

We have recently enlisted the help of 2 local wildlife experts. Initially Russell Nisbet, a recently retired Wildlife Ranger was asked if he would be interested in carrying out some survey work. Happily he agreed and over the summer months he visited the golf courses a number of times and submitted his sightings, many of which were not on our original species lists.
 Through Russell I was introduced to Paul Brooks who carries out a lot of Moth trapping work around Angus. Again it was great to hear that he was keen to carry out work on the golf courses.
 Paul's first visit was on Friday 13th October when he set up two lamp traps. The lamps were situated on the Broomfield course, to the rear of the 7th green. 

 Paul examining one of the moths that were caught.
 Paul with Russell, who joined us on the night.

Although nearing the end of the trapping season a good variety of  moths were caught, two of which Paul was very happy to see.

 Merveille du Jour,
( Griposia aprilina )

Dark Sword-grass.
( Agrotis ipsilon )
.
The plan is for Paul to carry out a number of trappings over the the next 12 months. He will vary the locations of the traps and this should give us an accurate idea of what species are present over the two courses.

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
 Montrose Golf Links Limited.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE - SKYLARKS

If you were to ask which bird would be most associated with Montrose Links then the Skylark would be one of those at the top of the list. We have good numbers that appear to be thriving, with the birds likely to be seen on many of the holes. Their characteristic song can often be heard as they hover high overhead.
We are very lucky to have such a good population, as nationally they are decreasing in numbers with a decline of over 50% in the last 25 years. The Skylark is on the Birds of Conservation "Red List" as giving cause for concern for their future.

One of the many Skylarks that can be seen on the golf courses.

We are very aware of the need to ensure that we protect the habitat that these birds require. Our grassland management policy takes this into account.  We aim to leave all out of play grassland as ecology rough which provides homes and cover for many small mammals and provides nest sites for a number of ground nesting birds including the Skylark. Areas of rough that caused concern for golfers last year were cut back in autumn. The aim of cutting back these areas early was to deter birds from nesting there, allowing us to mow again without the fear of destroying any nests.

Skylarks nest in the rough close to the 1st Medal hole.

Skylark chicks in a nest to the right of the 17th Medal fairway.

We are in the middle of the nesting season and the nests shown above are only 2 of many that will be hidden within the tussocks of the rough grassland.This is one of the reasons that we ask that ride on golf buggies are not driven through the rough but are kept to cut areas of the courses.

Les Rae,
First Assistant.
Montrose Golf Links Limited.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

NEW 3rd TEES

Due to the ongoing coastal erosion and the need to safeguard the 1st green and 2nd tees, which were very much under threat, the decision was made to move the rocks protecting the 3rd tees and move them to help protect the 1st and 2nd. Although not ideal as it meant sacrificing the 3rd tee, it was the only option available to MGLL at the time.

Below is a photo gallery of the work carried out to create the new tee complex.

The existing top tee eroding away.



The view from the site of new bottom tee prior to work being carried out..



View from the site of the top tee prior to work being carried out.


Removing turf from the old winter tee.


                                                       Post going in to mark the boundary of the new tees.



JCB levelling the site.


Looking towards the 3rd green.


3rd green in the distance.


Sub soil roughly levelled.



Irrigation pipework being installed.


                                                                 The first section levelled with root zone.



Ongoing levelling work.




Top tee levelled.


Turfing underway.






Turfing progressing well.


Tee nearing completion.


 View of the completed lower tee.


Top tee complete.

Topdressing surfaces with sand.


Sprinklers in use for the first time.


The work that has been carried to create a new tee complex together with the extra rock protection at the 2nd tees will ensure that golf can continue to be played over these opening holes. However this is not a long term solution but it will give us a bit of time, with  the hope that something more permanent can be undertaken to stop the erosion that is eating into our historic links.

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.




Wednesday, 26 April 2017

WINTER WORK - UPDATE 2

The second winter work report showing some of the work carried out over the final few months of the winter.
Paths

Paths at the 7th and 8th Medal tees were levelled, edged and astro-turf laid down. The finish looks a lot better than the previous quarry dust material.  A number of astro-turf rolls were given to us by Montrose Youth fc and it is planned to complete more paths over the next few years.


7th tee looking forward towards the fairway.

Looking back towards the 7th main tee.

Preparing the path from the 8th medal tee.

Edging the path prior to fitting the astro-turf.

Turfing along the sides of the astro-turf.

PRACTICE AREA

After discussions with our golf professionals work was carried out to increase the size and include varying heights to the face to one of the practice bunkers. This will help when they are delivering lessons to the different standard and ages of golfers. At the same time we built a teeing area to accommodate tee mats and can be used for general practice and when the professionals are using their TrackMan teaching aid.

Cutting and edging the turf.

Stripping the turf.

New bunker built and preparing the adjacent ground.

Astro-turf laid down on the new practice tee.
The completed are with the new practice tee to the left.

GORSE MANAGEMENT

Gorse work continued throughout the winter months. Gorse around all tees were checked and either trimmed back or removed to stop encroachment and improve the sight lines. In the past we have transported all the gorse back to an area behind the 4th Medal hole, this was very time consuming. This year we borrowed a chipper from Carnoustie Links and we considerably reduced the number of trips back and forward.

The chipper in use.

 Gorse clearance was also undertaken using chainsaws between the 8th Medal tee and the fairway and also in front of the ladies 10th tee, this should result in much better visibility to the fairways and also help speed up play.

The view from the 8th Medal tee prior to gorse clearance.


The much improved view of the 8th hole.


Gorse impacting the playability of hole from the 10th ladies tee.


The 10th hole after gorse clearance work.

Gorse trimmed back in front of the 18th ladies tee.

A contractor was also hired to clear a number of areas. On the Medal gorse was cleared from the left of the 1st, left of the 6th and also to the front of the 9th tees which often causes a problem for the shorter hitters or when a strong wind blows from the south.  Gorse removal to the right of the 9th on the Broomfield was also undertaken.
Starting clearance work to the left of the 1st Medal hole.

Large area cleared at the 1st.

Working at the 9th Medal.

NEW 3RD TEE

The new tees at the 3rd, which was one of our major projects this winter, has been completed. A separate blog regarding this work will be posted very soon.

The new 3rd tee complex.



GENERAL WORK

Along with the normal day to day work such as raking bunkers, divotting tees and removing dew from the greens, a few of the other tasks that have been carried out are highlighted below.

Vertidrain - All the greens were vertidrained in March, this will help minimise the flooding that we experienced last summer. The increased rolling that now takes place has certainly had an impact on surface compaction and we may have to relieve the surface using our Aercore and micro tines as we see fit throughout the season. 

Topdressing - The greens and a number of fairways were topdressed during the back end of the winter, this will continue throughout the coming season.

4th tee retaining posts - A number of the post that were rotten have been replaced and the whole length stained.

The retaining posts at the 4th Medal tee.

Fencing along the 2nd Medal hole - The safety fencing along the length of the hole has been removed, it was well past its best and took away from the look of the hole. Although the dune face is far less steep than it used to be we also erected warning signs that the Council paid for.

Course furniture -  Tee markers, benches and out of bounds posts have all been painted. The shelters and fences will be done in due course.

Rabbits - Continue to be a major issue on the links. George our seasonal labourer was appointed a month earlier than planned with his sole duties for that month being that of patching rabbit holes. Shooting also takes place to try and keep numbers down.


MACHINERY

Our course mechanic has been servicing our large fleet of machinery as well as repairing any day to day faults. We have recently purchased 2 brush attachments for our ride on greens machines. These will help lift the grass prior to cutting and will result in a better finish.

One of the many cutting units in the process of being stripped down.



One of our new brushes attached to the front of our greens mower.

Repairs have taken place to various faults relating to our irrigation system. Due to faulty aging pumps we were unable to irrigate at all, which has been a problem as the end of March and into April has been exceptionally dry. The new pumps have now been fitted and we are in a position that we can water if its required.
The newly fitted pumps.

I hope that this together with my previous winter work update gives you an idea of some of the work etc that has taken place throughout the winter.


Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.