Wednesday, 25 June 2014


                                                         ROUGH MOWING

Now we are into the summer season the growth rates in the rough areas on the courses has increased significantly due to the warm and damper conditions.
Currently the new articulator rough mower has been out sometimes on a weekly basis to maintain the these areas so the rough does not become too long and thick as this causes problems locating golf balls.
The Amazone flail mower has been out on two occasions cutting the right hand side of the 9th and both sides of the 13th and in between the 1st and 18th on the medal course these are the areas where the the growth is more prominent also two or three bouts have been done round each fairway on the Broomfield course to keep this course user friendly.
For environmental reasons vast areas of rough on the links are left unmanaged. This helps to ensure   that the marram grass, sea lyme and other wild flowers which are natural to the links environment continue to flourish, while at the same time leaving the ground nesting birds undisturbed.

Thursday, 19 June 2014


At Montrose Golf Links our aim is to maintain the golf courses to the highest standards and in keeping with the traditions of links golf. We try to manage the links in an environmentally and wildlife friendly manner while staying true to the origins of links golf at Montrose.  
 The history and ecology of the links are two important elements we felt could be highlighted better. In 2007 it was decided that two large display boards, one depicting the history and the other the ecology, would be designed.The Greens Convenor at the time, Morag Boyd, together with the then Course Manager Richard Cutler and myself  worked together at producing the final designs. These were  erected and sited next to the pro shop, overlooking the main road, this enables both golfers and the general public a chance to view them.
History board

Ecology board
 At this time an additionional 13 smaller plaques were produced and sited around the two courses. These were fixed to old  yardage stones that had been previously removed from the tees. Four of these can be seen below.

The Wheatear

Among the first of the summer migrants these birds arrive from Africa around early April and stay with us until September. This striking bird can occasionally be seen on the golf courses but is more often seen out at the turf nursery beside the old airfield. The male bird has grey upper parts, black mask and wings. The black tail with white sides show a bold 'T' pattern. It nests in holes in the ground, in walls and often old rabbit burrows. The breeding season is between early May and late June. The nest usually comprises of 6 pale blue eggs
photo showing the wheatears distinctive black tail
 and white sides
                          The Crow family                         

There are three members of the crow family that can often be seen on the links:- the Carrion Crow, the Jackdaw and the Rook. All three spend a lot of time foraging for grubs and other insects in the rough and on the fairways of both courses. Of the three, only the Carrion Crow nests on the links. This year there are at least four nesting pairs on the two courses one of which can be seen in the willow trees between the 15th Medal and 4th Broomfield fairways. All three pictures below were taken next the 15th Medal Fairway where the birds have been spending a lot of time pecking about looking for Leatherjackets ( the grub stage of the Cranefly, better known as the Daddy long-legs ).
Carrion Crow
Often quite solitary birds though they can be seen feeding in
 groups. They nest in trees between March and July laying 4-6

Carrion Crow nest close to the 8th Medal tee.

These birds often look a bit scruffy with a bare area at the base
of the beak. They are normally seen in larger groups and will
often nest together in trees in large numbers called rookeries.
They lay  3-6 eggs between March and June.  

The smallest of the three, the body is greyer than the others
and it has a jet black cap. They nest in holes in trees, buildings
and old chimneys. They lay 4-6 eggs between April and July.

A few of the other birds photographed on the courses this
 month are pictured below.

These colourful birds can be seen all over the Links. This one was
sitting at the top of a gorse bush next to the 5th Medal tee.
Wood Pigeon
A common bird regularly seen on the links
 pictured early one morning, singing from the top a bush on the
Broomfield course.

Sitting on top of the greenkeepers sheds. Every morning, as soon
the main doors are opened, they fly in and continue to do so all 
day. Unfortunately due the motion sensor security system we 
have to make sure they are kept out overnight otherwise I am
sure they would have nested on one of the overhead beams. 


Roe Deer
Roe deer can often be seen on the courses. These two can be seen
crossing the 17th Broomfield fairway. There have been recent sightings
of very young fawns close to the 13th Medal fairway.

The 3 Pictures above were taken beside the 14th Medal winter tee
where the deer didn't seem too bothered by my presence.

                                                                        Wild flowers

A selection of wild flowers that have been seen on the links this month are pictured below.

  A typical sea-side plant.
Pictured to the left of the 5th Medal fairway.

A patch to the right of the gully at the 3rd on the
 Medal course.

Common Star Of Bethlehem.
A few clumps of this plant can be seen behind the 12th
Medal green and also to the left of the 16th Broomfield fairway. 

Red Campion 
 Grows to about 3 feet tall and is fairly
common around the links.
 Not seen in as good numbers as in previous years although a few
 clumps can still be seen around the courses like these close to the
 13th Medal tee.

Wild Blue Geranium
A few clumps of this geranium can be seen near the back
maintenance track behind the 4th medal hole.

Wild Poppy 
 The seeds of the poppy can remain
dormant in the soil for many years and often germinate
when the soil is disturbed.  These were seen close
to the greenkeepers sheds.

Wild Rose 
 A few of these bushes can be seen around
the courses. The one above is growing to
 the right of the 4th Medal fairway.

 Can be seen in good numbers on the Broomfield course,
 especially  around the 6th and7th holes where the use gorse
 bushes for support.

Flag Iris
Photograph taken at the wash bay reed
bed, where they are now in full flower.

Next month I will highlight some of the insect life that can be found on the links together with more photos of birds, plants etc.

Les Rae
First Assistant
Montrose Golf Links Limited