Thursday, 22 December 2016


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 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.

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.

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 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 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.

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


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


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


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
 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.

Monday, 29 August 2016


We have recently installed chain link fencing along the roadside behind the 9th and 18th Broomfield holes. Due the amount of cars parking alongside the course there were safety fears regarding golfers and members of the public trying to cross the road. Children were especially at risk having to cross between parked cars.
 The newly installed fencing.

Dropped kerbs were installed by the Council and together with the fencing there are now designated crossing points. It would be appreciated if anyone who parks along the roadside could leave these access points well clear.

One of the dropped kerbs.

I am sure everyone agrees the importance of trying to ensure that anyone crossing the road can do so safely.

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

PGA Eurpro Tour - Montrose Links 2016

A few photos from the Europro, held over our historic Links between the 5th -7th July. Weather on the whole was very good apart from some heavy showers during the first day of play. Many great scores were returned including a course record 61 on the final day, by overall winner Billy Hemstock from Teignmouth.

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016


A postcard produced by Butterfly Conservation Scotland and the Tayside
Biodiversity Partnership.

The east coast of Scotland has scattered colonies of the rare Small blue, the UK's smallest butterfly, while Angus is home to isolated populations of what is a conservation priority species.
 Since 2012 the Butterfly Conservation Scotland and the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership have facilitated annual volunteer surveys of both the small blue and the kidney vetch plant on which this butterfly is reliant. Initially a 5 year project, the addition of growing on and planting Kidney vetch in key sites means the project has been extended for another 5 years.
Although Montrose Golf Links wasn't part of the survey sites and numbers of Kidney vetch are currently unknown the habitat is very much in keeping with those favoured by the Small blue.
 Having recently spoken with Kelly- Ann Dempsey ( project officer / environmental strategy for Angus Council ) regarding the Small blue she said she would be happy to come to the links with a view to planting some of their pot grown Kidney vetch.
 Last week we planted 12 of the pot grown plants in an area that we felt was suitable and hopefully they will survive and establish themselves. If this trial is successful we may also be considered for any further plantings that take place in the future.

 Kelly-Ann helping plant one of the pot grown kidney vetch.
 One of the plants in its new home.

Once the Kidney vetch were all planted out we had a look around the nearby area and were pleased to find a good number of the plants already happily growing in the surrounding dune land. 

 An established plant that we found on site.
Another healthy looking kidney vetch plant growing happily on the links.

Having a good population of Kidney vetch already established on the links means that we have the correct habitat for the small blue and with a bit of luck it will attract them into the area.The plant should come into flower through May.
 The butterfly is active from the end of May til the end of June and sometimes again in August. With a wingspan of only 22mm it is one of our smallest butterflies. From above the female is brown and the male smokey blue. The underside of the wings are silver-grey with some tiny black dots.
 If anyone thinks they may have spotted a small blue on the golf courses over the next few months could you please fill in one of the postcards that can be picked up from the MGLL office foyer or contact the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership ( ).

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.