Friday, 29 January 2016


This week we started gorse clearance work between the 2nd and 17th Medal holes, to the left of the 5th Medal path and behind the 16th Medal green.
 The work undertaken makes up part of our long term management plan that MGLL together with the Sports Turf Research Institute have recently drawn up.
 A number of points were taken into account when producing the plan including the age and health of the gorse together with strategic and aesthetic factors. The ecology and wildlife habitat was also given major consideration which should ensure that both wildlife and golf can benefit from the work that is due to be carried out over the long term.

Below is a brief description of the work carried out between the 2nd and 17th fairways.

An early start for the contractor.
A contractor was brought on site to clear the larger areas of gorse. A large flail attachment was fitted to the front of the tractor which was then driven through the areas that we had already marked out.

Cutting through the first section between the 2nd and 17th fairways.
Six sections in total were cut out between the 2nd and 17th, which amounts to roughly 30% of the total gorse along that strip. In a few years when these cut out sections recover and new growth has developed then further sections will be removed again amounting to 30%. The remaining sections will be cut out a few years after that. Undertaking the work in this manner will also ensure that the penal nature of this hole will remain intact. 

One of the sections after removal.
After the tractor mounted flail had cut out the gorse the areas then had to be tidied using a chainsaw and by manual raking. By removing the majority of the debris and leaf litter the buried gorse seed bank within the soil should be exposed and in turn aid seed germination.

A view looking across the 17th fairway after completion.
The sections were cut out at a slight angle oblique to play to ensure that there was minimal visual impact for golfers playing the 2nd and 17th holes.

Looking up the 17th fairway from the tee.
As this picture demonstrates, because of the angle the sections were cut out there is very little noticeable difference when playing the hole. It is only as you approach each cut out section that they become visible.

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.

Thursday, 14 January 2016


In conjunction with our course architect plans were drawn up to minimize the risk of golf balls hitting adjoining properties of which there had been a number of instances. This consisted of making the hole a dog-leg, with the fairway moving slightly to the right. This should result in players having  to hit their tee shots further away from the course boundary.  Mounding, 2 bunkers and a long hollow also made up part of the plan. The existing 18th tee will also be moved slightly to the left of its current location.

the view from the fairway prior to work commencing.

Russell Talley our architect  marking out the position of the new bunkers.

Work started on Monday 9th November. The first task was to cut and lift the turf from the main work area. We stacked the turf on pallets and then moved them to the side using forks on the loader of our Kubota tractor.

 Starting to lift the turf.

 Moving the pallets of turf.

Some of the stacked pallets of turf.

All the turf removed.

We then had to remove all of the topsoil. The soil only amounted to roughly 4 - 6 inches in depth, so to make this task easier we used a tractor mounted rotavator to loosen it first, we then  moved it using our front loader and stock piled the soil in one corner for re-use later.
 Rotavating the work area.

Stockpiling the topsoil.

Once this was done we then had the job of contouring the sub soil to the desired shape. We created a hollow to the right hand side into which the fairway would later be cut. The subsoil that was removed was then used to form mounding to the left hand side. The highest mound was built to 1 metre above the original ground level which still allows the green surface to be seen from the tee.
Moving subsoil to form the new mounding.

 2 new bunkers were then built into the mounding, these were revetted in the usual manner and are positioned at the left edge of what will be the new fairway.
 The positions for the 2 new bunkers.

 One of the bunkers built.

Once all of the contouring and bunker work had been completed then the stockpiled topsoil was spread out evenly over the entire area. Firming and raking then took place in readiness for re-turfing.
Fertiliser to help with root development was then spread and raked into the soil, then the turf was re-laid.
 Laying turf around the 2 bunkers.

 Turfing in progress.

Turfing around the bunkers and fairway complete.

 The finished bunkers.

The view from the fairway after completion.

Once complete the area was tidied up and we rolled the area with one of our turf irons. When weather conditions allow we will apply a number of topdressings to the fairway area which will help to smooth it out further. All the work to the fairway took 2 weeks to complete from start to finish.
 In the Spring when grass growth returns the left hand side of the hole together with the area behind the new bunkers will be allowed to grow into more penal rough. The out of bounds will also be moved over, in line with the hole, which in turn will encourage golfers to aim up the right hand side.

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016


2 Red Breasted Mergansers were seen on the Curlie today. They are more likely to be seen on either of the Esk rivers. They can be regularly be seen where the South Esk meets the basin but its not often that they visit the Curlie pond.
  These birds have tooth like projections on their bills to help them grasp slippery fish. They dive down under the surface of the water to find small fish and invertebrates.

Red Breasted Mergansers breed by the coast or along fast flowing rivers, where they nest in long grass or among rocks, laying on average 8-11 eggs between April and June.

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.

Friday, 8 January 2016


The wild weather that we have suffered over the last week has taken its toll on Little Auks. The storms coming in from the east have caused them to struggle to find food in the rough waters of the North Sea. Large numbers have been blown onto the land and unfortunately many have also been washed up on beaches already dead. The beach off the golf course being no exception where a large number were spotted.

One of a number of dead Little Auks washed up on the beach at Montrose.

 Little Auks winter off the Swedish and Danish coast where they feed on plankton. In the summer they breed in the Arctic in colonies numbering hundred of thousands.
 The scale of problem has ensured that the story has also been featured on the local and national news. 

Les Rae,
First Assistant,
Montrose Golf Links Limited.