Winter Program 2017/18
The focus this year and for the next few years will be on improving our drainage, as this summer has been the worst in 100 years, and sadly heavy rain and wet summers is becoming more and more regular, and so the biggest problem facing golf courses now is drainage. Last winter we installed new drainage on the 18h hole on the Keir course, and this year we will add drainage to the 18th fairway. We will also drain the front of the 16th green and continue to add drains to the 7th fairway on the Keir course. The old stone cundy (Drain) that runs in front of the 7th green is also part of the plans, where we plan to install a new drain, then infill and raise the hollow in front of the green that gathers water. In the coming years we will add drainage to the 6th and 11th fairways.
With drainage being the priority, we plan to carry out intensive work on the Keir course greens, which will bring them closer to its sister, the Cawder Course. We will use a process called sand injection using our new Graden machine.
This machine has the ability to tear into the thatch from under the putting surface – this is the organic matter that holds water. The blades cut a 3mm groove to any depth from 1mm to 40mm, whilst simultaneously backfilling the grooves with dried sand, which improves rooting and with it the drainage. This is the best way of removing as much of the thatch and organic matter in one go, whilst keeping the surface firm.
The 17th tee on the Keir course and the 12th tee on the Cawder course will be revisited, as the drainage simply was not enough for what was thrown at us in the summer.
The ladies tee on the 18th on the Cawder course has also taken a hammering in the wet conditions, so this will also be re-turfed before the 2018 season. Continuing with the ladies, we also plan to build new tees at the 3rd and 17th on the Cawder course, which may possibly be used for blue tees in the future.
Lastly, on drainage; the drain in the right rough of the 4th hole on the Cawder course has become blocked, so this will be unblocked over the coming months.
The members survey this year highlighted the need to make the Cawder course more playable for all levels of golfers, so next year the plan is to cut the rough down from 50mm to 40mm to make it easier. We have also decided to remove and flatten the fairway bunkers on the 5th hole, as they only really punish the high handicap golfers.
Heritage Scotland have asked us to trim a number of tree’s along the Antonine wall, which will include tree’s on the 10th, 11th, and 12th holes on the Cawder course. We also intend cutting back the trees on the 9th, 15th and 18th on the Cawder course, as the tree’s are now encroaching on tee shots, and therefore require cutting back.
The Joker Fund: Finally, the Academy course has proven to be a real success this year with the Juniors, so we are going to use the Joker Fund to develop the Academy course further. The plan is to raise and level each of the tees, potentially installing new mats, and then to raise and shape each of the greens, so that we have a good quality, good fun 6 hole Academy course, which of course can be enjoyed by all members, not just the juniors.
Course Manager Neil MacLennan