Stewart Duff began his greenkeeping career at Gullane in 1985 left in 2002 and returned in 2006. He and his staff are busy working towards this year’s Scottish Open in July.
With the Scottish Open just around the corner, what’s the atmosphere like at Gullane?
“There is great excitement. The members are proud that we are hosting this great tournament, the green staff have a buzz about them and we’re striving to get everything done so the Championship Course will be in the best shape possible.”
What are your objectives in the run up to the Scottish Open?
“Going into the tournament with a good covering of grass which is barely growing is our main objective so we can start intensifying the mowing. Most surfaces are spot on. The greens were still a bit bumpy but the sand dressings and some growth will help that.
“In terms of top-dressing, we’ll go to light weekly dustings during June. We’re currently doing once per month light top dressings. We’ll reduce the amount of sand dressings down to around 9 tonnes per application when we go to the weekly dusting instead of the 14 tonne monthly dressings. We will gradually build up the levels that way. We’ll do that for four weeks and stop top-dressing two weeks prior to the tournament.”
What’s the advantage of going to weekly applications?
“We’re trying to get the smoothness. At this time of year, all the different grasses are growing at different rates. All we’re trying to do is even up the surface which is where the top dressing comes in and a wee bit of refinement to get that required smoothness.”
You’ve been using Hugh King’s Washed Dune Sand since 2007. What impresses you about this sand?
“Hugh King’s Washed Dune Sand is very compatible with our root zone. It’s almost identical and that gives us a consistent root zone, which means we have a continually
free draining sandy loam root zone. If you bring in the wrong type of sand, you could bring in too many fines and that could lead to drainage issues.
The sand we have here is naturally very good, so we don’t want to change it. We just want to keep building up our soil profile. Hugh King’s Washed Dune Sand does that because it is highly compatible with what we’ve got.”