It’s been a busy summer at Dundonald Links. After hosting the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open in July and being touted as a possible venue for the men’s event, you’d think course superintendent Frank Clarkson would be putting his feet up in September. Think again!
What is the greatest challenge working at Dundonald Links?
“Because we’re on the west coast, our main challenge is organic matter and rainfall, especially this year. Saying that, we’re open every day except Christmas Day and Boxing Day. I can’t remember the last time we closed through weather.”
What are your plans for September?
“It’s an important month revenue wise. We’ll do a lot of top-dressing and venting of the greens, but apart from that it’s really about keeping the customer happy. We are heavily geared towards the visitor market plus we have our members who can play anywhere they want, so obviously we have to keep them happy. We’ll do 28,000 rounds this year of which probably 14,000 will be visitors, who often come for a one-off experience. As a result, the expectation is pretty high as it is everywhere.
“We top-dress all year round. We top-dress greens every three to four weeks and as long as we pick the right day and do the job properly; you won’t know it’s been done. It’s a never-ending prescription. We put a lot of sand out.”
How much sand do you use?
“Eighteen tonnes of Hugh King’s Washed Dune Sand over a couple of hectares will do the greens, but we’ll also catch the surrounds as well. Our greens are about 1.3 hectares and then we’ll catch the surrounds which are about 0.75 hectares roughly. We’ll top-dress the fairways every two months targetting landing areas and high-wear areas. We’ll put about 110 tonnes per application which equates to about seven hectares.”
When did you start using Hugh King’s Washed Dune Sand?
“I’ve worked for Loch Lomond Golf Club since 1996 and moved to Dundonald Links in 2003. That’s when we went on to Hugh King’s sand. The sand was a perfect fit for our construction material. It’s good quality, and when it comes in, it’s always the same. There are never any issues with contamination. And that helps. It certainly makes our job a lot easier.”