Archive for February, 2016

The Course Manager’s Calendar – March

This March sees the completion of a far-reaching project to revamp the drainage under the greens at Crieff Golf Club. In charge has been the club’s course manager for 18 years, Charlie Macdonald.

You’re coming to the end of a big drainage project – are you happy with the results?

“We’re hoping to get all the turfing and construction jobs finished by the first week in March. We’ve done four greens for the last three winters, so that’s 12 in total. It was hard going with all the materials which we did by hand. There were no machines used to move the 90 tonnes of root zone into the drainage lines. But if you do it by hand, you don’t have any mess. It’s time-consuming, but you don’t have any machines running up and down your greens. So it comes out really well.

As well as Hugh King’ root zone, what other Hugh King products do you use?

From March through to October we top-dress the greens fortnightly with Hugh King’s medium coarse blend top-dressing sand. We used about 120 tonnes of it last year. It keeps the surfaces dry; we wanted something quite coarse because our soil is quite coarse – we needed something to blend into the soil. In October, we then use the kiln-dried sand when we hollow core the surfaces. We use a big brush to sweep the dried sand down the holes. Last year we used about 60 tonnes.”

You also use the Bunker 7 sand – that’s a lot of product.

“We’re using four different types of Hugh King sand. That’s about 300 tonnes of sand and rootzone every year. It’s a fair bit. All sands we use on the golf course are Hugh King’s. It has been great because it has been so consistent – we’ve never had a bad load of sand. They’ve been absolutely superb.”

How long have you been using Hugh King’s sand?

“It will be three years in March. The sand has really firmed up the greens and made the drainage a lot better. The root zone we’ve used as part of the drainage work has been superb, really consistent and free-draining. It is fantastic. It gets the surface water off the greens a lot quicker than ever before. It’s a vast improvement in firmness and drainage rates.

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The Course Manager’s Calendar – February

Sandy Reid has been at Carnoustie for 19 years, taking over the top job from John Philp three and a half years ago. We find out how he’s getting on.

It’s been a tough winter. What are your plans for February?
“We’ll be mixing rootzone for a new green using Hugh King’s Washed Dune Sand. By the end of the month we’ll also be top dressing the Championship course fairways with it at about 12 tonnes per hectare. Given favourable weather, we’ll get it done in two or three days.”

How long has Carnoustie been using Hugh King sands?
“The Championship course was the last course to start using Hugh King sands. We actually started using them on the other two courses back in 2004. It was 2008 when we started using the sands on the Championship course. That’s when we started using Hugh King’s sand exclusively.”

So how do you use the sands today?
“We use the Washed Dune Sand for top dressing greens, tees and surrounds on all three courses, and top dress the Championship fairways once a year with it as well. We also add it to our root zone mix which gets used in our divot mix and on all construction jobs. Although we primarily use Hugh King’s Washed Dune Sand, we also use the Bunker 6 sand on the Burnside and Buddon courses. In total, we bring in about 1,000 tonnes a year – that’s a mixture of both sands although the majority of it is Washed Dune Sand.”

You also use Hugh King’s kiln-dried sand.
“Yes, we use it to make up our own fertiliser and sulphate-of-iron mixes. It’s almost impossible to spread a straight fertiliser lightly, so you have to use sand as a carrier. The sand needs to be dry to go through a spreader and we felt Hugh King’s sand was the best. It’s something we do two or three times a year, although we also use it for drill-and-fill type work. There is a machine we could use but we prefer to do it by hand; by deep verti-draining and/or coring with wide tines then going on our hands and knees with funnels filling up the holes with kiln-dried sand. It goes down the funnel and into the hole nice and easy because it’s so dry. You can’t do it with moist sand.

“We’re trying to improve percolation and drainage through the soil. We did it on the 13th green on the Championship course on an area that was poor for drainage. It makes a connection from the top through to the natural sand underneath.”

Why is Hugh King’s Washed Dune Sand so well suited for Carnoustie?
“It’s very similar to our indigenous sand. It has a consistent particle size and the particle shape is good too. It is very compatible with what have. Even the colour is nice. Because it’s not white or anything like that, it blends in. It allows us to keep the greens smooth, firm and draining well.”

I understand you’re heading to Wales shortly on a fact-finding mission.
“Yes, we’re building a brand new green on The Burnside Course and we want to use the hollow-core method where you take hollow cores from your existing greens and spread them on the new green. Royal Porthcawl has done this on a couple of greens already. For that job we’re going to use quite a lot of Washed Dune Sand in the rootzone mix – Royal Porthcawl has been using Hugh King sand for the last couple of years. The idea is you get something that is very similar to the other 17 greens on the course and it establishes a bit quicker.”

How would you describe Hugh King sand?
“It is a quality sand that allows us to help reduce and maintain organic matter levels whilst complimenting the indigenous soil structure. Specifically on the greens, it has allowed us to produce firmer, truer, smoother and freer draining playing surfaces, as well as allowing us to encourage the fine grass content – the fescue and bent grasses.”