Since it opened its doors 20 years ago, the Strathmore Golf Centre has seen continuous improvement both on and off the course. Under the watchful eye of course manager Scott Robertson, the 27-hole Perthshire property has made particular strives in its playing surfaces following the introduction of a new sand supplier.
You changed your sand supplier a few years back. What prompted that change?
“Our old sand wasn’t working for us. It wasn’t doing the job we wanted it to do. It was difficult to get into the ground and didn’t wash in very well. You would top dress on Monday and it would still be hanging about at the end of the week, even after a wash-in. We would drag it, brush it and it would still be there, and then you’d want to cut, but you wouldn’t want to ruin your blades.”
What impact did Hugh King’s Washed Dune sand have on your operations?
“After a single brush, it disappears completely. You get what you pay for. It has been a great change going over to Hugh King’s Washed Dune sand. You know what you’re getting every time. You pick up the phone and you pretty much get it the next day. It is fantastic.”
What sort of quantities of sand are you using?
“When we first started using Hugh King’s Washed Dune sand, we were putting down 120 tonnes through tining and coring. Now it’s just a case of light dressing the greens – the surfaces have improved so much. They’re firmer and they’re draining better as well. We’re still putting on 80 tonnes a year, and if we core we’ll put on another 40 tonnes.”
What other benefits have you noticed?
“The drainage has improved a lot. Before we changed our sand, we would go out after heavy rain and you would expect to squeegee certain greens. These days, we send the lads out and they come back saying there’s no water on them. At first I thought they were winding me up! It’s when you get half an inch of rain in a short time, and there’s nothing. That makes a significant difference when you’re trying to keep a golf course open.”
What are your plans for September?
We’ve got the BIGGA Scotland central section outing in a couple of weeks, so we’ll be doing very little before that. Following that, however, we’ll be solid tining and over-seeding. The second week in October is when we’ll be coring, so this is really the calm before the storm!