Luffness New Golf Club

Founded in 1894 and designed by the legendary Old Tom Morris, Luffness New Golf Club is a bona fide links course that holds tradition close to its heart. Indeed, despite the pressures of the modern game, the 18 holes at Luffness have stayed true to their creator’s original vision while remaining beautiful, enjoyable and testing.

luffness-case-studyNeedless to say, Luffness has been lengthened and tweaks have been made, but the real talking point is the sandy, smooth playing surfaces that define the course. “The quality of the turf is legendary – especially on the greens,” says David Coull, head greenkeeper at Luffness. “It’s one of the purest links golf courses out there, and that’s where the pressure lies – keeping the course up to the highest standards possible. The members are great, but if I were to let standards slip, I would be in serious trouble.”

With 750 members, Luffness is a private and very traditional gentleman’s club that has high expectations when it comes to golf. In a brave move, Coull decided to shake things up when he joined the club six years ago. “There wasn’t a lot of top-dressing back then, just top-dressing greens, aprons and tees using our own indigenous sand. I started getting samples in and decided to bring in Hugh King’s sands.”

Luffness had its own supply of local sand which was used sparingly to prepare tees, greens and surrounds, but with limited reserves, an equally effective supplement had to be found. As it turned out, opting for Hugh King’s clay-free A30 bunker sand and Washed Dune Sand proved to be an inspired move.

“The fairways are more consistent,” Coull says eagerly. “We had a lot of dry patches but now, with the annual top dressing using the Washed Dune Sand, thatch on the fairways has been eradicated by around 90%. It all adds to much better playing characteristics because there are hardly any bare or tight lies.”

His praise also extends to Hugh King’s A30 bunker sand. “The particle size is just big enough so the sand doesn’t blow away easily,” he says. “But it’s easy to rake, easy to move and yet it keeps its shape in the bunker. If there was an industry standard regarding bunker sand, then Hugh King’s bunker sand would be it.”

Having sand delivered also frees up Coull’s seven-man greenkeeping team to do what they do best – meeting and often exceeding members’ expectations. “The Hugh King sand was brought in primarily to top dress fairways,” he says plainly. “When we’re top dressing fairways, I need 240 tonnes of sand within a week. Firstly, we don’t have the mechanical means to extract that sand ourselves and secondly, we would run out of sand pretty quickly if we did. That’s one of the main reasons I brought in the Hugh King sand.”

Five years on, he’s happy he did. “I am always impressed with the quality and the consistency of the sand. It has always been top rate. The bunker sand is pretty much perfect and the Washed Dune Sand is ideal for fairways. That’s why I keep buying it.”