The Course Manager’s Calendar – May

Keith Law, head greenkeeper Forfar Golf Club, has served his time. He started at the club as a trainee greenkeeper in 1992. After stints in Australia, Monifieth and Letham Grange, he returned two years ago and hasn’t looked back

What’s it like to be back where it all began for you?
“The last two years have flown by. It’s been great to get back. We’re trying to fine-tune and tidy the place up, which will be an ongoing project.”

What are your plans for May?
“I am waiting for the grass to grow. It’s been a bit slow this spring, but temperatures are set to rise which will make a big difference. They say it’s going to be 200C by the weekend, but I’m walking around with four layers of clothes on. We’ll wait and see. I’ve heard we’re
coming into a dry spell with warm temperatures. Here’s hoping!

How will that effect your approach to topdressing?
“If the weather plays ball, we should see a big difference. Everything is weather related. If the weather had picked up three weeks ago and we had got some good temperatures, the grass would have been growing and we would have topdressed our greens by now. Being in the north east of Scotland, growth can be quite slow at this time of year.”

Assuming temperatures pick up, what’s next?
“Within the next couple of weeks, we’ll start topdressing. I usually get someone to cut the greens in front and another guy goes out with a tractor and the topdresser. He’s followed by another guy who goes behind with a brush on the front of a set of vibrating rollers. He brushes it in. Finally, it gets watered during the night. It’s a real team effort.”

How long have you been using Hugh King sand?
“It must be five years that Forfar has been using Hugh King’s Washed Dune sand on the greens at about 60 tonnes a year. To be honest, this is the first time I’ve used Hugh King sand, and I am very impressed. Especially how easy it goes onto the greens and how easily it rubs in. It makes life easy.”

What do you mean?
“When we apply the sand on the greens, it is brushed and rolled into the grass and then watered at night. With other topdressings, you can cut the greens a couple of days later and hit all kinds of stones and pebbles which can blunt your blades. That’s certainly not the case with Hugh King sand. You can cut the greens the following day and there is no harm done to the machinery at all.”

How does that help you?
“It’s good for keeping costs down because you’re looking at £120 for a set of blades. If you’re topdressing six times a season; that soon adds up. It also has an impact on the golfers. We can put the sand down before the first golfers go out and get it all brushed in ready for play, and it will actually improve the surface that day. That makes my life just a wee bit easier.”