The West Kilbride Golf Club
All trolleys and buggies allowed on course. All new bunkers and surrounding turf in play. (updated 18 April at 06:58)

West Kilbride Golf Club
March Links Report

Winter Programme Update
Firstly, during February we encountered severe weather resulting in a period of flooding on the course followed by freezing temperatures. However, the green staff managed to continue working through the winter programme. During this wet period in-house servicing was carried out on all machines and all the cutting cylinders were sharpened ready for the start of the season. During the cold weather, the trees at the back of the 4th green were cut and tidied up with all the scrub strimmed and removed from this area, not only does it tidy the area up but balls will be found quicker, improved air flow will help the 4th green and there is now a chance of a fairer recovery shot to the green. Gorse management was also carried out during this period with several areas cut back and tidied. The winter programme is near completion with only gorse to be planted between 3 and 5 and some gorse and shrub cutting to be finished. These areas of newly planted gorse will be white lined and remain GUR for the remainder of the season.

Course Matters
The ground conditions have been very soft this year after the significant rainfall. Therefore, could I please remind all golfers to please repair their pitch-marks correctly. The following information is taken from a study that was carried out regarding pitch-marks on a golf course.

DID YOU KNOW?

• The average number of pitch-marks made on greens per round is 8 per golfer
• Assuming only 130 rounds are played each day on the course then our greens would receive
• 1040 impressions per day or
• 31000 per month or
• More than 374,000 per year.

Are you wondering how to make a putt under these conditions?

Furthermore, I appreciate we only have a few weeks left of the winter rules but could I please remind all golfers to lift off the fairways and 1st two bouts of semi-rough and play outside the line of the white post or continue to use a mat from the fairway. This would be greatly appreciated and will help enormously with recovery of these areas going into the spring and summer months. I plan to bring the white posts in on Monday the 29th of March with the view to bring in a few of the bunker boys to assist the greenstaff with divoting the fairways and semi rough prior to the start of the season.

I have recently been informed by Hugh King, our supplier of bunker sand that all current grades of bunker sand have been discontinued as there is now a shortage of white sand. They are hoping to produce a similar spec sand using alternative sands from their other quarry at Tillicoultry. This will take time to produce and will be darker in colour. However, I have managed to purchase the last 40 tonnes of our No 7 sand which will hopefully see us through this season.

I have made contact with the farmer regarding the flooding at the 3rd fairway and he has carried out an inspection dig at the boundary fence to find his outlet pipe. Hopefully, once this is cleaned and replaced this will resolve the issue. I will keep you updated with this matter.

On The Course
The greens have had an application of granular, iron, magnesium and seaweed. This helps with moss control, plant health and colour. The greens are still being hand cut and are now at 5.5mm. The air 2g2 aerating machine has recently been put over all the greens which blasts compressed air deep into the soil profile at 1m spacings to help break up compaction and encourage root development. I plan to apply top-dressing to all greens at a rate of 0.5 tonne per green or 10/12 tonne per ha. The wetting agent programme will also start over the next couple of weeks over all surfaces.

The tees have now been cut and I plan to apply lawn sand and top-dressing over the next couple of weeks.

All walk-off areas and walkways will be aerated and fertilised when temperatures increase to aid recovery.

Surrounds have been cut and will be extended at the 8th and 15th holes and will begin to be top-dressed to help firm them up.

We have started work on the bunkers. All faces are being cleaned, sand is being moved around and fluffed up. New bases are being put into the new bunkers and the greenstaff are measuring the current sand levels, fresh sand will then be added as required. The remaining grass faced bunkers will be weed killed when the weather allows.

Weedkilling on all pathways will be carried out over the next few weeks as well as the practice nets going up and tee signs going out.

Finally, I have organised for the ditch to be cleaned out and the banking cut at the 1st hole which I hope to have completed before the start of the season.

Rick Fulton
Head Greenkeeper