Golf Course Update - in order to keep members fully updated of developments on the golf course, we will be distributing a course update following every Committee Meeting.

Course Update - APRIL 2024

Without stating the obvious, its wet!! Carrying on from the previous 5 months, February and March have continued to be extremely wet. Persistent rain with no sustained dry spells has led to continuous saturated conditions throughout the course. Fortunately, we haven’t seen conditions like previous months where we had figures in excess of 25mm in a 24-hour period but almost everyday we have had some form of precipitation with no drying periods. Quickly calculating, the last 7-month period between September and March we have had 1070mm of rain with 4 days of March left at the time of writing. Our yearly average is 1085mm!

Month Rainfall Monthly Average    
September 161mm 66mm    
October 295mm 119mm    
November 124mm 113mm    
December 160mm 135mm    
January 117mm 101mm    
February 96mm 99mm    
March 117mm (so far) 70mm    
7-month period 1070mm 703mm    

We have tried where possible to return to as many main greens as we can but unfortunately not as much as we would have liked. We have had quite a number of course closure days due to rain, snow and frost and when we did have a break from that we lost a day to fog! Hopefully we will see a dramatic change in the weather and April will give us a chance to dry out and enjoy the start of the summer golfing season.

Winter Projects

As mentioned in February’s report we were nearing the completion of the drainage work on the 3rd green. With all work now carried out we have seen a major improvement on this green and along with the 1st green, drainage wise, they have been our best performing push up clay greens on the course through the last 2 months. Both greens will be ready for play in the next week or so. The rear of the 3rd where we had difficulty with the dry-stone dyke underneath the green is still a little bumpy but with more dressings and some spiking work it should return to a good standard reasonably quick. Short term we will avoid putting pins in this area.
The 14th yellow/red top tee has undergone some work to level off the surface. We stripped the turf, re-levelled and extended it to give us a larger playing area. The extra area will be beneficial through the season as it receives a lot of divot damage. We can now spread wear and allow for better recovery. This tee will be out of play for a little longer, we have the lower tee to use in the meantime.
Both the greenside bunkers at the 1st which, as mentioned in the last report had been rebuilt, have had a bunker liner installed to improve the drainage. We will use these two as a trial and monitor the benefits to see if its something that is worth rolling out on future bunker works.
A number of other bunkers have been stripped, reshaped and returfed with new turf. The 2 pothole bunkers at the front of #4 green, the front right hand side bunker at #8 green and the front bunker at #14. These 4 hazards are probably the most used on the course and wear and tear due to a high volume of play had caused the faces to build up with sand and the front edges had become too high making them difficult to play out of.
A few other things remain on the winter project list, mostly some gorse/scrub clearance on certain areas and raising of some tree canopies. We will continue to work on these as and when we get an opportunity although more of our time will be taking up with general course prep when the weather finally improves.


We have been limited to what work we can carry out on the greens due to the conditions. Regular mowing is taking place with pedestrian mowers when we can, and heights altered accordingly with the soft ground conditions. As things start to firm up, we will lower the heights gradually. Current height of cut (HOC) is 6mm bench set, although this will be closer to 5mm on the ground.
We have recently spiked all greens with a 19mm tine at a depth of around 8-9 inches. This will help pull some of the water away from the surface and down through the profile, results will be more noticeable when we get a break in the weather and there isn’t a constant top up.
One application of topdressing sand has been applied at a medium rate (around 12 tonnes) and matted in. We had planned to have a lot more on by this point but again the weather conditions have halted several attempts. We also had a breakdown of the machine which held us back when conditions where ok. Again, when conditions are favourable, we will ramp up our topdressing program and this will help to firm up and smooth out the surfaces.
Winter spraying program has continued to help keep the grass plant healthy and clean of disease. We have had good results with very little disease over the winter and high disease pressure conditions. We will monitor what is required and gradually move to a summer spray program.
Our spring starter granular fertiliser (10-4-4) has been due to go down for a couple of weeks now and again, this will be done as soon as conditions allow. This will help strengthen and thicken up the sward ahead of the busy summer playing season.
We have a couple of very wet problem areas on certain greens that we will be coring and brushing in dried sand. This will wait until we see significantly drier conditions to allow us to pull the maximum number of cores and make sure the holes are completely filled up with sand. We have had good success with this in previous years and it will improve these areas hugely.

Tees, Approaches and Fairways

Tees and approaches have been mowed intermittently over the last few weeks and regularity will increase in the coming weeks as temperatures and growth increases. Current HOC Is 9mm but has been set down to 8.5mm for the next cut. Again, this will be reduced gradually until we reach our summer HOC.
Approaches have been spiked with the same 19mm tines as the greens at a depth of 7 inches to improve drainage and shift some of the water through the profile. We will run the scarifying units over these in the coming weeks to help remove some of the thatch and organic matter build up. One spray application of ferrous sulphate, ammonium sulphate and seaweed was applied mid-march to try and knock back some of the moss and give us a little kick before we apply a granular fertiliser.
Tees will be spiked with the same tines once we have the irrigation system fired back up as its easier to locate the smaller sprinkler heads when we can pop them up, reducing the risk of damaging any with the spiker. Lawn sand was applied at a high rate at the start of March on all tees to kill off as much moss as possible. We had good results and a boost in colour and appearance. We will also run the scarifying reels over all tees in the coming weeks.
Both tees and approaches haven’t had any topdressing applied yet but with drier conditions we will start an intensive program on these areas. The same spring starter as the greens (10-4-4) will be applied on both areas also.
Fairways have received little so far but will be gradually divoted in the coming weeks. First cut will be done in due course. We will then spray with ammonium sulphate, ferrous sulphate and urea. This will improve the appearance and help reduce moss.


Toilet block will be assessed this week now the worst of the freezing conditions are behind us and the water turned back on. We are confident that there is no damage like previously with the precautions we took this year and they will be open for the start of the season.
The irrigation system was due to be switched back on and primed up on the 21st of March but this has been moved back until the 8th of April due to contractor commitments, we agreed that we wouldn’t be needing it just now anyway!
Some of the stone that was removed from the 3rd green while carrying out the drainage work has been utilised at the flower bed beside the first tee to create a border. This has made good use of the stone, and we have a few other areas we can utilise what remains of it.
We have started forwarding some pictures and videos of work carried out on the course to be shared on the official club social media platforms and will continue this going forward. Add the club pages to view this along with all other club related info. The handles are as follows:

Instagram – auchterardergolfcourse

Facebook – Auchterarder Golf Club

Some pictures are attached to show some of the work carried out over the winter period.

Shaun McNaughton