Dear Fellow Members

I do hope that this finds you well, and that preparations are well underway for Christmas. We hope to have the clubhouse open and catering available over the festive period, subject to the government restrictions that are in place at the time and we look forward to seeing as many members as possible within the clubhouse over that period.

On a golfing front, we have suffered over the past few weeks with another period of excessive rainfall, with intermittent period of fog and frost, which has resulted in the course being closed or having restrictions applied, on more occasions than we would have liked. Prior to this, we experienced the wettest Autumn for a very long time, with rainfall levels for October being 248mm which is 5 times the average rainfall for the same month over the past 6 years with a further 144mm in November.

With continued rainfall over the last few weeks, the course has not had the opportunity to dry out and in some areas continued to be very wet. The BBC's Panorama programme on Monday evening of this week really did hit home how much our climate has changed and this will undoubtedly have a knock-on effect for golf in Scotland in the years to come.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/Panorama

We have been working with Archie, our Course Manager, to look at ways that will allow us to keep the course open more often during the remainder of the winter period. Noted below are guidelines that, if followed, will allow us to open the course as often as possible, but also explains circumstance when it will not be possible.


Members

We know that many members want to play golf all year round where possible. To ensure that we can facilitate this, members have a part to play and I have set out below how you can help.

We would like members to help the course manager and club management during the winter period by carrying their clubs (reduced number of clubs would help) when this request is posted on the club website. We would also encourage all trolley users to consider using winter wheels over the winter months. These wheels help to protect the course considerably and would mean that you wouldn't have to carry your bag when conditions are very wet. You can buy wrap around winter covers for your wheels or full wheels for your specific brand of trolley via the Pro Shop or web.

When we are on the winter course, and trollies are permitted, we request that all members keep trollies:

  • off fairways as much as possible, by using paths, or the end of the rough where available
  • away from our main greens and greenside areas
  • away from our main tee areas

Following these guidelines will limit potential damage to the course and will result in the course being open on those days when it is possible to do so.

Course

There will be specific weather conditions where we will not be able to open the course. We have described these as follows:

  • if the course is heavily covered in snow or ice
  • where the course is covered, or predominately covered, in white frost
  • when the course is waterlogged
  • where visibility due to fog is less than 250 yards. (Rule of thumb – Ladies 1st tee to 1st Green).

Open with restriction

When possible, and as an alternative to a full closure of the course:

  • the course will be open with players being asked to carry when light frost occurs
  • members may use their trollies if these are fitted with winter wheels
  • members with a medical note can use their trollies if carrying isn't an option

When weather allows, the course will remain open with no restrictions. We will maintain winter greens for the majority of the winter months, however if drier and warmer weather persists for a period, we will look to move to full greens, but only where this is possible from the beginning of the playing day.

Finally, one of the facts that we need to come terms with is that we have a parkland golf course with a clay base which does not drain particularly well. Archie and the team have done what they can to present a course that is playable for the majority of the year, however without significant investment in drainage and the creation of sand based greens, we have to work with what we have.

 

Gary McArthur