The new season

The new golfing season is almost upon us. The courses will be lengthened from Saturday 1st March (regular tees, but not measured for handicap purposes), and mats will no longer be required. From Saturday 29 March, there will be a measured course, and handicaps can be adjusted from that point. From 1st March to 30th April, there will be preferred lies (fairways only).

Making the courses playable for all

In 2013 much higher priority was put on making both courses playable and enjoyable for golfers of different abilities; this will continue to be required as the golfing population gets older. Therefore the rough was cut more than ever before, and the length of carries from the tee was reduced at many holes. This policy will continue.

At the 7th hole on the Medal course a ‘bale out area’ is being created, so that golfers can choose to drive further right from the tee, and still find fairway or semi-rough, which will be extended. For those who do not wish to take on the challenge of the burn from the tee, this will be an easier option, but will make the 2nd shot longer.

At the 10th hole on the Medal course the mound has been reduced in height and converted into a ridge; this has been done to benefit the shorter hitters, who were faced with a landing area no more than 20 yards wide; it will also allow the area to be cut as manageable rough, and improve the visibility for those golfers who hit their tee shot to the right.

Winter programme of work – bunkers

Good progress has been made with the winter programme, and 13 bunkers have been refurbished. In addition 2 new bunkers have been created – a fairway bunker on the 9th Medal, and a greenside bunker on the 11th Ashludie. The policy has been for some time to create a championship golf course with reasonably tight bunkering round the greens, and with fairway bunkers at a distance from the tee which will be more of a risk for the low handicap golfers rather than the shorter hitters.

New and refurbished bunkers will remain as ‘lift and drop’ meantime (bunker and surrounds).

Winter programme – other work

The flooding problem at the 6th green on the Medal course has been dealt with by building 2 sumps to hold water at the left side of the green in the rough, and by building drains to take flood water into the sumps. The newly built greenside bunker has been built at a higher location than before with a drain to remove the water. It is hoped that these actions will improve this area.

The banks of the Ashludie burn have been strengthened in the vulnerable areas in the hope that the burn will not overflow on to the 12th fairway.

Areas of both courses vulnerable to flooding have been hollow cored to improve drainage.

A storage compound will be completed to the right of the 4th green on Ashludie, and this whole area will be tidied up.

Paths in poor condition are to be refurbished before the start of the new season.

A warm-up net is to be constructed at the first tee of the Medal course.

Greens are being dressed with sand and cut as often as the weather will allow, so that the surface will be smooth, and the speed of the greens will increase prior to the start of the ‘official’ season.

The Links Board hope that you will enjoy your golf in 2014.