As the nights draw in and the days become cooler - so the growth on the course reduces. Its amazing that in only 2 years time all eyes will be focusing on Gleneagles and the Ryder Cup and yet for us by the end of September most of the golf season is over. Lets hope that 2014 brings an Indian Summer and the extended season we all crave --and Gleneagles will need!
Over the last month the addition of top dressing and fertilisers adding nutrients to the greens and the tees has helped encourage the last few spurts of growth but in reality the season is coming to an end and we need to start preparing for winter. We have always tried to play the course right through the winter and have avoided the temptation of winter greens, the passing gulf stream keeps the frost at bay, altthough the second green tucked away in the corner under the trees by the heronry -out of sight of the winter sun often gets a wee bit of cover but the warmth from the sea keeps the worst of the frost at bay.
On the rest of the course we start by raising the cut on the mowers and this allows a bit more protection from the elements and on the outfield and rough areas our friendly geese come and fertilise and trim these areas back. On the fairways along with the raising of the cut we simply try and keep them looking managed with stripes and shape to help others find their balls.
Around the course before all the leaves start to fall its a chance to run round with a can of paint and mark trees and limbs to be removed over the winter. Age and experience has taught us to wait till winter when the job can be done in half the time with half the material to be removed - as the leaves are missing- and it means thet we can open up areas that may have been inaccessible in the summer and it is then simply a matter of maintaining them at a lower level when the growth returns in the spring.
Luckily we are quieter on the course in the winter as we will be busier around the estate with a regular cycle of ball picking on the driving range as it comes into its own over the winter on days when the course may be unplayable and the range can let golfers expel their frustration and expend some energy practising the lessons they may have learnt over the summer and preparing for the year ahead.
And its time to winterise the machines and get cutters sharpened and any longer maintenance issues fixed ready for another year- our 40th here at Eriska!