After the opinions viewed at the AGM with regard the course development plans it was agreed to involve a cross section of the members with differing handicaps and experiences to assist in the future plans for the course.
After receiving a large number of emails from members to be part of the team it was clear that not all could not be accommodated so based on the above the following team was chosen:
Jamie Morris; Colin Brown; Walter Forsyth; Keith McIntosh; Donald Alexander; Andy Pearson and Brian Faulkener.
These are added to the original team members from the committee and staff:
Jim Dickson (Greens Convenor); Steve Borthwick (Lead Greenkeeper); Steve Johnston (Club Professional); Graham Lowther (Club Captain).
The first meeting of the group was held on Tuesday 22nd March. The meeting opened with an explanation of the teams aims general principles around maintaining and improving the course for the benefit of members and visitors; to try and develop the club’s main asset to increase visitor income and member numbers whilst also increasing the reputation of the club within Scotland and further afar.
The idea of providing ability tees as against the current gender specific tees was warmly welcomed. The only caveat on this is that priority is given to the maintenance and development of the existing tees as against the creation of new tees for the long course. This includes making some of the existing ladies tees larger to suit the future increased traffic. Jim Dickson and Steve Borthwick are to review the existing tees and draw up a list of the work required in this area. It was unanimously agreed that the three tees (3rd, 9th and 18th holes) that are part completed should be finished.
The four holes previously rolled out to the members (3rd, 4th, 9th and 18th holes) were discussed in detail by the group, in an open and frank exchange. The main contention was over the growing of semi-rough to divide the fairway on the 4th and 9th holes. This was discussed and finally rejected by the group to maintain the current open fairways.
Bunkering at the 9th is being reviewed for various options with aim of increasing the protection to the green whilst still allowing all handicap ranges to have a second or third shot to the green. The fairway bunker at 150 yds will remain in the rough on the right of the fairway to maintain playability for the higher handicap player.
The ladies tee at the 3rd is to be enlarged. A small copse of trees is to be planted in the left rough near the corner of the road in lieu of a fairway bunker. This will add a premium on the accuracy of a drive to the right of the fairway, and will assist the drainage of a constantly wet area.
The 4th hole will remain as it is, with a reduction in the height of rough to a small area at the right hand side of the hole, behind the large group of mature trees. This is to aid recovery of balls from a wayward slice and also to maintain speed of play and eliminate the danger of unsighted golfers being hit by tee shots while searching for balls in a blind hollow.
At the 18th hole we have an ongoing health and safety issue with the length of the trees at the top of the embankment. An agreement with the Local Authority to maintain a certain protection to the houses on the left of the hole has only just come to the notice of this group. The development team has agreed to create a long-term solution to the problem by planting a small copse of trees at the corner of the protective fence, with a row of trees running down the hill at the base of the embankment to the area before the green. These trees over time will grow to replace the protection to the houses and result in either the regular pruning of the existing trees or their removal dependent on the cover afforded by the new planting.
Revised sketches of the holes will be published at the end of the completed process, when a full course plan will be unveiled to the members. For any immediate course work associated with this plan the group will publish updates and/or sketches ahead of the full plan.
The next meeting of the development team is planned for later in April.
Graham Lowther, Club Captain