Staff Training – BIGGA Highlands Learning and Development Day

On 19th November 2019 Course Manager Richard Johnstone, Assistant Greenkeeper Graham Burnett and Apprentice Greenkeeper Ryan Knox recently attended the BIGGA Highlands Learning and development day held at Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club.

This event was designed to provide a range of greenkeeping presentations and demonstrations for professional greenkeepers of all levels with some great presentations with James Hutchinson (BIGGA), Sandy Armit (Double A), Wendy Cole (The R&A) and  Richard Johnstone (Nairn Dunbar).  The headline presentation was by Craig Haldane from Gleneagles who provided a brief look back at his greenkeeping career, the importance of using all opportunities to further your career, providing a current status of the work that is being carried out at Gleneagles and finished by discussing his thoughts on greenkeeping in the future.

In addition, delegates were split into smaller groups to rotate around our presentation stations with our partners Hunter, Aitkens, R&A, BIGGA Ecology, Aquatrols, ICL, and Agrovista who gave short educational sessions on the products they offer and the benefits they offer to a good course management plan.

With around 30 turf professionals attending it was also a good opportunity to network, share experiences, new ideas and talk about the different challenges faced on each individual site.

“No professional should stand still, we are all learning, all the time”

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Staff Training – BIGGA Approved Member Certificate

On 15/10/2019 Course Manager Richard Johnstone was awarded with a BIGGA CPD Approved member Certificate in recognition of his continued education and training in 2019.

The BIGGA CPD Scheme is made up of members who are looking to improve their professional knowledge and competence within the industry while developing skills and personal qualities necessary for the execution of technical duties throughout their working life.

“No professional should stand still – we’re all learning, all the time.

CPD asks you to think about and record what you’re doing, and plan and structure the most appropriate next steps.”

Full details regarding the benefits of the BIGGA CPD Programme can be acquired by clicking on the link below.…/continuing-professional-developm…



Winter Improvement Projects 2019/20

Further to the recent update, I am now pleased to confirm the list of winter maintenance projects that will be undertaken over the next 5 months, subject as always to reasonable weather and favourable ground conditions. Throughout our winter maintenance projects we will aim to keep disruption to an absolute minimum and I appreciate the courtesy that I know you will extend to the course maintenance team whilst we carry out our duties.

The following list contains a detailed “hole by hole” report of the maintenance projects we hope to carry out before the start of the 2020 season.Winter Projects 2019.Winter projects 2019

Staff Training – 1st BIGGA Milestone Certificate

Assistant Greenkeeper Graham Burnett was recently awarded with his first BIGGA CPD Milestone member Certificate in recognition of his continued education and training in 2019.

The BIGGA CPD Scheme is made up of members who are looking to improve their professional knowledge and competence within the industry while developing skills and personal qualities necessary for the execution of technical duties throughout their working life.

Continuing Professional Development Credits types have been divided into four categories to provide a greater range of CPD activities. The four categories are Education, Professional, Personal Learning and Networking. All BIGGA CPD credits are recorded in a lifetime transcript which is a list of all the CPD you have carried out, since registering on the CPD programme.

“No professional should stand still – we’re all learning, all the time. CPD asks you to think about and record what you’re doing, and plan and structure the most appropriate next steps.”


Staff Training – Presentation Skills and Professionalism Workshop

On 25/09/2019 Course Manager Richard Johnstone attended a Presentation Skills and professionalism workshop at Auchterarder Golf Club. The course was delivered by Rick Bond from St Andrews Management Centre to a select group of individuals chosen from the BIGGA Scotland section in the hope they will develop into the next generation of host and guest speakers at BIGGA events and education days.

 The course was designed to enable delegates to confidently give a presentation to colleagues, committees and members. This will include the planning, conducting and evaluating of presentations.  The delegates participated in activities designed to develop their presentation skills and the opportunity to work on the skills needed to deliver presentations in a professional manner.

The objectives of the workshop were to provide delegates with the expertise needed to:

  • Overcome the natural fear of speaking to an audience and use nervousness to your advantage
  • Write a presentation which people will remember
  • Understand and gain the non verbal skills all good speakers need while Adopting a relaxed, confident approach
  • Develop presence and confidence speaking to a group
  • Connect with your audience and make them listen by being persuasive and memorable.
  • Use pace to influence & impact listeners
  • Make the most of your natural style to give an authentic presentation.
  • Structure your content and strategy in such a way as to provide maximum clarity.
  • Engage with the audience, addressing their own particular concerns, and respond to questions and doubts authoritatively.
  • Use technology to your advantage
  • Deliver effective presentations !!

Communication is key and this training will enable Richard to provide memorable future presentations which inspire those in attendance by conveying a message of professionalism, trustworthiness and capability.

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Autumn Maintenance – Pot Seeding Surfaces

Our Annual Autumn maintenance took place between 23rd -27th September 2019 and gave us the opportunity to solid tine and overseed greens and approaches.

Now that we have our Organic Matter levels between 4-5% there is no real significant amendments needed to undertaken to the soil profile within our greens. It means that we can now focus on a sustained overseeding programme aimed at re-establishing the fine textured turf that once dominated this links before excessive fertiliser and irrigation applications caused an unfortunate botanical change.

We took the decision to apply 240kg/ha of Bar Fescue seed which is a 50/50 blend of Chewings and slender creeping fescues which offers the best solution for year-round performance. The mix also Contains both the top-rated Chewings and slender creeping cultivars for greens use. Firstly we ran the TORO Procore across the greens to create as many 10mm holes as possible, a process called “pot seeding”. A drop spreader was used to apply the fescue seed before we worked any excess seed into the holes using an AstroTurf drag mat to cover the seed within the holes with 40 Tonnes of Hugh King washed dune sand topdressing. This provided the seeds with the correct growing medium and some protection from the elements. The seed should germinate within the next 3 weeks, slightly longer than the 10 days experienced mid august, due to the slightly cooler conditions.

To achieve maximum seed establishment and rapid surface recovery without creating a flush of growth that would negatively affect playing characteristics we applied a granular feed called Apex Organic 5-2-10 + WA. We chose this product as it has proven to be effective in aiding recovery while maintaining turf health and vigour without any negative effect on playability.

Fescue is the most appropriate species to links sites across the UK and with adequate management will provide characteristics that are typical of links golf here at Nairn Dunbar. The practice of overseeding is a vital aspect of what we are trying to achieve at and will now remain part of our annual maintenance at least twice a year.

The Maintenance procedures were carried out at this time of year when the air and soil temperatures are still high enough to help recovery times to be kept to a minimum. This short term disruption will give us long term benefits giving us firm and true surfaces all year round.

I would like to thank the Course Maintenance team for their effort, professionalism and dedication to help us complete all our maintenance work within the week even though we suffered from heavy rain most of week  and a breakdown to our topdresser.

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STRI Golf Environment Awards 2020

In early 2019 Nairn Dunbar applied for Stage 1 of the Golf Environment awards which involved a thorough explanation of the clubs environmental and ecological management techniques and how we are making a fundamental positive impact on the surrounding landscape and biodiversity. We also described how efficiently we are able to manage nature conservation, turfgrass, waste and water.

The club were then delighted to have been selected from all the applicants to progress to stage 2 of the awards alongside another 26 clubs in the UK. Stage 2 rewards golf clubs who consistently deliver outstanding ecological habitat creation and management with a visit from STRI Ecologist Rowan Rumball to review their site.

Rowan visited Nairn Dunbar on 10th September 2019 and was keen to view our recent dune restoration, bare sand habitat, ecological rough, gorse and tree management projects. The 3 hour visit gave us the chance to showcase the whole site including the clubhouse where rowan viewed the solar panels, pollinating flower beds, energy saving lightbulbs, water saving measures, recycling and waste management. Having an ecologist visit Nairn Dunbar allowed us to gain some valuable knowledge regarding the management of our site and future projects.

Nairn Dunbar are now seeing tangible results from introducing environmentally sustainable management projects across our golf course and these  projects are allowing us to achieve an increase in habitat varieties, improve playing experiences for golfers and provide a positive contribution to wildlife. With the ever-increasing spotlight on environmental matters, it is fundamentally important for Nairn Dunbar to assess what we can do to achieve environmental sustainability while continuing to maximise the enjoyment of golf.

Finalists for the Golf Environment Awards 2020 will be announced in late 2019 and invited alongside the other 27 clubs and sponsors to the STRI Awards ceremony at BTME 2020. Being selected for stage 2 is a great achievement for Nairn Dunbar and in recognition of all our hard work will be rewarded with a Highly commended certificate.

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