2017 has been a challenging year at Harburn Golf Club

The weather has certainly played its part in adding to the difficulties to keep our course in the condition we desire.

Some facts about 2017 –

  • The driest April / May since 1999 – got us off to a great start – drying out the Winter water table and enabling Scott and the team to present the course and the greens in excellent playing condition (only 65mm rainfall)
  • The wettest June since 2012 and June/ July / August combined to be the wettest Summer, since 2012 (360mm rainfall).

In general, our greens stood up to the rain reasonably well, due the now regular bi-annual core and sand program. However many parts of the course did not fare so well and indicate that some of the course drainage is in need of replacement.

A source of some member comment and dissatisfaction, was the length of the rough at different stages of the season. The ongoing rain fall coupled with mild temperatures created the ideal growth conditions and we did not manage this challenge as well as would have liked. Cutting the rough when it is wet, leads to a very untidy course through large clumps of cut grass but clearly there comes a point when the course becomes very challenging due to over long rough.


Scott and his team are already deep into the following projects-

  • Clearing gorse in front of 15th hole to improve view of green from tee.
  • Clearing gorse on 16th hole, left and right of fairway.
  • Improving drainage in gulley on 17th
  • Improving / drainage in fairway bunker on 11th
  • Clearing / rodding drainage on 7th/ 9th           

Drainage on our course will continue to be a challenge in the years ahead and to that end, we have asked Council to consider an annual additional investment to allow drainage improvements on 2 holes every year.

We also intend to re-evaluate our management of the course rough areas and the lessons of 2017 will be taken on board when planning the course layout for 2018. We will draw up a plan of each hole identifying the areas and target lengths for 1st / 2nd cut and areas where we will let the rough grow to allow us to invest the saved greens staff time in other areas of need.

We will share this plan with Members, prior to the start of next season.

In 2017, I formed a small sub-committee in order to enable discussion options for further course improvement. We have based our thoughts around a report from our course agronomist / architect Ronnie Lumsden and input from Members on the sub-committee.

An item of much comment in recent years has been the course standard scratch and how this might be increased, we are in discussions with Scottish Golf Ltd in regards to this matter as it is they who legislate course standard scratch.

However, we plan to present our proposal to the Council in early 2018 for their consideration and below I’ve included a few examples of items discussed-

  • Lengthen the course (250yds) to potentially increase standard scratch
  • Reduce course Par by resetting 4th hole as Par 4 to balance current standard scratch to Par
  • Creation of additional forward tees to increase enjoyment for bounce games – e.g. 5th hole tee and perhaps link these tee positions based upon handicap rather than the traditional Medal, Gents yellow and Ladies/Boy’s tees.
  • New green at 6th hole to improve sight of green for approach shot.

Finally, in closing, I want to acknowledge and thank our Greens Team of Scott, Brian, Mark and Paul, for battling the elements this year and continuing to use their knowledge, experience and hard graft to maintain and improve our golf course.