North east Fife golf course teams win awards

The Greenkeeping team at St Andrews won plaudits for their work during the 2015 Open.
The Greenkeeping team at St Andrews won plaudits for their work during the 2015 Open.

Two teams of golf greenkeepers – in very different areas – have been given plaudits this week .

St Andrews Links team of greenkeepers has been recognised for its performance at last year’s Open, while environmental work by SRUC Elmwood Golf Course was praised in an inspection.

St Andrews Links won the Championship Greenkeeping Performance of the Year award at the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association turf management exhibition.

The award recognised the Herculean efforts of the greenkeeping team after 12mm of rain fell in little more than 30 minutes, which resulted in the course during the Open.

The 65-strong team at the Links worked tirelessly to clear and drain the course, enabling play to commence just a couple of hours after the deluge.

Gordon Moir, Director of Greenkeeping, said: “This is a tremendous honour for everyone involved before, during and after The Open.

“The weather over the course of the Championship week itself obviously captured the headlines but our peers, who are exposed to the elements every bit as much as we are, know and appreciate that it’s not just about one week’s work, in reality it’s the culmination of months, in fact years of planning, preparation and hard work by Gordon McKie and the team to host The Open and present the course in the best possible condition.”

In Cupar, it was the planting of more trees and hedgerows, an artificial sand martin nesting wall, improved wetland habitats and more on the SRUC Elmwood Golf Course that won praise from independent inspection body the Golf Environment Organisation (GEO).

The GEO renewed Elmwood’s certified mark, the golf and greenkeeping industry’s leading Eco label.

Steve Johnstone, Golf Course Operations Manager for Scotland’s Rural College is delighted with the outcome of the latest verification.

“A lot of people have contributed to our success,” he commented. “Our staff willingly take part in various initiatives from reducing spray use to habitat care.

“We also received advice from specialist colleagues in the college’s SAC Consulting division. School parties and others have carried out bug counts, surveys, tree planting and even built a hide while using the course as a teaching resource.”

Among other activity recognised by auditors was the shift in water supply from mains to a borehole, with reed beds used to help filter water for reuse.

Food from the restaurant is now composted using a wormery.

Mr Johnstone added: “The sustainability certification also recognises the golf course’s value to the local community through its education work not only with students from the college but also local schools, youth groups and community organisations.”