We all love to turn up on the first tee and play our beautiful course but forget how much work is actually involved to keep it in such a superb condition.
|Our Course Manager Iain Harrison took some time out of his busy schedule
to give us an insight to the world of Golf Course maintenance and also some
information on himself –
When did you join Bangor Golf Club?
I started at the club 1st April 1998, a few days before my 28th birthday as an over confident very cheeky young man!
What attracted you to join Bangor GC?
I had been greenkeeping 10 years and had gained my college exams before I came to Bangor and played a lot of golf then (before the kids) and i always enjoyed playing Bangor as I thought it was a great layout with a lot of signature holes.
Who are all involved in your greenkeeping team?
I have four full time greenkeepers, Alan McKee, Andy Cousins, Daniel McMillan and Lee McCord. Due to the high levels of machines required to run a modern day course we also employ James a full time mechanic who services and keeps the machines cutting sharp. I also have a trainee greenkeeper Jamie who rakes our bunkers 20 hours a week.
What major changes to the course have you been involved in and is there any other changes you would like to see happen?
When I came to the club back then we had very little definition throughout the course and very few hydraulically driven machines. We set about upgrading the machinery and this enabled us to provide a course which gave an up to date feel. I have been involved in so many different projects from rebuilding the 17th, 8th and 18th greens, also management of the copse of trees, mounding, drainage of bunkers and the never ending project of draining the entire course! Putting the new fairway bunkers to the right of the 11th gave me a few sleepless nights! From a personal point of view I would like to see the overall drainage project completed.
The current spate of vandalism currently experienced on some parts of the course disappoints all our members but it must be devastating to you and your team?
Yes it’s very disheartening to come in and before you start into you days plan you have to tidy up beer bottles and other unsavoury items.
Have you any pet hates from golfers – not repairing pitch marks, divots etc?
Unrepaired pitch marks are a real pain for all the staff to see and repair, we all work hard to provide our membership with the best possible surfaces and unrepaired pitch marks unsettle the surface. Having a ball land right beside you whilst working on a green can be a bit unnerving.
I know we have issues in relation the 12th hole but would it be possible to relocate the tee box to allow the upper tier of the green to be used more often?
Possibly, but there is a lot could been done with the hole to give it more of a pitch hole feel.
One thing I would like to see more off on our course is water, do you think there is anywhere were we could locate water? Would along the bottom of the hill on our 3rd and 4th holes or even in the crater on the 9th hole be possible? If located correctly could it help in the irrigation of the course?
I’m not so confident about placing a water feature on the course as I have seen so many of these projects fail so badly at other clubs. They cost a lot to build and maintain, so I feel our money would be better spent on the removal of water from the course through drainage.
Have you ever thought about publishing pin locations for a weekend’s competition?
Yes we are looking at an app for this which would allow us to professionally give out our pin positions to all members every Friday throughout the summer season.
What is your favourite hole on the course and why?
I like the 2nd hole from the back tees, it’s a difficult hole to play and i love the new bunkers on the right, the green is a gem of golf green.
|What is your least favourite hole on the course and why?
I just can’t love the 12th hole, the green is too long and the hole is generally featureless.
If you could make one change to a hole what would it be?
Redesign the 12th. It could be made into a cracking true pitch hole.
What do you see as the hot topics of the moment in greenkeeping? Do you see any specific trends developing? If so, what and where do you think they might lead?
Sustainability is the buzz word with the R&A at the moment, trying to run your course with very little fertiliser and chemical input. Technology such as GPS is becoming more available and affordable, it’s being fitted to machines to give more efficient productivity when cutting and spraying. The days of robots maintaining the course is still a fair way off, I hope!
Many thanks Iain for taking the time to complete this Q&A I would like to thank you and your team for your hard and dedicated work in making our course look so good throughout the summer and beyond. Via Social media I received so many messages of congratulations on the condition of the course. Please pass this onto your team.